Saturday, January 22, 2011

Where can I get a winged penis candle?

Seriously, it's just that fun to see. Well, until it starts melting, I bet. Eeew, never mind. I posted too quickly yesterday, Spartacus premieres tonight and I won't get to see it until tomorrow when it's available on Netflix. In the meanwhile, I've been going over information about fertility magic in Ancient Italy. Here are two Goddesses of Fertility who I find interesting: Diana and Juno Lucina. Why do these Goddesses interest me?

Diana is my Patroness. Forget about her being an anti-man "virgin" and disavowing men. The ones who disavowed men were Vestal Virgins. Vesta. Not Diana. "Virgin" didn't mean no sex. Nor did it mean not bearing children. It meant independent. In her lore, Diana had several consorts: Lucifer to her Lucina, Orion, Verbius and each subsequent Rex Nemorensis. Diana, as Goddess, was Kingmaker. There is a notion, in more than just greco-roman lore, that to see or hear deity in true form meant death to a mortal. A man, such as Acteon, seeing a Goddess "naked" (as in without the cover of human form), would have killed him. Another theory is that the ritual of the Rex Nemorensis involves Diana revealing herself to the new Rex. Since he is the chosen one, he survives it. Any man who saw her as such but was not the chosen one would be killed. Back to the fertility stuff: Diana was Goddess of the Moon. Which is tied to a woman's cycle, hence fertility. Weee!

Juno Lucina. Here's a Fun one. Both Juno and Diana were referred to as Lucina. There are references to Juno Lucina, and to Lucina being another name for Diana. Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia has some interesting arguments about past theories, including the idea that Juno and Diana were the same Goddess and syncretized incorrectly. Hmm I don't know. There is the fun theory that Herodias, aka Aradia, is a combination of Hera and Diana. Pages 136 and 137 have some great info about the votives found at the sanctuary at Aricia: clay representations of babies and wombs. There is evidence that Juno was thought of as a Moon Goddess too. She was Juno at the Kalends, Juno Covella (crescent moon), and Juno Lucina at the full moon. Do we have another contender for Triple Goddess of the Moon?
Again, Italy was a land of diverse people and diverse languages. Different names meant different things to different people who lived next to each other. However, as there was a temple to her, and she was said to be the wife of Jupiter and has her own festival on March 1st, the Matronalia, I will give Juno her props as a separate Goddess.

There is a third favorite on my list, but I will save Proserpina for another day and her own separate post.

On to the practical!

Italian folklore says eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but also the midwife near. Apples were thought to increase fertility.

To get pregnant, an impassioned plea would be made to the Deity of choice, a clay votive made of a baby and/or the womb and perhaps an offering, a contract? Amongst all the defixiones (curse tablets) found some were about getting something good and not just messing with other people. Not many tho. At least not of the ones found (the most were found in Sicily haha). Anyway, the principle is there: Petitioning Deity, making an offering, eating traditional foods associated with fertility. A fun Italian one is: Pesto sauce.
Whaaaaaat? Basil, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts were each thought to aid fertility. There has been some controversy recently about basil because it lowers estrogen levels. However, too much estrogen is as bad an impediment to fertility as is not enough. I was on the too much estrogen side of the equation and it interfered with my cycle. Pesto would've been my pal! I did, however, eat a lot of tomato and basil! Lycopene is thought to boost fertility too ;)

And if you missed it last night:

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