Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Justification by Conflation

 I posed the following request on the Facebook group:

We celebrate Diana's feast on the ides of August (13 - 15). There is evidence in the historical record of this observance- the festival of Diana Nemorensis. I've seen others celebrate this date as Hecate's feast. Why? We celebrate Hecate's feast in November. With no sarcasm intended, will someone please refer me to evidence in the historical record of the ides of August being celebrated as Hecate's feast? I would like to have actual references. Thanks!

I also sent the request to a friend who is celebrating a feast of Hekate on the ides of August, and his response was a Sorita d'este video on the justification for the idea of celebrating Hekate on that date.

In this video (  she talks almost exclusively about the Italian Nemoralia and says that since Diana, Artemis and Hekate had similar attributes she assumes that one may also honor Hekate on this date. This video is justification by conflation. Sorita assumes that because Hekate and Diana share attributes that it's ok to call it a festival of Hekate when it's actually a festival of Diana. But then she goes on to say that each deity is distinct... So how can this be justified?

You don't call on the Maiden at a festival of the Crone. You don't call the Mother at the festival of the Maiden. We call Diana, Hecate and Proserpine, but not interchangeably- each has different aspects and a different function. Each has their own festival and their own place in the cycle of the year. In my Nemoralia celebration a token is given to Hekate and to Proserpine, but the focus is on Diana. Just as at the feast of Hekate, Proserpine and Diana are given tokens and at the feast of Proserpine, Diana and Hekate are recognized. Again, the focus stays where it should be.

Conflation and assumption that Italic practices are all Greek in origin are two of my biggest pet-peeves. The Nemoralia is a pre-Roman Italic festival, not a Greek festival. It is tied to the location. It's not like every lake in Italy or Greece was circled by women who left offerings. It's a festival of place. The only reason the date was later adopted at Rome was political- Aricia was a competitor politically and financially.

Sorita also assumes that the torches are the main aspect of the festival and that because Hecate is depicted with torches that this is justification for her to be celebrated as well. The torches were not the focus of this festival, the torches were the means by which people left the city and went to the lake at night. The offerings were mostly votive or perishable in nature. There is no evidence that anything was floated on the lake until Nero put a ship on it. 

If there is historical evidence of Hekate being celebrated on this date, I'd be glad to know it. So far, I have seen no evidence that this was ever an historical practice- not in the Chaldean Oracles, or even the Hellenic recon calendars. The closest is the _monthly_ honoring or kourotrophos on the 16th, which was done every month, not just in August. 

This video really struck a nerve with me. It's rare enough to have a pre-Roman Italic feast make it past Roman syncretism and Greek syncretism, but again as this is a Festival specific to a place, it is not Greek in origin or Roman in origin. And here comes someone who ignores all but one aspect of Hekate, ignores her historical times of worship, has said Hekate is all the Goddess you need, and then proceeds to interject Her where She never was in the first place.

I am more than willing to say "I'm wrong, thanks for the info." I love new info, especially when it broadens my understanding, not only when it matches my currently held beliefs. I don't think people believe that others are capable of this. I'm a Libra who loves debate, who loves to learn. If you have facts, please present them!

The best source of fact based information I have seen about this feast is Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia. I've talked about it on the blog before. It's expensive, but google books has a nice preview of it.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Practical Magic

Good evening, Loyal Horde. For those of you who have seen and enjoyed the movie, Practical Magic, I have found this opening soundtrack by Alan Silvestri with a very nice poem attached to it on You Tube. The poem is entitled "The Witch's Moon" by Ms. Julie Carol. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

With Magick Comes Wisdom.
By The Old Ways,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ancient Discoveries

On the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the Grain Mother, news of an archaeological discovery has hit the news:

In Sicily, a Temple of Demeter was found, along with artifacts from the temple! They found fragments of vases depicting offerings to Demeter and a flute made of bone. I'm very excited about the flute. I'm also excited that this particular search was led by someone from New York University. Aside from the university being my alma mater, they have a wonderful archaeology school and have presentations and lectures and curated shows. Here are some of their past offerings. Check out the programs at your local college or university- you might be surprised by what they offer to the public.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Italian American Women You May Know.

Greetings Loyal Horde! Today's blog is a tribute to many successful Italian American women who made their way into history. Usually I am all about the Godfather, Goodfellas, Donnie Brascoe, and all those really cool Mob guys. But today I'm taking a look at the female side of Italian Americans.

Maria Francesca Cabrini was born July 15, 1850 in San Angelo, Italy. Mother Francis Cabrini was the first Italian American saint, she founded 14 American colleges, 98 schools, 28 orphanages, 8 hospitals, 3 training schools, and numbers of other institutions with the help of over 4,000 sisters she recruited for the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a group she also founded. Mother Cabrini immigrated to the United States in 1889 and became a US citizen in 1909. She died in 1917 and was canonized in 1949.

The woman who inspired the image of WW2 icon "Rosie the Riveter" was Rosie Bonavita of Long Island, New York.

One of the earliest women to star in politics was Ella T Grasso of Connecticut. She was the 1st woman ever elected governor. Born in 1919 the same year as my mother, she was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1970. Mrs.Grasso was also the 1st Italian-American woman elected to congress. She served until 1975 when she was elected to Governor of Connecticut.

Bolder yet in Italian American women in politics comes Geraldine Ann Ferraro, the 1st woman to run for Vice President of the United States. In 1984 Mrs. Ferraro ran on the presidential ticket with Walter Mondale, but lost to Ronald Regan. Ms. Ferraro was born in Newburgh, New York on August 26,1935. She skipped 3 grades, finished high school at 16, and won a college scholarship. She then taught 2nd grade in the New York public schools for 5 years. During that time, she also put herself through Fordham Law School at night. She served in Congress, representing the 9th Congressional District in Queens, New York, from 1979 to 1985.

In the Hollywood celebrity world Sophia Loren is considered to be the most famous Italian actress of all time.Though she is not American by citizenship, her many years of living in Hollywood and working in American films gives her the honorary status. Miss Loren was born Sofia Villani Scicolone on Sept. 20, 1934. She grew up during World War 2 in Pozzuoli, a town near Naples. By the mid 50s she had become a star in Hollywood movies. Co-starred along side Frank Sinatra. In 1960, her acclaimed performance in "Two Women" earned her a multitude of awards and, along with the Cannes, Venezia and Berlin festivals' best performance prizes, she was the first actor to win a major category Academy Award (Best Actress) for a non-English language performance.

In the early 1900s, Angela Bambace, and 18-year-old Italian American woman who worked in a shirtwaist factory in New York, organized the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in New York and Maryland. She was elected Vice President of the ILGWU in 1956, becoming the 1st woman to penetrate the all-male leadership of the ILGWU. She retired in 1972.

In a profession still dominated by men, actress Penny Marshall (Carol Penny Masciarelli) made the tough and remarkable transition from star of a hit TV series "Laverne & Shirley," to one of the few successful women directors in Hollywood. Her 2nd film "Big" in 1988 made her the 1st woman director in American history to direct a film that earned $100 million. Her other films include "Jumping Jack Flash," Awakenings," and "A League of Their Own."

One of the all time great singers, songwriter, actress, dancer, and entrepreneurs, Madonna was born in Bay City, Michigan on August 16, 1958. Her birth name is Madonna Louise Ciccione. She has sold more then 300 million records world wide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by Guinness World Records. Considered to be one of the "25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" by Time Magazine for being an influential figure in contemporary music. Madonna also placed at number one on VH1s "100 Greatest Women in Music". She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008, her first year of eligibility.

American songwriter and singer Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, most famously known as Lady Gaga,  was born in New York City on March 28th, 1986. She was raised in the Upper East Side of Manhattan and started attending NYU's Tisch School of The Arts by the time she was 17. In early 2009, Gaga won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording for her 2nd hit song, "Poker Face", off of her first album The Fame, which won the Grammy for Best Dance/Electronica Album.  In 2010, Gaga won 8 out of the 13 nominations she received at The MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of The Year for "Bad Romance". Among her many acts as a philanthropist, her biggest achievement to date is starting the Born This Way Foundation, an organization that's main focus is on teen empowerment and issues.

A Big Shout out to all of my Italian American sisters. May you all find success in whatever you desire to dream! Proud to be an Italian American.



Our Lady...

This weekend marks the feast of  Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Why should a Witch care? Why should a Pagan care? Why have I gotten funny looks when I've told people I'm celebrating this feast? I mean besides the fact that thousands show up on Giglio Sunday.

This very popular feast is yet another example of the Old Ways continuing uninterrupted, tho not unchanged. Here is the link to last year's musings.

Our Lady. You might call Her Mary, I might call Her Ceres, others, Demeter. The fact remains that the Mother of Grain, sewer, harvester, and protector of the crop, is celebrated at this time of year. We often hear of Demeter in relation to Her daughter and the Mystery of death and rebirth. This celebration, while related, has a different focus, an earthly one. No food? No life. Beyond that basic fact, This Goddess is the Mother of civilization. Until humans learned/figured out/were taught to farm (by Demeter as per the Eleusinian Mysteries), they were nomads, moving from place to place to follow the food source. With the advent of grain cultivation, cities sprung up. Whether or not that was a good thing is up for debate, but if if hadn't happened I wouldn't have typed this and you wouldn't be reading it. This weekend we are celebrating the start of civilization.

This feast ties in with the concept of family Patrons. There are as many versions of Mary as there are Goddesses: Our Lady of; Perpetual Help, Mount Carmel, Lourdes, Victory, Good Help, Peace, Miracles, Sorrows, Mercy, Angels, Snows, Mountains, Roses, Elms, Consolation, and Our Lady of the Lake, just to name a few.

Depending on where a family is from and/or the family business, that would be the patron. In pre-christian days, that would be a deity: Farming? Ceres (and pre-Roman Mars), Wine making? Dionysus. These patrons changed guises as the dominant religions changed, but in the wine making areas of Italy, you will still find Carnevale celebrated with all of the pomp and circumstance of Pagan times. In farming communities you will find them still doing the dance of the Lily, aka the Giglio.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Medea Musings

I find it interesting that Theseus is also involved in the story of Medea... That's two powerful women who were "taken away" or "married" and betrayed- Ariadne by Theseus and Medea by Jason. Medea later weds the father of Theseus and has a son by him. Long thought dead and Medea's son heir to Athens, Theseus returns. Medea tries to poison him but is thwarted and flees with her son. This is one of many versions of the tale. Still... interesting how Theseus appears in a similar tale. What does this say about him?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm Your Venus!

Good Evening Loyal Horde. Just a very quick and light post tonight. I was on my way to work today and this song popped up on my radio. It stayed with me all day so I decided to now put it in the heads of all of you eighties fans. It goes like this...

Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
and Venus was her name

She's got it
Yeah, baby, She's got it
I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire
Well, I'm you're Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire

Her weapons were her crystal eyes
Making every man mad
Black as the dark night she was
Got what no-one else had

She's got it
Yeah, baby, she's got it
I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire
Well, I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire

Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name

She's got it
Yeah, baby, she's got it
I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire

Enjoy All!