Friday, August 14, 2015

It is that time of year again - time for my annual rant about Nemoralia.

Nemoralia, also known as Diana's Feast of Torches, occurs on the Ides of August. Per lunar reckoning, this is the first full moon in August. Per the solar reckoning, this was fixed to August 13-15th.

This festival commemorates the foundation of Diana's temple upon the Aventine Hill on the shores of Lake Nemi. In antiquity, Roman matrons would decorate a cake with candles/lamps. Then, they would march with hunting hounds, attended with their husbands and children, to the shores of the Lake by torch light. There, they would sacrifice to Diana and honor the Rex Nemorensis (King of the Wood) and Egreria (Lady of the Lake). {Incidentally, the Golden Bough tied to the King was possibly the original behind Excalibur/Caliburnius.. but I digress}
Italian Witches keep this festival as well. Many from Southern Italian traditions view it as an ideal time to renew one's vows and oaths to the Goddess.

The date has also become associated with the Goddess Hecate (or Hekate per the Greek spelling). In Greek religion, Hekate was appeased during the height of summer to protect the crops against blight and detrimental storms. Because the Romans associated Hekate with Diana (especially as respective Queens of Witches and other subversive roles), they began to include propitiation/veneration of Hecate (the Latin spelling) during Diana's Nemoralia. Diana was/is only to happy to share a Feast with Her kinswoman (sister/cousin/alter ego) - though a distinction can be made between celebrating Diana's mysteries and appeasing Hecate to keep the bad things at bay.

In some lines of Southern Italian and Greek Traditionalist Craft, it is common for both Goddesses to be honored in a nod to solidarity i.e. Witches are all of one tribe and family... and - past, present, and yet to be born - all were/are One during the Feast of Torches.

However, as is popular with many modern Neo-Pagans, these roots have gotten twisted, so much so that sheer stupidity abounds. One self-styled authority in particular has written (and appeared on youtube stating) that (paraphrased) "Since Diana and Hekate were so intimately linked, Diana should just step down from Her feast... and it should really be all about Hekate."

And this is why I issue a yearly rant. I love Hekate dearly... and Hecate too. Reportedly, they love me as well. (One can hope). However, Diana is the Lady who hath stamped Her seal of ownership upon mine astral arse. Ergo, when I encounter the hubris and sheer stupidity epitomized by this self-styled authority (that, despite several attempts to back-pedal, still insists the August Ides should belong to Hekate.. and Diana should fade off).... it makes me want to shake the baby.

Do NOT make me shake the baby. Because then... after I am done... Diana will shake the baby.

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