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.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mercury, Merchant, Mercy, Merci!

Another Mercury Retrograde is upon us!

Many of my dear friends and colleagues curse Mercury and the trouble caused during His nearly month long sojourn. I have always advocated for recognizing the stability He brings, highlighted by the lack-thereof when He is otherwise treading backward.

I am erecting the altar to Mercury tonight. It will be set with holy icons, sacred stones, charged crystals, talismans, and plenty of offerings, both weekly and daily. It will be up until at least 3 days after Mercury turns direct.

If you are not of a propitiating mind, but wouldn't mind some help keeping the effects of this retrograde to a minimum, you may virtually participate in these offerings! Add yourself to the list and I will give offerings in your name!

As Mercury is also celebrated by Merchants, and always there in the exchange of coin, I am opening my altar and offering my services to help you through this retrograde! This is a fundraiser to complete our 501c3 religious not-for-proft filing! We are incorporating and raising funds for the federal fees. (That's half of where we've been all summer! Getting paperwork prepared!)

I cannot guarantee you a smooth retrograde, and in fact, you might even come to His attention :-o But having a Priestess of Mercury leave offerings and asking for mercy on your behalf, (another word starting with "Merc!") can only help! This retrograde covers the Hallowed time of year, so making nice with the Guide of Souls would behoove us all!

Donate $5   to have your name added to the weekly group offering
Donate $10 to have your name added to the daily group offering
Donate $10 to have a weekly offering made solely in your name
Donate $15 to have a daily offering made solely in your name
Donate $20 to have a 7 day candle carved and lit in your name on the altar
Donate $25 to have a talisman consecrated in your name and placed upon the altar

Offerings include: candles, incense, oil lamps, icons, libations, food, coins, paper talismans, chanting, drumming and more. I will post pictures as the altar fills!

Please share! This is a FUN-raiser as well as a FUND-raiser!

Mercury, draw near, and to my pray'r incline,
Angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine;
Prefect of contest, ruler of mankind,
With heart almighty, and a prudent mind.
 Celestial messenger of various skill,
 Whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill.
With winged feet 'tis thine thro' air to course,
O friend of man, and prophet of discourse;
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine
In arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine.
With pow'r endu'd all language to explain,
 Of care the loos'ner, and the source of gain.
Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod,
Corucian, blessed, profitable God.
Of various speech, whose aid in works we find,
And in necessities to mortals kind.
Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere,
 Be present, Mercury, and thy suppliant hear;
Assist my works, conclude my life with peace,
Give graceful speech, and memory's increase.