In the latter part of the fifth century, Lupercalia evolved into a possibly sordid trend which perhaps focused more on fertility than on health. At the end of the post is a bit more graphic expose of the feast. Anyway, Pope Gelinus felt the need for a more chaste and platonic celebration of this feast, so he declared that a saint by the name of Valentine should be appointed as patron of "true lovers". Of course, Valentine probably was just another imaginary playmate in the Roman Catholic dynasty. Olde Gelinus choose the 14th of February to celebrate (why three days of raucous activity when you could confine the feast to one). We, of course, re-paganized the 14th of February to be declared, at least in a few places on earth as simply Valentine's Day...a day to profess love with simplistic cards and imported flowers. I could not let the 14th lie still, without a celebration in this blog, so..
|My trinity, Aimee, Adam, Sharon|
Since my childhood, I admit that I have never developed a facility for emotional expressiveness, you know that touchy-feely stuff borne in the 70's. However, given the solemnity of this day, here is my humble attempt. Sharon, Aimee and Adam are the life I always wanted. They embody all that I care for and all that I love. There are a constant, they are here, they feel deeply and together we have learned so very much about life...we have learned from each other on this disability wagon train. It's a privileged journey and a sacred bonding. Adam confided to his clairvoyant buddy some very ancient wisdom: "Love is being present...even when you don't have to be." The simple act of presence, selflessly given, is the ultimate expression of love. "Being present" seeks no reciprocation, is not pompous, is a pure act of giving...it is life affirming life. And so I profess my love for my "trinity" publicly. Today is their day...a celebration and expression of being present for each other. Happy Valentine's Day, Happy Luprecalia....There are a few others who have also "been there" and today I express my gratitude to those unnamed. I won't name people because you always leave some out. You do know who you are!
|Painting of Lupercalia|
The real Luprecalia: Each year on February 15, which occurred closer to Spring in the Roman calendar, there was a festival of purification and fertility. The Luperci priests gathered on Palentine Hill at the cave of Lupercal. Vestal virgins brought sacred cakes made from the first grains of the previous year's harvest to the fig tree. Two naked young men, assisted by the vestal virgins, sacrificed a goat and a dog at the site. The blood was smeared on the foreheads of the two men and wiped off with wool, drenched with milk.
The men donned loin clothes made from the skin of the goats (who were probably dead by now). These same men ran around the boundaries of Rome and struck women with the blood and milk soaked clothes of goat hide. This February purification brought about good luck, purification and fertility. (Wendy Brinker, 2007)
Well, the old version of Valentine's Day sure was more exciting...but I guess we'll just settle for protestations of love, cards and flowers. Ah, for the good olde days!