Today is Valentine’s Day and as most Pagans love to celebrate love it seems appropriate to look at the holiday from a Pagan perspective. February is know across our country as the month of love and the Earth shows us that she is also thinking about love and fertility as she prepares for spring. Looking around the Puget Sound you can already see some shoots of new spring flowers coming up. There are many Pagan traditions at this time of the year that support this loving holiday as well.
The Romans also celebrated a holiday on Feb. 14th to honor Juno Fructifier, who was the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses as well as the goddess of marriage. As part of a fertility ritual at this time women would put their names into a box and the men would draw a name from the box. During the celebration the two would be a couple. In some cases this coupling would last a year.
On Feb. 15th the Romans celebrated the holiday of Lupercalia which honors Faunas, the god of fertility. In celebration and ritual men would go to a grotto that is dedicated to Lupercal, the wolf god, which was located at the foot of Palatine Hill and where the Romans believed that the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were raised by a wolf. They would then sacrifice a goat, wear its skin and chase women around while hitting them with small whips. This act was thought to ensure fertility.
Christians or the church, however you decide to view that, do not celebrate or acknowledge St. Valentine’s Day as a part of their calendar. They do not believe that Valentine was a saint and they call the day a Pagan festival. Many priests look down on people who celebrate the holiday. Valentine’s Day got its name from a priest who was named Valentine. He was performing marriages in secret so that young men did not have to go to war. During these times married men were not drafted for war. He was sent to prison and beheaded by the church. In prison it is said that he fell in love with a woman and they passed notes to each other.
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