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Celebrating Valentine's Day the Pagan Way in Atlanta

Many neo-pagans like to celebrate secular holidays such as Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day most connected pagan roots are those that link it to Lupercalia, the Roman rites of fertility that took place around Feb. 13-15th every year. Few modern neo-pagans practice this holiday, as running through the streets and whipping bystanders with leather is generally frowned upon now, so Valentine's Day remains the major romantic holiday for many people.

For those of you who love wearing costumes, you might consider dancing the night away at Valloween. The Valloween Party, hosted by Professional Muse at the First Existentialist Congregation Church in Little Five Points, features live DJs, local drinks from Sweetwater brewery, after hours lounge, and is even all ages. It aims to be a combination of Valentine's Day and Halloween, with costumed partiers and a prom style photo booth. Gentlemen might consider donning a Cupid costume, and ladies an Aphrodite costume, to pay homage to the gods and goddess of love and romance.

A picnic is a great way to celebrate this holiday in a more spiritually fulfilling, less materialistic way. It's also perfect even if your Valentine's date and you barely know one another. Piedmont, Candler, and Grant Parks all have wonderful picnic spots, and provide plenty of opportunities to see the subtle signs of spring re-emerging. For a picnic that honors Atlanta's ancestors as well as being more unusual than a regular trip to the park, visit Oakland Cemetery with your beloved.

If you're alone and wishing for a mate this February 14th, try using some of the over abundant red roses available to work a simple love spell. The petals of red roses are perfect for doing spells that attract lovers. Sprinkle some rose petals in a ritual bath and visualize your perfect match while soaking. Burn a red or pink candle and drop the rose petals into the melting wax while chanting or focusing on your needs. Or simply spread them on your altar and offer a prayer to a god or goddess of love, such as Aphrodite, Aine, Oenghus, or Lofn.

Valentine's Day has become a very big sales day for candy and flowers, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to celebrate in a spiritual and mindful manner. Even if you're just spending time with friends or family, remember to be grateful for all of the different kinds of love you receive.

For more information on Valloween, visit the event website.

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