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Lupercalia: Embracing the Ancient Pagan Festival

As February approaches, many people's thoughts turn to love and romance, thanks to the modern celebration of Valentine's Day. However, for those who follow the old ways, there is another, more ancient festival to be celebrated around this time: Lupercalia. This ancient Roman festival, which is typically celebrated between February 13th and 15th, is a celebration of fertility,good health and purification with the 15th typically being the day for the peak of the celebration. For witches and pagans, Lupercalia offers a unique opportunity to connect with the earth, honour the ancient gods, and embrace the power of love and renewal.

The History of Lupercalia

Lupercalia has its roots in the ancient Roman festival of the Lupercal, which was held in honour of Lupercus, the Roman god of shepherds and fertility. The festival was also associated with the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, who were said to have been raised by a she-wolf in a cave known as the Lupercal. The cave was located at the foot of the Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome.

The Lupercalia festival was a time of great revelry and celebration. The festivities began with the sacrifice of goats and a dog, whose blood was then used to purify the participants. The priests, known as the Luperci, would then cut strips of goat hide from the sacrificed animals and run through the streets of Rome, striking people with the strips of hide. It was believed that this ritual would purify the city and ensure fertility and prosperity for the coming year.

Modern Celebrations of Lupercalia

While Lupercalia was once a widely celebrated festival in ancient Rome, it fell out of favour with the rise of Christianity and the decline of the Roman Empire. However, in recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in this ancient festival, particularly among those who practice witchcraft and paganism.

Modern celebrations of Lupercalia often incorporate elements of the ancient festival, such as purification rituals and offerings to the gods. Many modern witches and pagans also use this time to honour their own personal connections to the earth and the cycles of nature. For some, Lupercalia is a time to focus on self-love and self-care, while for others, it is a time to celebrate the bonds of love and friendship with others.

Ways to Celebrate Lupercalia

There are many ways to celebrate Lupercalia, depending on your own personal beliefs and practices. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  1. Purification Ritual: Start by cleansing your space with sage or other purifying herbs. You can also take a ritual bath with salt and herbs to cleanse your body and spirit.

  2. Offerings to the Gods: Offerings of food, drink, or other gifts can be made to the gods in thanks for their blessings and to ask for their continued favour.

  3. Nature Walk: Take a walk in nature to connect with the earth and the changing seasons. Collecting stones, feathers, or other natural objects can be a way to honour the spirits of the land.

  4. Love Spell: If you're looking to attract love into your life, consider performing a love spell or ritual. This could involve writing a list of qualities you're looking for in a partner, or creating a charm or talisman to carry with you.

  5. Community Celebration: Consider organising a gathering with friends or fellow practitioners to celebrate Lupercalia together. This could include a feast, storytelling, or other activities to honour the festival.

To sum it all up, Lupercalia is a festival rich in history and tradition, and for those who practice witchcraft and paganism, it offers a meaningful way to connect with the ancient past and the cycles of nature. Whether you choose to celebrate with a simple ritual at home or a larger gathering with friends, may your Lupercalia be filled with love, light, and blessings for the year ahead.

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