Sunday, February 13, 2005

Happy Valentine’s Day

A trinity of Valentines, but which was the one – or was it none? Three saints of that name passed the martyr's way ...

Lupercalia ides of February mark the start of Roman spring and homage to Faunus – is this its origin called St. Valentines Day since year 498?

For sure, the history of the day spirals outward, but let us meander backward to origins – calling first upon the Greek. In the beginning there was Mist, from which was born Chaos, the void; and Nyx, the night or darkness. It is said, Cronus – time – was next, briefly ruling the universe; but all agree that it was Eros – love – who causes all things to blend together and come into being.

"Whoever judges not Eros to be a mighty god is either stupid or, having no experience of good things, knows not of the god who is the mightiest power to men." So said Euripides.

Eros becomes Cupid, Amor, Love. But let us speak of the Greek Pan, son of Penelope – wife of Odysseus – born of Zeus messenger Hermes would later become naught but the Roman Faunus

Pan – born in Arcadia, an elfin creature with legs and horns of a goat. His name means “all”, and through his father, Hermes, he embodied aspects of all the pantheon powers – from love to lust.

Delightful Pan – puckish in his ways – he chased poor Syrinx, who, to allude amorous advances of this half-god had herself transformed into reeds; only to be discovered and turned into a flute by the impish Pan. Thereafter lustfully played. It is Pan, playing syrinx, who conducts the rites of spring with great abandon – in the manner of true pandemonium.

From rites of timeless antiquity to Greek and Roman pantheon, it is the evolution of the rites of spring which are to be celebrated in the name of one Christians beatified as a martyr to the season.

From the founding of Rome a day of romance – the romantic association comes to us as a lottery.
Twas in that time far lady placed her name in a urn – gentlemen from to draw.

Twas a lottery to make a pair for a day, which often lasted a lifetime. Fertility rites of Faunus – a trimester to May flowers first bloom and welcome Faunus’ wife, Fauna. Know too as Maia, and Bona Dea; by May Day celebration, a goddess of healing invoked with the words “Good Day.”

In 14th & 15th century, in both England and France, St. Valentine’s Day was for the birds. For it is said, “is Saint Valentine's Day and every bird chooses himself a mate.”

The poetry of the day, did it exist before 1415, when Charles Duke of Orleans – imprisoned in the Tower of London – wrote his wife of his love?

Twas in the 1840's that an American woman, Ester Howland, took the day commercial. From one poem within a card to 2.6 billion. A mere 26 centuries of change – for things to stay the same.

St Valentine’s Day – its meaning, the reason it endures, is, without question, the power of LOVE ... a mighty force. Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” did say:

“My name is Love, supreme my sway.
The greatest god and greatest pain,
Air, earth, and seas, my power obey,
And gods themselves must drag my chain.”

It has been said, that love is life; and “He who doesn’t love abides in death.” To which I confide:

My dad passed the 13th of February 1986 – if what is said is true, as he loved and was loved, it can only be surmised, he and his wife shall for ever abide in life.

To all of you, “May your families ensure you never abide in death – a long and happy life”, and a Happy Valentine’s Day


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