February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Origin and Lupercalia

♥ Happy Lupercalia! ♥

As with many modern holidays, it is widely theorized by scholars that the true origins of Valentine’s Day is actually steeped in a very ancient Roman pastoral fertility festival, observed on February 13 through 15. The festival was called Lupercalia.

The belief was that the goddess Juno Februata (where the name February comes from) inflicted her "love fever" on the youth. Lupercalia “festivities” involved an orgy and sexual excesses, the sacrifice of goats and dogs, and the burning of salt meal-cakes prepared by the Vestal Virgins. Young men would randomly pick love notes of eligible young women from a container, after which they would try to guess who wrote the notes. Another practice was to smear the foreheads of youths with the blood of a sacrificed dog and goat and send them off with a priest around the perimeter of the city, whipping women along the way with strips of the goat’s skin. This act was to protect the women from infertility.

For years the Christian church tried to suppress the festival of Lupercalia. Pope Gelasius changed Lupercalia from the 15th to the 14th and renamed it after the legendary St. Valentine in an attempt to redefine the pagan celebration. Even after the church replaced Lupercus with St. Valentine, the Lupercalia festival continued relatively unchanged except for the sexual excesses.

Though much has changed since the days of Lupercalia, in elementary schools across the country, children still put concealed notes in a box much as the ancient Romans did. Some traditions are well worth keeping!

February 7, 2013

Any extreme, whether deemed positive or negative, takes us further away from the ultimate goal of unification. In unification, there is well-being, or simply put, being. To "be" is the highest state of consciousness according to many ancient and longstanding belief systems. This is why throughout history, humans have been obsessed with notions of duality (light/dark, good/bad, female/male, etc.). Not to digress, but it is my belief that this obsession stems from the breakdown of the bicameral mind, as postulated by Jaynes.

However, when we come to terms with the knowledge that the power of unification lies within ourselves, external forces no longer impact our sense of being. This is true empowerment. The quest for "happiness" is seen for what it is; a subjective and unsustainable distraction which leads us further from the real and lasting goal of "well-being". Extremism should never be the goal. One can be blinded by light the same as by darkness. It is only through seeing both light and darkness that you are able to see at all. 

February 6, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday Mary Leakey!!!!!

British archaeologist and anthropologist, Mary Leakey, was born one hundred years ago, today, in London, England. She died at the age of 83 in Kenya, Africa on December 9, 1996. 

Leakey was best known for her discovery of the first fossilized Proconsul skull, an extinct ape now believed to be ancestral to humans, and also the discovery of the robust Zinjanthropus skull at Olduvai Gorge. She spent much of her career working side by side with her husband Louis Leakey. Louis died at a younger age in October 1972.

For more information, on her contributions to the study of human origins, please visit the Leaky Foundation website.