Saturday, June 21, 2014

SOLSTICE - or in Ancient Rome, Day of Ill Omen

Solstice Greetings! (Intoned with an underlay of sorrow). I've whinged, more than once, at this time of year, that I heartily dislike Oklahoma's summers. For those in more northerly climes or in the southern hemisphere where winter's comin' in, or for those mortals who love the heat, the bugs, and avoid attendant allergies: have at it (as they say)! I shall celebrate come Autumn.

To sidetrack my own negativity I decided to investigate Ancient Romans' customs for signs of Summer Solstice celebration.

Ancient Romans were no slouches when it came to festivals - no excuse was too small, no deity too insignificant to honour if it meant a bit of legalised carousing! However...although there were several days of celebration during June in Ancient Rome, a festival specifically to mark the astronomical Summer Solstice didn't happen.

Sources online tend to copy others' words (and errors). I'm not sure how true it is that Solstice in the time of Ancient Rome fell on 24 June, when Romans celebrated in honour of goddess Fors Fortuna - but in any case, that festival was nothing to do with the position of the Sun at that time of year.

A days-long festival, Vestalia, was held, lasting from June 7 to 15, in honour of Roman Goddess of the Hearth, Vesta. At these times married women could to enter the Shrine of Vesta. At other times of the year only vestal virgins were permitted inside. Again, this festival had nothing at all to do with the position of the Sun in the sky.

The month of June was named for Roman goddess Juno. Several festivals were held in her honour, but no major celebration of Juno took place in June, and certainly none to mark Solstice.

Something I discovered which could have a bearing on why 21 June wasn't a day filled with rejoicing in Ancient Rome: it was known as Black Day, a day of ill omen, being the anniversary of the defeat of the Romans to Hannibal in 217 BC. Roman armies, led by Gaius Flaminius, were ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Lake Trasimene.
Snip from HERE
The historians Polybius and Livy recorded that about 10,000 Romans and allies managed to survive the Carthaginian ambush. At least 15,000 Romans were killed in the battle or drowned trying to escape. About 6000 Romans managed to escape through the fog, but were caught the next day. The Carthaginian commander offered them safe passage if they would surrender their weapons and armor. After doing so, however, the Carthaginians took them prisoner and the Romans soldiers were sold as slaves. Any Roman allies among them were sent back to their hometowns; Hannibal hope to destroy the system of alliances the Romans had created with allied and conquered towns. The Carthaginians then sold the confiscated equipment to merchants, who sold the armor and weapons back to the Romans.

Carthaginian losses were reported at 2500 killed with several hundred more men dying of their wounds in the weeks to come. Hannibal and his army were now the masters of central Italy. Rome was panic-stricken and expecting the enemy at its gates any moment.
It would seem that celebration of the Summer Solstice specifically due to the Sun's position in the sky around 21 June was peculiar to more northerly countries in Europe. When Romans invaded and occupied Britain they'd have come across various Druidic practices and rituals, one of which must have surely been Solstice celebration. Romans probably wrote this off as something only "savages" got up to. Sources have reported that human sacrifice was performed as part of Druidic ritual, though this has been rejected by modern Druids (they would, wouldn't they?) In any case, though, Romans had no business looking down their well-hewn noses at human sacrifice - we know all about their nasty habits!


mike said...

Happy Tropic of Cancer to you, Twilight! Remember to throw sugar at the fairies, should you encounter.

“Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the fairy queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green.
The cowslips tall her pensioners be:
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours:
I must go seek some dewdrops here
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear. Farewell, thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone:
Our queen and all our elves come here anon.” William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

mike (again) said...

The following Christopher Miller (writer of books) fits today's post, but MH370, too, with a touch of general astrology...LOL. I can't find the quote's extraction source, so I'm not sure of the context. Just thought it was an interesting tidbit. This is probably purely fictional and a fictional natal chart that fits some storyline in his writing, but unusual all the same to find astrology in a book, if that's the intent. The last Mars-Pluto conjunction was November 27, 2012.

“I was most pleasantly surprised, with this chart, to see a Yod pointing at the Moon. After all, what other planet influences changeable behaviour and creates a strong magnetic pull? I am tempted to say that the problem of the Bermuda Triangle has been solved: it was the Moon all along! But it is obviously more complicated than that. For one thing, there is a theory that there is an energy vortex operating through the earth, with a corresponding ‘problem’ area on the other side of the world, based near the west coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean. I noticed when I was looking at my Atlas that these trouble spots are on, or near, the Tropic of Cancer in the north, and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south. Being that these circles are the northern-most and southern-most positions of the Sun as it passes over the earth at the summer and winter solstices, there must be a residue of magnetic energy along those lines. To create a vortex, another energy line must be intersecting each tropical line at a right angle (90°). We can see this energy line on the chart: the Pluto-Midheaven opposition would be operating at full strength, as the critical degree is within 45’ of true (meaning, that the difference between the position of Pluto and the Midheaven, directly overhead, is almost exactly 180°). Because Mars is conjunct to Pluto, also opposite to the Midheaven, stormy weather, previously noted in this book, was raging: a potent combination.” Christopher Miller

mike (again) said...

Re - Christopher Miller

He's an astrologer...has one book. Here's his site:

Twilight said...

mike ~ Many thanks and the same good wishes coming back to you from me!

Nice quote there - before I saw your 3rs comment I'd researched it and discovered who Miller is via Goodreads.

In 1985, I moved to England from Canada. Up to that time, I had been working with Astrology for about eight years. What I hadn't expected was that I would live there for 22 years and that I would develop as an Astrologer in ways that I could not have foreseen.
In the years 1986 and 1987, I partnered with a fellow Astrologer, Kate Courtney, in an enterprise called "Made In Heaven". Kate used her computer to produce the charts, and we would jointly review the results for any interesting bits. It was during this time, that I discovered that the birth charts started showing me something more than I used to see: aspect patterns, Yods (Fingers of God) and significant planets, such as Saturn and Pluto. This made analysis simpler because it was as if I was being shown the Karmic path of the individual.
Jumping ahead to 1992, I started guesting on David Lowe's Sunday Late Show on BBC Radio Devon and Cornwall. It was here that David suggested seeing what charts erected for specific events could tell us about those events. "At This Point in Time" is a result of those radio programs.
In 2007, I moved back to Canada, and have kept myself busy in Accounting work. Only a recent reconnection on Facebook with David Lowe has brought this work to its completion.


At "This Point in Time" by Christopher Miller (Goodreads Author)
This book started out as a series of guest appearances on David Lowe’s Sunday Late Show on BBC Radio Devon and Cornwall.
This is how it came about: I had appeared on David’s programme for the first time on 31 May 1992, reading a poem called, “Last Words of an Unknown Soldier”. On the following Sunday morning, David rang, having awakened from his sleep thinking about my spot on the show. During the course of our conversation, he asked if it were possible to do an astrological chart for the D-Day Landing, as it was the 48th anniversary of that event the previous day. Having never erected a mundane chart before, I was sceptical of its value, but I promised him that I would check it out and let him know the results on our way to the BBC radio station in Exeter later in the evening.
Well, I went to work on the chart, using London as the base, timing the invasion at 6:30 a.m. War Time (double British Summer Time, or WT, for short) on the 6th of June 1944, and before my very eyes the energies surrounding that event made themselves known. It was not long before I started to get excited because I suddenly knew what had been the cosmic triggers and why it had turned out the way it did. I could not wait to tell David what I had discovered.
David sensed by my enthusiasm that something special was about to be revealed on his programme, so we had a short discussion about the chart before we went on air, and then played it by ear when the show started.
The rest, they say, is History

Interesting! I shall investigate his own website - thanks for the link.