Monday, April 21, 2014

Music Monday's Sheepish Segue

The sheep counting mentioned in my previous post segues nicely into Parilia - it's another of those many and varied ancient Roman festivals. The Parilia was a rural custom performed annually on April 21. Its purpose was the cleansing of sheep and shepherds, in acknowledgment of Roman deity Pales, a deity of uncertain gender, patron of shepherds and sheep. From Wikipedia:
"The pastoral structure of the festival is carried out by the shepherd himself. After the sheep pen had been decorated with green branches and a wreath draped on the gate, the remainder of the ceremony took place in sequence. At the first sign of daylight, the shepherd would purify the sheep: by sweeping the pen and then constructing a bonfire of straw, olive branches, laurel, and sulfur. The noises produced by this burning combination were interpreted as a beneficial omen. The shepherd would jump through this flame, dragging his sheep along with him. Offerings of millet, cakes, and milk were then presented before Pales, marking the second segment of the ceremony. After these offerings, the shepherd would wet his hands with dew, face the east, and repeat a prayer four times. Such prayers requested Pales’s assistance in freeing the shepherd and the flock from evils brought about by accidental wrongdoings (e.g. trespassing on sacred grounds and removing water from a sacred water source). The final portion of the rural festival made use of the beverage burranica, a combination of milk and sapa (boiled wine). After consumption of this beverage, the shepherd would leap through the fire three times, bringing an end to the ceremony......"

As it's Music Monday, some sheep-related music is called for. How about Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata number 208 aka Sheep May Safely Graze ? Here is Eugene Ormandy's orchestral version in a video with some lovely photographs of....guess what...

There's a choral version HERE, and some notes about the origin of the Cantata at a blog HERE.
English translation of the lyrics =
Sheep may safely graze and pasture
Where a shepherd guards them well.
So the nation ruled in wisdom
Knows and shares the many blessings
Which both peace and plenty bring.


mike said...

It's just one holiday after another anymore...finish Easter and we're off to Parilia. The Wiki link you provided added some interest to Parilia at the end of the essay...the holiday transmuted to Rome's birthday with games and processions. Rome is 2,767 years' young today.

Your Parilia post reminded me of a nursery rhyme, particularly since your photo included a black sheep:

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane

"Katherine Elwes Thomas in The Real Personages of Mother Goose (1930) suggested that the rhyme referred to resentment at the heavy taxation on wool. This has particularly been taken to refer to the medieval English 'Great' or 'Old Custom' wool tax of 1275, which survived until the fifteenth century. More recently the rhyme has been connected to the slave trade, particularly in the southern United States. This explanation was advanced during debates over political correctness and the use and reform of nursery rhymes in the 1980s, but has no supporting historical evidence. Rather than being negative, the wool of black sheep may have been prized as it could be made into dark cloth without dyeing.",_Baa,_Black_Sheep

LB said...

Twilight ~ Who knew? Your post got me curious about a possible astrological connection. Sure enough, there's an asteroid named after the goddess Pales:

In my chart, it's *exactly* conjunct my 3rd house Jupiter, the apex of my Yod. And right now, transiting Pales (asteroid 49) is exactly conjunct another significant point in my chart. Guess I was destined to learn about it today, and to think about its symbolic meaning.

Thanks, Twilight.:)

Twilight said...

mike ~ Oh yes, I'd forgotten that nursery rhyme. The theory about wool tax seems plausible - they'd tax just about anything back then - windows, chimneys, whatever! I doubt that "Baa Baa black sheep" could have had anything at all to do with the slave trade! Dang, but in the USA someone always tries to link anything with the word "black" in it to slavery! That is just so stooooopid! Black is black!! :-)

Yes, black and brown sheep are fairly common in certain areas and in Scandinavia too I think, where their wool is used undyed to make very attractive sweaters in shades of cream brown, tan and black.

Twilight said...

LB ~ Really? That's intriguing!
I see the asteroid is at 1 Pisces just now, 5 degrees from transiting Neptune which happens to be conjunct my natal Jupiter in 9th. :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ 1 Pisces? Something's funny because my software shows asteroid Pales at 0 Aquarius right now.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I went to Astrodienst's extended choices charts (since changing computer and OS I have only very basic astro software, enough for my blog needs, my old software isn't compatible with Windows 7).
Anyway, I've it tried 3 times and Pales comes up at 1 Pisces each time when I put asteroid '49, Pales' in the search box for asteroids to be shown on my natal chart.
So...dunno ???????????? :-/

LB said...

Twilight ~ I'm using the same basic software as you.

Could it be the ***Start date*** you're using under the "Options" heading when you get to the Extended Chart Selection page? Though it's easy to overlook, it can make a difference when checking current transits. Hope that helps solve the mystery!:)

I'm pretty sure it's at 0 Aquarius, since all the other transiting planets show up at the correct degrees.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I'm only looking at where it was in my natal chart, at the time I was born though was 1 Pisces then. You are probably calculating current position?
I see! LOL! :-)

LB said...

Yep, that explains it, Twilight. At least that's one mystery solved!

I actually think I read your post (and left my comment) right when transiting Pales was conjunct the Moon - which is kind of a nice "quinkydink". Hope that's the right word.:)