Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Day of Venus

It's All Fools' Day, but it's also Venus's day. Ancient Romans celebrated The Veneralia on this day, in tribute to Venus Verticordia ("Venus the changer of hearts") and Fortuna Virilis ("Manly" or "Virile Fortune").

It was the Romans who named the month Aprilis, possibly a reference to the Latin verb aperire, to open (the season when trees and flowers begin to open); or perhaps as April, being sacred to the goddess Venus, and her Veneralia being held on the first day, Aprilis was originally Aphrilis, from the name of Venus's equivalent Greek goddess, Aphrodite (Aphros).

The cult of Venus Verticordia established in 220 BC, during the last years of Rome's Punic Wars, was in response to advice from a Sibylline oracle. A series of prodigies was taken to signify divine displeasure at sexual offenses among Romans of every category and class, including several men and three Vestal Virgins. Tsk tsk!!

"A series of prodigies"...hmm, obviously not referring to a band of baby mathematicians or lyre players, nifty beyond their years. Collins English Dictionary clears that up:
1. a person, esp a child, of unusual or marvellous talents
2. anything that is a cause of wonder and amazement
3. something monstrous or abnormal
4. an archaic word for omen.

Ceremonials during Veneralia entailed all women, both married and unmarried, visiting the men's baths. It was a day for women to seek divine support and aid in their love lives. Wearing myrtle wreaths, they would make a libation of poppy with milk and honey and drink the potion while praying that Venus would bring them harmony and peace. Incense was also offered to the goddess in hope of hiding any perceived physical imperfections from view while the women were in the baths.

In 114 BC Venus Verticordia was given her own temple. She was meant to persuade Romans of both sexes and every class, whether married or unmarried, to cherish the traditional sexual proprieties and morality known to please the gods and benefit the State. During the Veneralia, her cult image was taken from her temple to the men's baths, where it was undressed and washed in warm water by her female attendants, then garlanded with myrtle. Women and men asked Venus Verticordia for her help in love, sex, betrothal and marriage.

See also: Wikipedia


mike said...

No better fools than us old fools! The news headlines on almost any day seem to be April Fool's banners. It may be difficult to differentiate between the two today.

"Day of Venus" seems peculiar for a period we associate with Aries and Mars (Wiki states that Romans dedicated the entire month of April to Venus).

mike (again) said...

P.S. - I would luv to have some gooseberry fool today, but gooseberries aren't of this southern, coastal area. I was raised in Kansas and gooseberries grew mother would make fool or pie, and we kids would eat them by the handful off the bush.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Yes - we're aboard a Ship of Fools and without much chance of finding safe landing or even enough lifebelts. :-/

I suppose once Sun reaches Venus-ruled sign Taurus, around 21st of the month, Venus/April comes in line with western astrology's way of labelling.

(again) ~ I enjoyed gooseberries too - lots of 'em around in Yorkshire gardens. We called them
"goose-gogs". Gooseberry pie was more common than gooseberry fool at home, we'd most likely have rhubarb in a fool - with lots of creamy custard. Mmmmm....

LB said...

Twilight ~ If not for your post, I would've never suspected today was associated in any way with Venus. I know I need 'divine support' when it comes to love and being more openhearted.

Maybe I should draw the hubby a bath when he arrives home from work this evening, glass of milk and honey in hand.:)

For some mysterious reason, my comments sometimes land in moderation for different posts than the ones intended. Last night, one of them ended up waiting at "Ophi-Curious" instead of yesterday's post. Could be something on my end. Occasionally I have a strange effect on things.

Ha! Just now as I was proving I was human, a dancing robot appeared. How appropriate for a "Day of Venus".

Twilight said...

LB ~ Good idea - don't forget the poppy seeds crushed in the milk!

I've searched the spam and awaiting moderation files for your post - and it was there among a clutch of very spammy stuff awaiting moderation. I've published it at Ophi-curious now...seems to fit there just as well I think. If you like, you could try it again under yesterday's.

Comments made after 4 or 5 days from post's date go automatically to await moderation. My choice, because years ago I used to get loads of spam on old posts and it was a pain to have to go around removing the offending spam, post by post.

Recently, very occasionally current comments have somehow ended up in the spam or moderation file too, I think yours got itself entangled among 5 or 6 others (mostly in foreign (Greek-ish looking) script.