The youths then donned loincloths made from the skin of the goat and led groups of priests around the pomarium, the sacred boundary of the ancient city, and around the base of the hills of Rome. The occasion was happy and festive. As they ran about the city, the young men lightly struck women along the way with strips of the goat hide. It is from these implements of purification, or februa, that the month of February gets its name. This act supposedly provided purification from curses, bad luck, and infertility.
LUPERCAʹLIA, one of the most ancient Roman festivals, which was celebrated every year in honour of Lupercus, the god of fertility. All the ceremonies with which it was held, and all we know of its history, shows that it was originally a shepherd-festival (Plut. Caes. 61). Hence its introduction at Rome was connected with the names of Romulus and Remus, the kings of shepherds. Greek writers and their followers among the Romans represent it as a festival of Pan, and ascribe its introduction to the Arcadian Evander. This misrepresentation arose partly from the desire of these writers to identify the Roman divinities with those of Greece, and partly from its rude and almost savage ceremonies, which certainly are a proof that the festival must have originated in the remotest antiquity. The festival was held every year, on the 15th of February,a in the Lupercal, where Romulus and Remus were said to have been nurtured by the she-wolf; the place contained an altar and a grove sacred to the god Lupercus (Aurel. Vict. de Orig. Gent. Rom. 22; Ovid. Fast. II.267). Here the Luperci assembled on the day of the Lupercalia, and sacrificed to the god goats and young dogs, which animals are remarkable for their strong sexual instinct, and thus were appropriate sacrifices to the god of fertility (Plut. Rom. 21; Servius ad Aen. VIII.343).b Two youths of noble birth were then led to the Luperci, and one of the latter touched their foreheads with a sword dipped in the blood of the victims; other Luperci immediately after wiped off the bloody spots with wool dipped in milk. Hereupon the two youths were obliged to break out into a shout of laughter. This ceremony was probably a symbolical purification of the shepherds. After the sacrifice was over, the Luperci partook of a meal, at which they were plentifully supplied with wine (Val. Max. II.2.9). They then cut the skins of the goats which they had sacrificed, into pieces; with some of which they covered parts of their body in imitation of the god Lupercus, who was represented half naked and half covered with goat-skin. The other pieces of the skins they cut into thongs, and holding them in their hands they ran through the streets of the city, touching or striking with them all persons whom they met in their way, and especially women, who even used to come forward voluntarily for the purpose, since they believed that this ceremony rendered them fruitful, and procured them an easy delivery in childbearing. This act of running about with thongs of goat-skin was a symbolic purification of the land, and that of touching persons a purification of men, for the words by which this act is designated are februare and lustrare (Ovid. Fast. II.31; Fest. s.v. Februarius). The goat-skin itself was called februum, the festive day dies februata, the month in which it occurred Februarius, and the god himself Februus.Robert Esiner in his provocative study; Man into Wolf associates the Lupercalia leather eros and public S&M rituals with the modern phenomena of lycanthropy;werewolfism and vampirism. Which was brilliantly portrayed in the movie the Howling, one of the most under-valued cult werewolf films of the eighties.
MAN INTO WOLF
AN ANTHROPOLOGICAL INTERPRETATION
OF SADISM, MASOCHISM, AND LYCANTHROPYIn analysing the basic factors leading to sadism and maso-
chism Dr. Eisler draws attention to what he describes as 'a feeble
sympathetic resonance', the lack of emotional response, the
insanity affecting altruistic feeling which forms so large a part
of the constitution some of us describe as the psychopathic per-
sonality. This, however, according to Eisler, is not simply a
throw-back to primeval savagery, for, as he shows, primitive
man in his primeval forest was not a killer but rather a peaceful
creature le bon sauvage. In confirmation of this fact the author
mentions numerous small tribes who have never as yet heard
of or encountered war. Killing and being killed has been a
developmental process whereby the carnivorous, predatory
packs, the ancestors of the hunting and game-seeking tribes,
have preyed on the vegetarian, frugivorous, peace-loving herds.
Eisler elaborates his theme by utilizing Jung's conception of
archetypal race memories. Such memories may be not only
ancestral, but may occur even in the sub-human animal strata
So this valentines day let your inner wolf out.
A Little Eros For Valentine's Day
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