Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines musings

Ahhhh, sweet  St Valentine's Day!

That wonderful greeting card holiday, when we show our love for that special someone. But I ask you, shouldn't we show love for those we love every day???  Excuse me for mentioning that because Valentines  cards are second only to Christmas cards in sales.  Round and about 1800 it was the custom to send a small handmade  booklet of poems to those dear to you, a lovely custom.  In the 1870s the first  printed cards were produced, this was credited to one Esther Howland's influence.




The whole thing probably began with Lupercaia , the festival that honored Romulus and Remus, the twins, suckled by wolves, who later founded the city of Rome.  The Romans set aside February to celebrate this, along with the coming spring and renewed fertility of the land.  They had a wonderful custom, you see, young maids would place their names in a large jar and young men would draw a name.   The couple was partnered for the rest of Lupercalia, some even stayed together.  In the year 500 Pope Gelasius outlawed this custom because of it's immoral and pagan  origins.   He replaced the girls names with the names of saints, in hopes that it would make those rambuctuious Roman men more saintly.  Now remember most of this is legend.  He also conferred the title of "the patron saint of lovers" on St Valentine, who also according to legend was imprisoned by Claudius II  for preforming marriage ceremonies, Claudius felt these young men should be in his army, and not in the arms of a woman.  Valentine , according to the legend, had a tryst with the jailer's daughter, and when it came time for his execution, he presented her with a love note...signed, yes you guessed it, "From your Valentine."

Needless to say the church could not maintain their customs and Valentines Day  faded, but never totally disappeared, in  the Middle Ages, young men again began drawing the names of maidens from large jars, only this time they pinned the slips of paper to their respective sleeves.  As in wearing you {sweet}heart on you sleeve?

 



Then of course there are those out there who have no "sweetheart", and that is sad. Everyone needs love. 

 

 
 
It should come as no surprise that along with the jewelry, chocolate, teddy bears and flowers; love spells are also purchased for Valentines Day.  Love spells , potions  etc have a very long history.  I would guess that the search for love has had only a slightly longer history.  Magic related to finding love has become a staple of honest  wise folk and those out of make a buck as well.   My own feeling is that love is it's own form of magic. 
Love spells and love spells gone horribly wrong are the stuff of legend and popular fiction.   These spells are generally crafted to cause the someone to fall in love with the person casting the spell.  Literally an act of disregarding the free will of another person.  Most often these spells are cast during the waxing moon.
 
There are many charms amulets, potions and spells that are meant to attract love in general, not to compel it from one person.  And interesting to me is that these  self improvement spells are best cast at the full of the moon.  
 
Even on a holiday with matchmaking origins, I am hesitant to hand out advice on finding love.
 
 

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