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:: The Goddess and the Valentine::     

 

The Goddess Says, "Make Love, Not War"


Turn the clock back several hundreds of years to 270 A.D. Claudius II was the Emperor of Rome, which had seen its "glory days" and was now being threatened on its borders by the Goths and within its borders by the Christians.

Claudius definitely needed his army to be at full-strength, and for some reason felt that married men did not make good soldiers. (It has been said that they were going AWOL at planting and harvesting time when the male presence was needed to keep the farm going. Conjugal visits may have been part of the reason as well.)

Claudius used his authority as Emperor to "ban" the practice of marriage and the Festival of Lupercalia as well (since it was contributing to the high incidence of marriage that was destroying his militia.)

Interestingly, the Emperor Claudius and the Christian (Catholic) Church found themselves on the same side on this argument. The Church was also opposed to the pagan festivities, but on grounds related to its lustfulness and especially the practice of the "lottery".


Obviously it was a dangerous time to be a Christian, not to mention a priest.

Valentine was part of the Christian underground, for he defied the Emperor's edict and continued to marry couples in secret. He was found out and imprisoned.

But there must have been something very "special" about Valentine, because Claudius himself took the time to visit him in prison and try to convert him to the worship of the pagan deities.

Valentine wasn't swayed by the Emperor's arguments, and instead tried to persuade Claudius (and all his jailers ) to convert to Christianity.

The Emperor was not amused and ordered that Valentine's execution (by beatings with clubs) proceed as scheduled. This martyrdom eventually lead to Valentine being canonized or "sainted".


The very first Valentine card was sent by Saint Valentine himself!

Legend has it that while he was in prison, preaching to the guards, one guard brought in his daughter who was blind and Valentine restored her sight. She became a regular visitor and friend.

Just before his execution, Valentine wrote a letter to her and signed it "Your Valentine".

This letter, the first Valentine, is now on exhibit in the National Museum in Britain.

(St. Francis de Sales, fearing for the souls of his English parishioners during the 16th century, sermonized against the practice of sending Valentines. Apparently, the practice had already become quite common and commercialized.)

And who the heck is Cupid, the chubby little guy wearing diapers on all the Valentines? Where did he come from?

You see, the Patriarchy was in the process of embarking on a highly successful campaign to dethrone the Olympians by reducing their popularity with the people. They were "cutting them down to size" by rewriting their stories, and deflating our image of them.

Think of it as "spin control" or an early version of "shrinkydinks".

(By saying the Patriarchy, we loosely refer to the male dominated organizations of the time, be it the government, the Church, or any other organized group that considered the goddess-worshipping pagan religions such a threat.)

In this instance, they were focusing their energies on 'down-sizing' the Greek god Eros, the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of romance and beauty, and Ares, the god of war.


To tell the truth, Eros was a bit of a "mamma's boy" . . . at least until the silly lad accidentally shot himself in the foot, which naturally made him fall in love with the next woman he saw. And that woman was Psyche , who managed (like many wives) to make him grow up and straighten up.

As a married man, he gave up his silly profession.

Now he was a 'real man', a god, and a power to be reckoned with.

But today we mostly see him portrayed as Cupid, that little fat cherub with the bow and arrows, a far cry from the handsome and manly god he once was.
 

To tell the truth, Eros was a bit
of a "mamma's boy" . . .

at least until the silly lad accidentally shot himself in the foot, which naturally made him fall in love with the next woman he saw.

And that woman was the goddess Psyche, who managed (like many wives) to make him grow up and straighten up.

As a married man, he gave up his silly profession.

Now he was a 'real man', a god, and a power to be reckoned with.

But today we mostly see him portrayed as Cupid, that little fat cherub with the bow and arrows, a far cry from the handsome and manly god he once was.

 


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