I’m putting together a mailing list, partially to announce my booklets, if I ever get them published, and partially to share things that are too short to be made into a whole blog entry. If you would like to join, let me know in the comments section or write me at email@example.com.
I’m writing about Valentine’s Day, even though it isn’t a major Satanic holiday, because it goes way back into antiquity and some of the old customs may be absorbed into the cult rituals.
The first trace of this day was the Roman Lupercalia, a purification/fertility festival celebrated on February 15. (The word Februarius comes from a word meaning purification or purgation.) Dogs (a symbol of purification) and goats (a symbol of sexuality and fertility) were sacrificed and two young priests came up to the altar. The other priests smeared goat blood on their foreheads with the knife used for the sacrifices and the blood was then wiped off with wool dipped in milk. They were supposed to laugh at this point. Nobody seems to know why. After a feast, the two young priests ran naked around Rome hitting women with lashes made from the skin of the sacrificed goats. This was supposed to make women fertile and to banish evil.
It is believed that the festival was called Lupercalia from lupus, wolf, and that the priests traced their lineage to Romulus and Remus, who were orphaned and nursed by a wolf. However, the festival was older than that, as Romulus and Remus’ mother had been impregnated by the god Mars at Lupercalia. (As an aside, a prostitute was called lupa, a female wolf.)
In 494, Pope Gelasius the First co-opted Lupercalia and made February 14 both the Feast of Purification and St. Valentine’s Day. The meaning of the sacrificed dogs and goats show through the Christian feast day.
There were three saints named Valentine, and it’s unclear which was chosen for the honor. The most likely one was a priest who lived in the third century AD who was killed for refusing to renounce his religion.
A more interesting story is that the Roman emperor Claudius had forbidden marriage because he thought unmarried men made better soldiers. Valentine was caught secretly marrying Christians and was imprisoned. He restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer, who converted to Christianity. Before he was executed, he sent her a farewell letter signed “from your Valentine.”
In any event, St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travelers, and young people.. Quite a mixed bag, I’d say.
It was Chaucer who made the connection between Valentine’s Day and true love. (Birds were believed to mate for life.)
“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”
By the 18th century, people were exchanging gifts and hand-made cards. The tradition took off in America around 1850 with the advent of mass-produced cards. Now, a billion cards, a quarter of all greeting cards sold, are Valentines.
The cult I was raised in was a stuffy New England one that tried to adhere faithfully to the old British rites and it celebrated February 14th, concentrating on hearts. That tells me the day was a Satanic holiday in this particular cult at least as long ago as the 1880’s because some of the older members were children then. They never would have allowed an established holiday to be ignored.
I am sure many other cults observe the day but have different customs. And I am equally sure there are others that don’t do anything for Valentine’s day. And I may be cynical, but I doubt many of us are going to get our fair share of those billion cheesy cards.