It’s good to know where hinge pins of a culture come from. It helps to relate and keep the context from being co-opted by commerce and then trivialized by the contempt this creates. Just like the effect on many around Christmas and Easter, with the Jolly Old Elf image and the Easter Bunny. So, here at the Standard we like to explain a bit about a commemorative day’s origins.
Saint Valentine, originally Valentinus, was after his death given Sainthood; that’s how it’s done. Once a life is finished, the sum of it can be considered, presumably because before that it’s always to soon too tell the overriding truth in someone’s life.
In the time of Saint Valentine and before, during the conquest of the Roman empire, there was on February 14th and 15th a pagan celebration to a Roman deity called Lupercus, in Greece often connected with their Pan. It was celebrated in a specific cave believed to be the birthplace of two military tyrants, named Romulus and Remus, known as the founders of Rome, who were supposedly born thereto, and raised by, a female wolf.
The Roman celebration named Lupercalia, was connected with fertility, purity and security, as its priests would sacrifice two goats, symbols of fertility, and a dog, the symbol of the domestic wolf, believed to be sent by their gods to be a loyal friend of man and the protector of the flocks against the wolf and other predators.
According to this pagan ritual, strips of the goat’s skin were cut and dipped in the combined blood of these sacrifices, these were carried to the community and the blood flicked on the plants and women in hopes of imparting increased fertility.
In the same celebration time, likely where we get the name for the month of February, older children would honour the Female deity Juno Februata. The girls would write their names on a piece of paper and place them in a large container, to be drawn from by a boy, and with platonic intention, paired with that boy for the year. Interestingly, due to this arrangement, many became husband and wife because of the year long trial engagement.
Even though Rome was plagued with wolf attacks during the Roman conquests, probably drawn by the scent of war blood, Lupercalia was a favourite rite which continued until Rome, much like our own government, decided it wanted to dictate the morality of its people, for its own pathologically political ends. Awfully strange for a government who claimed to be civilize-rs of men and whose philosophy was one of equality of citizenry.
So that sets up the scene!
Rome had dominated the then known world, but it had extended itself too far and thinned out its manpower, and so its influence. Rather than regroup and allow it’s population to recover, egomania drove bad choices. Originally, Rome decided a married soldier would fight harder to maintain the might of Rome and so secure the family at home. Then the Roman Emperor Claudius II, in an effort to advance the focus of his men and resupply the presence of his influence, forbade soldiers to marry. He had decided married soldier’s were distracted from their duty’s as a soldier by the needs at home. To be thorough he banned the practices of the fertility rituals, including the drawing of names. How unstable an opportunistic government becomes.
But young lovers cannot be bound by legislation. Many sought a way around the forbidding of marriage. A Roman Priest, someone Claudius would not suspect, named Valentinus, defied the edict and continued the practice of name picking and marriage in the church, secretly for years. He defended the rite of marital love, this was his passion, the profound permanence of the marriage bond.
Some debate whether he was a compromised priest, because he was involved with these spiritual practices of the people, but I say he used Paul the Apostle’s approach to accessing the lives of people for God, as in 1 Cor 9: 19-23, with the key verse saying, “I am become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.” He looked in the heart of these people and could see their honest desire for real committed relationships sealed by a Deity, not a piece of paper.
If any of real Christendom resided within him, I’m positive he intended to eliminate the rest of the other practices, to make all things clean, and was willing to lay down his life for God’s way. This defender of family was later caught and was heard of no more. Whether he was hung, beheaded or simply jailed and wasted away in obscurity, the life he led remained anything but obscure. To the point where its sum was Sainted.
Let’s follow his example in life every day and make the sacrifice for Love.
Happy Valen-times Days!