This was I think the first time that I’ve actually celebrated Valentine’s day, probably because we’ve always had so many pressures on us with things to get through in the last few years that mainly we just gave cards and flowers and a bottle of something in the past, though actually it was a February five years ago that me and my husband’s relationship really took off.
This time used to also be the festival of Lupercalia in Pagan Rome, dedicated to Lupercus, a god sometimes associated with Faunus who was much like the Greek god Pan. Lupercalia is believed to have had links with the Greek festival of the Arcadian Lykaia and the worship of their horned and hoofed god. It was a time linked to themes of purification and fertility, and men would run through the streets naked except for goatskins, and strike people with goat skin thongs in high spirits. Being whipped by the goat men brought its blessings, and it sounds like there was a very life affirming, erotic charge to the festival.
Funnily enough, for a few years I found Pan seemed to be around this particular time of year, which wasn’t my usual association for Imbolc (a common neopagan name for the Sabbat at the beginning of February), but he came through, in dreams or other impressions. Wonderful Pan.
We didn’t do anything religiously Pagan for Valentine’s day, but love is better than anything. Sometimes a lack of deliberate religion is really a good thing. Our Valentine’s day was for each other.
On the Saturday we went to see a film together, “The Wolfman”, and we enjoyed that. Treated ourselves to a cocktail and some starters to share at Old Orleans restaurant in Surrey Quays. Then we went to see the film which we enjoyed. Now I think of it, Lupercalia has links to wolves too, and the priests of Faunus who took part were known as “brothers of the wolf”! Man it was cold that day too, but beautiful and clear for a lot of the day, though Phil tells me it wasn’t that cold. We came back to Stepney in the evening and had a great meal at a Chinese restaurant here.
Sunday was Valentine’s day proper, and having done our “out in the world” celebrating the day before when things like restaurants were less crowded, we had a quiet day to ourselves. Phil’s card was lovely and I got us a bottle of rosé champaign. In the evening Phil cooked us a wonderful meal of steak, crawfish and shrimp with potatoes, and we had chocolate cake afterwards. Yum! Steak, seafood and chocolate :0)
It was a lovely Valentine’s with my love.