Friday, August 15, 2008

Moon Worship and the Modern Witch

“Happy Assumption!” I said to my Eastern Orthodox employee as she sat down at her desk. Today is the Feast of the Assumption, after all, marking the date that the Virgin Mary ascended into Heaven from her house in Ephesus, Turkey. Which, according to legend, is where she moved after she retired, Ephesus being the Florida of the first-century Jewish world.

E.O. looked confused for a second, but then her brow cleared. “Oh, you mean the Dormition! Thanks! Happy Dormition to you, too!”

“Dormition?” It was my turn to look confused.

“We call it the Dormition instead of the Assumption.” she explained. “Catholics believe that Mary was bodily assumed, and we believe that she... well, you know, died. But she definitely went to Heaven after that.”

Yeah, not quite as romantic as the Catholic version. What I (wisely) decided not to mention is that the early Church fathers scheduled the Assumption/Dormition/Whatever on August 15 in order to replace the Nemoralia, the ancient Roman Festival of Torches held annually in honor of Diana, Great Goddess of the Moon.

Eight Sabbats and thirteen Esbats aside, the Nemoralia is my favorite holiday. I’ve got a little altar set up in my bedroom, featuring a framed print of Erté’s Queen of the Night and a couple of Virgin Mary votive candles (La Virgen de Guadalupe y La Virgen de San Juan respectively, both easy to find when you live in South Texas), and every August 15, I rededicate it as a shrine to Diana. It’s a ritual that's become a personal touchtone, and I get unreasonably giddy about it.

Granted, me huddled over a small chest of drawers in the corner of an urban apartment doesn't have the same visual impact as, say, hundreds of devotees wreathed in flowers, carrying torches, led by garlanded hounds and waiting with baited breath to be ferried across the smooth, dark waters of Lake Nemi under the bathing rays of the Full Moon. But I'll light some jasmine incense and say a few prayers, and pour an offering of willow water. And for a fleeting, lovely moment, time, space and my ugly tan carpet will be rendered irrelevant.

Buon Nemoralia, Loyal Strifemongers. Happy Assumption, Merry Dormition, and to all a good night.

18 comments:

Lisa Adams said...

Beautiful Evn. I think I might join you in that tonight. After all *wink* I did get the name Nocticula. Perhaps it's a good thing to do.

My brother already thinks I'm crazy might as well add to it. BTW, I'm heading to Elemental Magick today.

Evn said...

Last time I checked, they had willow water in stock. ;)

Diana Luciano Grayfox said...

Ahh, yes. The Dianalia. It warms my heart to see so much love for a Goddess I too adore. Ave Diana! May She bear my blessings for you and love you always!

Angela-Eloise said...

Ooo, lovely! I like discovering new holidays! A joyous one to you, Evn. BB

Thalia said...

OMG! Angela-Eloise is alive! What's up with Blogickal?

Angela-Eloise said...

Hi Thalia! Ugh - don't get me started. A design/programming nightmare. I either have to go back to the old thing or pay someone to set everything up for me. As I'm a bit broke at the moment, if I want to blog, I think I have to go back. GRR.

Sorry to highjack your comments, Evn. Hilarious commentary over at Anne Johnson's place, BTW. :)

Evn said...

Diana, thanks for the wonderful sentiments! Blessings to you, too.

Evn said...

Yay, Angela-Eloise is not a figment of my imagination!

Hijack all you want. I like it when my posts have lots of comments attached.

Thalia said...

Yay, Angela-Eloise is not a figment of my imagination!

Are you sure? You never can tell with figments. Just sayin'.

Angela-Eloise, I wish I knew more about website making than just old-fashioned html, or more about crafting a blog, 'cause I'd totally help you set it up again for free. I miss Blogickal!

Angela-Eloise said...

Evn, that reminds me of a card I got from one of my friends one summer break from college.

On the front was a rough line drawing of a face. It said something like:

He was rugged yet tender. Strong yet sensitive. (yadda yadda yadda - my addition 'cause I can't remember any more - this was 20 years ago after all, ahem)

Then you opened the card and it said:

He was a figment.

hahahahahahahaha

No, I haven't been drinking. Yet.

Love to all!

Evn said...

And that totally reminds me of the birthday card I gave my dad a few years back.

On the outside (with each line spoken by the appropriate character):

"A brain!"

"A heart!"

"Courage!"

"Hooters!"

On the inside:

"Unable to obtain her first wish, Dorothy opts to go home."

Lisa Adams said...

*laugh* Naturally when I get there, it's all gone *snicker*. Oh well, they said they get a new one later. I got a few things and used other candles instead *grin*.

I finally found a Goddess statue that I love! At some point I need to send you a pic of her.

Evn said...

Arg, that sucks. Hopefully, their next Lucky Mojo shipment soon. (And call me when they do--I want to go shopping.)

And I'd love to see a pic of the statue! I'm glad you found the right one for you.

Lisa Adams said...

Will do hon! When I get a chance I'll send you a pic. Right now I'm kinda sitting around just admiring her.

Yvonne said...

Buon Nemoralia to you all! Sounds great.

Did you know that there was originally a temple to Diana on the site of St Paul's Cathedral in London?

Bo said...

The Dormition not the Remission, surely!

Evn said...

Yvonne, I did not know that! I'll be spending the rest of the afternoon Googling my heart out.

Bo: um, oops. According to Wikipedia, my hearing sucks. Minor post edits to follow.

Anne Johnson said...

I don't know how we at "The Gods Are Bored" missed this important holiday. Please, Diana, don't smite us! Trust me, Evn, Diana is your Goddess. You give her what all deities crave -- attention.