Meet the Gods: Februus
(Image by Samantha Sullivan)
February is named for Februus, the Roman God of Purification. He lived in the underworld and became known as the King of the Underworld, but then his name became so intertwined with Pluto, eventually it became another name for Pluto, the God of the Underworld who judged the dead. (The Greek called him Hades. He is the one who abducted Persephone.)
According Wikipedia, “He was also worshipped under the same name by the Etruscans as the god of purification, and also the underworld. For the Etruscans, Februus was also the god of riches (money/gold) and death, both connected to the underworld in the same natural manner as with the better-known Roman god Pluto.”
Februus was taken from the Sabine people of the Apennines by the Romans who conquered them. In the old Roman religion, Februus meant “purifier.” To get on this god’s good side, they held a festival in his honor, and then named February after him.
One source theorizes that he may have been named in honor of the more ancient Februa, the name of a spring purification festival held on the 15th of the month. It was celebrated with washing and ritual purification. In the Roman calendar, February was the last month of the year as well as the beginning of spring. Thus, the sense of “spring cleaning” emerges with this festival. Februus could be the personification of the festival, Februa, that was marked by sacrifice and atonement, and offerings to the gods.
February would be a good time to invoke Februus as part of your practice.
During the month, might choose to invoke Februus as part of your practice should you decide to purge what you no longer need for your highest good and greatest joy, cleaning out things or thoughts that are cluttering your life. Or, if you were looking for access to the underworld, he could be your key.
Merry part. And merry meet again.