Celebrating the Old Ways in New Times for February 2020
I write this on January 10. We’ve not had a real winter yet in my hometown, but my garden is sad.
We have decided to gear up to list this place for sale, and that means I had to start dismantling my garden.
My patio garden I worked years on. All of it has to go.
Friends wanted my soil, and came with tubs to fill with the black, rich loam, and then toted away all my pots, stakes, tomato cages, and even my roses. Another friend came to take the box away today.
I have another box that has to go, and the same friends want every bit of it.
Then, my blackberries have to be pulled.
The patio will look large, clean, and “full of potential” for home shoppers.
I will do a tiny bit of planting in front, but that’s it. Ironically, my husband dragged home giant pumpkin seeds, most of which I immediately gave away because I have NO PLACE TO PLANT THEM.
I feel like somebody shot me through the heart. I don’t believe a thriving container garden is a deterrent to buyers, and anybody who wants a shaved patch of concrete to neglect does not need to live anyplace that has potential for plants.
There, I said it! My heart is broken!
What a great time to focus on February and it’s most prominent Holiday! Valentine’s Day!
Many dread the day. From boyfriends nervous can’t appease their lady love’s tastes, to single people who are heartbroken, the holiday isn’t what it was when we were kids looking forward to candy and those cute Valentines we gave to every one of our classmates. It seems sometimes most everything was simpler when we were kids! Lauded by pop culture as basically a time to dress up, and spend money, some of us aren’t buying into it.
What is this all about anyways?
What is VDay?
At it’s simplest, t’s a holiday established by Xtians, which was hijacked by retail establishments.
That’s really not all, though. It was established by the Catholic Church in 496 in honor of two, or possibly three Xtain saints, all named Valentine.
The first was a Priest, Valentine of Rome. The story goes, he was martyred in 269. His skull, complete with a floral crown, is still housed in Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome.
The second St Valentine was Valentine of Terni, and we was martyred in 273.There was a third St. Valentine who was martyred in Africa!
I am just going to assume Valentine was not that unusual of a name. Like we have a lot of Smiths these days? There were plenty of Valentines!
It was during the 1700’s the day took on a more romantic significance. That’s when couples used the occasion to give gifts of chocolates, flowers, and cards. Today, we do the same. But why? What did the Saint Valentines do that made people associate their feast day with love?
One story tells St. Valentine married Xtain soldiers in secret, as it was forbidden by Claudius II. However, this was never an order given by this emperor, and he even told soldiers to take multiple wives if they wanted! So much for that!
Another story states he healed the blindness of the emperor’s family member who had condemned him to death, and this was on the day before he was killed. To heal the loved ones of your enemies? Some would call it dumb, others would say it was an act of love.
St Valentine was said to have cut out hearts to give to soldiers and persecuted Xtians to remind them of their gods love and to love one another. This is said to be how Valentines emerged.
Other accounts state that nothing at all is known about St Valentine!
Some accounts state the skull attributed to him might not even be his skull at all!
But because people like to have a day to celebrate romance, all things pink, red, and flowery and pretty- and of course- confections!!!!!!- the holiday took off and just seems to be gaining in popularity.
Interestingly enough,, the retail industry is more responsible than I realized for the spread of all things Valentines Day!
Can’t Buy Me Love!
We all know true love cannot be bought, however, we all love to give gifts to the people we love. Like at Xmas, there is societal pressure, likewise, there is also pressure at Valentine’s Day to impress and prove devotion with the perfect gifts!
This did not happen all at once, and you will be impressed how savvy business people started trends that profited them well.
Greetings are popular today, eh’? Well, a few manufacturers made sure that happened.
By the early 1800’s , over 60,000 paper Valentine greetings were sent via mail, just in the UK! However, postage was still expensive then. So in 1840, there was a reduction in postage rates, and over 400,000 Valentines were sent immediately following on the first year! Amazing!
The US was not far behind. In 1847, the first American mass produced Valentine’s Day cards were churned out by the Massachusetts company ran by an Esther Howland and her family. She was inspired by a British Valentine card she got, and imported supplies to make her own! Before these mass produced cards, of course, people handmade their own cards to send!
What would Valentine’s Day be without sweets? Oh heck, what would ANY holiday be without sweets? The Cadbury company decided to make heart shaped boxes filled with chocolates as early as 1868, and the boxes were so pretty, they were saved to put keepsakes in. Today, cheap disposable ones can be seen everyplace the second January hits. I don’t know of one person who keeps the boxes anymore. It is estimated that 16 billion dollars is spent on confectionery gifts for Valentine’s Day in the US alone! That’s a lot of sweetness!
I won’t say a lot about this because I see a dozen roses go from $8-$12 to $40 overnight at Valentine’s Day time. I tell my husband to buy me roses when they go on sale afterwards. I even have a carnival glass rose bowl to display them in- but not for five times the cost!
I will say, however that flowers represent romantic love, and that is why they are so popular at Valentine’s Day. One lady who made roses very popular to characterize love was Charlotte de Latour, who published Language of Flowers. In it , she said roses mean love. She wrote, “Nature seems to have exhausted all her skill in the freshness, the beauty of form, the fragrance, the delicate color, and the gracefulness which she has bestowed upon the rose.”
The rose became ever more popular, and the Victorians sold and bought huge amounts of them.
Most people you ask what flowers they prefer will say it is the rose. Not everybody of course, but many many!
Okay, so what if you are not into spending, and you don’t care for these gifts, some of which are just disposable? What if you ARE, but have a broken heart, and or nobody to buy for, or to buy for you? What if the whole thing breaks your heart, and you just freaking dread it every freaking year?
You aren’t alone.
Quotes found on the internet expressing hatred for the holiday include:
“ Cupid rhymes with stupid”
“I hate Valentine’s day. It’s a day for nothing but disappointment. “
“Happy unimaginative, consumer oriented, manipulative and shallow interpretation of romance day”
“I can already smell the roses I won’t be getting on Valentine’s Day, and already taste the chocolate I’ll be buying for cheap the next day.”
“ Roses are red. Violets are blue. Oh, screw it!”
Okay, maybe you don’t laugh about it like some of us do.
Maybe you have an ex who ripped your heart out and every Valentine’s Day reminds you of it. Like some of us dread Xmas, some dread Valentine’s Day due to a broken heart- and a little revenge would feel absolutely great. Luckily, we practice magic, so you don’t have to go to jail for slashing their tires, setting their house on fire, or clobbering them.
But I have an idea to celebrate that I got from somebody else…The El Paso Texas Zoo did a program last year called “Don’t Bug Me” and YES, I participated. All you had to do was send them the name of your ex, and they would name a cockroach after him or her…and feed said cockroach to the meerkats!
They were tickled pink with the overwhelming amount of people who wanted to participate, and decided to give other kinds of animals cockroaches to snack on too…
So if you have a pet, consecrate a treat as your ex, and feed it to the pets! MWAAAA HJA HA HAAAAA! If this is not enough, I have a suggested ritual to do more!
Saoirse’s Vday Rite for people who have a crappy ex!!!!!
This time it’s not for an animal- this snack is for you!!!!!!
Since he or she did not see fit to treat you right, YOU are going to treat you right.
Go out and get the best Valentine’s Day snack or treat you can find. YOUR FAVORITE. This might be some great carryout or pizza, your favorite candy, cake, pie, or even donuts. It might be a fancy coffee or wine you treat yourself to. Something somebody who really wanted to show you how special you are would buy as a Valentine’s day gift for you.
You deserve it!
Get your treat ready and go look in the mirror. Say to yourself “I deserve this, and asshole did not understand that, and that is why asshole is gone! But I am here, and I deserve SO much better, and I will always treat myself best even if some love interest doesn’t!”
Then, have your treat, and the hell with asshole!!!!!
BTW- I messaged The El Paso Zoo- and they ARE doing the Don’t Bug Me program again this year! If you want to participate, just like their Facebook page, and they will post when they accept entries soon! This is the link to their Facebook page!
Blessed Valentine’s Day, my Loves!
About the Author:
Saoirse is a practicing witch, and initiated Wiccan of an Eclectic Tradition.
A recovered Catholic, she was raised to believe in heaven and hell, that there is only one god, and only one way to believe. As she approached her late 20’s, little things started to show her this was all wrong. She was most inspired by the saying “God is too big to fit into one religion” and after a heated exchange with the then associate pastor of the last Xtian church she attended, she finally realized she was in no way Xtian, and decided to move on to see where she could find her spiritual home.
Her homecoming to her Path was after many years of being called to The Old Ways and the Goddess, and happened in Phoenix, Arizona. She really did rise from her own ashes!
Upon returning to Ohio, she thought Chaos Magic was the answer, and soon discovered it was actually Wicca. She was blessed with a marvelous mentor, Lord Shadow, and started a Magical Discussion Group at local Metaphysical Shop Fly By Night. The group was later dubbed A Gathering of Paths. For a few years, this group met, discussed, did rituals, fellowship, and volunteering together, and even marched as a Pagan group with members of other groups at the local gay Pride Parade for eight years.
All the while, she continued studying with her mentor, and is still studying for Third Degree, making it to Second Degree thus far.
She is a gifted tarot reader, spellworker, teacher, and was even a resident Witch at a Westerville place dubbed The Parlor for a time.
Aside from her magical practice, she is a crocheter, beader, painter, and a good cook. She has been a clown and children’s entertainer, a Nursing Home Activities Professional, a Cavern Tour Guide, a Retail Cashier, and a reader in local shops. Her college degree is a BA in English Writing. She tried her hand at both singing and playing bagpipes, and…well…let’s just say her gifts lie elsewhere! She loves gardening, reading, antiques, time with friends and soul kin, and lots and lots of glorious color bedecking her small home!
On the encouragement of a loved one several years back, she searched for a publication to write for, and is right at home at PaganPagesOrg.
She is currently residing in Central Ohio with her husband, and furbabies.
Saoirse can be contacted at [email protected].