January 24th marked the beginning of the ancient Roman festival of Sementivae, I think. Thus far this festival has proved to be remarkably difficult to find solid information on. Many of the usual sources I use for mythology such as Frazer or Campbell have no explicative mention of the festival. The closest I found in my copy of The Golden Bough is this:
"The Sicilians celebrated the festival of Demeter at the beginning of the sowing, and the festival of Persephone at the harvest. This proves that they associated, if they did not identify, the Mother Goddess with the seed-corn and the Daughter Goddess with the ripe ears."
(James Frazer, pg. 409)
Online searches seemingly generate nothing but the same Wikipedia entry:
"It was a type of feriae conceptivae [or conceptae]. These free days were held every year, but not on certain or fixed days, the time being every year appointed by the magistrates or priests (quotannis a magistratibus vel sacerdotibus concipiuntur,
"It was held in honor of Ceres (the goddess of agriculture) and Tellus (Mother Earth). The initial half of the event was a festival in honor of Tellus which ran from January 24 through January 26. The festival honoring Ceres occurred one week later, starting February 2. The Sementina dies were kept in seed-time at Rome for the purpose of praying for a good crop; it lasted only for one day, which was fixed by the pontiffs. At the same time the Paganalia were observed in the country."
Wikipedia is of course not the world's most reliable source of information, and given that the article gives fixed dates for the festival after declaring that there were no such fixed dates, one most reasonably take it with a grain of salt.
Still, given the events that have transpired over this past week, I can't shake the feeling that this festival is important to their understanding. You see Demeter and Ceres are the same goddess and both have also been closely linked to the Egyptian goddess Isis. All three goddesses are also corn goddesses, hence Ceres' involvement in Sementivae, a festival in celebration of the sowing.
"Dionysus was not the only Greek deity whose tragic story and ritual appear to reflect the decay and revival of vegetation. In another form and with a different application the old tale reappears in the myth of Demeter and Persephone. Substantially their myth is identical with the Syrian one of Aprodite (Astarte) and Adonis, the Phrygian one of Cybele and Attis, and the Egyptian one of Isis and Osiris. In the Greek fable, as in its Asiatic and Egyptian counterparts, a goddess mourns the loss of a loved one, who personifies the vegetation, more especially the corn, which dies in winter to revive in the spring..."
(The Golden Bough, James Frazer, pg. 405)
Corn and Ceres are both very important within the ancient Mystery Schools and modern Freemasonry, as well as the founding of the United States. Historian David Ovason has argued compellingly that the architecture of Washington, D.C. was laid in such away to correspond to the movements of the constellation Virgo, named after another Greek goddess closely associated with the corn.
"This stellar Virgin had been the Mother Goddess of the pagan religions, the Isis of ancient Egypt. The image of Isis-Virgo holding an ear of corn, on one of the Egyptian zodiacs at Denderah, is scarcely different in symbolic force from the more elaborate images of Virgo found on a thousand modern zodiacs. Even late-medieval images of Isis reflect the ancient tradition of the corn, for the goddess is depicted as 'the Great Mother of the Gods' with wheat ears sprouting from her crown, the Moon covering her private parts, and her entire body flecked with stars.
"The Symbolism of corn so proliferates in Washington, D.C., that we should pause to consider its importance. As we have seen already, in astrology the corn sheaf is a Virgoan symbol, as the prime star in the constellation Spica represents the corn or wheat in the hand of the goddess. This corn may be traced back to the ancient Mysteries of Ceres, and beyond, to the even earlier Egyptian Mysteries of Isis. Although seemingly divested of these atrological undertones, corn was held by the Masons as a particularly sacred symbol:
"The intelligent and worthy Mason cannot contemplate this simple symbol, the Ear of Corn, without lifting up his heart in thankful acknowledgement of the goodness of God, and of all the benefits bestowed by His hand."(The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital, pgs. 154-155 David Ovason)
Ceres is obviously very important to both Masonry, and the occult workings behind the founding of the United States. As such, I find it highly significant that much social unrest has broken out both domestically and internationally as we pass through Sementivae, the Festival of Sowing. The Roman spring began officially on February 5th. As such, midwinter was perceived as a time of purification and fertility -of wiping the slate clean before the flowering of spring.
As such, we must carefully note what has been sown over the past week. Two major memes from this past year are already beginning to bear major fruit. One would be the events transpiring in North Africa, all seemingly sparked by an event that transpired on December 17th. The revolt began in Tunisia, but now events are spreading across North Africa. From MSNBC:
"Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa Thursday to demand a change of government, inspired by the unrest that has ousted Tunisia's leader and spread to Egypt this week.
"Reuters witnesses estimated that around 16,000 Yemenis demonstrated in four parts of Sanaa in the largest rally since a wave of protests rocked Yemen last week, and protesters vowed to escalate the unrest unless their demands were met."
More on the events transpiring in Egypt from the BBC:
"Nobel peace laureate and Egyptian opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei has arrived in Cairo as anti-government protests continue to spread.Needless to say, Egypt may be a bloody mess by tomorrow. As an interesting side note, the events in Tunisia were sparked by a self immolation that occurred on December 17th. December 17th is the date of the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia. Naturally it is dedicated to Saturn, the god of time and of the harvest/reaping. I find the overlap of the events in North Africa with festivals centered around reaping and sowing to be most interesting.
"A Bedouin protester was shot dead in the Sinai region on Thursday, bringing this week's death toll to seven.
"There were also protests in the cities of Cairo, Suez and Ismailiya.
"The governing party says it is willing to listen to public grievances such as unemployment but has cracked down on protests, arresting up to 1,000 people.
"Speaking on his arrival in Cairo, Mr ElBaradei said he would join the protests.
"'I wish we did not have to go out on the streets to press the regime to act,' he said, according to Reuters news agency.
"The protests are expected to increase on Friday, when the weekend begins in Egypt and millions gather at mosques for prayers."
Domestically we see a continuation of the 'homegrown' terrorist meme. This one has gotten a lot of play since the Wikileaks flap began last year. It went on steroids with the Loughner shooting spree. Now MSNBC is championing another front in which the terror of civil unrest can be spread. So far it's being dubbed the 'War on Cops':
"A spate of shooting attacks on law enforcement officers has authorities concerned about a war on cops.MSNBC and likely other media outlets have been planting the memes over a 'War on Cops' since even before the Loughner shootings. Consider this piece from December 28th:
"In just 24 hours, at least 11 officers were shot. The shootings included Sunday attacks at traffic stops in Indiana and Oregon, a Detroit police station shooting that wounded four officers, and a shootout at a Port Orchard, Wash., Wal-Mart that injured two deputies. On Monday morning, two officers were shot dead and a U.S. Marshal was wounded by a gunman in St. Petersburg, Fla...
"With the Florida deaths, the nation is on track in 2011 to match the 162 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2010, said Steve Groeninger, spokesman for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks police casualties. In January this year there have been 14 deaths, the same number as in January 2010, the fund posted on its web site."
"These so-called cluster killings of more than one officer helped make 2010 a particularly dangerous year for law enforcement. Deaths in the line of duty jumped 37 percent to about 160 from 117 the year before, according to numbers as of Dec. 28 compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that tracks police deaths.
"There also was a spike in shooting deaths. Fifty-nine federal, state and local officers were killed by gunfire in 2010, a 20 percent jump from last year's figures when 49 were killed. And 73 officers died in traffic incidents, a rise from the 51 killed in 2009, according to the data."
However, this older article is at least a little more honest: It notes that 2010 wasn't even the most dangerous year for police in the past decade and that police fatalities were much higher in earlier eras. From the same article:
"Last year's toll of 117 officers killed was a 50-year low that encouraged police groups. But this year's total is more the norm than an anomaly: The number of police deaths has topped 160 five times since 2000, including 240 in 2001. The annual toll routinely topped 200 in the 1970s and before that in the 1920s."It's also important to note that there are far more cops on the streets now than in either the 1920s or 1970s. Per capita cops are probably far safer in the first decade of the 21st century than they were during the 1970s despite recent upticks. This probably isn't an observation that many mainstream sources will be making, however. What is important is that you fear domestic terrorists shooting up the local Wal-Mart or Officer Bill as much as you do Arab terrorists spreading 'Islamofascism' in North Africa, or bombing Russian airports.
And thus, the sowing continues.