In my personal practice, I often find myself drawn to Rome for inspiration and it does not fail to suprise. The long pagan history of Rome and it’s wide adoption of traditions from conquered lands provide us with a wealth of European holidays that are no longer celebrated, but seem to resonate in modern times. Lucaria, the festival of the grove, is one such tradition.
Lucaria was celebrated in the Nones of Quintilis, which for us is July 19 and 21. Lucaria is mentioned as far back as the 2nd century BCE, when it was an ancient half-remembered festival even then.
Lucaria comes to us as a simple but forgotten celebration, burned from history, like many traditions, by Christians. It was noted by several Roman historians and annotated to in several calendrical fragments which have been preserved. Interestingly, one element of the tradition that we have is the phrase “Si deus si dea” which means “Whether god or goddess”, the phrase is a benediction of a place to it’s gods, forgotten as they may be.
It’s always important to remember the magick around us. If you’re American, like me, the modern world seems pretty sterilized by our age, with it’s magick drained away or lost to us. My guess is that no matter what era you lived in, there was always someone complaining about that, whether a medieval French peasant or an Uppsala jarl about “How modern everything is getting.” My instincts say that human misanthropy is a universal trait, and that no matter when or where you are, there was always some grumpy old guy complaining about the “golden years.”
Never forget that parks have always been sacred. The first parks, in the first cities, were sacred groves to the old gods, even in Babylon, Mohenjo-Daro, and Cahokia. Our tradition of building parks within cities is descended from that. Parks meet our primal need to be around nature, but in order to build a magical world, we must always remember that parks are our remnant of the old sacred groves of our ancestors. No matter how forgotten those gods are.
For this Lucaria, take some time to explore your local grove, even if it is just a local park. Connect with the spirit of the place by finding a corner to meditate in or even go the chaos magick route, like I do often, and turn a park’s map into a sigil. Read about it, learn when it was built, and by whom. Think about how it’s space is laid out, as many modern parks have a bit of design in them. Most importantly, find out what was there before. Though recorded history goes back millenia in many places, and centuries in others, there was always something before. We’re still new here. Don’t forget that.
Si deus si dea, friends.
- Lumo Arcanorum of Silfren Circle