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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Agonalia

Janus
January the 9th is the first of three obscure ancient Roman holidays in honor of Janus as well as other divinities known as The Agonalia. The second falls in May and the third one takes place in December.  Its institution, like that of other religious rites and ceremonies, was attributed to Numa Pompilius, the semi-legendary second king of Rome.

Janus was known as the god of gates and doorways. Janus was very important in Rome because the weakest point in any building or municipality is its doorway. Anything from human enemies to evil spirits could enter via that route. So strong was this feeling that Romans always carried corpses out of buildings feet first so that the departed spirits would be less likely to find their way back in.

Agonalia is a great festival to incorporate into your pagan life because it pays tribute to Janus in order to receive protection from harm from evil spirits or evil intent from the living. In the pre-Republic days tribute was paid to Janus for the King’s protection. A ram was the usual sacrifice victim. Today sacrifices are mostly symbolic jesters, not actual ones and the Agonalia is a perfect holiday to ask Janus to protect your own entryways to your home. Not to mention to offer protection as we move forward into this new year.
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