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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: The Festival of Sementivae / Paganalia

January 24th is the Sementivae, the festival in honor of the gods Tellus and Cerus (agricultural goddesses) to protect the spring sowing. Ceres, of course, is the Roman grain goddess, and Tellus is the earth itself. This festival was held in two parts -- the first part was held from January 24 to January 26, honoring Tellus, and was a season of sowing the fields. The second part, which began a week later on February 2, honored Ceres as the goddess of agriculture. Ceres is the Roman variant of Demeter, who is strongly tied with the changing of the seasons.

Calendar of the Sun 25 Wolfmonath
Sementivae Feria: Seed Blessing
Colors: Green and brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of green and brown set all the seeds for the next year, with the seeds saved from last year's garden in bowls in the center.
Offerings: Give seeds to poor farmers and gardeners.
Daily Meal: Vegan.

Sementivae Feria Invocation
Hear us, Ceres, Mother of the Grain,
You whose breath stirs the seed in the ground,
Though Earth sleeps now in her bed of stone,
We ask for her blessing on these seeds
Which will soon be sowed.
These are our hopes, our dreams,
Our aspirations, all promise and possibilities,
Waiting dry and dormant to be awoken.
Though we will not wake them today,
Soon the time will approach when they shall
Come into the embrace of the warm soil
And blossom into manifestation.
Bless our seeds, Great Ceres,
Mother of the Corn, Spark of the Plowed Earth,
Bless their promise, and ours as well.

(All cry, "Hail Ceres!" Then all surround the seeds and hold their hands over them, and together sing Ohm and Ah in harmonies, to carry Ceres' blessing. The seeds are then placed in a special basket shaped like a cradle, and covered with a cloth, and sung to.)

Chant: Carry our wishes
Carry our hoping
Carry our blessing
Till you be awoken

Also known as the Paganalia, because in ancient Roman society Pagans meant rural agricultural peoples, not what we know it as today. The Paganalia was originally a festival held in the rural areas; a protective celebration of the upcoming spring season of sowing seeds for crops. The Paganalia was held around January 24th and the Sementina, orFeriae Sementivae of Ceres and Tellus was held around January 25th, and a week later, for two separate sowings of seed. According to some sources, the calendar has changed since ancient times, and the festivals may be held in early February, after the Celtic Imbolg.

Be thou blessed by them in whose honour thou shalt be scattered/sprinkled/burned.
Let the pagus keep the feast: let the pagus be purified, and the yearly cakes be offered on the hearths of the pagus.
Let the Mothers of fruits be propitiated with their own cakes of spelt. The Mothers have one threefold office: they give to the seed life to grow, food to grow, a place to grow.
Partners in labour, who changed the ancient ways and showed us better food than acorns, satisfy the farmers with boundless crops, that they may reap the rewards their work deserves. Grant to the tender seeds increase unbroken; let no freezing snows bite the sprouting shoots. When we sow, let the sky be cloudless and the winds blow sweetly.
But when the seed is buried, then may it be sprinkled with water from the sky...
Forbid the birds that feed on the furrows to take the sown grain. And you too, ants, spare this seed: let it lie now, and when it is harvested, you will have a richer reward. Until then, let no rust or mildew darken the crop, nor foul weather turn it sickly pale. May it neither shrivel nor bloat. May the fields be free of weeds and wild oats. May the land yield with interest crops of wheat and of barley and of spelt which twice shall pass the fire.
And may the Mother-goddesses grant our prayers.

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