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Monday, August 25, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Festival Of Ops


opsToday is the Opiconsivia, the pagan festival of Ops-goddess of abundance. Her festival, Opiconsivia on 25 August, is close to the Consus festivals, the god of grain. Ops has an earlier festival on August 19th called the Opalia. Because her December festival was also close to the Saturnalia she was usually associated with Saturn, and since he was identified with the Greek Cronus she was identified with Rhea, the consort of Cronus. Her oldest place of worship was a small shrine in the Regia or ancient royal palace, where her harvest ceremony was performed, attended only by the pontifex maximus and the Vestals, symbolizing the storage of the state crops by the king and his daughters.

The Opiconsivia festival was superintended by the Vestals and the Flamines of Quirinus, an early Sabine god said to be the deified Romulus. Quirinus was absorbed by, and included in, the first and earliest Capitoline Triad, along with Mars—then an agriculture god—and Jupiter. The main priestess at the regia wore a white veil, characteristic of the vestal virgins. A chariot race was performed in the Circus Maximus. Horses and mules, their heads crowned with chaplets made of flowers, also took part in the celebration.

Ops themes are opportunity, wealth, fertility and growth. Her symbols are bread, seeds and soil. Ops motivates fruit bearing, not just in plants but also in our spirits. She also controls the wealth of the gods, making her a Goddess of opulence. Invoke Ops by getting as close to the earth as you can, eat earthy foods like potatoes, root crops, summer squashes, etc. Many pagans choose to hold outdoor feasts in picnic fashion, close to the earth to be as close to Ops as possible. For an alter observance, place grains, seeds, and bread along with a symbol representing Ops. Light white or yellow candles and give a prayer of thanks to the bounty that Ops has provided. I also add wine or alcohol offers for the goddess to enjoy.
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