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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: The Festival of Felicitas

felicitasFausta Felicitas is an ancient Roman Goddess of Good Fortune and Lucky Happenstance. Her name is essentially two words of the same meaning, likely doubled up for emphasis, for fausta in the Latin is the adjective "favorable" or "auspicious", while felicitas is the noun meaning "luck", "good fortune" or "happiness"; Her name can be translated as the nicely redundant "Lucky Luck", though "She of Auspicious Good Fortune" probably sounds better. (By the way, the Latin felix, "happy", and felis "cat" are related, through the theme of "fruitfulness", as cats have many young; I'm tempted, however, to interpret the connection as referring to purring, an obvious and defining feature of happy cats). Her name evokes the Latin saying "Quod bonum faustum felix fortunatumque sit!", which translates as "May it be good, lucky, happy, and blessed!" According to Cicero (who lived 106-43 BCE), this phrase had been used since ancient times as the proper ritual formula said at the beginning of all kinds of projects or events to assure an auspicious outcome—for example, when cities or colonies were founded, at public rites, at the opening of festivals, or at sacrifices.

One of her sacred symbols was the cornucopia. You can use a cornucopia to add joy to your life. If you have a cornucopia, place it in a prominent place in your home and fill it with fruit, gourds, and corn. If you don't have one, a basket will do. Next fill a bowl with nine pennies and set it next to the cornucopia. Pick up a penny and hold it in your hand, focusing on something that brings you joy. Visualize it completely until it brings a smile to your face. Drop it into the cornucopia. Repeat with the other coins, naming each one for a different joy in your life until they are all gone. You have just filled your cornucopia with nine joys! Leave the cornucopia out as a decoration all autumn, refilling the fruit as you eat it, and watch your joys multiply.

felicitas2In its religious sense, felix means "blessed, under the protection or favour of the gods; happy." That which is felix has achieved the pax divom, a state of harmony or peace with the divine world. The word derives from Indo-European *dhe(i)l, meaning "happy, fruitful, productive, full of nourishment." Related Latin words include femina, "woman" (a person who provides nourishment or suckles); felo, "to suckle" in regard to an infant; filius, "son" (a person suckled); and probablyfello, fellare, "to perform fellatio", with an originally non-sexual meaning of "to suck". The continued magical association of sexual potency, increase, and general good fortune in productivity is indicated by the inscription Hic habitat Felicitas ("Felicitas dwells here") on an apotropaic relief of a phallus at a bakery in Pompeii.

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