Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia subsumed Februa, an earlier-origin spring cleansing ritual held on the same date, which gives the month of February (Februarius) its name.
It honoured the gods Faunus ("Pan" to the Greeks) and Lupercus, and to honour Romulus. Though it began as a religious rite devoted to agriculture, over time it evolved into a festival of merriment and kinky sexual horseplay.
At heart, Lupercalia was dedicated to purging all afflictions and ills before the spring growing season. By the ancient calendars winter had ended by the Ides of February 13 th, and spring, a season of new beginnings, had arrived.
In Roman Gaul a Lupercalia custom began, parts of which survive today. Eligible women wrote their names on clay tablets and placed them in an earthen jar. Eligible young men then picked out a woman’s name at random, and the two were paired off. Depending on whose version of history you accept, this would last a few hours, a day, or even a year. It is believed this evolved into the medieval custom where secret admirers sent anonymous greetings on St. Valentine’s Day, which in turn led to the modern practice of "sending a Valentine."
Plutarch described Lupercalia:
Lupercalia, of which many write that it was anciently celebrated by shepherds, and has also some connection with the Arcadian Lycaea. At this time many of the noble youths and of the magistrates run up and down through the city naked, for sport and laughter striking those they meet with shaggy thongs. And many women of rank also purposely get in their way, and like children at school present their hands to be struck, believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy.
Herb Magic for Lupercalia - Pin five bay leaves to your pillow to dream of future loves. If you are married or otherwise involved, steep the bay leaves in water and drink the resulting tea to strengthen the love in your relationship.
The themes for Lupercalia are Love, Passion, Romance and sexuality.
The symbols are Doves, Flowers, Berries, Trees, Pine Cones.
Venus is associated with this day, she was originally an Italic goddess of blossoms, hearts and flowers. Her name became the root for the word venerate - to lift up, worship or esteem. Venus greets prespring efforts for uplifting our hearts with positive relationships ans is also associated with the loving and passionate energies.
To encourage balance in a relationship, bind together Venus's symbol, a pine cone and a flower, and put them somewhere in your home. Or, to spice up a passionate moment, feed fresh berries to each other and drink a berry beverage from one cup (symbolising united goals and destinies).
In Roman tradition, anywhere there is a large stone adjacent to a tall tree, Venus is also there. Should you know of such a place, go there on Feburary 14 th. and commune with her warm lusty energy.
The Wood Fairy - La Fée des Bois