“Some people live closely guarded lives, fearful of encountering someone or something that might shatter their insecure spiritual foundation. This attitude, however, is not the fault of religion but of their own limited understanding. True Dharma leads in exactly the opposite direction. It enables one to integrate all the many diverse experiences of life into a meaningful and coherent whole, thereby banishing fear and insecurity completely.”
Lama Thubten Yeshe
Saint Valentine’s Day or simply Valentine’s Day is one of those dates with roots in ancient times and has been altered by assimilation by the Roman Catholic Church.
There are two other major holidays that come to mind. Easter from Oester, the church changing one of the big rites of spring and fertility (the ancients enjoyed lots of them) to their resurrection day. Christmas, of course, was created as the replacement for at least a couple of more ancient feasts. The Roman celebrations during Saturnalia and, later, the Scandinavian celebrations of Yule or Jule.
Regarding Valentine’s Day, Supposedly in the year 496 CE, Pope Galasius was of the opinion that Lupercalia was both pagan and immoral prohibiting it as a day of celebration and replaced it with St. Valentine’s Day as a somber day for lovers.
It is most likely that the spirit of Lupercalia rather than that of a salute to a martyred Catholic saint that most people celebrate on February 14th. As I mentioned in a post earlier this month. (See archives : http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QDIQOA4ACBEADVAWJXEVXWFBQA/blog/articles/277091?listPage=date&listItem=201102
) On the 14th day of Februarius, the traditional first day of spring, two boys wold slaughter a goat for fertility and a dog for purity. The boys would dress up in animal skins, and gently slap women they woud encounter on the steets with strips of the animal’s hides that were dipped in sacrificial blood. Such were the customs of many ancient peoples.
In any case, Valentine’s Day is closely represented by the god Cupido or Cupid. He is the son of Venus (goddess of love) and Mars (god of war). Cupid or the Greek version Eros, is one of the primordial gods. He’s depicted with wings and a bow and arrow in all cultures. The story of Cupid and Psyche is one of the great romantic tales of ancient times. There are many versions that you can research and read to your lover.
At any rate, I think the need of fertility rites and a salute to romance are basic in all civilizations. Romantic yearnings for a lover are built into our biological makeup. The celebration of those yearnings will manifest regardless of the opinions of religious leaders. In my view, Valentine’s Day, on its own, is a healthy outlet for those feelings. Whether or not it should be a celebration of marketing prowess by jewelers, candy makers, florists and greeting card printers is another matter.
Valentine’s Day celebrates the beginning stage of lovers’ relationship to each other. It can mark the first steps towards the maturation and respect of each others’ humanity, trust and deepening love. Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers. It is a day of renewal and gratitude for the other person in one’s life. If a person is without a lover, Valentine’s Day marks the renewal of the search for a lover or mate.
If a person celebrates the romantic love and nurtures the beginnings, then the promise of a deeper, well rounded love can bloom and live on. My wish is that all people of all nations, orientations and spiritual paths be allowed to celebrate this primal state of being as free and truly loving persons. This is everyone’s birthright and should never be denied to anyone.