It seems that the ancient Romans and other civilizations commemorated fertility gods and goddesses frequently. It’s true. The rural Roman peoples used to celebrate a major holiday on December the V (5th) each year to commemorate fertility. In traditional Roman culture, today is Faunalia, the salute to Faunus.
Faunus is the horned God of the forest, one of the key players in the pantheon. Faunus acted as the god of cattle, fertility, wild untamed nature plus prophecy through dreams. Faunus is the equivalant of the Greek God Pan.
Think of a trek through a forested glen collecting mandrake and hemlock for a frisky male fertility ceremony. A raw masculinity that not only raises eyebrows in western sensibility but that is almost taboo and extinct because of its naughtiness. Faunus or Pan celebrates this primal male instinct in a strong, frisky but not forceful manner. Faunus is the wink and nudge aspect of masculinity.
If you can visualize the Greek satyrs, you have a good representation of Faunus. Lupercus, another God of fertility is also closely identified with Faunus. We covered Lupercalia in an earlier bluejayblog post this year.
Farmers and outdoorsmen have always paid attention to the various mysterious noises of the forests, especially at night. The rural folks associated those noises with the half man, half goats that are fauns or satyrs. The ubiquity of forest noises and fauns naturally led to a good festival of feasts and games for the people.
Faunalia is not just for us guys, women can recognize their feminine qualities on December 5th, too by celebrating Bona Dea, Faunus’ female counterpart. She was sometimes called “Fauna”. But if you’re a guy who feels sort of naughty like a rip snorting Faun, today is the day to celebrate our nature.