Contra amorem, or Pro Lupercalia
February 20, 2009
The advent of Christianity led to the end of the civic relationships which mediated between the gods and men, or rather elite males. The erosion of these structures was a gradual process which based itself on the ability of the individual of any class or sex to establish a relationship with the divine. Characteristic of this was the love of man for God, agape. Anyone who has ever read the works of St. Teresa will quickly realize both that her relationship with the divine gave her orgasms and that the sort of romantic love which our society now values is a result of the shifting of the objects of our affection from God to other human beings. Nothing emphasizes this shift in consciousness as well as the ancient predecessor of Valentine’s Day, the Lupercalia. The Lupercalia was an ancient civic fertility holiday, in which the patrician youth of Rome would sacrifice a goat and strip off its hide, then run around the city naked , whipping women with the strips to promote fertility. As a sidenote, the most famous celebration of these festivities took place when Antony offered Caesar a kingly crown, and he did thrice refuse. Hence, what was primarily a civic celebration in these days is understood as a celebration of the bond of individuals. For those who find this holiday to be miserable and yearn to be waving strips of goat skin this charge, as so many others, can be lain at the doorstep of the Jews(Christians?).