eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: fertility

Louis the Pious, Concilia 2.2.669-70

“There is no doubt that, as many have observed, minds are being infected with certain kinds of trickery and diabolical illusions by means of love potions, foods and amulets, so that, unaware of their own shame, they are considered by many to have succumbed to madness. There are those who claim that they can disturb the air with their spells, bring on hail, foretell the future, take away produce and milk and give it to other people. They are reputed to do countless such things. Whoever, man or women, who is known to be of this sort is to be punished particularly severely for it has been written of such people under title 23 of the Councils of Ancyra: Whoever seeks divinations and follows the customs of the Pagans or introduces such men into his house to find something by witchcraft or to carry out a purification or to avert some omen, he shall fall under the rule of five years’ penance.” – Louis the Pious, Concilia 2.2.669-70

Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 72

“It is forbidden for Christians to abide by any Pagan traditions and observe or honor the elements or the moon or the course of the stars or the empty falsehood of signs for building a house, planting corn or trees or contracting marriage.” – Martin of Braga, Canones ex orientalium patrum synodis 72

Prolegomena to Theokritos, Bucolicorum Graecorum 2.5

“Concerning the Thalusia: At one time there were troubles at Syracuse which it was deemed were caused by Artemis. So the farmers brought gifts and sang a joyful hymn to the goddess and later on this became a customary event. As the rustics sang they would carry loaves of bread with figures of wild beasts on them, purses full of every type of seed, and a goat-skin with wine; they poured out libations for all those they met, wore a garland and deer antlers, and carried a shepherd’s rabbit-prod in their hands. The winner of the competition receives the bread of the defeated. They also sing other songs of a playful, funny nature, first saying in reverent tones, Receive good fortune, receive good health, which we bring from the goddess, by which she gave her command.” – Prolegomena to Theokritos, Bucolicorum Graecorum 2.5

Theodoret, The Healing of Pagan Diseases 8.63-4

“Those who are well ask the martyrs to protect their good health, while those who are worn down by illness request release from their sufferings. The childless ask for children, infertile women call out to become mothers, and those who have received this gift request that it be kept perfectly safe for them … They do not approach them like gods – rather they entreat them as men of god and call on them to act as ambassadors on their behalf. Those who ask with confidence gain what they request – their votive offerings clearly testify to their healing. For some offer representations of eyes, some of feet, others of hands; some are made of gold, others of wood. Their master accepts these little items of little worth, valuing the gift according to the merit of the one offering it. The display of these objects advertises deliverance from suffering – they have been left as commemorations by those who have regained their health. They proclaim the power of the martyrs laid to rest there – whose power proves the greatness of their god.” – Theodoret, The Healing of Pagan Diseases 8.63-4

IGPhilae 68

“He who worships Isis of Philae is fortunate, not only because he becomes wealthy, but because at the same time he enjoys a long life. I, who grew up near Isis of Pharos have come here to worship Isis of Philae. I am Serenus, assistant to the illustrious Ptolemaios, and I came along with Felix and Apollonios the painter. We have come in accordance with the oracles of the invincible lord Apollon, to offer libations and sacrifices, desiring also to share in these. We do this not only for ourselves but on behalf of our wives and children and the whole of our households. The year 31 of Emperor Commodus, 29th day of Phamenoth.” – IGPhilae 68

Cato, De Agricultura 139-141

“To open up a clearing, you must use the Roman rite, as follows. Do sacrifice of an expiation piglet, and say it thus: ‘Whatever god, whatever goddess you may be to whom this place is sacred, since it is proper to sacrifice the expiation swine for the taking of this sacred place, therefore, may what I do or what another by my order does be rightly done. Therefore in slaughtering for you this expiation swine I pray with good prayers that you be willing and favourable to me, to my house and household and to my children; wherefore, accept the slaughter of this expiatory piglet.’ If you want to dig there, do another Expiation. Say explicitly ‘for the purpose of working the land’. Then do some of the work on each consecutive day till all is done. If you interrupt it, or public or household holidays intervene, you must do another Expiation. You must consecrate the field as follows. Instruct Pig, Sheep and Ox to be driven all around: ‘Under the favour of the spirits and in confidence of a good outcome I entrust to you, (Manius), to consecrate by your care my farm, field and land; driving or drawing Pig, Sheep and Ox thereupon, wherever you may determine.’ First invoke Janus and Jove with wine, and say: ‘Father Mars, I ask and pray that you be ready and favourable to me, our house and household. Wherefore I have ordered Pig, Sheep and Ox to be driven all around my land and farm, so that you will prevent, ward off and avert sicknesses seen and unseen, childlessness and fruitlessness, disaster and storm; so that you will permit fruits, grains, vines and saplings to flourish and come to fruition; so that you will keep safe shepherds and flocks and give good heart and health to me, our house and household. Therefore, for the consecration and making sacred of my farm, field and land as aforesaid, accept the slaughter of this suckling Pig, Sheep and Ox.’ Repeat: ‘… therefore, Father Mars, accept the slaughter of this suckling Pig, Sheep and Ox.’ Do it with a knife. Have strues and fertum at hand. Offer immediately. As you slaughter the piglet, lamb and calf, then: ‘… therefore accept the slaughter of Pig, Sheep and Ox.’ Mars must not be named, nor must one say ‘lamb’ or ‘calf’. If all the offerings are unpromising, say it thus: ‘… Father Mars, if anything dissatisfies you in that suckling Pig, Sheep and Ox, I offer you this Pig, Sheep and Ox in expiation.’ If only one or two are doubtful, say it thus: ‘… Father Mars, since you were dissatisfied with that piglet, I offer you this piglet in expiation.’” – Cato, De Agricultura 139-141

Cato, De Agricultura 134

“Before you harvest, you may do sacrifice of the Harvest Sow, in the following way. A female piglet, the Harvest Sow is offered to Ceres before the following crops are put up: emmer, wheat, barley, broad bean, rapeseed. With incense and wine address Janus, Jove and Juno before you slaughter the female pig. Offer a strues to Janus thus: ‘Father Janus, as I offer you this strues, I pray with good prayers that you be ready and favourable to me and my children, to my house and household.’ Offer and present a fertum to Jove thus: ‘Jove, as I offer you this fertum, I pray with good prayers that you be ready and favourable to me and my children, to my house and household, accepting this fertum.’ Then give wine to Janus thus: ‘Father Janus, since in offering you a strues I prayed well with good prayers, therefore accept this offertory wine.’ Then to Jove thus: ‘Jove, accept this fertum, accept this offertory wine.’ Then slaughter the Harvest Sow. When the organs are cut out, offer and present a strues to Janus as you did before; offer and present a fertum to Jove as you did before; give Janus wine and give Jove wine as you gave it before on account of the offering of the strues and the slicing of the fertum. Then give the organs and the wine to Ceres.”  – Cato, De Agricultura 134

Cato, De Agricultura 131-32

“When the pear blossoms, make the Feast for the Oxen. After that, begin the spring ploughing. First plough the fields that are gritty and sandy; thus plough last those that are heaviest and wettest. The Feast may be performed as follows. Present a culigna of wine, as much as you wish, to Festive Jove. The day is holiday for the oxen, the oxherds, and those who perform the Feast. When you are to present, you do so thus: ‘Festive Jove, my household brings a culigna of wine to the Feast, as is proper in your domestic worship. Therefore accept the presentation of this Feast of ours.’ Wash your hands, and take the wine. ‘Festive Jove, accept the presentation of our Feast, accept our offertory wine.’ Offer to Vesta if you wish. The Feast to Jove: a roast from herd or flock; one urna of wine. You should share with Jove with proper purity and with the touch of your own hand. Then, once the Feast is performed, sow broomcorn millet, foxtail millet, garlic, lentil.” – Cato, De Agricultura 131-32

Cato, De Agricultura 83

“Make a dedication for the health of the oxen as follows. To Mars and Silvanus, in the forest, in daytime, dedicate the following per head of oxen: 3 lb. emmer, 4 lb. fat, 4 lb. lean meat, 3 pints wine. You may place it all together in one jug; the wine, also, may be placed all in one jug. They may be offered by a slave or a free person. When they have been offered, they should be consumed, at once, on the spot. No woman must be present or see the rite. You may make this dedication each year if you wish.” – Cato, De Agricultura 83

Al-Maqrizi, Khitat 1.651

“The idol stands on one leg and has only one arm which is raised high. There are inscriptions on his forehead and around the body. He has a prominent phallus. Many people use this idol when they are unable to attain an erection, but it is only successful if the person is able to remove the phallus without damaging the idol. Afterwards they wear the phallus around their waist and they get the desired result.” – Al-Maqrizi, Khitat 1.651

Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 166

“There is a standing statue with an erect penis; if one who is impotent and cannot have an erection for any reason comes to this statue and holds it with both hands, he will recover and obtain the desired erection and the strength to copulate.” – Anonymous, Akhbar Al-Zaman 166

Plato, Phaedrus 276b

“Sokrates: Now tell me this. Would a sensible husbandman, who has seeds which he cares for and which he wishes to bear fruit, plant them with serious purpose in the heat of summer in some garden of Adonis, and delight in seeing them appear in beauty in eight days, or would he do that sort of thing, when he did it at all, only in play and for amusement? Would he not, when he was in earnest, follow the rules of husbandry, plant his seeds in fitting ground, and be pleased when those which he had sowed reached their perfection in the eighth month?” – Plato, Phaedrus 276b

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

“That Osiris is identical with Dionysos who could more fittingly know than yourself, Klea? For you are at the head of the inspired maidens of Delphi, and have been consecrated by your father and mother in the holy rites of Osiris. If, however, for the benefit of others it is needful to adduce proofs of this identity, let us leave undisturbed what may not be told, but the public ceremonies which the priests perform in the burial of the Apis, when they convey his body on an improvised bier, do not in any way come short of a Bacchic procession; for they fasten skins of fawns about themselves, and carry Bacchic wands and indulge in shoutings and movements exactly as do those who are under the spell of the Dionysiac ecstasies. For the same reason many of the Greeks make statues of Dionysos in the form of a bull; and the women of Elis invoke him, praying that the god may come with the hoof of a bull; and the epithet applied to Dionysos among the Argives is ‘Son of the Bull.’ They call him up out of the water by the sound of trumpets, at the same time casting into the depths a lamb as an offering to the Keeper of the Gate. The trumpets they conceal in Bacchic wands, as Socrates has stated in his treatise On The Holy Ones. Furthermore, the tales regarding the Titans and the rites celebrated by night agree with the accounts of the dismemberment of Osiris and his revivification and regenesis. Similar agreement is found too in the tales about their sepulchres. The Egyptians, as has already been stated, point out tombs of Osiris in many places, and the people of Delphi believe that the remains of Dionysos rest with them close beside the oracle; and the Holy Ones offer a secret sacrifice in the shrine of Apollo whenever the devotees of Dionysos wake the God of the Mystic Basket. To show that the Greeks regard Dionysos as the lord and master not only of wine, but of the nature of every sort of moisture, it is enough that Pindar be our witness, when he says ‘May gladsome Dionysos swell the fruit upon the trees, the hallowed splendour of harvest time.’ For this reason all who reverence Osiris are prohibited from destroying a cultivated tree or blocking up a spring of water.” – Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 74-9

“In ancient times, Athenians, there was a monarchy in our city, and the kingship belonged to those who in turn were outstanding because of being indigenous. The king used to make all of the sacrifices, and his wife used to perform those which were most holy and ineffable – and appropriately since she was queen. But when Theseus centralized the city and created a democracy, and the city became populace, the people continued no less than before to select the king, electing him from among the most distinguished in noble qualities. And they passed a law that his wife should be an Athenian who has never had intercourse with another man, but that he should marry a virgin, in order that according to ancestral custom she might offer the ineffably holy rites on behalf of the city, and that the customary observances might be done for the gods piously, and that nothing might be neglected or altered. They inscribed this law on a stele and set it beside the altar in the sanctuary of Dionysos En Limnais. This stele is still standing today, displaying the inscription in worn Attic letters. Thus the people bore witness about their own piety toward the god and left a testament for their successors that we require her who will be given to the god as his bride and will perform the sacred rites to be that kind of woman. For these reasons they set in the most ancient and holy temple of Dionysos in Limnai, so that most people could not see the inscription. For it is opened once each year, on the twelfth of the month Anthesterion. These sacred and holy rites for the celebration of which your ancestors provided so well and so magnificently, it is your duty, men of Athens, to maintain with devotion, and likewise to punish those who insolently defy your laws and have been guilty of shameless impiety toward the gods; and this for two reasons: first, that they may pay the penalty for their crimes; and, secondly, that others may take warning, and may fear to commit any sin against the gods and against the state. I wish now to call before you the sacred herald who waits upon the wife of the king, when she administers the oath to the venerable priestesses as they carry their baskets in front of the altar before they touch the victims, in order that you may hear the oath and the words that are pronounced, at least as far as it is permitted you to hear them; and that you may understand how august and holy and ancient the rites are. I live a holy life and am pure and unstained by all else that pollutes and by commerce with man and I will celebrate the feast of the wine god and the Iobacchic feast in honor of Dionysos in accordance with custom and at the appointed times. You have heard the oath and the accepted rites handed down by our fathers, as far as it is permitted to speak of them, and how this woman, whom Stephanos betrothed to Theogenes when the latter was king, as his own daughter, performed these rites, and administered the oath to the venerable priestesses; and you know that even the women who behold these rites are not permitted to speak of them to anyone else. Let me now bring before you a piece of evidence which was, to be sure, given in secret, but which I shall show by the facts themselves to be clear and true.” – Demosthenes, Against Neaira 74-9

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

“And this woman offered for you on behalf of the city the unspeakably holy rites, and she saw what it was inappropriate for her, being a foreigner, to see; and being a foreigner she entered where no other of all the Athenians except the wife of the king enters; she administered the oath to the gerarai who serve at the rites, and she was given to Dionysos as his bride, and she performed on behalf of the city the traditional acts, many sacred and ineffable ones, towards the gods.” – Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

P. Schmidt 42

“It is Esrmpe, the daughter of Kllaouk, who is complaining about Hor, the son of Tanesneou. My lord Osiris, lord of Hasro! I complain to you, do justice to me and Hor, the son of Tanesneou, concerning what I have done to him and what he has done to me. Namely, he does not make love with me, I having no power, I having no protector-son. I am unable to help myself, I am childless. There is no one who could complain concerning me before you because of Hor … I complain to you … Osiris, listen to my call! Look how he has treated me! Open the way for your messengers … Osiris, lord of Abydos, Osiris … Isis … Ophois, Hathor, nurse of Anubis the Osiride, the cowherd of … do justice to me!” – P. Schmidt 42

Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 28

“But since, as I said before, by his studies on this subject, Proclus had acquired a still greater and more perfect virtue, namely the theurgic, passing beyond the theoretic step, he did not conform his life exclusively to one of the two characteristics suitable to divine beings, but to both: not only did he direct his thoughts upward to the divine, but by a providential faculty which was not merely social, he cared for those things which were lower. He practiced the Chaldean prayer-meetings and conferences, and even employed the art of moving the divine tops. He was a believer in these practices, in unpremeditated responses, and other such divinations, which he had learned from Asklepigenia, daughter of Plutarch, to whom exclusively her father had confided and taught the mystic rites preserved by Nestorius, and the whole theurgic science. Even before that, according to the prescribed order, and purified by the Chaldean lustrations, the philosopher had, as epoptic initiate, witnessed the apparitions of Hekate under a luminous form, as he himself has mentioned in a special booklet. He had the power of producing rains by activating, at the right time, a particular rite, and was able to deliver Attica from a terrible drought. He knew how to foresee earthquakes, he had experimented with the divinatory power of the tripod, and had himself uttered verses prophetic about his own destiny.” – Marinus of Samaria, The Life of Proclus 28

Iamblichus, On the Mysteries 37.3-6; 38.13-40

“To answer your question, the erection of phallic images is a symbol of generative power and we consider that this is directed towards the fecundating of the world; this is the reason, indeed, why most of these images are consecrated in the spring, since this is just when the world as a whole receives from the gods the power of generating all creation. And as for the obscene utterances (aiskhrorrêmosunai), my view is that they have the role of expressing the absence of beauty in matter and the previous ugliness of those things that are going to be brought to order, which, since they lack ordering, yearn for it in the same degree as they spurn the unseemliness that was previously their lot. So then, once again, one is prompted to seek after the causes of form and beauty when one learns the nature of obscenity from the utterance of obscenities; one rejects the practice of obscenities, while by means of uttering them one makes clear one’s knowledge of them, and thus directs one’s striving towards the opposite. And there is another explanation too. When the power of human emotions in us is everywhere confined, it becomes stronger. But when it is brought to exercise briefly and to a moderate extent, it rejoices moderately and is satisfied. By that means it is purged and ceases by persuasion, and not in response to force. It is by this means that, when we see the emotions of others in comedy and in tragedy, we still our own emotions, and make them more moderate and purge them. And in sacred rites, through the sight and sound of the obscenities, we are freed from harm that comes from actual indulgence in them. So things of this sort are embraced for the therapy of our souls and to moderate the evils which come to us through the generative process, to free us from our chains and give us riddance.” – Iamblichus, On the Mysteries 37.3-6; 38.13-40

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 11.497b

“Now the rhyton was earlier called a horn; and it appears to have been manufactured first under the orders of King Ptolemy Philadelphos, that it might be used as an attribute borne by the statues of Arsinoe. For in her left hand the queen carries that sort of object filled with all kinds of fruit, the artists thus indicating that this horn is even richer in blessings than the horn of Amaltheia. Theokes mentions it in his Ithyphallic Verses thus: ‘All we artists have today celebrated with sacrifice the festival of Salvation; in their company I have drunk the double horn and am come into the presence of our dearest king.’” – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 11.497b

Rutilius Namatianus, On his Return 1.371-6

“We halted our weary way at nearby Faleria, although Phoebus had scarcely reached mid-point in the sky. As it happened, happy villagers were easing their weariness with joyful rites at the crossroads in the countryside; it was indeed on that day that Osiris was at last restored to life and arouses the seeds readily to yield new crops.” – Rutilius Namatianus, On his Return 1.371-6

The Council of Trullo, Canon 62

“The so-called Kalends, and what are called Bota and Brumalia, and the full assembly which takes place on the first of March, we wish to be abolished from the life of the faithful. And also the public dances of women, which may do so much harm and mischief. Moreover we drive away from the life of Christians the dances given in the names of those falsely called gods by the Greeks whether of men or women, and which are preformed after an ancient and un-Christian fashion; decreeing that no man from this time forth shall be dressed as a woman, nor any woman in the garb suitable to men. Nor shall he assume comic, satyric, or tragic masks; nor may men invoke the name of the execrable Bacchus when they squeeze out the wine in the presses; nor when pouring out wine into jars [to cause a laugh], practicing in ignorance and vanity the things which proceed from the deceit of insanity. Therefore those who in the future attempt any of these things which are written, having obtained knowledge of them, if they be clerics we order them to be deposed, and if laymen to be cut off.” – The Council of Trullo, Canon 62

Seneca, Epistle to Lucilius 41.5

“If you have ever come on a dense wood of ancient trees that have risen to an exceptional height, shutting out all sight of the sky with one thick screen of branches upon another, the loftiness of the forest, the seclusion of the spot, your sense of wonderment at finding so deep and unbroken a gloom out of doors, will persuade you of the presence of a deity. Any cave in which the rocks have been eroded deep into the mountain resting on it, its hollowing out into a cavern of impressive extent not produced by the labours of men but the result of the processes of nature, will strike into your soul some kind of inkling of the divine. We venerate the source of important streams; places where a mighty river bursts suddenly from hiding are provided with altars; hot springs are objects of worship; the darkness or unfathomable depth of pools has made their waters sacred.” – Seneca, Epistle to Lucilius 41.5

Libanios, Orations 30.9-10

“Temples are the soul of the countryside: they mark the beginning of its settlement, and have been passed down through many generations to the men of today. In them the farming communities rest their hopes for husbands, wives, children, for their oxen and the soil they grow and plant. An estate that has suffered a temple’s deliberate demolition has lost the inspiration of the peasantry together with their hopes, for they believe that their labor will be in vain once they are robbed of the gods who direct their labors to their due end.” – Libanios, Orations 30.9-10

Rescript of Maximinus Daia

“Let them look at the standing crops already flourishing with waving heads in the broad fields, and at the meadows glittering with plants and flowers, in response to abundant rains and the restored mildness and softness of the atmosphere. Finally, let all rejoice that the might of the most powerful and terrible Mars has been propitiated by our piety, our sacrifices, and our veneration; and let them on this account enjoy firm and tranquil peace and quiet; and let as many as have wholly abandoned that blind error and delusion and have returned to a right and sound mind rejoice the more, as those who have been rescued from an unexpected storm or severe disease and are to reap the fruits of pleasure for the rest of their life.” – Rescript of Maximinus Daia, quoted in Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesastical History 6.7.10-11

Historia Monachorum in Aegypto 8.25

“There was a huge temple in one of the villages which housed a very famous idol, though in reality this image was nothing but a wooden statue. The priests together with the people, working themselves up into a bacchic frenzy, used to carry it in procession through the villages, no doubt for the ceremony to ensure the flooding of the Nile.” – Historia Monachorum in Aegypto 8.25