Time’s a cheat, and cheats us all. Time, a thief,
steals from us all. Where does it keep
the years it has taken? Look, here is a man
who yesterday was just a boy. And look who looks
upon that man: who but Love herself, the goddess
Venus, wounded by her son Cupid, a careless lad
who kissed his mother while he still wore his quiver,
scarping her white breast with is barbed arrows.
And what becomes of her? Love, in love, abandons
all her temples and her island sanctuaries, even
hides from heaven, saying that her love is
more beautiful than heaven, more beautiful
than all the sea-ringed islands or rich mountain shrines
or even the voluptuous shade wherein she used to lie.
Love, in love, becomes a huntress, tucking up her robes
and running with bare feet across the rocky world.
Today was the Roman feast of love, the Veneralia, named for their Goddess of love, Venus. North of Rome, the German tribes revealed their wisdom about the effect of seasons upon human life by installing a festival of frivolity and levity at the end of dreary dark, winter. Vestiges of that festival still remain today, as pranksters free the Fool in all of us to break into spring.
The Roman territory was far south of that of the Germanic peoples, and spring is further advanced when the Veneralia occurs. Their festival, too, holds great wisdom about human needs and their relation to earth’s seasons. Who does not feel the stirrings of love in spring? As the snow melts and the days grow longer, as the buds swell upon the trees and catkins dangle from branches, our sensual selves expand and stretch. Flowers burst into bloom, attracting bees to fertilize them; people, too, bloom again, flirting and offering each other tenderness. In placing the festival of Venus at this time, the Romans acknowledged the reborn power of sexuality and love
By Patricia Monaghan – From ” The Goddess Companion”