Not for the Faint of Heart…..
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I thought I would research the history of this special occasion. I was excited to get started on my reading. I wasn’t far into my project when I realized that this topic was not at all what I thought it would be.
After some deliberation, I decided to go forward with this particular article. Human history is strange and full of things that may seem odd to us now. It is our history and it is fascinating to learn where some of our celebrations may have originated.
Lupercalia was an ancient pagan festival that was celebrated every year in Rome on the 15th of February. Despite the fact that Valentine’s Day shares it name with a few martyred Christian saints (that is next weeks article), some historians believe that the origin goes back much further than this.
You might be surprised to learn that Lupercalia was a bloody, sexually-charged celebration that included animal sacrifice and random matchmaking. This was all done to ward off evil spirits and infertility.
Remember what I said at the beginning, this article is not for the faint of heart…..LOL
In order to understand the celebration of Lupercalia, we need to look back to the beliefs about the establishment of Rome.
Romulus and Remus
According to Roman legend, there was a King by the name of Amulius who reigned in the 8th century B.C. Amulius had several people killed in order to hang on to his kingly position. I learned that he killed his own child for this reason. He also ordered that his twin-nephews be drowned in the Tiber River.
The twin nephews were named Romulus and Remus. You may have heard of them.
A servant took pity on the two boys and instead of tossing them into the river, they were placed in a basket and set afloat. It was believed that a river-god protected them and caused their basket to stop near a wild fig tree where it became tangled in its branches. It was at this point that the boys were rescued and cared for by a she-wolf. This wolf had a den at the base of Palatine Hill; this is where Rome was founded.
Romulus and Remus were eventually found by a shepherd and his wife who took them in and raised them as their own. When the boys grew up they learned that King Amulius had ordered them to be drowned. In reaction to this news, they killed the King.
According to legend, the boys also located the den of the she-wolf that had nurtured and cared for them. They named the she-wolf Luper and the den was named Lupercal.
Lupercalia, celebrated on February 15th, became the festival to honor both the she-wolf and the Roman fertility god Faunus.
The Rituals of Lupercalia
The celebration of Lupercalia started at Lupercal cave with animal sacrifices. These sacrifices included goats and dogs. Once the sacrifices were complete, blood was smeared onto the foreheads of some of the men using the sacrificial knife. It was then removed from their skin using milk soaked wool.
Once this ritual was completed they sat down to a meal. When the meal was over, strips of hide were cut from the newly sacrificed goats. At this point the men ran about naked (or almost naked) and lashed women with the strips of hide.
It is my understanding that this ritual was not brutal, in fact many women welcomed the lashes and even bared their own skin. They believed that they would be more fertile if they did this. Another interesting ritual that these people performed was the act of randomly choosing a mate for the duration of the celebration. Sometimes these couples stayed together until the next Lupercalia celebration, sometimes they remained together for life.
In my research, it was noted that the colors related to Valentine’s Day may have originated from this pagan celebration. Red being the color of the blood of the sacrificed animals and white being the milk that soaked the wool to wash the blood off the men’s forehead. White represented new life and procreation.
As I mentioned above, I was surprised to learn about this celebration. I had never heard of it before.
Ok, that’s enough history for now. As fascinating as that was, lets focus on essential oils and chocolate!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Essential Oils
Essential oils have been used as powerful aphrodisiacs for thousands of years. If you are tired of going to that same old crowded restaurant for Valentine’s Day then why not try something different? Stay home and spend time with your loved one in the quiet surroundings of your very own home. Spice things up with essential oils.
I’ve made a list of six essential oils that are known to help us relax and feel good. There are lots of oils that have these benefits, not just the ones I have listed here. I have also included a few blends you can try out.
For more information about Jasmine Essential Oil see the Related Articles’ section below.
Valentine’s Day Blends
Sensual Citrus Blend
- 5 Drops Ylang Ylang
- 3 Drops Rose
- 3 Drops Sweet Orange
- 2 Drops Rose absolute
- 2 Drops Jasmine absolute
- 6 Drops Geranium
Love Potion Blend
- 4 Drops Jasmine absolute
- 6 Drops Grapefruit
These suggested blends are general recommendations. You can experiment to find a combination that you like best. Making essential oil blends is very personal and recipes can vary. Feel free to blend oils for future use (mix and store in a dark glass bottle).
Massage – Surprise that special someone with a massage. Use the blends listed above or create your own personalized blend.
Bath – Enjoy a nice long soak in the tub for two (providing your tub is large enough). Add essential oils to your water to create a sensuous atmosphere. Pour a glass of wine and breathe in the sumptuous aroma while spending time with the one you love the most.
Diffuse – Diffuse essential oils anywhere, anytime. It’s an easy way to help create the perfect environment.
Please note, most essential oils are very potent and may cause irritation if applied directly to the skin. If you intend to use your essential oils for massage or in the bath be sure to mix the EOs with a carrier oil first. A suggested ratio of essential oils to carrier oil is 12 drops of EOs to 10 ml of carrier.
For a bath, add your mixture to your tub after it is filled with water, before getting in swish the water around with your hand to ensure the oils have dispersed well.
Recommended carrier oils include Jojoba, Almond, Olive, Grapeseed, Coconut or Fractionated Coconut oil to name a few.
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Mmmm…The Benefits of Chocolate!
Did you know that chocolate is an aphrodisiac? This tasty treat can boost your mood in a way that is similar to how we feel when we fall in love.
The link between the cocoa bean and sexual desire was first recorded by the Aztecs.
Chocolate actually has a number of other benefits such as:
- Stress Reliever
- Improves Blood Flow to the Brain
- Contains Antioxidants
- Can improve cognitive functions
Chocolates are always a nice gift to receive, whether you are a man or a woman. I mean who doesn’t like chocolate! Now we can eat it and think about the health benefits as we savor the delectable flavor…LOL.
I suppose the trick is to not overindulge. Easier said than done for some of us. Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, so why not indulge yourself?
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Celebrate Love Everyday
We don’t need to wait for February 14th to show love to the people we cherish. It’s my belief that we should never miss an opportunity to express our feelings for those we care for. No matter the time of year or whether it is a special day or not, tell the people you love how you feel.
I hope you enjoyed this article. The celebration of Lupercalia was certainly an interesting topic. Next week I will be bringing you Part 2 of the History of Valentine’s Day as well as some new and exciting essential oil recipes to try.
If you have any comments about this article I would absolutely love to hear from you. Take a minute and drop a comment in the box provided below.
Take good care of yourselves, stay happy and healthy!
Angela (founder of Your Aromatherapy Store)
I would like to remind you that essential oils are very POTENT and should be used with common sense and caution. Always read the labels. If you are currently taking any prescribed medication it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before using essential oils.
If you are concerned about allergies, you may want to perform a patch test on your skin.
It is also good to be aware that some essential oils are photo toxic. Avoid the sun as necessary when using these oils.
Please know that some oils are not recommended if you are pregnant or nursing.
Essential oils are considered “complementary and alternative medicines” and are not always a substitute for professional medical intervention and advice. If you are experiencing severe physical or mental illness it is best to contact a medical professional.