Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’
You may have made your New Year’s resolutions and started to pack away your Christmas tree; but the holidays aren’t quite over yet! There’s still Epiphany on January 6th, and more intriguingly Epiphany Eve, tonight on January 5th: a night of celebration and offering to an ancient goddess of magick in disguise.
Epiphany, seemingly a very Christian holiday, is generally celebrated as the anniversary of the night the Three Wise Men, a.k.a. the Magi, reached the end of their long journey following the Christmas star and arrived to meet the baby Jesus; infamous presents in hand. In and of itself, the holiday has more ancient precedents. For the story of the Magi did not originally belong to Christianity, but is a re-telling of a far older Persian myth regarding the birth of the god Mithras. Epiphany is therefore essentially a pagan holiday. But the Italians have made it even more magickal, adding on their own little witchy twist: Befana.
Befana is to January 5th what Santa Claus is to Christmas Eve: a well-wishing elemental spirit who delivers goodies and blessings to children and households who put out small offerings to her. But where Santa Claus likes his milk and cookies; Befana has more grown up tastes. She prefers a midnight snack of a little cup of wine and perhaps some appetizers: though I’m sure cookies would do in a pinch. She’s considered quite a wild figure and is meant to have a rather wicked sense of humor, so I’m sure she’d be happy to go with the flow. In return, Befana traditionally gifts her celebrants with candy, figs, dates, honey, and sometimes small gifts; often hiding them away in your socks rather like the Dutch Father Christmas. She also might give your house a quick sweep in her role as a sort of archetypal grandmother to all. Read the rest of this entry »