The seventh month of the year sees the post solstice decadence begin. The lush green of spring that ripened during June, now becomes overblown in the heat; the dog days of summer have arrived.
July was named after Julius Caesar, ‘Divus Iulius’ who was deified (made God) in the year 42 BC.
The month had previously been dedicated to Furrina, whose festival was celebrated on the 25th. Furrinalia was grouped with the other July festivals of Neptunalia & Lucaria, this trio being dedicated to the woods and water, which are illustrative of shelter from the searing heat of the season.
The Gods associated with July are thin on the ground, but taking a moment to reflect on the period, we feel that Pan is still an active presence. The Oak King is at his most powerful, as is the Sun God/hero, mature and in his prime, his demise yet to come. The Dark God/Holly King, born at summer solstice has yet to challenge the throne. We do not believe/subscribe to the school of thought that the battle between Holly & Oak / Sun & Dark God takes place at Summer Solstice. Some of you may find the following link of interest when considering this.
Goddesses include Furrina (see above), Lady of the Beasts, and the archetypal Mother Earth resplendent in her summer robes, bountiful and nourishing.
July Saints are Thomas the Apostle (Doubting Thomas), St Swithun, St Margaret of Antioch, The Magdalene, St James the Apostle, (the Greater) also known as ‘Son of Thunder’, which is apt considering July sees thunder storms aplenty. St Ignatius of Loyola, St Mary, Martha & Lazarus, this trio are named ‘Companions of the Lord’.
On the land animals grow fat on summer grass and await the butcher. Cereal crops ripen and swell in the summer sunshine, agricultural work is in full swing and will continue into Autumn. Most of us when freed from work, will seek the cool of waterside, whether stream, shore or seaside resort.
July festivals/customs include Grotto Days and Well Dressing.
This month we contemplate ‘Abundance / Decadence’. What is enough? Are we mindful of how we use the earths/our own resources? Do we take enough for our needs, too little or too much?
Our meditation subject is ‘the gift of nourishment’. Where is it coming from and how do we give it in return?