Piss off, Saint Valentine! Lupercalia is an ancient Roman celebration, held on February 15th, that kicked in the advent of Spring with a very, very festive purification, fertility and sexuality ritual. The ritual began near the cave of Lupercal on the Palatine, an area sacred to Faunus, as well as Ruminia, Romulus and Remus. During Lupercalia, Vestal Virgins first made offerings of sacred cakes to the fig tree under which the she-wolf suckled the Sacred Twins. A dog and two goats were then offered in sacrifice to Faunus. The blood of the sacrifice was smeared onto two naked patrician youths, who were assisted by the Virgins, and the blood was wiped clean with sacred wool dipped in milk. The youths donned the skins of the sacrificial goats, wielding whips made from the goat skins, and then led the priests and the Virgins around the pomarium, and around the base hills of Rome. This was a ceremony of great happiness and merriment, and was of particular interest to young women: being touched by the goat-whips young men that led the procession ensured their fertility in the coming year. It is believed that, after the initial rite, male participants would draw the name of an available maiden, with whom he spent the rest of the night. This scent is for the Luperci, the Chosen of Faunus, the Brothers of the Wolf: raw, down and dirty patchouli, Gurjam balsam, and essence of Sampson Root sweetened with the heightened sexuality of beeswax, virile juniper, oakmoss, ambrette seed over honey and East African musk.
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