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What is the Secret Festival of Bona Dea?




Every year in early December, thought to be the night of 4th of December, the Ancient Roman women gathered in celebration and worship of Bona Dea - The Good Goddess.  This goddess was different from others as such were her powers of healing and fertility, men would allow women to worship her in secret, rather than risk upsetting the goddess.  Days before her festival, all males (including animals, paintings and ornaments) were removed from the home of the Annual Senior Magistrate, where the festival would take place.  The Magistrate himself would leave the home along with any sons or other men.  The festival would be prepared by the Vestal Virgins who were highly regarded Priestesses and usually only available to men for rituals.  The house would be decorated with vines, flowers and any Myrtle (said to have been used to kill the goddess in her previous incarnation) would be removed.  A place would be set and left empty for the goddess.  Later the Vestal Virgins would sacrifice a pregnant sow. As upsetting as that is, it is an indicator of how important this festival was as something as vital to living as this, would not be sacrificed otherwise.  At the festival women would drink wine from a vessel referred to as a honey pot and call the wine Milk. It was referred to as this, as women weren't allowed to drink wine.  Some reports suggest that there was also an orgy at the festival, but due to the secrecy of the event, it's unclear if this is true or just the suspicion of the men shut out from it.  The women who attended were of stature and were rich. It was at this mysterious festival that they would plot to assist poor women. This would have been very risky and they would have been killed or ostracised if they were found out.  Not much more is recorded about the festival, but what we do know is that we will be celebrating it here at The Good Goddess HQ.  We hope you will join us. Let us know what you will do in her honour.  Lots of love, The Good Goddess Project Team.  

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