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Minerva's Day

Each year around this time I like to rededicate my craft room as a temple to the goddess Minerva. Thank you all for coming to be a part of this. As a temple it’s more than a craft room. It’s a clearing house for the crafts we do during our Grove presentations and rituals. If you are planning any of those be sure to check with the temple first for supplies. Minerva may have just what you need. Also, never throw away craft supplies. The temple will take and find it a home.



Minerva is the Roman goddess of wisdom. Her domains included medicine, poetry, commerce, and handicrafts. She was in charge of so many things that Ovid called her the “goddess of a thousand works”!

Minerva was celebrated in a variety of festivals in ancient Rome. The most famous one may have been the Quinquatrus. It went from March 19-23. It ushered in the Spring with song and merriment. It was common for the Romans to rededicate the temple annually. No opportunity for a celebration was missed. On a day dedicated to Minerva there would be stories and song and poetry and crafting. This day will be just that. Oh and of course we can’t forget food. We will definitely feast later on.

 

This festival was of deepest importance to artists, artisans, musicians, poets, and craftsmen as she was the patron goddess of crafting and the arts. It was the flute players guild that usually hosted the festivities on the first day. They called Her Minerva Luscinia – a name that means ‘nightingale’ because she is said to have invented the flute. But it is said that despite her love for music, Minerva was embarrassed by how the instrument made her cheeks puff when she played it—something the deities Venus and Juno noticed and mocked her for terribly. As a result, Minerva threw the instrument into a riverbed, where it was later found by a satyr named Pan before coming into human hands.

The festival was 5 days long, and the first day was said to be the anniversary of Minerva's birth, so no blood was to be shed. The next four days the blood flowed freely in the gladiatorial games but we just do the first day here. The only blood I’ve shed in crafting was that time I took up quilting

 

As the goddess of wisdom, Minerva covers a wide range of strategies. Running a household, a business, or an empire takes strategy. That is why the Greek influence made her a goddess of war. In every other way she already mirrored the Greek goddess Athena, but her reign began much earlier than that.

Menrva sat in the Holy triad of the Etruscans alongside Tinia and Uni, which later became Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva to the Romans. Together they were considered the patrons of Rome. The Brawn, the Heart, and the Brains.

The Etruscan Menrva was part of this holy triad with Tinia and Uni long before Rome was established, but the Etruscans themselves found the goddess already thriving in the region. This ancient goddess was called Meneswa, which means “she who measures”. This origin can be seen in one of Minerva’s other titles: Minerva Mensa, “Minerva who measures time”. Minerva continues to stand for wisdom and the act of creating things. It is for this reason that She is the patron goddess of Fiber Magickians.

 

This Etruscan/Italic Goddess blended the attributes of being a patroness of household tasks, including arts and crafts, and also being the patroness of protection. Today she joins in Spring festivities by helping people prepare their lands for sowing and embracing the figurative lands of our hearts, homes, and spirits with her positive energy. As the goddess of commerce, Minerva presided over trade, crafts, and economic activities which at that time would very much include the harvest. In ancient times, this was a day to bless one’s lands and borders. Gifts of corn, honey, and wine were given to the earth and its spirits to keep the property safe and fertile throughout the year.

In modern times, this equates to a Minerva-centered house blessing or craft room blessing. Her influence extended to artisans, merchants, and those engaged in business endeavors. I ask Minerva to bless my craft shows to sell all the things and my workshops to give me the right words.

Minerva Medica was a patron of doctors. Minerva Medica, meaning ‘Minerva of doctors.’ Was the name by which one of her primary temples was known, this epithet helped cement her position as the embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. Healers would do well to include Minerva in their pantheon and if you are in need of a healer there is no better deity on which to call.

Minerva Castitis is the patron of olive trees. This has to do with a story that Minerva and Athena have in common. As the story goes ...

In ancient times, each town had a special deity, a god that looked after them. Neptune, Lord of the Sea, was a very powerful god. He loved attention. He loved having towns build temples to worship him. He loved the gifts people brought him.

Neptune was always on the lookout for towns that had not yet been claimed by a god. He wanted as many towns as possible to call his own. Although towns could only have one god to watch over them, gods could watch over as many towns as they chose.

One day, Minerva, goddess of wisdom, and Neptune, lord of the sea, both claimed a coastal village. Normally, the people in the village would have been thrilled to be selected by a god to watch over them. But two gods at once? A town could have only one guardian, and they did not want to choose. They did not want to anger either god.

Minerva, who was wise as well as beautiful, understood their worry. She suggested that both gods should give the town a gift. The townspeople could decide which gift was better. Neptune loved the idea. The townspeople, if possible, were even more nervous than before.

Neptune tapped the side of the mountain. Water flowed out in a beautiful stream. Fresh water was so important. The people were sure Neptune had won. When they tasted the water, they tried to smile, but they had to spit the water out. It was salt water!

Then Minerva waved her hand. An olive tree began to grow. Olives thrive in a salty climate. The people tasted the olives. Smiles broke out. The olives were delicious. The olive tree would provide food, shelter, and oil for cooking. It was a magnificent gift indeed.

But no coastal village would risk angering the lord of the sea, the mighty Neptune. Fortunately for the people, they did not have to choose.

Neptune threw back his head and laughed his mighty roar. "Yours is a far better gift than mine, my lovely niece. The village is yours!"

 

Minerva Armipotens is powerful in arms and the patron of war strategy. Here again this connects Her to the Greek goddess Athena. While her association with war and battle was perhaps not as overt as was the case with her Greek counterpart, Minerva  did still play a part in strategic warfare and was revered by warriors for her wisdom and knowledge. By the time of the later Republic period, Minerva had begun to overshadow Mars where battle strategies and war were concerned. Minerva being part of the Capitoline Triad, along with Jupiter and Juno meant She was one of the protectors of the city of Rome.

 

Minerva’s Symbols include the Snake, the olive branch, the Geranium but most prominently The Owl. To this day the owl is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. We made Minerva’s Owl in our Fiber Magick Classes. Let me show how it’s done.

Demonstrate Minerva’s Owl –



Make 2 eyes – Ch 2, 6 Sc in 2nd Ch from hook in pupil color

Rd 2 – Sc inc around in white (12) FO leaving tail

Body – Ch 2, 8 Sc in 2nd Ch from hook (8)

Rd 2 – Sc inc around (16)

Rd 3 – 4 Sc, 4 Hdc inc, 4 Sc, 4 Hdc inc (24)

Rd 4 – 4 Hdc, Hdc inc, (Dc picot Dc), Hdc inc, 2 Sc, Hdc inc, (Dc picot Dc), Hdc inc, 4Hdc, {Hdc inc, Hdc} 4 times. (38) FO

 

We certainly carry on Minerva’s spirit when we meet together to plarn. We turn plastic grocery sacks into plastic yarn, or plarn, which will then be crocheted into plastic sleeping mats to be distributed to folks who are experiencing homelessness.  This will add an extra moisture barrier between them and the ground. It cuts down on the bacterial growth in their blankets.  Maybe a thin layer of comfort will be added. Does this solve the homeless problem we see in this country? No, but it’s like the parable of the Stranded Starfish…

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one.

Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”.

The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?”

The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

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