The Romans, Red Rum, and the Glorious Horses of Mars


The often chilly month of March is named after the Roman god of developing energies and warfare, ‘Mars.’ 

This period was exceptionally important to the primordial peoples, as it was once given as the opening month of the new season.  January and February, which were also named after Roman divinities, were originally believed to be rather stagnant months with little significance being allotted to them.
On the 14th day of the month a festivity called the ‘Equiria’ was held. This festival was sacred to Mars and great horse races were run in the Campus Martius. 
The March Equiria was in fact the second festival of this name, the first having been held on February 27th. The legendary Romulus, (brother of Remus, son of Mars), first instituted these two events. 
During the Equiria all kinds of articles relating to the cavalry units were lustrated and spiritually purified. The Horse was one of the animals held most sacrosanct to Mars, the others being the Wolf, Vulture, Magpie and the Dog.
The horse is connected with this deity not only because of its link with combat, but also from its previous origins as a beast of burden in agricultural circles. 

The Grand National and Southport’s Red Rum 

Today, it would be quite interesting to note how many punters preparing to ‘make or break’ on the Grand National, ever pondered on the ancient spiritual link to their activity. 

My home town of Southport in Lancashire had the privilege of seeing that most famous charger, Red Rum, win that particular race in glorious fashion several times. 
Above: Red Rum’s sculpture.  The ancient Romans would have undoubtedly held this famous Southport winner in the utmost esteem. 
NB. This video gives explicit evidence that this most glorious horse was indeed blessed with the vital power of Mars. 
Modern Disrespect for the Horse 
Incidentally, in the UK of late there has been an awful lot of turmoil over conniving supermarkets being exposed for putting horse meat into ‘alleged’ beef burgers and other processed foods. 
Many folk are not even aware that the British taboo over horse meat consumption may be linked to the early Celtic veneration for this noble animal. The Celts even had a beloved goddess called ‘Epona’ who related to the horse. In like fashion, the pragmatic Romans also held the rebellious Celtic charioteers in enormous admiration due to their amazing abilities with their animals in times of epic conflict. 
The Sacred Shield 
On the 19th day of the month, the ‘Sacred Shield,’ (Ancile or Ancyle) received great attention and affection. The Ancile fell from the heavens during the reign of King Numa. He informed the Romans that the very safety/fate of their domain depended upon the shield. Numa had eleven copies of the shield made to foil any attempts of rebellion by enemies or criminals. 
Special warrior priests called ‘Salii’ were instituted in the ‘Temple of Vesta’ to guard the Ancile. These priests of Mars all came from noble families and their feasts were significantly lavish affairs. They decorated themselves in bright red tunics fixed firmly with a purple belt and carried a rod and a shield.
The Salii were twelve in number (one for each shield,) which incidentally seems to be a number afterwards adopted by eager bible compilers for the Apostles. 
This would imply that ‘12’ is a hallowed number of protections, long since passed down from one antediluvian culture to the next. There is an enormous surplus of Pagan perception such as this diminutive psychic truth, just awaiting rediscovery by today’s more enlightened nonconformist.
Early Christianity, like every other monotheistic religion, has concealed then hijacked traditions, festivals and rites from much older native Pagan faiths. This is not speculation, it is historically proven fact!
Scarlet/Red is the colour of the ‘Warrior God’, and as such belongs to the realm of death and destruction. Mars was never a deity to “turn the other cheek!” Such simpering platitudes ‘supposedly’ held by later all-conquering monotheistic faith systems have proved for centuries to be the attitude of the hypocrite and coward. Is it prudent to “turn the other cheek” to a murderer, rapist or insensitive robber that wishes to obliterate, without hesitation, our loved ones? Surely if such a ridiculous philosophy were ever to have been ‘seriously’ adopted by the sheep-like masses then humanity would have ceased to exist centuries ago! 
Common logic dictates to every well-balanced living creature that self-preservation (by means of self-defence) is the highest law. To fly against such natural wisdom belongs to the kingdom of the self-righteous fool!
Red is also the colour of life-blood, which gives us vivacity and new strength. It is the flush of the rose of Venus and the purity marked by the rising sun. With life there is also death and vice versa, we cannot have one without the other. 
Our ancient Pagan predecessors knew these simple truths well. The established magnificence of the vibrant leaping, dancing Salii displayed this psychic, earth – orientated wisdom admirably. Contemporary Pagan adherents continue to spiritually synchronise with the same everlasting, universal growing energies that continually surround us. 
These natural green forces invade our very being in the promising month of new growth; the sacred time period that links us to the great god of essential creative/destructive life force, Mars!
Now is the time to propagate the fresh March seeds on all levels of existence for summer’s first rewards to come.
Pat Regan © 2013 

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