Friday, 1 April 2011

Walking in Beauty and Various Other Ramblings

A Visit to The British Museum with a Friend ~ photography by Robin Dalton

I have joined The Ultimate Blog Challenge. It’s true. What this means is that in order to complete the challenge, I need to post 30 times during April 2011 with a minimum of 100 words. I know. I can hear you now. One hundred words should be a walk in the park for Robin, the woman who never seems to know quite when silence may be the appropriate response. However, it’s amazing how quickly writer’s block can settle in, and make itself at home, when you tell yourself, you must write something today…

So, watch this space…

Today is the 1st of April, April fool’s Day. I just couldn’t be inspired to write something interesting about April fool’s Day. My life is already reeling from tricks the Universe has seen fit to play on me. So, like millions of other people, I turned to Wikipedia.

April 1st is also a Roman holiday called Verneralia. The Veneralia (April 1) was the Ancient Roman festival of Venus Verticordia ("Changer of hearts"), the goddess of love and beauty. The worship of the goddess Fortuna Virilis ("Bold fortune") was also part of this festival.

In Rome, women removed jewellery from the statue of the goddess, washed her, and adorned her with flowers, and similarly bathed themselves in the public baths wearing wreaths of myrtle on their heads. It was generally a day for women to seek divine help in their relations with men (Goddess knows we need them ~me).

April is under the protection of Venus, and some ancient authors derived the month's name from Aphrodite (perhaps via a conjectured Etruscan form, Aprodita); others derive it from aperire (to open), since it is the time when, according to Cincius and Varro, “fruits and flowers and animals and seas and lands open.”

The Veneralia, on the first day of Venus’ month, honors Venus Verticordia (Changer of Hearts) and Her companion Fortuna Virilis (Bold Fortune). In ancient times all the women, married and unmarried, went to the men's baths, as today they might go to swimming pools. Upon arriving they offer incense to Fortuna Virilis and pray that the men will not see any blemishes the women might have. They make a libation and drink the potion Venus drank on Her wedding night: pounded poppy with milk and honey. An ancient commentary (probably by Verrius) says they go to the baths to view the men's virile members. The women, crowned with myrtle wreaths, bathe and pray that Venus will bring them concord and a modest life. Ovid says, “beauty and fortune and good fame are in Her keeping.”

In addition, the women remove the jewelry and other ornaments from the statues of Venus and Fortuna so that they can be washed, after which they are redecorated and adorned with roses (Venus’s flower).”

I have decided that we should all continue to celebrate Veneralia. It seems much more... well, just much more than April Fool’s Day.

I did not go swimming in any men’s baths. Yes, a sad disappointment for you all, I am sure. But I did spend quite some time in my bathroom dying my hair a gorgeous shade of plum. It is not really a shade that God intended, but I am sure the Goddess is very much pleased with my creative devotion to beauty. I know I am.

Until tomorrow, try to walk in beauty…  (maybe even after tomorrow...)

Our hearts are drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see.  ~George W. Russell

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Junkyard Venus ~ photography by Robin Dalton (Yes, I know you've seen her before, but I still love her...)


  1. Interesting. I didn't know that bit of history. But on the plum hair, if creation put the color in the rainbow and in nature around us, it must be beautiful. :)

  2. Robin, I adored this post, so informative -I love learning new things every day, your photographs are absolutely outstanding and I just love that I had the pleasure of listening to one of my favourite pieces of music 'Clair de Lune' whilst reading. Thank you for sharing this and for doing the blog challenge with me :) xx