Self-Love as a Radical Act

Happy Lupercalia! Before St. Valentine, there was a fertility festival dedicated to the horned god of the forest Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. Many believe that he and Pan are one in the same. This day was called Lupercalia, so named after the Roman priests called Luperci. What once was a consensually violent and sexually charged day of wild festivities and very public coupling, thrupling, and quadrupling, has dwindled into a domesticated Hallmark holiday - a time of commercialized love. It's nearly impossible to get away from depictions of happy people, smiling and seemingly drunk on rapturous love, whether while sharing a branded soda or otherwise. But at the root of this time, February offers us the opportunity to dive deep into our warmth as the winds whip our skin, coaxing us back indoors to our warm happy place. In sweet solitude, we can slip into our dreamspace and entertain some of our own personal fantasies, oscillating between the practical, the intuitive, and the otherworldly. Self-love is not supported as a whole in our culture. It's often pegged with words like "lazy," "absent," or put down as a lack of dedication. The pedestal of working until the point of exhaustion is held high, but is beginning to crumble as more individuals find new paths towards honoring their lives and beautiful unique existence.
There are so many roads to romancing the self. What even is romance? According to the Webster Mariam dictionary, romance is "a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life." To court. To woo. To fall in love with the mystery of. Shouldn't this be a value applied to ourselves first and foremost? There is real healing in the disappearance from the superficial. As spacetime gets foggy around us, we can dissolve into our own sensual nature, enjoy the pleasure of our company as we are, or find space to luxuriate in our perfectly imperfectly perfect selves. However we feel, whether we're experiencing joy, sorrow, anger, hilarity, or a mixture of feelings - they can be validated and supported from within. This is a time to unhinge from the draining need to find our purpose, and simply let the moment be the reason for all things that we are.
When Lupercalia was celebrated, the festival was full of wild ceremony- perhaps made to distract and effectively remove those involved from the external moment. Maybe it's time to apply this to our own lives. Sink into the entireness of the self. Feel all the feels. Some of them might be painful, and you're entirely allowed to do what's necessary to approach them as you need and in your own time. Because you know what? That's part of self-love. Patience, not greed. Love, not pushiness. What we desire in others we must first provide for ourselves - and that is an individual journey.

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