Bona Dea, the Good Goddess, has another name, which is still unknown. Some scholars believe that She called Fauna and is linked in some way to Faunus, the God of the Fields and Fertility. One reason for the confusion of who She is that this Goddess is mostly concerned with women’s mysteries. Ancient Romans regarded her rites to be that of a Dionysian nature full of ecstasy and sexuality. Since they did not care for that, many Romans neglected to know Her Name.
On December 3, her secret rites are held at a private home. Wine, myrtle, and males are not allowed at her ritual. Her myths center on Faunus getting Her drunk and trying to force Himself on Her. When She refused, He beat Her nearly to death with a myrtle scourge. However, if women want to bring wine, they refer to this drink as “milk” and serve it in a “honey pot.”
Historical note: Julius Caesar divorced Pompeia, his wife, when Publius Clodius disguised himself as a woman to attend her ritual for Bona Dea in 62 BCE. Clodius had profaned the ritual, because he was a male. This incident is the source of the quote: “even Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.”
Read at “Antinous For Everybody,” POEM: To Bona Dea on her feast