Gods of the Month: Consus and Ops

Ripe wheat on a blue sky

Ripe golden wheat on a blue sky

Ops, the Goddess of Abundance and Consus, the God of the Granary could be regarded as the female and male Gods of the Bountiful Earth. Two festivals for Consus and Ops are held annually – the first in August, and the second in December. The August festivals are held after the harvest, the December ones after sowing.

In August, the Consualia (August 21) and the Opiconsiva (August 25) act as bookends for the Volcanalia, is held for Volcanus, the God of Fire. In December, the Consualia (December 15) comes before Saturnalia (December 17) held for Saturnus, with the Opalia following on December 19. Some religious historians theorized that the reason for the conjunction of these festivals has to do with the “humors of Earth.” The hot dryness of Volcanus contrasts with the cold wetness of Saturnus. Meanwhile, Consus and Ops act as the bookends for these two opposites.

On the Consualia, the underground altar of Consus is dug out. (Romulus, who initiated this festival, had claimed that He found an altar dedicated to this God underground.) Grain would be offered to Consus to protect the stores of food. Around His altar, images of Seia, the Goddess of Sowing, Segetia, Goddess of Standing Grain, and Tutulina, Goddess of Harvesting are placed. These Goddesses are given wreaths with flowers. (Note: Agricultural Deities never have their names said out loud indoors.)

On August 24, the Mundus Patet is opened for the first time in the year. The other two times are October 5 and November 8. “When the mundus is opened, the doorway is opened on the gloom of the infernal Gods.” (Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.16.18) The Mundus is believed to be the underground granary of the Romans.

The Opiconsiva is held in honor of Ops Consiva, Bountiful Lady of Planting. Her sacrarium (shrine) was the penus (pantry) of the Regia (the headquarters of the Pontifex Maximus (the head priest)). The Romans stored their sacred objects were stored there. The Sacerdos Publica (presiding priest) and Vestal Virgins would make offerings at the sacrarium in a private ceremony.

Gods of the Month: August

When Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar, the Roman Senate voted to name a month for him – “July.” Caesar’s calendar (known as the Julian Calendar) featured alternating months of 30 and 31 days. July of course had 31 days. In contrast, February had the fewest days – 29, with leap year adding an extra day.

When Augustus became Emperor of Rome, the Senate voted to add “August” after July. Since August only had 30 days, the Senate took one from February and added it to this month. The calendar was rearranged with June and September having thirty days. August could not have any less days than July, since Augustus was equal to Julius Caesar.

For Romans, August is a busy month of festivals. The harvest is coming due and needs to be collected. Since the summer is still hot and dry, the fire season has started. Therefore, the Gods of Harvest and Gods of Fires are honored.

Vertumnus (Vortumnus)
Held on August 13, the Vertumnalia is to celebrate Vertumnus, the Changer of the Seasons. Since He is also the Husband of Pomona, the Goddess of Fruit, Vertumnus receives the first fruits of the harvest. This God is depicted holding in his right hand, grapes, cherries, and other fruits, while at his feet sets a basket of cucumbers.

Portunus
To honor Portunus, the God of Ports and Keys, Romans hold the Portunalia on August 17. Because He first protected gates, Portunus is shown holding keys. During the Portunalia, people throw their keys into fires to safeguard their homes.

Volcanus (Vulcan)
On August 23, the Volcanalia is held to ask Volcanus, the God of Raging Fires, to “stay at rest.” Sacrifices are also made to Stata Mater, the Goddess of Quenching the Fire and Juturna, the Goddess of Streams as well. To honor Volcanus, herds are driven over fires, and fish are offered to Him. Also, people ask Him to protect their homes from fire.

Consus and Ops
The first sets of two festivals for Consus and Ops is held on August 21, the Consualia, and August 25, the Opiconsivia. The second sets of festivals is held in December. The first set celebrates the end of the harvest, and the second the autumn sowing. Between the August festivals, the Mundus Patet (the Door to the Underworld) is opened on August 24 for the first time in the year.

The Consualia, a public festival, featured horse racing. The God of the Granary, Consus is also associated with mules and horses. He also receives receive offerings of first fruits of the harvest.

Meanwhile the Opiconsivia for Ops, the Goddess of Plenty, is a private affair attended by the Vestal Virgins and the Sacerdos Publica (head priest). Ops in her role of Consiva (the Sower) is celebrated. Therefore during this festival to Ops, one hand touches the earth while invoking this Goddess.

Volturnus
Finally on August 27, the Volturnalia is held to ask Volturnus not to bring the drying winds. Originally an Etruscan God, Volturnus raises clouds of dust thereby causing much devastation. For the Ancient Romans, the drying winds came from the southeast, therefore Volturnus is also the God of the Southeast Wind.

God of the Month: Ops Consiva

nbops-painting-2x4

(Painting of Ops by Grace Palmer)

During Saturnalia, the Opalia is held on December 19. The Consort of Saturn, Ops is a Goddess of Abundance and Wealth. Since She is a Goddess of the Harvest as well, Ops is also the Consort of Consus. The Opalia celebrates the winter sowing. For offerings, Ops Consiva (Ops the Sower) receives milk and honey poured on the ground.

“Holy Goddess, Ops, Mother of all nature, engendering all things and regenerating them each day, as You alone bring forth from Your womb all things into life.”

(Antonius Musa, Pracatio Terrae)

You can purchase this as a prayer card at Ops Card. I wrote the prayer for the card.

God of the Month: Consus

ndwinterwheat

One December 15, the second Consualia is held in honor of Consus, the God of the Granary. The first, held in August, is for celebrating the harvest. The second, this one, is for the autumn sowing of wheat. Consus of the Underground Granary protects the wheat supplies, which includes winter wheat. I usually place barley under a pile of rocks (to represent the underground granary).

Salve Consus Pater!

Protector of the Granary

Help us to husband our supplies

May the granary always be full

May we be grateful for winter wheat

In the hungry spring.

We thank You

Salve Consus Pater!