Our Lady of Celestial Fire

Festival of Vulcanalia

August 23

(Roman) Ancient: X Kal. Sept.
Vulcan is the god of fire, an ambivalent force of destruction and preservation. His temple is outside the city, because He is too dangerous to be allowed within the walls (especially at this time of year), and His altar is cut into the Lapis Niger (Black Rock). As lord of beneficial fire, He is called Mulciber (“who charms fire”) and Quietus (Peaceful), and in the latter role He is associated with Stata Mater (the Mother Goddess who stays advancing fires). In ancient times lay people offered live fish (which normally are safe from Vulcan) and other animals to Vulcan as a substitute for human lives. Now we might offer Him small parts or symbols of ourselves (hair, nail parings, poppets), our homes (bits of wood), our possessions (clothing, paper), etc.

Other gods associated with Vulcanus are also honored on this day, including Maia (His wife), Ops (whose is worshipped again in two days), and the Nymphs.