This year, I’ve really kind of felt a pull away from Valentine’s Day and a draw to study Lupercalia. Given that I have a lot of Sicilian ancestry, it only seems appropriate. “Lupercalia was a very ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral festival, observed on February 13 through 15 to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia subsumed Februa, an earlier-origin spring cleansing ritual held on the same date, which gives the month of February (Februarius) its name.
The name Lupercalia was believed in antiquity to evince some connection with the Ancient Greek festival of the Arcadian Lykaia and the worship of Lycaean Pan, assumed to be a Greek equivalent to Faunus, as instituted by Evander.
In Roman mythology, Lupercus is a god sometimes identified with the Roman god Faunus, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Pan. Lupercus is the god of shepherds. His festival, celebrated on the anniversary of the founding of his temple on February 15, was called the Lupercalia. His priests wore goatskins. The historian Justin mentions an image of “the Lycaean god, whom the Greeks call Pan and the Romans Lupercus,” nude save for the girdle of goatskin, which stood in the Lupercal, the cave where Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf. There, on the Ides of February (in February the ides is the 13th), a goat and a dog were sacrificed, and salt mealcakes prepared by the Vestal Virgins were burnt.” 
The sacrifice of goats and dogs may be troubling for some (myself included) and may result in a knock on the door from your local police department and/or the ASPCA. I would like to believe that as our consciousness has grown and evolved, so has that of the gods’. I ran across a great piece entitled “Lupercalia – Adapting an Ancient Roman Festival for Modern Times“. In it, it gives some great alternatives to blood sacrifice and making it more symbolic, yet keeping the Spirit alive. Since the wolf is one of my favorite animals and is in one way or another a totem or guide for me, I really love and embrace the idea of doing something to help the wolf – whether donating money to a charitable organization that speaks up and tries to save the wolves and/or education and raising awareness about preserving the species. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP THE WOLVES.
As for personal workings, this really resonated with me: “Amulius deprived his nephews of their parents. The Gods stepped in and gave them wolf parents. Another aspect that could be reflected upon is the way in which the Gods provide alternatives when we suffer losses in our lives. Thanks might be offered to the benevolence of Providence, especially if those taking part have had just such experiences of the kindness of strangers.”
Also, from Patricia Telesco’s book, 365 Goddess:A Daily Guide to the Magic and Inspiration of the Goddess, she states in her February 14th entry on Venus and Lupercalia: “During Lupercalia, an ancient predecessor of Valentine’s Day, single girls put their names in a box and unmarried men drew lots to see with whom they would be paired off for the coming year. To be more modern-minded, try pinning five bay leaves to your pillow instead to dream of future loves. If you’re married or otherwise involved, steep the bay leaves in water and drink the resulting tea to strengthen the love in your relationship.
To encourage balance in a relationship, bind together Venus’s symbols, a pine cone and a flower, and put them somewhere in your home. Or, to spice up a passionate moment, feed fresh berries to each other and drink a berry beverage from one cup (symbolizing united goals and destinies).
In Roman tradition, anywhere there’s a large stone adjacent to a tall tree, Venus is also there. Should you know of such a place, go there today and commune with Her warm, lusty energy.”
Of course, there is the whole fertility aspect of this holiday as well. So, in the Spirit of the holiday, indulge in some strawberries, some chocolate, and other Foods of Love. Have a glass or two of red wine and embrace Love; which includes loving yourself! Have fun, keep it safe and get kinky wit’ it!
Herne, Robin. Manygods.org.uk, “Lupercalia – Adapting an Ancient Roman Festival for Modern Times”
Brinker, Wendy. Magickalwinds.com, “The True Origins of Saint Valentine’s Day“.
Ruickbie, Leo. Witchology.com, “St Valentine’s Day or Ancient Pagan Sex Rite?“.