The ancient Romans celebrated Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune, on June 24. In The Book of Goddesses and Heroines, Patricia Monaghan comments that Fortuna meant not merely “luck,” but the principle that drives men and women to mate, an irresistible “Fors.” Fortuna was the goddess of the fertilization of humans, animals, and plants, and thus was especially worshipped by gardeners and by women wanting to become pregnant. As Fortuna Virilis, she made women irresistible to men. It was perhaps on this day that Roman women invaded men’s public baths.
It makes sense to celebrate Fortuna at this time of year when the sun is at its height. She is represented by the Wheel of Fortune, with success at the top. But the wheel turns. And the wheel becomes a symbol again at the other side of the year (winter solstice), when the sun is at its lowest point. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this time of buzzing bees and fruiting trees and warm breezes and all the pleasures of the summer.
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”