No man
Could trick her with a gesture or a sign;
For there was no device she did not know,
Since in her youth she’d suffered all the pains
And joys that Love unto his servants gives.
For well she knew the ancient dance of love

 From La Roman de la Rose, by Guillaume de Lorris in 1237 as an allegory of the art of courtly love

 It’s that time of year again.  The first holiday of the year that requires participation.  We have once again survived the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s Eve mania.  We have put behind us the crowds, gifts, friends (well we haven’t put our friends behind but the overcrowding of friends).  We have behind us the expectations of children and their bright faces.  Our credit card statements are in and the shock has eased.  It’s February and our thoughts turn to love.  Romantic love.  The card industry is once again aglow. 

 Red, red, red is everywhere.  Red swags, hearts and roses adorn store windows, counters, florist shops, online ads.  Red is the color of passion, love, loyalty, bravery in battle.  It is also the color of anger, adultery, revolution and the devil.  St. Nick wears red.  So does Beelzebub.  In China red is the color of good fortune.  Chinese and Indian brides wear red. In some cultures red represents the fecundity of the earth and all its creatures.  In some Muslim countries, the color red is banned in shop windows for fear it will incite passion.  This color like no other expresses deep, strong and opposite emotions.  How perfect to describe our relationship to matters of the heart!  Who makes us angrier than a lover?  What incites us more to do great deeds than great passion?

 “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

 This month we honor our hearts’ desires.  A holiday with pagan roots, enveloped by Christianity, banned by fundamentalism, wrapped in martyrdom, encompassing courtly love and sexual love, death and new life, truly a holiday for all seasons. 

 This February 14th, let’s all find someone or something to be deeply in love with.