Now to continue~~~And back track a bit.
Portugal was overrun and under the control for the most part by the Moors or Saracens from about 700 C.E. to 1400 C.E. Within that time all peoples including the Christian monks and those who worshipped the goddess were pretty much working side by side against a common enemy.
And it was a safe haven for the remaining Knights Templar in the 1350's.
But according to My Granny, her people found out that something already in the 1300's was in the wind to create great changes, with word coming even late what was happening in other parts of the known world.
Granny's people came together under a pretex of a major gathering for a wedding ceremony, and they planned it to be near the fall harvest as well.
To the remaining Moors it was understandable and to the Christians a logical event to have happen, lots of celebrating when there was a lot of food.
But this event to bring all the different members of the familys together with out any fear of reprisals was the perfect coverup, a perfect time when the heads of the different 'covens' or 'groups' of the same family finally decided that now was the time to disguise our practices to save ourselves.
According to Granny one member of the clan remarked that the name of the mother of Mary, Good St. Ann was very similar to Ana. And the according to the legend affixed to St. Ann she was the teacher of Mary and of course, everyone knew what Jesus did.
It all seem to come together. Ann/Ana the teacher of Mary/Mara~~Ann gave birth to Mary to give birth to the God who by his sacrifices would continue the well-being of all on earth. The logic of this move could not be denied
So over a period of time the rituals were adapted to use Christian/Catholic icons Ana as the great Mother of all or Grandmother, Mary in all three of her phases, the virgin, the Madonna and the crone standing at the cross as the life blood of the 'horned god' (crowned with thorns) flowed into the ground. And the sacrifice/consort born anew every year to die to guarantee our continuing existence.
It was perfect, St. Ann as the Grandmother of Jesus. It is known that many of the so-called saints were really goddesses from pagan times. Like St. Bridgett. As a matter of fact Ana or Anu is the oldest known name for the Goddess and it means Great Mother or Grand Mother.
The Danube river is named for the Goddess, roughly the name means "flowing from Anu."
Many references place it as being Celtic but it really goes back further to ancient Summeria and Babylon, and may have been brought to the Celtic isles by those far traveling Phoenicians.
So what better way than to have the rites appear to be devotions to a Catholic Saint that just so happens to have the name of the Great Goddess, and what better way to protect something than hiding it right out in the open.
So by appearing to side with the Christian Church they found protection of a sort.
As you can see we are not true Celtic, or Aradia or Norse and diffidently not Gardenerian or anything that evolved from the 20th Century. We are Iberian, we may have had some distant linkage or similarities to Italian Strega but our ways still differed.
So to survive we had to use the Catholic symbology. But it was so obvious to us that what was in the Christian church was stolen from pagan works, especially in the old style pre-Vatican two Catholicism if you look carefully.
But as my Granny use to say, you don't get something for nothing, so to keep up appearances, the ancestors of our group would help around the church, with flowers, cleaning the church, altar cloths, having a place for special prayers.
This became even more important because by the mid-1400's the Moors were finally thrown out of Portugal and Spain and the inquisition was going into full swing. In Portugal there was some protection because Most Portuguese men folk were distrustful of the priests and in essence were anti-clerical. At least as my Granny and my Grandpa told me.
And a priest knew better than to try to upset the applecart but that did not stop persecution from treason, which if you were a witch might get you the stake.
How ever there was one ritual that remained very much in the open and was celebrated as a form of crop growth or fertitly~~~Bull fighting.
Now I know many people are going to say how barbaric!! It's cruel, inhumane.
If one takes the practice of bullfighting out of itís original context and simply dumps it into the 1990ís sensiblities--yes it would see as a form of crule torment. Espeically as seen in Spain and Mexico.
But the Portugueseís Bullfighting it very different an art form and they do not kill the bull in the public arena and it is more of a celebration of the artistry of man and animal and also as it once saw it on television it appeared to be a test of strength of young men against the animal power and veriltiy of the Bull.
The way I saw it done once a long time ago here in California was of style of ancient Crete. And now adays in California they do it so that the Bull is not in anyway harmed but it is still a contest of strenght and agility. Later, in another section, Iíll explain what I saw many years ago down in Fresno, California.
But getting back to the original premise of Bullfighting --if you put it back into itís original context as far back as ancient Crete then one can see it as a necessary ritual for fertility and scarifice.
According to our tales, when Mara became pregnant, so did all the other peoples and animals, and in time they would give birth as well. When Mara presented the young god at the fire festival of purification and the return of the sun, there too a cow presented a young bull calf. And from that time both the God and the Bull were insepriable. It's a long story which I'll have in another section.
But the aspect of the God being both a man and animal the virility/fertily factor is something that I wish many people would reconize. In a way we have said from time to time "Men are such animals", we are only remembering a dim memory of the original belief that began to tie the fertility aspect together and as celebrated in bull leaping now bull fighting.
I also wish that the form of Portuguese bullfighting was also better protected because I have been able to see how much of it still clings to the ancient ways of Cretian bull leaping.
This art form eventually evolved from itís ritual form into first as a sport of the nobility and then it returned again as a ritual (and yes a sport) for the people.
But returning to my people~~~ because of the fear of possible persecution under treason or heresy it still remained best to remain underground to protect our ways espically when the Church was in such control over the minds of the people.
In 1750 there was a devastating earthquake in Portugal, Granny told me that the ancestors of our group helped to rebuild the local church and dedicated a side altar to Good St. Ann. It was about this time they started calling themselves "The Daughters of Anna or Good St. Ann" and this would not be an unusual thing to do.
In the Catholic church there would be different societies, the Altar Society, the rosarian Society, the Marian Society, the Knights of Columbus, well it would not be difficult for a group to take on dedicating themselves to the memory and devotions to a particular Saint.
As a matter of fact I wonder how many other of those societies originally had pagan roots but through time forgot them.
Soon after the rebuilding from the earthquake, some of my Grandmothers family traveled to the Azores. Granny said that at the time the family members were told that the land was rich for growing and it became time to get away from the problems that were happening on the mainland. So they settled in Madeira and some eventually went to San Miguel.
In time my granny's parents traveled to Kauai. This was Ludeveinia and she taught her daughters the trad. there. My Grandmother Rosa was born there in 1880, in 1907 she with her husband and five children, her two sisters and their husbands and her mother, Ludeveinia who was a widow by this time, came to a San Francisco that was rebuilding it's self, from the devastating Earthquake of 1906.
They were sponsored in by a friend of Grandpa's and as you would know it his wife was a member of the small group that was created in Kauai and she started a small 'Daughters of Anna' group through the local church.
I know that what I have told you so far some you may all ready know and some might just toss you for a bit of a loop. That's O.K. I've been tossed for a loop lots of times.
Follow this to the next link~~~HISTORY OF MY TRADITION PART 7