Lupercalia takes its name from the ancient Roman sacrificial feast, where the blood of women and animals was spilt to purge evil spirits and usher in health and fertility. The lupercalia took place in the feverish month of February, at the lupercal, a cave at the foot of the Palantine Hill. Here, Romulus and Remus, future heirs to the Roman throne, were suckled into life by the lupa, a she-wolf, after they were thrown as babies into the river Tiber by their great uncle, Amilius, the reigning king.
Lupercalia re-imagines the wolf-festival as a feminist fantasy, a cave of weird dreams inhabited by women real and illusory, legendary and mythological. Sickbed recollections from Cleghorn’s experience of living with lupus, the wolf-disease, unravel alongside ritual choreographies, generational fictions, dancing manias, and fables of other kinds of mothers.
Available now from Litmus Publishing