A Modern Fasti: May Through June

A painting of a Roman woman offering in a niche by Waterhouse.  Caption reading, I feel like I should start off saying that this will not be what I’m practicing next year.  I’m currently finding myself with my hands in the pots of various historical traditions while stuck firmly in my own development of another tradition.  This is not very well-reflected here. The majority of the days’ observances are Roman in nature.  Whether or not that will be the case next year is another story.  I may have to change my graphic to reflect this.  But until then…

May 6th – June 7th

7 – Oracle for Apollon

Observed until 2021.  This will be held on the 8th this year.  For more info see here.

7-14 – Making of Mola Salsa

According to Fowler, the Vestals made at least some mola salsa from the first grains of wheat to be used at the Vestalia, the Ides of September, and at the Lupercalia. We will be making corn-based mola salsa in our home during this time for the year, since I’m directing June’s Vestalia towards a home-purification focus in my tradition. I hope in the future that the making of mola salsa can be one of my daughter’s religious duties for the year, so I will start teaching her this year.

9, 11, 13 – Lemuria

An offering of black beans over the shoulder are given to the restless, unburied, and/or angry Dead on all 3 nights of the Lemuria in my household. I will be posting in the next week over at my PaganSquare blog more detail about Lemuria and how it’s being observed this year in my home. On the 11th, I plan to develop a nocturnal offering to Hecate-Mania as Mother of the Dead.

15 – Mercuralia

Offerings to Mercury? This is probably not on the table this year as a full festival. More looking into what this point in my fasti is meant to be is needed. There’s a point needing to be marked here, but it will likely have a changed name and purpose. This was a merchant’s festival in Rome.

15 – Ides

Standard offering dinner feast to Jupiter in my home. I’m working on teaching my daughter the basic building blocks of Ritus Romanus while offering to the Lares at this point in the month with offering bird seed and water into a bird bath.

21 – Offerings to Vejovis-Asclepius

Formal offerings and prayers for the continued health of my family.

25 – Memorial Day

Pilgrimage to the large concentration of my family’s burial plots to decorate the graves and honor my Beloved Dead/Manes. This is actually a tradition of my family, and is quite easily one of the most radically influential traditions shaping my interest in the Lares and Manes. Extra offerings will be given to soldiers unrelated to me.

30 – Monthly offerings to Hekate

Dinner time offering as a family for my Matron. When I start working with the dying, this will also likely be my day to really, really ritually purify my home and surroundings.

1 – Kalends of June

Offerings to Juno, the Lares, and the Penates as described here.

7 – Nones of June

The day I plan to publish the next round of religious days.

7 – Oracle for Apollon

7 – Vestalia Begins

Ritual cleaning and purification of home, honoring of Vesta with offerings.  Runs until the 15th.

Possible future festivals: Ambarvalia at the end of May to assure a successful crop if living in an agricultural religious community.

Reblog: E Nos Lases Iuvate: Si vis pacem…

Preparation in time of peace, when it seems that everything runs smoothly and nothing seems to trouble us, means to achieve those tools – through study, practice of otium, care of the spirit, martial arts, the agricultural/gardening activities, walk in the way of meditation, spiritual exercises – necessary to deal with adversity. It is obvious that it is not an easy and simple path. It takes a lot of effort because the precondition for achieving the Pax Deorum is first resolve your own “inner war.” We must first be prepared to dominate our inner chaos, our agitation if we are to achieve spiritual peace. Inner peace is a precondition for peace outside. Unpreparedness introduces us into a state of war in which we will be surely defeated.

via E Nos Lases Iuvate: Si vis pacem….

 

I loved this entire article and wanted to share it.  I don’t feel that this is the only spiritual path towards being able to attain this, but this is an outlook I encourage others to explore for themselves in their own practice.  A solid foundation in the face of adversity through practice of what you are called to cultivate with the Gods and Spirits is a true gift that is attainable through dedication and strength of purpose even during the easy points in life.

Study for Future Apollon Piece

Study for Future Apollon Piece

Slowly pulling myself out of the art block that lasted over a decade. I’m currently working on studies for a future piece of Apollon.

I have been putting off drawing Apollon, because my self-confidence to get Him right is does not exist. He has been pushing for it all the same.

From Cicero’s De Natura Deorum

As for your deriving religion from the sky and stars, do you not see what a long way this takes you? You say that the sun and moon are deities, and the Greeks identify the former with Apollo and the latter with Diana. But if the Moon is a goddess, then Lucifer also and the rest of the planets will have to be counted gods; and if so, then the fixed stars as well. But why should not the glorious Rainbow be included among the gods ? it is beautiful enough, and its marvelous loveliness has given rise to the legend that Iris is the daughter of Thaumas.

And if the rainbow is a divinity, what will you do about the clouds? The rainbow itself is caused by some coloration of the clouds ; and also a cloud is fabled to have given birth to the Centaurs. But if you enroll the clouds among the gods, you will undoubtedly have to enroll the seasons, which have been deified in the national ritual of Rome. If so, then rain and tempest, storm and whirlwind must be deemed divine.

About Roman Revivalism

This is what I’ve been painfully working on lately.  This is what has been asked of me, and this is my current main Work under the guidance of my Lord.  I will continue to write in this blog from a personal side, but slowly but surely I will be working on birthing a new Roman tradition and welcoming community.

About Roman Revivalism.

March: A Modern Fasti

This is my attempt at putting down what we practice and celebrate in my household.  As one that holds cultus for Apollon, some Hellenic days slip into the mix for both Him and His family. You will also note the incorporation of modern holidays, veneration of historical figures, and personal rites tied to the seasons where I live that embrace the agricultural cycle (as opposed to the solar seasonal).

These will be hyperlinked as soon as they are posted for those who have found this later.

Each of these days will posted on their actual date or shortly thereafter depending on my home schedule.

 

fasti

March (Martius) is considered by most to be the beginning of the Roman religious calender. It is named after Mars, the Father of Rome, and many of the traditional festivals of the month center around Mars and his myth.

  • Kalends March 1st– First day of the month, with rites performed for Juno and Janus
  • Die natalis of Mars, March 1st – Birthday of Mars
  • Matronalia, March 1st – Celebration of mothers and wives, with rites to Juno Lucina
  • Nones, March 7th – Honoring Juno, the Lares, and the Penates
  • Ides, March 15th – Honoring Jupiter
  • Liberalia, March 17th – Festival of Liber Pater and Libera
  • Northward Equinox/First Seeds, March 20/21st – Planting the first seeds of the Spring/Summer garden
  • Final Day, March 30th – Honoring Hecate

February Rites: Parentalia, Feralia, and Caristia

Parentalia starts next week on the 13th. In our home, this 9-day festival is one of 3 times in the year where we celebrate our ancestors beyond my daily devotional work in our household. Our other 2 festivals fall on Memorial Day, where currently we’re close enough to family graves to decorate them and honor the soldiers in my family line, and Samhain/Day of the Dead (All Saints and Souls Days), where we have started the tradition of opening up our home to friends and family to come celebrate and feed their ancestors beside our own.

The family in Ancient Rome was considered the very foundation of the civilization, and in our own home that belief in family remains the same. Long before my spiritual practice fell comfortably into the lines of a modern Roman practice, I held family and my ancestors in high esteem. Friends found this curious for a long time, many probably still do, but it is what it is. Now I have the alignment of my religious practice to help cement those I’ve come from as spiritually important.  This is a very meaningful and important relationship to me.

This upcoming week is going to be busy getting our dining room cleaned, swept, and organized for this festival, because you tidy up for honored guests. We will decorate the table, which is being turned into a place of offering for every meal. I plan on tracking down violets (though probably African, since it’s hard to find the real deal this time of year here) and making flower garlands to decorate for the week.

This is the loose plan of what is going to happen in our home during this time:

The First Day, February 13th: Parentalia is said to start at the 6th hour of the day, which I interpret as 6 in the morning. In upcoming years, this means I will be doing the first rites at 6 in the morning. However, it’s rare my daughter and I get out of bed that early in the day, and so we will simply be doing the rites as soon as we get up and washed up to do so. The Ancestors will hopefully understand this.

Traditionally this time starts with a performance of a parentatio done by the Vestal Virgins. I, obviously, have no Vestal Virgins around, and so I’m left to do what I can on my own. I’m unable to get pure water drawn from a spring, so the best I can offer for pure water in this purification ritual will be melted snow or rain water that hasn’t touched the ground. After making breafkast, I’ll wash my hands and offer incense, asking for divine witnesses to attend. And then I will walk around our table 3 times, giving offerings to my foremothers.

An invocation to Vesta and her Vestals comes next. Offerings of milk, red flowers, and honey will be made along with an adoratio done at the same time.

Whoever is home at the time will sit down to eat breakfast then, sharing it with our deceased. Traditionally this is a time when the Romans had a picnic of sorts at their deceaseds’ tombs, but February is freezing here and we have a bit of an open door policy on our home being a welcome place for our Ancestors to visit whenever they please. So they will eat in our home with us should they care to attend, and throughout the day I will keep candles burning for them to help guide them to and from their homes on the other side.

February 14th through the 21th: We won’t have any major rites in the home, but at each meal we will give offerings through sharing wine and cake along with offerings of salt. The table will be decorated with a wreath of flowers, especially violets, still.

Feralia, February 21st: This is the final day of Parentalia and is another meal for the dead. This isn’t a meal for family, though. This is meant for the Manes, the wandering dead. I don’t do rites to the Gods or Lares on this day, as Ovid suggested against it.

This year I will instead be taking a meal outside in the evening to give to any of the Manes who may be passing through. This meal is presented on broken pottery (in my case an unglazed flower pot that broke last winter) and in our house consists of leftovers from the dinner we had.

Caristia, February 22nd: The entire month of February to a Cultore is themed around purification. It’s a little like Lent in the final month of our religious year. We have an obligation to our Dead that we fulfill fully for the year during Parentalia. We have an obligation to the Dead who were unable to be buried with proper rites, who no longer have people attending their graves, and those who were never buried at all… Those wandering and alone. We satisfy our obligations to them with Feralia.

But as I was saying earlier, the Romans placed high importance on the family unit. It was the foundation of the religion, and the household was considered a microcosm for the larger family of Rome, united by Vesta. And so this is where Caristia comes in. This is a time when you get together with your living family and celebrate a meal together in love. Because love, like the binding power of Vesta as the spirit of Rome and that oldies song, is what keeps us together.

This is the meal where you attempt to move beyond your problems with your family. You lay your differences aside. You exchange small tokens of your affection and attempt to mend your own hurt feelings. And if you can’t do that you pretend you can. And if you can’t pretend? Then you don’t invite them. Personally to me, with my giant love of my extended family, means that if you can’t do the work within yourself to forgive them, then perhaps you need to evaluate whether they’re actually family to you or only in blood.

For me, being the only one in my entire family that is of my religion, I do my best to mentally prepare to lay my differences aside with those in my family who are indeed mine. I don’t feel particularly comfortable inviting them to this sort of meal, though they’re aware that I’m not of the Christian faith. On the practical side, our home is simply not big enough. On the emotional side, I’m just not up to trying to explain it all to them; perhaps one day I will be. Up until this year, our household hasn’t practiced the traditional Caristia feast, so it’s not been much of a problem.

This year my mother will be coming. She isn’t of the same religion, but she has always been an ally and welcome guest in my own practice. We observe multiple feasts and festivals throughout the year together, so it’s only natural that this will be one of them.

There are, of course, other purification rites in the month of February, but I feel like I should place them into their own blog posts if I’m going to write about them. Parentalia is the largest and longest for my family.

On Compassion, Offerings, and Honoring Our Gods

Recently many of my spiritual Sisters and I have been discussing the nature of the Gods and the relationship we humans have with them. Many people in the Pagan and Polytheist communities feel that offerings and sacrifices must take place in order for the Gods to love us or that we must give them something in order for them to love us.

I was involved with a discussion where someone well known in a certain Recon circle replied with ROFL to a fellow Polytheist who considers herself Hellenic and Roman saying that her gods love her no matter what and despite not giving offerings.

Beyond the place that leaves me feeling that the Roman Virtues were far from upheld in that moment with those four capitalized letters, it got me thinking on my own personal home practice. While I could light incense, fires, and give offerings upon rising and laying down at night, it doesn’t happen and likely won’t. I’m a mother of a toddler. In my small home, I have little room to build multiple shrines. My lararium is downstairs; our only bathroom is upstairs. Typically by the time I go to the bathroom in the morning, my daughter is up and moving. Morning prayers rarely get said.

Do my household gods, dii Penates and Lares, love me any less for this fact? Would they love me more if I were to give myself a bladder infection and ignore my duties as a mother for them? They would not.

Saying otherwise would be, in my opinion, teetering dangerously close to superstition – That we must appease our gods through grand gestures and offerings. Was it not Varro who said The Gods do not want sacrifice, their statues even less?

Did he not also say The religious man reveres the Gods as he would his parents, for they are good, more apt to spare than to punish?

If, then, the Gods are like parents, then they are capable of unconditional love – For that is the true nature of being a parent. And while I understand all too well that our mortal parents may not have been there for us due to abuse, death, illness, or any number of unfortunate situations, I do not believe the Gods fall to such human conditions.

I believe the Gods love us unconditionally. Perhaps sometimes they dislike a person for their own reasons, but I believe there is still an underlying love there to be held if the person is still out walking around in the world.

My mortal parents love me no matter what I’ve done or do. I do not feed them. I do not make offerings to them that are beyond my means. A few times a year I give gifts, though typically I get a very sincere “You didn’t have to do that” response when I do.  They understand that financially I’m unable to do these things quite often. This, too, is my relationship with the Gods. Even being on a devotional path with Apollon, he prefers other forms of offerings than food and libations; he prefers I don’t make a ritual out of my honoring him.

I feel that the greatest offering we can give the Gods is attempting to consciously model the virtues and ethics of our religions. As a person who practices mainly as a Roman polytheist these days, the Roman Virtues have been a framework with which to conduct my character for years. As an Apollonian, I attempt to live by the Delphic Maxims. I am by no means perfect, but when the time comes to reign myself in for whatever reason to align with these guidelines I remind myself that I am doing this to bring honor to my Gods…

Because I feel that honoring the Gods, and not simply worshiping them, is not so simple as burning incense or offering prayers praising and asking for something in return. While the Roman framework of ritual will help a person come into contact with the Gods more quickly, I find that my life is directly touched by the Gods with or without formalized offerings.

Instead my offerings come in the form of my daily life. I have been urging others to live a fully dedicated religious daily life for years now, and I will continue to do so. While I garden, I talk to the spirits and gods of the plants, the soil, the land around me. I offer a few strands of hair if feeling very moved to; otherwise I make watering the plants and composting into the soil and offering. While I clean, I bring myself into a mindful state and talk with the household gods; I offer them my time and the essential oils I use in my homemade cleaning supplies. While I cook, Vesta and I speak freely, and I find that she is quite pleased with the tiny space I’ve carved for her on the back of my oven where I spontaneously give her tiny pinches of herbs and sea salt as the mood hits me.

I feed the birds. I compost for Silvanus, who requested this of me recently. I dedicate my creative endeavors and running to Apollon, who in my own life is much more interested in creation and striving towards excellence than rituals of habit.

When you are truly involved with your religion and your Gods, when you allow yourself to push beyond the boundary of the boss/employee relationship so many of us cling to, you may find that you enjoy a much fuller relationship. For the Gods take on many roles in our lives. For they love us and, for the most part, wish to see us at our best. The Gods willingness to be our parents and help us grow as humans is one of the great offerings the Gods give us. Healing our own human understanding of what a parent should be like and the wounds that have been left by human parents’ shortcomings is liberating.

And this is not to say that my way is the only way. I am sure there are plenty of reasons why a person may chose to honor their Gods in a boss/employee relationship, including but no limited to the God in question wishing it to be this way. It’s simply that I see a trend of many Polytheists feeling that their way of practicing is the only way of doing things, and they treat those of us wishing to take a more personal approach to our faiths as “not doing it right.”  Or worse we are delusional or “as bad as monotheists.”

To that I say that the Gods love us with or without food offerings and libations. In fact, the Gods love us without offerings at all. I encourage everyone to actually have a conversation with those they honor and see what they answer you; perhaps they will ask you to keep on the way you are.  Perhaps they will tell you the same thing I am.  But I feel it’s important for everyone to understand that they way you practice your religion is not the end-all-be-all of your religion as a whole.  Most importantly, I feel it is our responsibility to our fellow community members to treat each and every person with respect and a valid voice in the tapestry of Polytheism and Paganism, to keep an open heart and mind in the event that our Gods are truly sending us a message that speaks to us down to the very core of our being – For that, I believe, is one of the greatest offerings we can give in honor of our Gods…  That of compassion to all of those who love our Gods.