Ritual Items

With the first sliver of a new moon the Kalends of September arrives.  Arriving three hours after the sun rose, the crescent moon becomes visible this evening. The rites for the Kalends thus begin after midnight on 1 September.  For this we shall need a few more items besides our ritual implements. Essential for every formal Roman ritual is mola salsa.  Numa Pompilius, who founded the Religio Romana more than 2500 years ago, handed down the regulations for sacrifices that we still follow … [Read more...]

Ritual Implements

The next step in preparing for formal ritual is to gather together the implements that may be needed.  These may depend on the God or Goddess for whom you intend to call upon.  For example, iron and steel implements are never to be brought into a place dedicated to Ceres; bronze, brass, or copper implements are used in Her rites instead. However, iron is appropriate to use in rites for Mars. No leather may be worn or used in rites for Carmenta, or for any other Goddess concerned with … [Read more...]

Sun and Moon

Four days before the Kalends of September celebrates the anniversary of the dedication of the Temple of Sol and Luna. Fittingly, then, if only coincidentally this year, sun and moon join, as they do each month, for the New Moon just before midnight. The Kalends itself arrives when the first sliver of the New Moon may be seen in another day or so. The Kalends of September is a special date in that it is the first day of the Romans' rustic calendar, and thus the beginning of the Roman domestic New … [Read more...]

On Same-Sex Marriage

Lately I have been busy in a number of areas, tending still to my garden as well as to our religious community, and also making mola salsa for my own use. Winnowing proves to take more skill than I seem to have. During this time New York state passed a law to legalize same-sex marriage and I cannot pass it by without adding in some of my own comments. From the outset I must say that I support same-sex marriage both on legal grounds and also on religious grounds. I'll forgo the legal arguments … [Read more...]

Mola Salsa

Before the conclusion of Vestalia I should return to the Vestal Virgins in order to once again show the special role women play in the religio Romana. When Numa Pompilius founded our tradition he laid down regulations on the conduct of Roman sacrifices. It may be a surprise to some that Numa said, "Sacrifices are not to be celebrated with an effusion of blood, but consist of flour, wine, and the least costly of offerings (Plutarch, Numa 8.8)." Indeed, sacrifices which he is said to have founded … [Read more...]

Sator Rotas Opera

A front door safeguards what is inside by barring whatever is outside.  The Romans protected their doorways with a little religion, a little magic, and something that was a little of both. Foremost are the religious rites due to the minor gods of the doorway – Janus Janitor, Forculus, Cardea, Limitaninus and Limitanina.  Just inside the front door is the lararium, a shrine for the family Lares and patron deities. Daily rites are provided for the Lares at their lararium, which is the main … [Read more...]

Cardea: Blessing the Doorway

When we think of a Roman house in consideration of the religio Romana we must put aside thoughts of the imperial palaces or those found at Pompeii. Instead we have to look back to the time of Numa Pompilius in the seventh century before the common era. The common house of that time was a round hut, with the door being the single opening in its walls. The roof was conical, held up by a central pole. Ritually that central pole is identified with the axis mundi, and came to be equated with the … [Read more...]


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