Morning Prayers

A Modern Lararium

Ave, ave, sanctissima Mater Ceres, te appello . . . Every morning begins before the family lararium. An oil lamp or a candle is lit, incense is offered as Roman cultores stand to greet their ancestral Lares. Perhaps they had a dream in the night to discuss and seek advice on. Perhaps they discuss that day’s planned events. It is, each day, a very personal moment and a reminder, too, that we are always accompanied by our Lares. We end our prayers with a promise, “May everything I do and … [Read more...]

What Really Happens When We Die?

Abruzzo 103

Following an accident in my early teens, I had been stabilized after receiving nine units of blood. Then one night, while lying in a hospital, I began to bleed out for a third time. I soon found my conscious self floating near the ceiling and looking down on my own body as three nurses and a doctor rushed in. They were hovering over my body as I was looking on from above. I found myself in a dark, whirling funnel cloud. The doctor and nurses worked at one end below, while above me the cloud … [Read more...]

We Are Not Forgiven

Concordia

A self-described “born-again” Christian once told me that what distinguishes Christians from people of all other religious faiths is that “Christians are forgiven.” As Cultores Deorum Romanorum, we are not forgiven. We are responsible for all of the actions we take and all of the words we speak aloud. We are responsible for not taking action when we ought, and for words left unspoken when we should. We can try to make amends. We can try to correct wrongs. We may ever afterwards do … [Read more...]

Is There Really a Devil?

Epicurus

For the series on "What do I really believe," another question asked whether I believe there really is a Devil? It seems a rather irrelevant question as there is no such purveyor of evil in Roman tradition.  It does, however, recall philosophical questions which pertain to all religious traditions. Epicurus asked: “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not all-powerful. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then … [Read more...]

The Face of the Goddess

Persephone of Agriento

Continuing in my response to the question “What does God actually look like?” I offer here some examples of my past experiences in meeting with Goddesses and Gods in visions while performing ritual. More than thirty years ago I was introduced to a particular Goddess for the first time. Having completed a ritual, exhausted from dancing, I was sitting naked in a dark place looking into the coals as they began to die down. The fumes began to settle when that small chamber seemed to be … [Read more...]

Patheos’ New Sitewide Series: What Do I REALLY Believe?

Junones Matronae

Patheos is holding a sitewide series throughout June and July on “What do I really believe?” About a week ago I received an invitation to participate in the series, and read through the first set of suggested questions.   The questions do not pertain to polytheistic traditions. The questions imply a dualistic world view, one that sees the world in terms of Good vs. Evil, with only one God contending against a Devil. There is really nothing in these questions that fostered dialogue between … [Read more...]

An Ecstatic and Formal Side to Roman Traditions

Egeria Instructs Numa Pompilius

“Turn around to pay adoration to the Gods. Sit after you have worshiped.” We are reminded in this Postumnian instruction that there are two sides of the Roman tradition. One is the formal side that focuses us on proper performance of ritual. The other  comes from an ecstatic tradition from which the Religion Romana evolved. The ecstatic tradition appears among the vates, the White Sibyl of Tibur and the Sibyl of Cumae, Aius Locatius, Attus Navius, and, of course, Egeria with Numa.   … [Read more...]


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