Annum Nouum MMDCCLXVI bonum faustum felicem!

In these wee hours of 12 January 2013 the moon is completely obscured. Tomorrow
the first sliver of the NEW MOON shall be seen. It shall then be time to prepare
to celebrate the KALENDAE IANUARIAE MMDCCLXVI anno.

14 January 2013, according the civil calendar based on the Gregorian reckoning,
is actually the 1 January 2766 Ab Urbe Condita in the Julian Calendar, instituted 2058 years ago
(45 bce) by Pontifex Maximus G. Julius Caesar, which is the proper reckoning to
use for the Roman festival calendar called the Fasti. By co-incidence the lunar
cycle conforms to the Julian calendar this year (at least during the first
months). More importantly, the cycle of (apparent) star risings, on which some
Roman festivals are based, coincides with the Julian Calendar. The Gregorian
calendar is an arbitrary system that is not related to any natural events. It
offers nothing to a Nature based tradition such as Romans follow. Some Orthodox
Christian churches continue in their use of the Julian Calendar in order to
maintain their earlier traditions, rejecting the Papal calendar. Muslim and
Jewish religious calendars are based in the lunar cycle, rather than a solar or
sidereal cycles. So even though they differ in basis, you will find that Roman
festivals under the Julian Calendar often coincide with festivals of these other
traditions. There is a synchronicity in the events of Nature and the Roman
festivals that celebrate them, connecting us to the rhythms of Nature that would
not otherwise be made if you transcribe the Fasti to the Gregorian calendar.

Today (Saturday 12 Jan): Gather whatever you shall need to celebrate the kalends
and the New Year. Clean your house.

Tomorrow, Kalendis Ianuariis (Sunday 13 Jan.): Ritually sweep your house. First
make your usual morning ritual before your Lares, calling upon them to aid you
in the process. Next begin sacrifices for Janus and Juno on the inside and
outside of your front door, respectively, but do not complete the sacrifices
just yet. Next, begin in the central room of your house by setting up a
turibulum at the center to incense the entire house. Begin with frankincense and
a pinch of sulfur to draw out any evil spirits who may cause illness or harm.
Later, when inviting friendlier spirits into your house use sweet scents like
myrrh.

Standing at the center of a room, scatter mola salsa towards the corners. Then,
using fresh-cut herbs, sweep the ceiling, walls and floor, moving clockwise
around the room. Melissa (lemon balm) is used to bring happiness. St. John’s
wort (Hypericum perforatum) is used to bring health. Any combination of herbs
may be used, depending on which are available to you, but melissa is most
commonly used. For ritual purposes the Romans thought that the location from
which herbs were gathered was more important than the kind of herb. Thus herbs
gathered from within a fanum or other sanctified space, or gathered from the
head of a statue or other significant place, has more ritual importance. You may
even gather wild herbs from a churchyard or a mosque, as these can be regarded
as sanctified locations even though of a different tradition. Today, locate the
herbs you shall use tomorrow. Draw three concentric circles around the herbs
using a bronze blade or whatever you have that is appropriate. Call to the numen
of the herb and explain your intent. Then harvest the herbs fresh tomorrow.

“Ritual sweeping” is not the same as cleaning, which is why you ought to clean
house the day before. Rather, you should use a rhythmic motion. In sweeping the
ceiling raise your left hand as though greeting the Manes. The left hand is
always used instead of the right hand when addressing the Di inferni. Holding
the herbs in your right hand, move them from your left hand to the right. With
your right foot, step to the right, bringing your left hand to where the herbs
are located. Dance, sing, chant, in this manner, moving your hands away from one
another and back together, like measuring out cloth, moving from top to bottom,
as though chasing Di inferni back down to Avernus. Do every room in the house,
top to bottom, in a clockwise manner. Although your ritual sweeping is not
cleaning in the normal sense, but cleaning away evil influences as may inhabit
your house, you will sweep up the mola salsa that you scattered earlier, along
with cobwebs and other things perhaps. Everything that you sweep up should be
gathered and buried outside under an arbor infelicis. An infelix tree is
recognized by its black twigs or black fruit. You should never sweep dust and
dirt out a door, as you may sweep your good luck out with it.

Sweeping is the main part of this ritual, and its intent is to sweep away any
ill vibrations that may linger in your house. You must immediately follow up on
this by inviting in good spirits. Clang metal to chase away the bad; ring bells,
play music, and sing to invite the good. Most important, laugh. Laughter chases
away the bad while inviting the good. Bring flowers into the house. Burn sweet
incense. Enjoy music and friends. Invite your Lares to the dinner table by
physically bringing their images to the table to join with you. Tell jokes, sing
songs, laugh on the kalends to bring joy into your home for the entire month.
Complete the day’s rituals before midday by completing the sacrifices for Janus
and Juno. More on those sacrifices I shall post next.

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