CARISTAS: Celebration of the Dear Ones

An Unknown Vestal

This past weekend we celebrated the festival called Caristas, or the Dinner for Dear Ones [Feb. 22]. As the name implies, it is a feast held in celebration of the family. The Caristas feast comes as a culmination of a festival period honoring our deceased family members in the Parentalia [Feb.13-20] and for others who have passed at the Feralia [Feb. 21]. The festival period begins with a solemn memorial held by the Vestal Virgins for the first members of their Order, Gegania and Verania, … [Read more...]

CARMENTALIA: The Women’s Festival

Carmentis: Goddess of Women's Health

In the Julian calendar today marks the second day of Carmentalia.  The festival celebrates Carmena, who is the Goddess of women's health, birthing, and prophecy. She is the inventor of letters, as Minerva is the inventor of numbers. She tells the future through Her sister Porrima and reveals the past through Her sister Postvorta, while Carmena knows all that happens in the present.  Together the three Carmenae sisters are the Good Fates, the Three Mothers, and the Muses. The very name of Carmena … [Read more...]

Compitalia

Lares viales

When the Dolphin rises an hour before sunrise in the first flush of dawn (19 Jan) and later swims above the East beneath Vega as the sun rests on the horizon towards the southeast, and the first quarter of the moon at nones has not yet been seen, then is the time to celebrate the Compitalia. Celebrated these days are the Lares whose friendly spirits inhabit our neighborhoods and travel our roadways. Every place has its unique character, which neighbors have built up over the years. … [Read more...]

The Arrival of Aesculapius

Arrival of Aesculapius

The first of January holds many celebrations for the New Year. Being the first of the year, and first day of the month,  we naturally begin with Janus, the God of Good Beginnings.  Branches of bay laurel, gathered from the sacred grove of Strenua and carried in procession along the Via Sacra up to the Arx. Strenua is a Sabine Goddess of Purification and Health. She is comparable to Greek Hygenia and to Latin Salus. Her cultus  was introduce by Titus Tatius who ruled as co-chieftan  with Romulus. … [Read more...]

Put Your Best Foot Forward This New Year

Aescu-293x300

Whenever a Roman leaves his house he steps out with the right foot first.  Riding in a carriage, entering the Forum, a market, a temple or entering any place, he would always stop and then lead with his right foot. Good beginnings lead to good things. So the Romans believed. This is the origin of our sentiment to "Put your best foot forward" whenever beginning a new venture. That is the idea behind the New Year rite that some practitioners of the modern Religio Romana have adopted.  The Rom … [Read more...]

Kalends Rite for Juno Limentina

Juno Limentina

Marcus Horatius Pont. Max. cultoribus, Quiritibus, et omnibus s. p. d.In ancient times the Regina sacrificorum, alongside her husband, would perform a sacrifice of a ewe for Juno. Sometimes it is assumed that this ritual was for Juno Capitolina, when more likely it was for Mater Matuta or Iana (Djana), Goddess of the Dawn and of new beginnings. Rituals were performed at private homes on the kalends for a Juno, but we ought to note that these were for the Juno of the front door. She is a l … [Read more...]

Kalends rite for Janus

Portus Janus Today

M. Horatius Pont. Max. cultoribus, Quiritibus, et omnibus s. p. d.Over the last fifteen years some of our sacerdotes have written rituals that they have used in addressing Janus on the kalends of each month. In addition to my own efforts in this area we should thus recognize L. Cassius Cornutus sacerdos Ianialis, C. Marius Basilius, and Pontifex Cn. Cornelius Lentulus, and Pontifex Gryllus Graecus.Most of the rituals that have been devised during these years followed a template based … [Read more...]


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