Deck the Halls Over the years the one question that I have been asked most often at this time of year is how does a good practitioner of the Religio Romana deal with friends and family members who follow other religious traditions? In other words, can I remain a cultor Deorum Romanorum and still have a Christmas tree?  Or keep my menorah? After all, most modern practitioners of the Religio Romana came from family traditions that were either Christian or… Read more

Helena asked whether I “saw it as a sign?” I assume she refers to my diagnosis of cancer. Yes, I certainly did, a sign that the Gods are looking out for me because They have something for me to do still. The fact is that in the US around 88% of those diagnosed with esophageal cancer will die within the first year. And of those who don’t, many won’t see much of the second year. I am fortunate that the… Read more

  Io Saturnalia! Io Triumphi! Io Saturnalia! The Virgin returns, returns old Saturn’s reign, With a new breed of men sent down from Heaven. ~ Virgil, Eclogue IV   On a cold, crisp night, half past midnight on 17 December, the leading star of Virgo rises above due East on the horizon. This year the virgin Astraea, the Maid of Justice, shall be proceeded (by roughly 45 minutes) by the planet Mars.  Her leading star, called Zavijava today, Beta Virgonis… Read more

Each spring the cosmopolitan city of ancient Rome witnessed the cannophori of Attys streaming from the City on the Ides of March. They went in search of his sacred pine. As they did so, they would wave strands of palms high in the air. This Procession of the Palms by the cannophori, or “tree-bearers,” went into the nearby hills to gather pines.  Smaller pines would be brought into individual homes.  Initially these were left undecorated, but later in the festival,… Read more

  The first sliver of a new moon appeared last Saturday, announcing another kalends. I was reminded by it on just how long it has been since I last posted. October proved to be a full month for me. It began with the first procedure to treat my cancer, followed by an infection of the lungs. Eventually though I did manage to turn my plot of land three times, each time followed with a little rite of thanks tosanctisima Ceres… Read more

“Die Necromancers!” That was the message left by the vandals for our fellow worshipers in Poltavs’ka, Ukraine.  In the aftermath of the attack by Orthodox Christians on the Temple of Jupiter Perennus, little actual damage was done. Our sacred space was trashed with beer cans, graffiti, and construction materials. The temple itself is under construction, with little more than the foundation completed.  It was not damaged itself. An attempt was also made to desecrate a nearby altar with graffiti, but… Read more

The Kalends of September proved long and full, and now another Kalends comes upon us.  The Ides (13 Sept) celebrates the anniversary of the dedication of the Temple of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva atop the Capitoline Hill of Rome. It is therefore especially sad to learn that the Temple of Jupiter Perennus that is being built for our community in Poltava, Ukraine, was attacked last Monday night by a group of Orthodox Christians. Our chief priest of Jupiter, the Flamen… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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… Read more

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