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...]

Vestalia

Felicitas. Today begins the festival of Vestalia, which will last through 15 June. In ancient times it meant that the inner sanctum of the House of Vesta would be opened to the matrons of Rome. They were led by the Flamenica Dialis who was the wife of the high priest of Jupiter. Normally throughout the year she would be adorned in the manner of a bride, veiled and with a special hairstyle for marriage.  But during this festival she would wear her hair down as though in mourning. She was not … [Read more...]

Mos Maiorum

Tradition is never static. It flows with many currents in and around obstructions, sometimes even in contradictory directions. Little pools may form at high water, becoming separated later from the main stream, just as sects may break off from a tradition, only to stagnate and eventually dry up, but the mainstream tradition continues to evolve, adapt, adopt as it moves further on. Rather than looking backward on a fixed time in the history of a religious tradition, often time it is the tradition … [Read more...]


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