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Author Topic: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism  (Read 3125 times)

RedHawk

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How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« on: February 13, 2013, 10:25:30 pm »
I have a question to those that practice Roman Polytheism. How do you get started? Even though I practice Hellenism I am interested in Roman Polytheism mainly because I like seeing the difference between the two and my ancestors come from Italy.

Heliocoptero

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 05:24:16 pm »
Quote from: RedHawk;96255
I have a question to those that practice Roman Polytheism. How do you get started? Even though I practice Hellenism I am interested in Roman Polytheism mainly because I like seeing the difference between the two and my ancestors come from Italy.

 
I assume different people start it differently, but a good way would be to construct and perform a basic Roman ceremony. This might help you with it. To whom the ceremony is dedicated is up to you. Is there any deity you're particularly interested in?

RedHawk

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 08:55:41 pm »
Quote from: Heliocoptero;96343
I assume different people start it differently, but a good way would be to construct and perform a basic Roman ceremony. This might help you with it. To whom the ceremony is dedicated is up to you. Is there any deity you're particularly interested in?

 
Juno, Jupiter, Diana, and Apollo. Thanks for the link, really appreciated it. I also heard that if you do one thing wrong, like misprouncing a word, that you have to do the whole ritual over again. Does it matter to the gods if you get one word wrong if your new to the religion.

Heliocoptero

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2013, 12:40:00 pm »
Quote from: RedHawk;96370
Juno, Jupiter, Diana, and Apollo. Thanks for the link, really appreciated it. I also heard that if you do one thing wrong, like misprouncing a word, that you have to do the whole ritual over again. Does it matter to the gods if you get one word wrong if your new to the religion.


Considering your interests, a good idea would be to start with small monthly ceremonies to Juno on the first day of the month and to Jupiter on the 13th or 15th. You could add Janus too, since He's a god of beginnings and entrances. Diana had an annual festival on August 13th and Rome celebrated Apollo's games from the 6th to the 13th of July. The Cultus Deorum website has an extensive calendar here. But if you're an Hellenic polytheist, then you're probably familiar to some extent with Apollo, so His Roman cult may a good place to start.

As for the mispronunciation of words in a ceremony, it was a matter of orthopraxy. Rituals followed a precise set of rules and practices as prescribed by tradition and deemed effective by past positive results. Lapses and mistakes could therefore render a ceremony invalid by breaking with tradition and the pax deorum it sustained. Since most of us today are in effect restarting or reworking traditions, my advice would be for you to stay sharp and follow your instinct: if you feel that a mistake changes the nature or "vibe" of your ceremonies, start over; if not, carry on. At least until you have a solid set of ritual gestures and words you've been using for some time and consider effective and pleasing to the Gods. Some are more willing to overlook lapses than others, so keep an eye on how They may react.

Also, always have extra offerings at hand: if any portion falls on the floor, it is believed that it has been claimed by the Manes, so a fresh portion will be needed for the Gods.

RedHawk

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2013, 10:28:31 pm »
Quote from: Heliocoptero;96416
Considering your interests, a good idea would be to start with small monthly ceremonies to Juno on the first day of the month and to Jupiter on the 13th or 15th. You could add Janus too, since He's a god of beginnings and entrances. Diana had an annual festival on August 13th and Rome celebrated Apollo's games from the 6th to the 13th of July. The Cultus Deorum website has an extensive calendar here. But if you're an Hellenic polytheist, then you're probably familiar to some extent with Apollo, so His Roman cult may a good place to start.

As for the mispronunciation of words in a ceremony, it was a matter of orthopraxy. Rituals followed a precise set of rules and practices as prescribed by tradition and deemed effective by past positive results. Lapses and mistakes could therefore render a ceremony invalid by breaking with tradition and the pax deorum it sustained. Since most of us today are in effect restarting or reworking traditions, my advice would be for you to stay sharp and follow your instinct: if you feel that a mistake changes the nature or "vibe" of your ceremonies, start over; if not, carry on. At least until you have a solid set of ritual gestures and words you've been using for some time and consider effective and pleasing to the Gods. Some are more willing to overlook lapses than others, so keep an eye on how They may react.

Also, always have extra offerings at hand: if any portion falls on the floor, it is believed that it has been claimed by the Manes, so a fresh portion will be needed for the Gods.

 
Thanks, you have been a big help. I celebrated Lupercalia today and even though I didn't have a ritual for that festival I just went with what I though Juno would want me to say. I got a good vibe off of it and she did like the heart shaped chocolate candy that I gave her. I also read up on Juno before I even did the ritual to have a good idea of who she is. I'm also checking out two books about Roman religion, one of them was on this site.

I'll start with honoring Juno at the beginning of each month, like you suggested, and then move forward. I do have another question though. I don't have a container for the sacred salt, though I want to buy one next week. the soapstone that's being sold on Azuregreen is a little bit beyond my price range right now. Can I use glass or plastic until I get one, which probably won't be until April.

And about incense. I don't have the kind of powdered incense that the Nova Roma site recommends, though I will be buying some next week. I have Rose and something incense, might be sandalwood, have to check, and I burned a little bit in my cauldron that I'm using as a incense burner because I don't have the screened incense burner.

Sorry about asking so many questions but I'm so new to even beginning this path.

RedHawk

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2013, 10:48:48 pm »
Quote from: Heliocoptero;96416
Considering your interests, a good idea would be to start with small monthly ceremonies to Juno on the first day of the month and to Jupiter on the 13th or 15th. You could add Janus too, since He's a god of beginnings and entrances. Diana had an annual festival on August 13th and Rome celebrated Apollo's games from the 6th to the 13th of July. The Cultus Deorum website has an extensive calendar here. But if you're an Hellenic polytheist, then you're probably familiar to some extent with Apollo, so His Roman cult may a good place to start.

As for the mispronunciation of words in a ceremony, it was a matter of orthopraxy. Rituals followed a precise set of rules and practices as prescribed by tradition and deemed effective by past positive results. Lapses and mistakes could therefore render a ceremony invalid by breaking with tradition and the pax deorum it sustained. Since most of us today are in effect restarting or reworking traditions, my advice would be for you to stay sharp and follow your instinct: if you feel that a mistake changes the nature or "vibe" of your ceremonies, start over; if not, carry on. At least until you have a solid set of ritual gestures and words you've been using for some time and consider effective and pleasing to the Gods. Some are more willing to overlook lapses than others, so keep an eye on how They may react.

Also, always have extra offerings at hand: if any portion falls on the floor, it is believed that it has been claimed by the Manes, so a fresh portion will be needed for the Gods.

 
What does the Cultus Deorum mean that at the beginning of the month that your not suppose to invoke the gods and goddess while indoors. I'm confused by the word invoking since the only time that I've seen the word being used was in Neo-paganism.

Heliocoptero

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2013, 02:11:42 pm »
Quote from: RedHawk;96450
What does the Cultus Deorum mean that at the beginning of the month that your not suppose to invoke the gods and goddess while indoors. I'm confused by the word invoking since the only time that I've seen the word being used was in Neo-paganism.

 
It refers to the dies atri - the days after the Kalends, Nones and Ides - which were considered unlucky and so were subject to a series of limitations on mundane and religious activities. Ceremonies to celestial gods, which would naturally require Them to be invoked, could be limited.

RedHawk

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2013, 05:18:40 pm »
Quote from: Heliocoptero;96507
It refers to the dies atri - the days after the Kalends, Nones and Ides - which were considered unlucky and so were subject to a series of limitations on mundane and religious activities. Ceremonies to celestial gods, which would naturally require Them to be invoked, could be limited.

 
Interesting. I loved the site that you gave me, very well done. What about my other questions about the incense and the salt container.

Heliocoptero

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2013, 05:56:32 pm »
[
Quote from: RedHawk;96534
Interesting. I loved the site that you gave me, very well done. What about my other questions about the incense and the salt container.


I missed those :p

Honestly, I don't have a separate salt container in my Lararium or any shrine, either because there's not enough room or the place would be inappropriate - my ancestors and Penates are housed on the fireplace's mantelpiece, which isn't the best place to store food. That's usually kept in the kitchen or pantry. My advice to you would be to take the historical model as a starting point: it's the reference from where one starts, but must then adapt to the limitations and needs of modern life. If you are able to burn food offerings everyday and have room for several containers in your shrines, then by all means do it; if not, adapt. Roman elite, which supplies us with most of the known data, didn't have modern houses, no electricity and there was always a burning fire somewhere, for heating, cooking or lighting. There will always be differences between the cultus of the past and today's for the simple fact that so many things have changed. And don't worry about the materials: I know of no taboo regarding it, so use whatever feels right and is best to preserve the offerings - plastic, metal, glass or clay.

The same goes for incense. I use regular sticks, even when I set up a ritual fire for more formal ceremonies. It's easier to get and you can always grind it. Again, adapt the historical model to modern life.

RedHawk

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2013, 08:29:30 pm »
Quote from: Heliocoptero;96538
[

I missed those :p

Honestly, I don't have a separate salt container in my Lararium or any shrine, either because there's not enough room or the place would be inappropriate - my ancestors and Penates are housed on the fireplace's mantelpiece, which isn't the best place to store food. That's usually kept in the kitchen or pantry. My advice to you would be to take the historical model as a starting point: it's the reference from where one starts, but must then adapt to the limitations and needs of modern life. If you are able to burn food offerings everyday and have room for several containers in your shrines, then by all means do it; if not, adapt. Roman elite, which supplies us with most of the known data, didn't have modern houses, no electricity and there was always a burning fire somewhere, for heating, cooking or lighting. There will always be differences between the cultus of the past and today's for the simple fact that so many things have changed. And don't worry about the materials: I know of no taboo regarding it, so use whatever feels right and is best to preserve the offerings - plastic, metal, glass or clay.

The same goes for incense. I use regular sticks, even when I set up a ritual fire for more formal ceremonies. It's easier to get and you can always grind it. Again, adapt the historical model to modern life.

 
Thanks. It seems that Nova Roma, and I mean no insult to them, wants you to do things the way the ancients did. I don't have a ton of money for things like containers and I use what I have or what I can afford to at that time. I like the idea of adapting things for modern use. Also, powdered incense is horrible due to the fact that I have a ultra-sensitive smoke detector.

I did a petition to Athena once and the damn, sorry for my French, thing went off. Groan!

Heliocoptero

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2013, 09:49:54 am »
Quote from: RedHawk;96573
Thanks. It seems that Nova Roma, and I mean no insult to them, wants you to do things the way the ancients did.


Nova Roma is more reenactment than reconstruction for the modern world. The very idea of rebuilding ancient Rome's social and political institutions seems unreasonable.

On a similar note, there's one thing I forgot to tell you about the dies atri: take them with a bit of salt. According to Ovid, those days were considered unlucky because in some of them Rome had suffered defeats or disasters, so they were monthly marked as dark days. Yet few of us today are of actual Roman origin and our modern countries, to which we are native today, had defining victories on dies atri. In the case of the USA, a good example would be the Battle of Assunpink Creek in 2 January 1777, which ended with an American victory against the British.

Personally, because Rome is the origin of much of my religious life, I keep a small amount of limitations during the unlucky days as a way of honouring the memory of that city (much like I also celebrate Rome's anniversary). But only a small amount: there are a lot of things I still during the dies atri.

RedHawk

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Re: How Does One Get Started in Roman Polytheism
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 01:12:57 pm »
Quote from: Heliocoptero;96648
Nova Roma is more reenactment than reconstruction for the modern world. The very idea of rebuilding ancient Rome's social and political institutions seems unreasonable.

On a similar note, there's one thing I forgot to tell you about the dies atri: take them with a bit of salt. According to Ovid, those days were considered unlucky because in some of them Rome had suffered defeats or disasters, so they were monthly marked as dark days. Yet few of us today are of actual Roman origin and our modern countries, to which we are native today, had defining victories on dies atri. In the case of the USA, a good example would be the Battle of Assunpink Creek in 2 January 1777, which ended with an American victory against the British.

Personally, because Rome is the origin of much of my religious life, I keep a small amount of limitations during the unlucky days as a way of honouring the memory of that city (much like I also celebrate Rome's anniversary). But only a small amount: there are a lot of things I still during the dies atri.

Thanks, for your comment. I signed up for Nova Roma but I'm going to have to wait until I get a response from them. They did actually list on one part of the application 'Roman Paganism and Religion,' which tells me that there are some that do practice it as a religion and they have no problem with that. I think that Roman recons need to form their own organization to give people a choice between Nova Roma and them.

Of course they did help me out with my questions, which I was happy about. I think, if I'm approved, that I'll feel at home with them.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 01:13:47 pm by RedHawk »

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