In the Roman Traditional Religion, “Time” is a sacred sphere: this sacralization is embedded by the Calendar which represents a sort of “map” in order to have a direction through the rhythms and the measures of transcending time. In this perspective Time doesn’t contains “Facts”, but “Meanings”.
Similarly, “Space” has two main different but integrated meanings. The former is essentially a “physical” meaning and its sacralization is operated giving a personality and an individuality to the different spatial manifestations. Genius Loci, Lares Compitales and all the Deities of specific sites and places are the common representation of this kind of meaning. The latter shows some extremely complex meta-physical implications.
The celestial, the ground and the underground spaces, high and low, horizontal and vertical, left and right, etc. are all expressions of a complex symbolism which is traditionally represented by the “cross”. This symbolism, common in every traditional religion, confirms how it should be considered something intrinsic within Nature herself rather than a pure human invention.
Any direction in Space shows precise influences and hosts specific energies which are also at the base of the Augural Science, the sacred orientation of rites and the temples’ position itself. The understanding of these elements thus provides the possibility for a prolonging of the material and human dimension inside a more complex sphere.
As Time indicates specific moments for the making of given ritual actions, similarly the spaces, according to a traditional perspective, involve more complex implications and specificities compared to a simpler profane view. Some rites must be held in elevated places, others in caverns or underground sites according to a sacred geography which never implies subjective choices: they must coherent to a precise meta-physical sphere.
Space is always a living and lived place where, according to its peculiarities and specificities, gestures, words, formula and signs have a well defined value and meaning. Nonetheless, the space for rituals is only the “top of the iceberg” of the more intensive meaning of Space.
This intensive meaning is based on a tri-dimensional vertical value of the sacred space (to be highlighted the sacred value of the number “3”: triads, three sacred functions, symbology of the tripod, the Poseidon Trident, etc.). The first level is linked to the “solar principle” (Supera, high), not just in astronomical terms, but as “principle of shining light”, uranic. The second level is linked to the “ground level” connected to the human dimension and to the other living beings. The third one is linked to the “underground level” (Infera, low), connected to the darkness. Human dimension is thus placed in an intermediate position between a Supera Dimension and an Infera one.
These two dimensions (Supera and Infera) are at two opposite extremes: they have a specific and opposite symbology, they are integrated but they cannot communicate with each other. The reality of visible and living world is the result of the action and movement of these two different but interconnected dimensions and the related forces and energies which are identical, but in opposition (Jupiter/Pluto, celestial/underground fire).
Thanks to their action, the cycles of birth, life, death and continuing regeneration (at the base of the existence) may have place.
The forces characterizing these dimensions are thus interrelated and in opposition. If the Superi Gods/Goddesses are expression of a shining “coelum”, Inferi Gods/Goddesses are linked to the Night, darkness, shade, occult and secret. Inferi Gods/Goddesses have strong links with the growth (the symbol of the seed hold in the underground “hands of Proserpina”), natural fecundity, underground water and underground fire. Just to mention the great difference between Venus and Proserpina and the relevant Infernal characteristic of Ceres and the Great Mothers.
It is important to briefly analyze also the relations between the Infera Dimension and Death also because this relation has generated many prejudices and misunderstandings.
Every man has his own Genius as well as every woman has her own Juno (both deriving from the Latin term “generare” or “to generate”). These are vital and generating forces supporting the family (Lares) symbolized by the snake (infernal and telluric animal). This is an impersonal force which belongs to Nature, in particular to the Infernal Dimension. The seat of Lares is underground and they are under the influence of a feminine principle: Mania, Mater Larum.
Man/woman, when dying, loses his personality and he/she is reduced, for a short time, to be a “shade” which it will be extinguished as well (second death). The essential principle of the dead thus returns to Nature to be used again to generate other forms of life, as any other natural cycle of life. This is the reason why Lares are those “who make us live: they breed our body and regulate our souls” (Microbius: Saturnalia). This is the reason why they are also identified with the (dead) Ancestors, with an invisible force. Similarly they are also the sacralization of the force of the “blood”, the family, the gens.
There are also those who do not become shades: they can win the second death. They are “Divi/Divae”, the “Enlightened” who, not being however Gods/Goddesses, have achieved a higher and transcending life going beyond the human life in the common sense.
Therefore, two ways are in front of us. The former is the “Inferi path” where men/women temporarily return to give the vital energy back to the underground generating world. Here Death is “Becoming”. The latter is the path of the “Shining Gods/Goddesses”: this is the “Ancestors’ Via”. Here Death is sublimation. The former is linked to the darkness, the night, the six months of the solar descending, the Moon (symbol of Becoming), inhumation: this dimension is connected to the Janua Inferi and the Silver Key (Janus). The latter is linked to the shining light, fire, the daylight, the six months of the solar ascending, cremation: this dimension is connected to the Janua Coeli and the Gold Key (Janus)
The Traditional Roman Religion tends to create an aware consciousness in order to make the “Ancestors’ Via” prevail over the “Inferi path”: This means to be oriented towards a superior destiny and maintain a contact with the Divine according to the principles indicated by the Ancestors.
Even in this case, the phenomenon of “Two Natures”, two orders of Gods/Goddesses as well as two different and opposite rites and cults clearly emerge.