Quando in un bosco ne percepisci la bellezza e diventi tutt'uno con il bosco, allora, intuitivamente, sei in armonia e in pace con le Dee e con gli Dei. Essi sono parte della nostra vera natura, la nostra Natura Profonda, e quando siamo separati dalla nostra vera natura, viviamo nella paura. Percepire questa normalità vuol dire dare un senso reale al vivere che è insito in tutte le cose.

Intraprendere la Via Romana al Divino significa iniziare un percorso di risveglio: praticando l'attenzione e la consapevolezza continua ci incamminiamo lungo una strada sapendo che ciò che conta è il cammino per sè più che la destinazione.

When you, entering a forest, perceive the beauty of the forest and you feel to be in a complete harmony with it, then, intuitively, you are in peace with the Deities. They are an essential part of our real nature, our Deep Nature, and when we are separated by our real nature we live in the fear. Perceiving such normality means giving a real sense to our lives.

Undertaking the Roman Via to the Deities implies a path to awakening: with the practice of continuing consciousness and awareness we undertake our walking knowing that taking the path is more important than the destination itself

venerdì 27 febbraio 2015

Worship of Ancestors: further reflections

A friend, Cultrix and good blogger suggested some comments regarding my previous post on Lararium and Worship of the Ancestors. These observations can be found as a comment to this previous post.

In brief she reflected about the issue of how can we place within the Cult of the Ancestors, some Ancestors of a family who should not be mentioned for virtue being negative individuals, unworthy of admiration and even less of veneration.

The question of course is linked to some foundamental topics such as the ratio of the Cult of the Ancestors and the Dead, the concept of veneration or the same concept of worship.

To understand the meaning that Tradition and the Traditional Roman Spirituality gives to these issues is important to move, to "translate" our thoughts on another level of reflection: Our plan of reflection must be symbolic, mythical, esoteric, deeper.

When we speak of Ancestors we do not refer to them in a well defined "personal data" of a given person, in biological, physical, material terms, but in mythical and symbolic sense.

The concept of Ancestor, as well as that of the successor, highlights the idea of a chain, a transmission, a Tradition (tradere) in the most literal sense of the term, a movement, a continuing changing, a flowing, a walk along a path, a relay race, a Via.
Ancestors in particular are those who started this chain, those who have been (mythically) closer to the Gods and Goddesses during the progress of the (mythical) ages: they are those who have initiated the mos maiorum. Death and the Ancestors are elements of the narrative of a spiritual feeling, which now becomes "our" own personal spiritual sentiment. Although in the time course we had Ancestors who professed a religion totally different from ours (ie Christian), they can be organized within our inner spiritual Temple, according to our spiritual beliefs. Therefore they are part of the our family metaphysical order of the Afterlife which we now refer to.

In this perspective the concept of tradition, transmission, stability, order, hierarchy, structure, relationship acquire their value and meaning. Respect for parents, and their memory as Ancestry, is thus a critical contribution to create the basis of any social organization.

Furthermore, without this mythical and symbolic perspective, death would remain only a mere physical disintegration: in this way it acquires a value. Worship of Ancestors is therefore a response to the problem of death: even our death. The Lararium highlights this separation and this relationship between the world of the living and the dead and the unborn.

None of us, even if belonging to an ancient family, may have memory of all his/her ancestors, but what matters is to have a form of respect and awareness of our place in the course of the Sacred Time (which is not just a random flowing of events), a respect for those who have generated us, who gave us life, that have gone before us. The Traditional Roman Spirituality is not a religion, but it is a journey, a path, and this concept of path and journey can be also applied to the idea of the relationship between the past, present and future generations. The Traditional Roman Spirituality is a journey on a climb because it is also a Way of elevating; what the Cultor and Cultrix are called to do is elevating themselves also elevating his/her family (in a broad sense) or by highlighting the best, the best ethical and spiritual qualities that can be found within this family. The concept of pietas also embraces the idea of cultivating Gods and Goddesses on the basis of the virtus of the Ancients or of our Ancestors. The Cultor and Cultrix, through the pietas, are on the Way and by their ethical way of life they pass positive well defined values ​​to the future generations. But we must not forget that "children are the censors of parents": an unjust parent does not deserve obedience of the children. An unjust parent, being as such, does not practice the pietas, he/she is not on the Via. He/she loses his/her authority in this life and he/she also loses his/her symbolic authority in death through the oblivion. 
The Cultor and Cultrix, practicing the pietas, have this awareness instead: they live to build and develop this symbolic chain, acting to strengthen the idea of family roots to be transmitted to their children. In this way, they become not only Cultor and Cultrix, but also a Pater and a Mater Familias.

Tradition tells us, in a mythical and symbolic way, about the dead and the peaceless dead, about specific days when the dead could symbolically meet the living members of the family, about purification rites of the dead, rituals to appease the peaceless dead that harass the living family.  This mythical and ritual structure shows that for the Ancients the aggregation process of the deceased with the Ancestors follows a symbolic pace similar to the aggregation process an individual has in the society of the living mankind. The deceased does not automatically enter the sphere of the Ancestors because this process requires complex "rites of the memory". To become a new Ancestor, the deceased must be purified by the rites that have the primary purpose to remove his individual identity: he becomes so vague to be mingled together with all others Ancestors.  The identity of the individual Ancestry vanishes, his/her uniqueness is lost. The "veneration", the worship becomes a process of attributing global symbolic authority to the Ancestors as a whole, as an unique specific entity of a given family.

With the cult of the Ancestors, we affirm the value of the idea that the Cultor and Cultrix have for their "roots"(in the mythical, symbolic, esoteric sense) in space and time: just like a big tree affirms her force towards the sky thanks to her sound roots.

2 commenti:

M. Sentia Figula ha detto...

What a lovely post! I think this way of looking at the issue is totally right. Having a sense of pride in one’s ancestors in a collective sense that reaches far back into prehistory is something I can definitely understand. Considering the extreme hardships many of our ancestors have endured (wars, famines, floods, bitterly cold winters, wolves, etc) it is impossible not to feel a sense of gratitude and a sense of pride in the long chain of many (but not necessarily all) tough and clever individuals to whom I am indebted for my existence. In ancient Rome there were certain families who considered themselves descended from a particular God. This God was essentially a totem for the family. Sometimes I feel that Mercury is not just my patron God but the patron of my ancestral line – this may be the mythical sense you speak of. I know that may seem a little far out but it is a sense I have had for years and in a sense my veneration of Mercury is an ancestral veneration (I am speaking very plainly here – I would never be so honest on my own blog!) which is free from the individuals in my line who trouble me. Even in these individuals I can see how in another age their so called defects may have been very useful and adaptive (I have no doubt that I am descended from some very violent warriors!). I like your line “An unjust parent, being as such, does not practice the piety, he/she is not on the Via. He/she loses his/her authority in this life and he/she also loses his/her symbolic authority in death through the oblivion.” I think this a very important point. So often we hear of filial piety and how important it is and not often enough do we hear of the duty owed from parents to their children. If a man does not feed and clothe his children what do his children owe him? If a woman lacks tenderness towards her children then do her children owe her much? (Speaking hypothetically – my own mother was wonderfully kind). But as you point out, ancestor worship is not necessarily about individuals but rather is about the whole – I like this idea very much:)

Carmelo Cannarella ha detto...

Thank you for your comment which I highly appreciate considering your effort in understanding the poor quality of my english...