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

martedì 21 aprile 2015

April the 21st: Dies Natalis Romae - Palilie

I have already written some reflections about this relevant day in the Traditional Roman Calendar. I use this post to put them together...


Rome has been founded on 21st april 753 b.c. over the Palatine by Romolus with a rite based on the delimitation of the templum with a lituum, auspices' reading and interpretation, offering to Gods/Goddesses and to Earth, delimitation of the sacred space with a lituum, construction of the pomerium (sacred border) traced on the ground with a plough's furrow, delimitation of the Via Sacra around the pomerium.

Through this rite Rome became not only a physical space, but also a meta-physical space where great sacred and divine energies and forces are concentrated. Rome is thus not only a "place" but also a "meta-place". Thanks to this consecration, or a translation into the Divine dimension, Rome may be the center of other religions but it will remain the site of the Ancient Gods/Goddesses forever.

Costantinopolis is the only city in the world founded with the same rite.


This day is dedicated also to the ancient Goddess Pale, Goddess of shepherds, sheep farming and flocks.

This is a purification day during which flat bread and milk are eaten and offered to this Goddess.

At night straw fires are lighted.
In the past cattle was passed three times through these fires as a purification rite. 


The day of April 21st is dedicated to the foundation of Rome and to the Ancient Goddess of Pale. In many blogs there are detailed hystorical descriptions about these importatn festivals. 

It seems to me quite useless to add something else to this here also because in this blog I'm trying to dismiss, whenever possible, the hystorical rhetoric and to reconstructionism. I have not appreciated also the fact that in Rome these ceremonies have been quite essentially biased on costume parades. Too much folklore; this is a carnival party. That's all.

During a day like this a Cultor and a Cultrix should wonder what these festivities mean for them today, what meaning and sense these festivities may have today wondering also about the value we can assign today to these festivals: which kind of contribution can these festivals provide to our spirituality within the Traditional Roman Spirituality today? I don't think that insisting on the purification of flocks can be useful or understandable for us (except for someone involved in sheep or livestock breeding).

Anyway. I ask to myself how it can be possible to spiritually live this day and how this day can contribute to my spirituality for the days to come.

I think that the Traditional Roman Spirituality today, among others, is a kind of deep spirituality linked to the cult (practice) of the Ancestors. Role and meaning of Ancestors (also as metaphysical concept) strongly inspire this kind of Credo.

The foundation of Rome (its myth and the festivity dedicated to an ancient Goddess) therefore recalls an idea of Ancestors, an idea of Beginning, Origin, the birth of a Spiritual Tradition. This day evokes a type of primordial humankind where Life is sacred, men and women are strictly close to Gods and Goddesses (in a very broad sense).

We thus remind a Time when every action, gesture, thought were sacred. This is a Time when the urban space where men and women live is co-shared with Gods and Goddesses. Every man and woman are priest and priestess because living is a sacred action, the city-village is a Temple, every form and expression of the Reality reveals and discloses the Divine Presence. And men and women can easily perceive the sacred Breath (flamen) of this Divine Presence.

In this primal status there is a pure, immediate, direct, plain elementarity: what is immensely great is like what is immensely small. Microcosm and macrocosm are the same.

I think that in this day (rather than dressing masks) it should be better to direct our thoughts toward this concept of frugality, simplicity, primal status which the idea of Ancestors and their cult materialize. We have to regain this deep sense and meaning connected to these festivals, the real idea of Ancestors (a concept we have completely lost) which must inspire our everyday life. 

We should daily reflect about these principles.

6 commenti:

M. Sentia Figula ha detto...

I really appreciate these kinds of posts (I too have marked the day in my own way) – there are two observations that I want to comment on. One is “this day evokes a type of primordial humankind where Life is sacred”. A friend of mine who is getting into Germanic polytheism has commented that all the (male Germanic) Gods seem to have a warrior aspect (which appeals to him), and I can see where he is coming from. In Roman polytheism I see a similar trend but it is not a military one so much. Whenever I read up and study (the major) Roman Gods all of them seem to be fertility Gods in one way or another – making the Roman pantheon, the Roman way to the Gods, the Roman emphasis, a celebration of life itself. I wonder if you agree, or am I generalising too much? The other thing I wanted to comment on relates to the cult of the ancestors – well it goes back to our discussion in relation to the Lares, and I wonder what you think? I know this sounds old fashioned but for various reasons I have begun to get a sense of my familia’s Lares as being related to my husband’s name, which I took, and so they protect me as well, this surname … is what binds the Lares to us. Not to say that that the women in all this don’t matter, or the men whose names have not been passed down, of course they do, but our society is patrilineal … I guess it is one thing to understand who you are by having a sense of who (all of) your ancestors are – that has got to be important, regardless of one’s spiritual persuasions, but who are the Lares? I used to think they were “land spirits” but I grow more and more convinced they are really “family spirits”. But my mind is too logical, for how can they split themselves between families when there are often so many branches of the one family? If the Lares are tied to particular family names then does that make things clearer? Or even more confused?

Carmelo Cannarella ha detto...

Your comment raises two interesting issues.
Regarding the first I can say that I have a little knowledge of the German tradition and I cannot make a comparison. As for Traditional Roman Spirituality, I can remember what a wise old man (perhaps paraphrasing Heraclitus) told me a long time ago: "the weapon of Mars (the spear) symbolizes the Life (the phallus), but its action brings death".

Many Roman Deities show actually this duplicity. Think about Venus (water) as the source of life and death, but I can say the same for Diana, Dionysus, Apollo, etc ... The Divine, as highest expression of the Existence, always shows a duality, (male/female, life/death, etc ...) not to express opposition, but rahter integration, interdependence. In this sense, the Roman tradition highlights its origins in the Ancient Vedic India - also the basis for traditional Chinese and Japanese heritage in the East. These opposites are not individualities, but closely related components, sometimes difficult to distinguish, in a single whole process.

The Existence itslef is the result of this oscillating between two poles: better, the Existence is this oscillating movement. Each Divine force, eg. Mars, therefore expresses this concept: contraction/expansion, male/female, generation/destruction. Each polarity finds its meaning, its reason for being, in the presence of the opposite polarity: there can be no life without death and vice versa. The meaning of life lies in the sense of death and vice versa. There can be no contraction without expansion: we can not always breathe in, breathe out is necessary in order to live. A Divine force being only expression of destruction, expansion, only warrior force, according to the Traditional Roman Spirituality, would not be a true God Force because "partial", "reduced", "limited": limitation is a feature of the human dimension and in this sense would be more human than divine.

The same is true for each of us where these forces coexist in a complementary activity. It is important to find this ideal balance (which tradition describes as the Rebis). Each of us is the result of the action of male/female forces: in this monotheism shows all its limitations trying in to suppress the feminine in every way thus pushing to unbalace.

It's a very complex issue requiring much more space. I will try to deal with it appropriately and widely in another occasion. I'm sorry if it's not very exhaustive.

Similarly, it's not easy to me to adequately reply to your second observation. What I can briefly say concerning the Lares, is that they express the idea of rooting, in a very broad and deep sense. The Family Lares describe the rooting in Time (past-present-future), the Lares Compitales the rooting in space, in places. In the case of the Family Lares they are not clearly male or female: they do not belong to a family simply identified by a family name. They are the soul of the family. The Lares family are the sacralization of "your" sense of rootedness in time: they evidence "your awareness" of being part of a flow of generation (in a very broad sense). Different is what concerns Lares Compitales because they - very briefly - are those elements giving an identity, a dignity to a place. Again I hope to address these complex issues more adequately.

M. Sentia Figula ha detto...

Regarding the first point – thank you for that response, it was well put. When you say a ‘Divine force being only expression of destruction, expansion, only warrior force … would not be a true God Force because [it would be] "partial", "reduced", "limited”’ you are right, naturally Germanic Paganism has the expression of life forces (the Vanir Gods, such as Freyr, who is like Faunus, Njord, who is like Neptune, Freyja, who is like Venus, are all principally concerned with life, peace and fertility, but they too have the deathly aspect that you speak of), but the problem is that the vast majority of what has been left recorded pertains to warrior spirituality so mostly we are mostly left guessing about the spirituality of ancient Germanic women, the homestead, the farm and so on.

When you say the “meaning of life lies in the sense of death and vice versa” – it seems to me that this is the theme of all the profound spiritual paths, but the frustrating thing is that death is a mystery … I am in the somewhat unsatisfying Socratic position of knowing that I do not know (as regards death, the afterlife, the inherent nature of the Lares, etc)

Carmelo Cannarella ha detto...

The problem of the Death, as a mysterious and unknowable event by definition, of course is a very personal topic affecting everyone and, because of its characteristics, in one way or another, brings fear and despair. Enlightened, unenlightened, wise, foolish, rich, poor, we are all destined to die like all the living beings.

Everyone of us is alone in front of the death.

This event has always impressed men and women, but nowadays the death creates even more discomfort because our society, and culture, tend to remove the death from our mental horizon. A society totally focused on the present, on the primacy of appearance, superficial beauty and matter, rather than on substance and the spirit, has created a psychological distance with death never happened before. Moreover, it is inevitable that a society that is totally detached from nature and its cycles tries to remove the thought of death. If you observe nature, trying to live according to her cycles, you will realize that everything is a cyclic alternation of birth and death.

Death, like life, is always naturally present. Always very close to us.

But our culture instead, thanks to science, is trying to prolong life in every way delaying as long as possible, even in an unnatural way, the event of death. It's a culture unable to handle the problem of the old age: being old creates discomfort because considered the antechamber of death.

Even when talking about food, the death of the animals, to sustain our life, is completely forgotten and removed.

In the past, also in the rural communities in not so far times, death was always present and it always accompanied the everyone’s life. Think for example about the high infant mortality of the past. Obviously the fear of death, as a form of "loss", was a real authentic feeling. But death was better accepted as something naturally inevitable. On the contrary, we never think about death, death horrifies us as something should never happen. We live in a culture totally biased on the worship of our personal Ego, and the death is the definitive loss of our Ego: this is why we tend to remove the idea of the death from our personal horizon. But the thought of death should never abandon us. "Live as if you were already dead": this is a typical traditional Roman attitude. There is no despair or resignation in this, but rather serenity. Desperation does not help us in overcoming death, indeed it makes Death a terrible event.

We Cultores and Cultrices do not have an idea of a world beyond life: if this world after death exists or not is a non-issue. We have this our life we try to accept as it is, especially with its limits. We are just part of a flow of existence. The image of the Family Lares describes this flowing of generations.

We can not know everything, we can not give rational answers to everything. There are questions that remain unanswered. The idea of death, even as a moment of personal reflection, gives us the awareness to be just humans with their limits and their unanswered questions.
And the limit by definition is death.
I do not know if all this can help to accept with serenity the event of (our and the others’) death, but living each minute of the existence as if it were the last one makes me appreciate life as authentic as possible.

M. Sentia Figula ha detto...

You are right and I agree with all that you say about this. The funny thing is though that it is a lesson I keep learning. It's like I forget and then am reminded that I already know this, but then I forget again until I relearn this, only to forget it again. This is my fault, but I think I am influenced by societal norms as well. In our contemporary societies it is actually possible, for periods of time at least, to forget about the reality of death, which only makes death seem more frightening and more strange. The challenge is to remember death, which is to remember that change is constant, impermanence total and life beautifully fragile. I (think I) understand the serenity thing – sometimes when death seems more real the beauty of life seems even more vivid, more beautiful, more precious. There is an acceptance of life as it is – deeply flawed and painful, but beautiful and perfect all at once. Well I say this now, but no doubt I will forget again, until someone wise reminds me, and I relearn what I already knew.

Carmelo Cannarella ha detto...

I share the same feelings. Unfortunately I'm not wise enough to have a constant "awareness" not only about these issues (death, the real value of the things of the life, the organization of life priorities, etc.) It's a continuos exercise of awareness in a condition of distraction...
Perfection is not one of my best quality...