Saturday, September 02, 2006

Slavic Pagan Calendar


Studen (December) 24-31

This is one of the most important pagan Slavic holidays. At the time of the Winter Solstice, we sing songs for Lada and of praise to Perun who are prisoner now under frost and snow. During these days we celebrate our Gods by drinking a toast to them and burning bonfires deep within the forest. We wend our way singing from house to house, bemasked and dancing as we go. Under the aegis of the New Year, we sacrifice a Goat:

Behind a large mountain
Beside a swift river
Within a dark forest,
Big bonfires are lit.
On benches around the fire,
These benches made of oak,
Men of reknown on these benches seated
Famous men, beautiful ladies
Sing Kolada's songs.
The Old Man in the center, seated
Grinds his knife of iron;
Boiling hot, boiling
With the goat nearby...
The time of sacrifice for the goat.

The Days of Volos
Procines (January) 1-6

These moonlit and frosty nights have a name: The Holiday of the Wolves. These days are set aside for the worship of the God of pets and of cattle, whose name is Volos. We give our thanks for the animals on these days, which bring food and sustenance to our homes from ancient times. We also defend them from the ravenous wolves which attack.

The Day of Remembrance for Princess Olga
Procines (January) 3

On this day we celebrate Olga who brought glory and honor to herself for all eternity through her acts of heroism. She avenged her husband's murder by slaying the perpetrator, Drevlane. She later gave birth to the Great Prince Sviatoslav and thus united all the Russias; a feat of great honor in her remembrance. Today is the day of a toast to the Great Paganess, Olga.

Procines (January) 6

This is the holiday of the bull, Jar-tur, a symbol of the strong power of life and fertility. People today celebrate this day by donning masks, parading and imitating the Great Bull. Younger and older folk alike join in playing games of enjoyment, called "Turisi". This also ends the New Year holiday.

A Day of Remembrance for Oleg the Prophet (Visionary)
Sjechen (February) 3

The Varangian's (Viking's) king was a good example of the Rus-Viking. His history is very instructive, yet at the same time mysterious. Volhv of Kiev (a pagan wizard) prophecied to Oleg that his horse would die in battle but afterward he would also be killed. He triumphed under the Byzantines, and after his final battle, his shield was hung on the Gate of Tsargrad in Constantinople.

Navii's Day (Vjunitci)
Suhii (March) 1

On this first of four days, slavic pagans remember their ancestors in prayer. Today, Navii's Day is the "Day of the Dead". People bring sacrifices and invite their ancestors to attend their feast with them.

Day of Remembrance for Prince Igor
Suhii (March) 3

This pagan prince struck fear in the heart of Byzantine Christianity by attacking its capitol, Constantinople. During this time, Igor enlisted the help of many vikings who helped him rule his kingdom and fight against his enemies. Prince Igor was killed by the Drevlani when he attempted to secure fees for rent from them when they were on the lands of his kingdom.

Suhii (March) 21

Maslenitsa is a very ancient festival, the holiday of the Spring Equinox and the end of the winter frosts. People enjoy themselves, engaging in much feasting, dancing, wearing of masks, playing on traditional musical instruments, and contests of strength, all to enact spring unbridled, in action and fighting. Traditional pastries are also baked, called blini (a type of potato pancake), to symbolize the sun.


Suhii (March) 24

This day is a very ancient Pagan holiday. This day we honor the great Bear God (Meveshii Bog) and make sacrifices to the Great God of Honey.

Goddess Karna's Day
Berezozol (April) 7

Sbruch's Idol from South Slavic Land This second holiday is for the worship of our ancient ones, our ancestors. On this day, the Goddess of Crying and Wailing is honored. "...Put water on the table. Let refuse be burned near the gates on Great Thursday, and declare: 'Walking here near this fire, the spirits have warmth'.

Lela's Holiday
Berezozol (April) 22

Today is the feast day to honor the Goddess-daughter, Lela. In Scandinavia, this day is celebrated in Odin's (Woden's) Honor. That says to us that Lela was one of the important Slavic Goddesses. Say a toast in honor of this Deity.

Traven (May) 1

This is the third great day of worship of our ancesetors, a day of remembrance. Today we bring beer, vodka, and food to our dead. During the feast, celebrants call their guests to stir from their sepluchres and eat and drink in remembrance of Trisna. This day is named "Rodnitsa" to honor the God Rod, the God of Family and of the Cosmos.

Grudie Rosnoe
Traven (May) 20-30

During these ten days, Volhvs (Magicians, Soothsayers, Sorcerors) bring sacrifices to Rod for rain and for good, productive harvests.


Jarila's Day
Kresen (June) 4

Today is dedicated to Jarila, the God of the Sun and fertility. Slavic people celebrate this holiday with festivities and dancing on a grand scale. "...As we approached, we saw about 4,000 men and women who had gathered together from all over Rus. It was some holiday, and we feared, when we saw how these manic people celebrated this day by erotic dancing, singing, and loud and high shreeks of delight." (Gerborod, July 4, 1121).

Rusalka's Week
Kresen (June) 19-24

During this week we worship the Divinity of Rivers, Rusalka. Many tales and fortune-telling are associated with this week. In the forests bonfires blaze atop the mountains, and the spirits fly free over fields and lakes.

Kresen (June) 23

(In the Old Russian tongue, Kupala means "bather"). Today the holiday of the Summer Solstice and remembrance of the human sacrifices made in olden times to the Master of things Sub-marine, Jasse (Dragon). All through the night people are celebrating, singing songs, hiking, doing readings (fortune-telling). A blot is held near water. In times gone by, fires were lit in preparation for a sacrifice of a young maiden by rowning in the river. Later, however, the human sacrifice was replaced by a doll made of bread (a loaf-doll).

The Day of Remembrance for Knjaz Sviatoslav the Great
Cherven (July) 3

Sviatoslav, the Great Pagan Knjaz of Rus fought an extremely devastating war with Byzantium. Sviatoslav had not the least bit of respect for Christianity. He enlarged the lands of Rus from Hasar's land on the Volga River to the Danube in the Balkans. Pechenegs was expelled and stopped the influx of Christianity. At the time of Tsargrad's siege, Sviatoslav sufferred some losses, and his persecution by the Christians continued. "Then he saw that they were intractable, he had hatred for the Christian priests. People were sent to Kiev and it was ordered, 'Burn and destroy all the Christian churches and temples in Kiev.' And later he went himself to Kiev, wanting all Christians to be killed. So let it be." Thus in 980, Sviatoslav's people destroyed the churches and placed representations of the pagan Gods on its remains.

Perun's Day
Cherven (July) 20

This is the holiday on which the Great God of Thunder, Perun, is celebrated. On this day human sacrifices (the slaying of a man or woman for God), were made on 12th of Cherven (July). At that time, a bull was also sacrificed and people feasted on the animal. The King and the Volvhs organized a spectacular fete with plays and much merry-making. "In the year 6491, the old men would make the decision; 'Cast lots on a boy and a girl. Destiny will decide who will be sacrificed.' There was a Varagian Christian who had a son. The lot [for sacrifice] fell on his son." (From Povest Vremeniih Let [The Tale of Years Past])

Harvest Holiday
Serpen (August) 7

This is a holiday of bread, a holiday of the harvest. In the fields people cease their reaping in honor of Volos's beard. Thanks are brought to Volos and to Mother Earth in gratitude for a large harvest.

Serpen (August) 15

This is an agricultural holiday celebrating the end of haymaking. People have a good time, feasting, boxing, and much more.

The Day of Remembrance for the Pagan People of Novgorod
Ruen (September) 3

"When the people of Novgorod were notified that Dobrinja wanted to Christianize them, they held a "Veche" (Thing) and decided to swear an oath: 'Do not let Dobrinja into town. Do not let our idols be destroyed.' Dobrinja sent word to them offering them silver, but the people refused him and would not let him enter the city." The highest Volvh under the direction of a Slavic Pagan Priest, named Bogomil, (also known as Nightengale or "Solovey"), Voevoda Ugonay goes on to declare, went about the city on a horse, declaring with a loud voice: 'Better for us to die than to let our Gods see disgrace.' However, Dobrinja prevaled and each of the idols were cast into the river and the wooden sculptures were incinerated. This, truly, was a day of great mourning and sadness for the Pagan People..." - Iokimovskaja Letopis

The events which happened on this day demonstrates all the "love" and essence of Christianity.

The Feast of Honor for Lada and Lela
Ruen (September) 8

This day Lada and Lela are honored because of the work in the fields has come to a close. A celebration is held with dancing and song. This marks the passing of Summer and its attendant warmth.

Svarog's Holiday
Ruen (September) 21

This is the Autumnal Equinox, the day of the God of Fire and the Sky. This is the day to drink mead and honor Svarog.


Day of the Ancients
Pasdernik (October) 26

This is the fourth day of commemoration/worship of the Ancient Ones in the year. This is also a day of remembrance for the warriors who were slain in the year 1380 on Kulikovskoe Field. Say a toast to the honor and glory of the Russian Heroes.

Makoshe's Holiday
Pasdernic (October) 25 to Gruden (November) 1

We celebrate this holiday on the Friday between October 25 and November 1. On this day we honor Mother Earth and give gratitude to her for her care and concern for us. The central icon for this feast is the vegetable.

Day of Remembrance for Volhvs
Gruden (November) 11

"At the time of Gleb Svatsolavich, a Volhv appeared ... who went unto the people and told his story. ...A rebellion of great proportions occured in the town, and the people were set on killing the bishop. The townspeople became divided: Knjaz Gleb and his consort sided went with the bishop, but all the people sided with the Volhv." - Tale of Years Past

The great rebellion in all the High Volga Region occured in Susdal in the year 1024. In 1071, two Wizards gave orders to the vast area from the Volga. 'In the year 6735, (1227 C.E.), four Volhvs were immolated for their conjuring and working of magic. And God did this! They were all burned in Jaroslav's Court'. - First Novgordian Epistle

Tip the horn in remembrance of those (people) who died at the Christian's "virtuous" hands.

Day of Remembrance for Bogatir Svatogor
Studen (December) 3

The date refers back to the time of the Great Barrow Gulbishe and the first fight with Pechenegs. Awesome were the honors at the funeral for this great noble warrior. His implements and armor were gigantic, twice as large as the ordinary in size. Today, say a toast to this great warrior.

Knjaz: "King" of the Rus; the scandinavian anaolog - Konung
Drevlane (Drevlani), Krivichi, Vjatichi, Deregovichi: North Slavic tribes
Drugina: the cadre/comradship of the Knjaz's warriors
Volhv: a priest of Slavic Paganism; analogous to the scandinavian "Godhi"
Tsargrad: The Old Russian name for Constantinople
Navija: the spirit of one who died
Komoed: "Bear" in Old Russian
Rusalka: The Ancient Spirit of Rivers and Lakes
Voevoda: The highest warrior within the Drugina and their commander; analogous to the scandinavian "Jarl"
Bogatir: "Greatest Hero" in Old Russian

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Vedic Pantheon

The Vedas are the ancient scriptures or revelation (Shruti) of the Hindu teachings. They manifest the Divine Word in human speech. They reflect into human language the language of the Gods, the Divine powers that have created us and which rule over us.

There are four Vedas, each consisting of four parts. The primary portion is the mantra or hymn section (samhita). To this are appended ritualistic teachings (brahmana) and theological sections (aranyaka). Finally philosophical sections (upanishads) are included. The hymn sections are the oldest. The others were added at a later date and each explains some aspect of the hymns or follows one line of interpreting them.

The Vedas were compiled around the time of Krishna (c. 3500 B.C.), and even at that time were hardly understood. Hence they are very ancient and only in recent times has their spiritual import, like that of the other mystery teachings of the ancient world, begun to be rediscovered or appreciated even in India. Like the Egyptian teachings they are veiled, symbolic and subtle and require a special vision to understand and use properly.

The great compiler of the Veda and Puranas was Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana. He was said to be the twenty-eighth of the Vyasas or compilers of Vedic knowledge. He was somewhat older than the Avatar Krishna and his work continued after the death of Krishna. Perhaps he is symbolic of a whole Vedic school which flourished at that time, as many such Vedic schools were once prominent all over India and in some places beyond.

The Vedic Pantheon

By vedic gods we mean those divinities (devas) who are mentioned in the four Vedas. The principal Vedic gods are said to be 33 in number, namely eight Vasus, eleven Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapathi Brahma. These gods belong to the three regions of the earth (prithvi), the heavens (Dyaus) and the intermediate space (Antariksha).


Indra is the lord of the heavens. He is the most popular and powerful of the vedic deities. He is described as the god of the blue sky. He rides a white elephant called Airavata and wields the dazzling weapon of lightening called Vajrayudh made by another god Tvastur. He fought many battles to drive the demons away and ensure victory to the gods. He also destroyed many cities of his enemies. His most famous achievement was slaying of Vratasura. He killed the demon of the dark skies (symbolically the clouds) with his weapon (the lightning) and released the cows (waters) that were held in captivity by him.

Prone to drinking soma, often losing control over himself, mighty and sensuous, always concerned about his survival and status as the leader, at times scheming and at times troubled, Indra is more like a king upon the earth than of heavens. He has a spiritual side too. According to the Kena Upanishad, he is the only god to have gone nearest to Brahman and was to know Him as Brahman. This act of him earned him the right to become the ruler of heavens. In the Chandogya Upanishad we are told that he studied under Prajapathi Brahma and learned the secrets of immortality. in the images, Indra is generally shown with four arms and as riding on a while elephant. Sometimes he is shown with his wife, Sachidevi, but mostly alone. With the emergence of Saivism and Bhagavatism in the post Vedic period, the importance of Indra gradually decline.


If we find in Indra the qualities of a war lord or a typical king, in Varuna we see the earliest signs of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and compassionate God, the precursor the Upanishadic Brahman. Varuna is the ruler of the worlds, the ordainer and enforcer of law and upholder of the world order. In one of the Rigvedic hymns he is described as the Lord of the earth and heaven who sustains the tree that has its roots in heaven and braches down below. This description reminds us of the famous Asvattha tree of the latter day scriptures.

Varuna is the knower of all and controller of all. He is the supreme God capable of controlling and dispensing justice. "He knows the path of birds that fly through heaven, and, Sovran of the sea. He knows the ships that are thereon. True to his holy law, he knows the twelve moons with their progeny. He knows the moon of later birth. He knows the pathway of the wind, the spreading, high, and mighty wind. He knows the Gods who dwell above. Varuna, true to holy law, sits down among his people; he, Most wise, sits there to govern. all." (R.V)

And how does he know all this? With innumerable spies (rays of light) who are spread every where acting as his eyes and ears, he knows all that goes on in this world. If two people talking together, beware that Varuna is there watching every thing that is going on. Born to Aditi, and friend and brother of Mitra, Varuna is the protector, "the Holy One, helper of all mankind, the law maker whose holy laws remain unweakened." Together with Mitra, he controls the world order, Rta and when people transgress the moral order and commit sin, he knows and punishes them. But if they repent and seek forgiveness, he forgives them too.

He causes the rains to come down and the sun to travel. He makes the rivers flow. The rivers that flows because of him know no weariness, nor they cease flowing. Many invocations of Varuna repeatedly beseech him to forgive sins, like this one," If we have sinned against the man who loves us, have ever wronged a brother, friend, or comrade, the neighbor ever with us, or a stranger, O Varuna, remove from us the trespass. If we, as gamesters cheat at play, have cheated, done wrong unwittingly or sinned of purpose, cast all these sins away like loosened fetters, and, Varuna let us be thine own beloved."

Varuna lost much of his importance as an omnipotent and omnipresent god after Indra assumed more prominence. He was subsequently relegated, or rather demoted to the position of a dikpala or ruler of a quarter (the western hemisphere) and lord of the oceans and water.

In the iconography he is depicted as the rider of a chariot drawn by seven swans, with four hands and an umbrella over his head. In some images the swans are replace by a crocodile, suggestive of his lordship over the aquatic life.


Agni is the chosen Priest, God, minister of sacrifice, the hotar, who lavishes wealth and dispels the darkness. Sapient-minded priest, truthful, most gloriously great, ruler of sacrifices, guard of Law eternal, radiant One, no sacrifice is complete without his presence. His presence verily ensures the success of a sacrifice, because whatever sacrifice he accepts goes to the gods. Agni is the messenger, the herald, master of all wealth, oblation-bearer, much beloved, who brings the willing Gods from the heavens and makes them sit on the grass with him near the sacrificial altar.

He is appointed by Manu as the priest. He is often invoked along with Indra, with whom he shares the passion for soma drink. He is also invoked along with Maruts probably to ward off the dangers of forest fires. Agni, was the earliest Angiras, a Seer. After his holy ordinance the Maruts, were born with their glittering spears. Addressed as immortal Jatavedas, many-hued effulgent gift of Dawn, bearer of offerings and the charioteer of sacrifice, Agni is the Lord of Red Steeds, who loves songs. Kind and bountiful giver of gifts, of wondrous fame, Agni is the friend of all, loved by many in their homes.

The Vedic Aryans were well aware of his destructive ability, as he sets the forests aflame. "Urged by the wind he spreads through dry wood as he lists, armed with his tongues for sickles, with a mighty roar. Black is thy path, Agni, changeless, with glittering waves! when like a bull thou rushes eager to the trees, with teeth of flame, wind-driven, through the wood he speeds, triumphant like a bull among the herd of cows, with bright strength roaming to the everlasting air: things fixed, things moving quake before him as he flies." We also know some thing about his origins. Matariswan brought him down from the heavens and handed him over to the Bhrigus for keeping.

In some of the hymns like the following ones, we see Agni being elevated to the status of a supreme god, " Agni is the Vaivashnara the center of all people ... He is in the sky as well as at the center of the earth." A similar notion can be found in this hymns also. "Commingling, restless, he ascends the sky, unveiling nights and all that stands or moves, as he the sole God is preeminent in greatness among all these other Gods."

In the images, Agni is depicted with two heads, long flowing hair, a pot belly, six eyes, seven hands, four horns and three legs. His seven hands represent the seven flames and the three legs represent the three worlds which he reigns. His pot belly denotes his love for rich oily food. His consorts are svaha and svadha. Being a dhoomaketu, smoke is his banner. The Ram is his vehicle, and the ram being a typical sacrificial animal, his association with it denotes his connection with sacrificial rituals.

Rudra and Rudras

The Rudra of the Rigveda is a militant god of storms and lightening and a "provider of medicines". Though he did not enjoy the same status as Indra, Rudra definitely enjoyed his own importance in the Vedic pantheon because of his tempestuous nature, his association with storms and storm gods called Maruts and his ability to bring medicines to the people to prolong their lives.

He is a fierce looking god, well built and golden in color, with braided hair, "of firm limbs, multiform, strong, tawny, who adorns himself with bright gold decorations. The strength of Godhead never departs from Rudra." Father of Maruts, the Rigvedic hymns describe him eloquently, "Of your pure medicines ... those that are most wholesome and health bestowing, those which our father Manu hath selected, I crave from. Rudra for our gain and welfare."

He wields the thunder bolt, bow and arrow, and sends down streaks of lightening shaking the worlds, making people nervous with fear and trepidation and disturbing the cattle in the cow pens. Intelligent, and benevolent, he protects people from their enemies. We do not know whether the Rigvedic Rudra was a precursor to the Rudra of later times. But the resemblance in some fundamental traits between the two and the appeal to both in prayers and supplications not to harm the cattle and the people with their anger, is too evident to be ignored.

The following hymn is one such example, which in many ways sounds like a verse from the Svetavatara Upanishad, "O Rudra, harm not either great or small of us, harm not the growing boy, harm not the full-grown man. Slay not a sire among us, slay no mother here, and to our own dear bodies, Rudra, do not harm. Harm us not, Rudra, in our seed and progeny, harm us not in the living, nor in cows or steeds, Slay not our heroes in the fury of thy wrath. Bringing oblations evermore we call to thee. Even as a herdsman I have brought thee hymns of praise: O Father of the Maruts, give us happiness, Blessed is thy most favoring benevolence, so, verily, do we desire thy saving help."

Some times the hymns refer to not just one Rudra but a group of Rudras eleven in number. According to some this is a symbolic reference to the ten vital breaths and the mind or suggestive of his association with the Maruts.


Mitra and Varuna are both lords of the heaven. Together they uphold the law, cause the cows to stream, the plants to flourish, and, "scattering swift drops, send down the rain-flood". Both are Adityas and mostly are invoked together probably because of their close friendship. The watchful twain, most potent, together uphold Rta or the moral order. "Firmly set in heaven is Mitra's home, and Aryaman's and Varuna's. Thence they give forth great vital strength which merits praise, high power of life that men shall praise." We are informed from the hymns that Mitra stirs men to action and sustains both earth and heaven. Both Mitra and Varuna are guardians of the world, who sit in a gold hued chariot from day break and behold the infinity. In course of time, Mitra came to be associated with morning light, while Varuna with night sky.


Vayu is a described in the Rigveda as a beautiful god, ideally the first partaker of soma juice which he seems to be especially fond of. He is a friend of Indra and a hero who shares the glory of victory with the latter. He is swift as mind, the thousand-eyed and the Lords of thought. He drives a chariot yoked with steeds, whose color vary from from red to purple and the number from two to hundreds and even thousands, depending upon the occasion. He is praised in the hymns as the Intelligence, who illumines the earth and heaven and makes the Dawn to shine.

For him the dawn spreads her radiant garments in the dark and distant skies. Invisible, he moves in the heavens as well as in the human body as the vital breath, like Rudra, Vayu also brings medicines to cure people. For his sake the cows yield milk, and to him the coward prays for luck. He is a protector of people whom he protects from every world and from the highest world of Gods (their wrath). In the post Vedic period, Vayu became the lord of the north western quarters and father of Hanuman and Bhima, symbols of immense strength, loyalty and brotherhood, which were the original qualities of Vayu as a trusted friend of Indra and protector of people. Blue in color, he is depicted with four hands. He holds a fan and a flag in two hands while the other two are held in abhaya and varada mudras (postures).


Surya is the blazing sun. He is one of the Adityas, god among gods, the light that is most excellent, golden colored, who rides the skies in his golden chariot, drawn by seven bay horses, who are described in the hymns as the daughters of heaven. He is said to be extremely brilliant, with radiant hair, who files in the skies like a bird and shines brightly like a jewel. Giver of power and strength, destroyer of laziness and darkness, with bright light radiating from him, he knows all that lives. Before him, the constellations pass away, like thieves, together with their beams. Swift and all beautiful , Surya is the maker of the light, who illumines the radiant realm, who goes to the hosts of Gods as well as to the world of mankind with his light. like Varuna, he is ever watchful. Because of his power and golden color, he is also depicted as provider of good health, who removes the heart disease and takes away the yellow hue (jaundice) to be given to the parrots, starlings and haritala trees.


The Vishnu of the Rigvedic times, is a minor god,. He is one of the Adityas, but with some qualities of the Vishnu of Bhagavatism. Like the Vishnu of later days, he is a lover and protector of devotees in whose loved mansion all god loving creatures live happily. Like the Vishnu in his incarnation as Vamana, who strode the earth and the heaven in two paces and then crushed the demon king Bali with his third pace, the Vedic Vishnu is also a god of three strides, who upholds the threefold existence, the earth, the heaven and all living creatures and in whose three wide-extended paces inhabit all living creatures.

The Rigveda says that a mortal man, can behold two steps of him, who looks upon the light, but his third step no one venture to approach, not even the feathered birds of air that fly with wings. Described as the dweller of mountains and a bull with wide strides, who like a rounded wheel, sets in swift motion his ninety racing steeds together with the four, Vishnu is the ancient and the last, the primeval germ, with power supreme. Together with his spouse, he ordains and as a ruler of the three worlds, he helps the Aryan man, giving the worshipper his share of Holy Law.


Savitr is an Aditya who is described as golden eyed, golden handed and golden tongued. A solar deity, he is regarded as the sun before sun rise, but sometimes distinguished from the sun. He not only represents the golden sun of the morning, but the hidden sun of dark night also. Riding a golden chariot he comes, looking on everyone.

He moves both ways, upward and downward, and travels along "ancient dustless paths in the air's mid region with two bright adorable bays." From far away he comes to chases away all distress and sorrow, the rakshasas and the Yatudhanas and illumines the worlds. Mounting his golden chariot that is decked with colorful pearls and lofty with golden pole, he goes to darksome regions to illumine them.

Drawing the gold-yoked car with his white footed Bays, he manifests light to all the peoples. Held in his lap all men and all beings attain immortality. The golden-handed Savitar, far-seeing, goes on his way between the earth and heaven, drives away sickness, bids the Sun approach us, and spreads the bright sky through the darksome region.

Like other Adityas, he is an upholder of law and forgiver of penitent sinner. Some times he is described as superior to all the other gods, whose statutes none disobeys. "Him whose high law neither Varuna nor Indra, not Mitra, nor Aryaman, nor Rudra breaketh" The Gayatri mantra is addressed to Savitr of adorable splendor for the enlightenment of human consciousness.

Savitr is the most adorable, mysterious and effulgent god of mystic realms, who is considered to be the goal, the purpose and the object of meditation. When he descends into the consciousness, a golden disc with bright pointed rays, the inner world is lit up with the splendor of God and indescribable beauty. This author has been told by experienced people that whenever and wherever the Gayatri mantra is uttered with devotion and sincerity, the whole atmosphere and the auras of the people who participate in the chanting are lit up in this splendorous manner by the golden rays that descend from above.


Pusan is a pastoral god. He is the lord of the paths, who protects people from wild animals and makes their paths in solitary places pleasant to tread. He is described variously as a cloud born god, lord of the path, wonder worker, lord of all prosperity and wielder of golden sword. Pusan is the guardian of cattle who shows the way carrying a goad with a horny point to rich meadows where the grass is thick and temperature moderate. He is often associated with Soma as the whole world protectors, one from above and the other from below. Pusan stirs our thoughts, drives away the enemies, inspires the miserly to make generous donations. In some hymns he is also invoked along with Indra, his friend, whom he helps to generate ripe warm milk from the young raw cows. In some hymns he is described as the goat borne and as the god who travels across the oceans in golden ships to meet the Sun.


Usha is dawn, the daughter of the sky, lady of the light, who rouses all life. She stirs all creatures that have feet, and makes the birds of air fly up. Borne on a hundred chariots, she yokes her steed before the arrival of the sun and is never late. Loved by the Asvins, sister of gods, she eludes the Sun who is always eager to catch her. She brings not just light to the sleeping mankind, but hope, happiness, riches and all the good things. Goddess of light and beauty, whom the Rsis of old time invoked for their protection and help, Usha is the gods' beloved sister, whom she brings to the earth for enjoying drops of the soma juice offered by the worshippers. . Some of the hymns speak of not one dawn but many the dawns that have gone before. The hymns addressed to Usha in the Vedas are among the most poetic and beautiful hymns found in the Vedas. The following verses illustrates this point.

"She, like a dancer, puts her broidered garments on: as a cow yields her udder so she bares her breast, creating light for all the world of life..."

" The Gotamas have praised Heaven's radiant Daughter, the leader of the charm of pleasant voices."

"Bending her looks on all the world, the Goddess shines, widely spreading with her bright eye westward. Waking to motion every living creature, she understands the voice of each adorer. Ancient of days, again and again born newly, decking her beauty with the self-same raiment, the Goddess wastes away the life of mortals, like a skilled hunter cutting birds in pieces."

" In pride of beauty like a maid thou goest, O Goddess, to the God who longs to win thee, and smiling youthful, as thou shinest brightly, before him thou discoverest thy bosom. Fair as a bride embellished by her mother thou showest forth thy form that all may see it. Blessed art thou O Dawn. Shine yet more widely. No other Dawns have reached what thou attainest."

Both night and dawn are sisters, dutiful in their movements. " Akin, immortal, following each other, changing their colours both the heavens move onward. Common, unending is the Sisters' pathway; taught by the Gods, alternately they travel. Fair-formed, of different hues and yet one-minded, Night and Dawn clash not, neither do they travel."


Soma is the god of inspiration, the intoxicant who stirs the minds, lures the gods and brings them to the place of worship. One of the most popular gods of the Rigvedic hymns, the entire 9th Mandala of the scripture is dedicated to him. Also known as Indu or Soma Pavamana, he brings joy into the lives of people, cures them from diseases and leads them to the worlds of bliss and immortality. He gives strength not only to mortals, but to the gods as well. Because of him, Indra was able to slay Vrata. Because of him Agni maintains his sway.

He is also known as Lord of the speech (Vachspati), because of his intoxicating influence on the movement of speech. On the physical plane Soma is some kind of intoxicating juice. It was probably extracted from some leaves, or mushrooms or some other substance by pressing them between two stones. We have completely lost the knowledge of its preparation. People have been trying for the last several centuries to know the exact ingredients with which the Vedic people used to make Soma juice, but have not succeeded so far.

Even during the Vedic period the preparation of the Soma juice was probably a complicated affair. The hymns suggests that the success of extracting the soma juice depended upon the cooperation of gods, which means that its preparation was not an easy affair and depended upon several extraneous factors. Since the production of juice was central to many invocations, the god of soma was invoked to ensure that the juice flew abundantly and the ceremony would be successful.

We see this concern explicit in the following hymns from the Rigveda.

"Indu as, Indra's Friend, pour on us with a stream of sweetness, like Parjanya sender of the rain." (The coming of rain is uncertain. So is the extraction of soma.)

"May they in flowing give us wealth in thousands, and heroic power, these Godlike Soma-drops effused like coursers by their drivers urged, they were poured forth, for victory, swift through the woolen straining-cloth, noisily flow the Soma-drops, like milch-kine lowing to their calves they have run forth from both the hands." (The prayer is for soma to flow swiftly and noisily through the cloth.)

" THE pressers from the Soma-press send forth thy juice for rapturous joy the speckled sap runs like a flood. With strength we follow through the sieve him who brings might and wins the kine, enrobed in water with his juice. Pour on the sieve the Soma, ne'er subdued in waters, waterless, and make it pure for Indra's drink. Moved by the purifier's thought, the Soma flows into the sieve. By wisdom it hath gained its home. With humble homage, Indra, have the Soma-drops flowed forth to thee, contending for the glorious prize." (Note the emphasis on the need for the purity of the juice for Indra's happiness.)


The Asvins are twin deities whose origin is shrouded in myth, mystery and symbolism. A number of hymns are addressed to them because of their healing and curative powers. They said descend to earth thrice a day to help the mankind with their restorative and curative powers. The Asvins are considered to be the brothers of Usha, the goddess of dawn and may actually represent twilight, when darkness and light appear intertwined on the horizon just before dawn as well as before dusk. They are praised in the hymns as wonder workers, with nimble hands and miraculous healing powers.

The Rigvedic hymns describe them as lords of hundred powers, who can make the blind and lame see and walk, the injured recover quickly from their afflictions, help men produce offspring or the cows yield more milk. They can reduce the heat in the human body, cure the septic sores, store the germ of life in female creatures and perform even surgery. Traveling in a chariot with three spokes, they come down to the earth thrice a day carrying with them heavenly medicines.


Maruts are powerful and destructive storm gods, who lash the world from end to end, make the mountains rock and reel, rend the forest-kings apart, make the earth tremble, and drench the earth with heavy rains. They are considered to be the progeny of Rudra, the bulls of heaven, radiant men in serried rank and free from spots and stains. But no one truly knows from where they sprang, for they only know each other's birth. Bright is their spirit and wrathful their minds.

Mighty and well-armed, impetuous in their haste, decked in glittering gold ornaments, they send their windless rain even on the desert places. When they inundate the earth they spread forth darkness even in day time, with the water filled rain clouds. Loud roarers, giving strength, devourers of the foe, they make the winds and the lightning with their powers.

Restless shakers, they drain the udders of the sky, and ever wandering around, fill the earth full with milk. The Maruts are positively destructive forces of the heave, ferocious but not wicked. They are divine beings, who work for the welfare of the world and men, though they do it in their quite noisy way. The Maruts give strength to the worshippers to make them invincible in battle, bring wealth to the people, increase their progeny and prolong life.


The word Visvadevas means lords of the universe. In the Vedas a number of hymns are addressed to them. The Visvadevas are none but the popular gods of the Vedas. When they were collectively invoked through a common ritual, they were addressed as Visvadevas. In the hymns of the Visvadevas, we generally find the names of such popular gods as Bhaga, Daksa, Mitra, Aditi, Aryaman, Varuna, Soma, the Asvins, Saraswathi, Vayu, Prithvi, Father Heaven, Soma, Pusan, Indra, Tarksya, Maruts, Agni , Varuna, Mitra, Rta, and the dikpalas.

According to some scholars hidden in the hymns of the Visvadevas are the seeds of monotheism. By addressing various gods collectively, the Vedic people acknowledged the unity of these gods and their inter relationships. The Rigvedic people believed that the devas sprang from a common parentage and were helpful in nature, in contrast to the demons who were wicked and troublesome. Although each god in the pantheon was endowed with specific qualities and responsibilities, the Vedic Aryans did not miss the larger picture and their underlying connection in the order (Rta) of things.

The concept of Visvadevas changed during the post Vedic period especially with the emergence of the Puranas and its rich lore of mythology. The list was reduced to just ten gods namely Vasu, Satya, Kratu, Daksa, Kala, Dhriti, Kuru, Pururavas, and Madravas.

Eight Vasus

Dhara (the earth), Anala (the fire), Apa (waters), anila (the wind), Dhruva (the pole star), soma (the moon), Prabhasa (the light) are the eight vasus who are described to be attendants of Indra, the lord of the heavens. In course of time these deities attained popularity in different areas. Dhruva became a symbol of austerity, determination and a popular name in the Hindu pantheon because of his association with the polestar. The earth became a mother deity, bearing the burden of the beings, a symbol of patience and fortitude. Soma came to be associated with soma juice and attained popularity because of his significance in the Vedic rituals.

12 Adityas

"Bright and pure as streams of water, free from all guile and falsehood, blameless, perfect," these are gods of light, with many eyes (rays) corresponding to the 12 months of the year and described as the 12 spokes of the wheel of time. The Adityas are upholders of Laws. " Upholding that which moves and that which moves not, Adityas, Gods, protectors of all beings, provident, guarding well the world of spirits, true to eternal Law, the debt-exactors," they illuminate the world, drive away darkness, nourish the beings, regulate relationships and personify the laws of the universe and mankind. "Golden and splendid, pure like streams of water, they hold aloft the three bright heavenly regions. Ne'er do they slumber, never close their eyelids, faithful, far-ruling for the righteous mortal." Originally six in the Rigveda, their number increased to 12 during the later Vedic period. The 12 Adityas are: Mitra, Varuna, Aryaman, Daksha, Bhaga, Amsa, Tvastr, Savitr, Pusan, Sakra, Vivasvat and Visnu. We have given a general description of some of the Adityas already above.


Vashistha is not a god but a sage, or the head of a particular class of brahmin priests, who is described in a hymn as born to Urvasi and Varunamitra out of their conjugal love. He is also described as born from grass and as a fallen drop, whom gods in heavenly fervor laid in a lotus blossom. He is also described as the leader of the Bharatas, who brings the Saman. Indra has a great respect for him, whom he probably helped with this prayers and blessings or with his clan in the battle of ten kings.


Brahmanaspati, popularly known as Brihaspathi is eulogized in the Vedas as Indra's lovely friend who gives wisdom, the healer of disease, protector of bodies, who gives wealth, increases the agricultural produce and protects the heroes in the battle field from enemy heroes. He is the priest of heaven who makes the oblation prosper. He promotes the course of sacrifice. Without Brahmanaspati, no sacrifice is complete. He is the leader of the songs and also the Law maker, whom both gods and mortals listen. He inspires the heroes with his gifts and his blessings.

Addressed as the father of all sacred prayers, Brihaspati was invoked by the Vedic Aryans, through prayers and sacrifice, probably during war times, to quell the foe, slay demons, cleave the stall of kine, and find the light. He is the upholder of justice, who protects the worshippers from the evil-minded, arrogant, rapacious man and would not allow the unworthy to ascend to the heavens. The consumer of the foe, the sin's true avenger, he tames the fierce enemy and protects his worshippers from the ambush and their enemy's deadly blows. Brihaspati is also known as Ganapathi Brahmanaspati and considered by some scholars as a precursor to the latter period Ganapathi.


He is also an Aditya, son of Aditi, a god of bright light. He is a giver and supporter and bestower of bliss, who discovers treasures and whose gifts are faithful. Since he grants boons, horses and heroes, he is approached by the rich and poor alike for abundance and happiness. People forgot Bhaga, but his name remains even today hidden in the name of Bhagavan.


Rta is the rhythmic pattern of the universe. It is the orderly way in which the world regulates itself. Rta determines the usual paths by which the heavenly objects, the sun, the moon, the stars, the nine planets, conduct themselves. Rta is responsible for many other things: the manner in which the seasons (ritus) come and go, the way the rains fall upon the earth, the way the crops are harvested, the way the people live and die, and the cattle yield wealth through milk and progeny.

The Vedic people believed this universal order to be the work of gods. They uphold Rta by virtue of their strength, unity and upholding of the Law that governs the heaven and the earth. The battle between god and demons was basically the battle between order and chaos, between light and darkness, truth and falsehood. The order prevails because of the strength and will of gods, especially the Adityas, Indra, and Agni. In course of time the concept of Rta gave way to the concept of Dharma and God as the upholder of dharma.


The Rbhus are wise and skilful craftsmen, dexterous-handed, deft in work and gracious, who are said to be the sons of Sudhavan. They were generally believed to possess special powers with which they were able to make a cow out of a hide, give youth to their old parents, shape tawny steeds for Indra and make four wondrous cups out of a single chalice for gods. Rbhus bring prosperity and were probably associated with the craft of chariot making and the earlier methods of fire making. The hymns addressed to Rbhus generally mention the names of Rbhu, Vibhvan, Vaja and speak of their craftsmanship and how they were promoted to the rank of gods because of their skills and their "cunning".

Heaven and Earth

In the hymns addressed to heaven and earth, they are referred as two great mothers. Between them the God, the effulgent sun, travels by fixed decree. These two, the Heaven and the Earth bestow prosperity on all and sustain the region. They are holy, wise and the spirited. They keep the truth of all that stands and all that moves and were made beautiful by the sun with his garment of light.


Kapinjala is a bird of good omen with sweet and flute like melodious voice whose sounds are compared to the utterances of a Sama-chanter. The invokers of this bird of heaven pray for the protection of the bird from the attacks of falcon, eagle and hunter's arrows. Associated with good luck and happy omens, there are at least two hymns in the Rigveda addressed to this mystic bird of melodious notes.


Dadhivakran is a mighty stallion that was given to Puru by gods. It is swift of foot and shines bright. It is described as the giver of many gifts, who visiteth all people, impetuous hawk, swift and of varied color, like a brave King. Some hymns in the Rigveda are entirely addressed to Dadhivakran.

Rati or Love

There is a hymn in the Rigveda addressed to sage Agastya by his wife Lopamudra as an invocation to Ratidevi to come to the aid of the aging couple and rekindle love in their bodies.


Yama is the controller, god of justice and ruler of the dead and departed who go to the region of hell. Two fierce dogs, described as Sarama's offspring, with four eyes and wide nostrils, look on men and guard the pathway that leads the world of Yama. Yama is master of knowledge. He taught young Nachiketa the secrets of Brahman, fire sacrifice and immortality. In the Hindu mythology Yama is shown as riding a he-buffalo, carrying a mace as his weapon and holding a noose. He uses the noose to drag the deceased beings to the hells. Sitting on a throne he reviews the deeds of men and accords punishment. He is aided in this task by Chitragupta who keeps an account of the deeds of the mortals when they were alive on earth. He is also the ruler of the southern quarter, wears red garments and carries a mace as his weapon.

The Rigveda describes Yama as Vivasvan's Son, who gathers men together, who traveled to the lofty heights above men and who searches out and shows the path to many. Dark-hued, insatiate, with distended nostrils, Yama's two envoys said roam among the People and keep a watch. "Into the six Expanses flies the Great One in Trkadrukas. The Gayatri, the Trstup, all metres in Yama are contained."


There are some hymns in the Rigveda which are addressed to Manyu a war god, wielder of thunder, slayer of foes, of Vrtra, and of Dasyu, of surpassing vigor, fierce, queller of the foe, and self-existent. He is beseeched to bring wealth and health. Manyu is a war god, who is considered to be Indra himself. Probably the Abhimanyu of the Mahabharata fame derived his name from this war hero.


The famous Purusha Sukta speaks of the Universal Purusha, of a A THOUSAND heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet who pervading earth from every side fills a space ten fingers wide. "This Purusha is all that yet hath been and all that is to be; the Lord of Immortality which waxes greater still by food. So mighty is his greatness; yea, greater than this is Purusa. All creatures are one-fourth of him, three-fourths eternal life in heaven."

From this Purusha was born Viraj (world soul) and from Viraj again a second Purusha (hiranyagarbha) was born. As soon as he was born, the gods gathered and sacrificed him. From that great sacrifice, from his various bodily parts were born all the animals, the Riks, Sama hymns and Yajus, the sun and the moon and all the four castes, Indra, Agni, Vayu, the earth and the sky and all the regions. The Purusha Sukta is very controversial hymn. It raises a number of interesting questions, about which we can only speculate but cannot give a definite answer.

One interesting question is who were the gods who gathered and sacrificed the second Purusha? Probably the original Purusha Sukta referred to the origin of the gods, the heaven and the earth, the various beings, elements, worlds and objects. It must have been conveniently altered to justify the origin of the castes and perpetuate a system that was alien to the Rigvedic Aryans.


Prajanya is a rain god, ferocious, whom all life fears, the bull who lays in the plant, the seed, who smites the trees apart with lightning and slays the demons. All life fears him and the sight of his mighty weapon. He is the slayer of demons, who sends the rains down. He made the desert places fit for travel probably by bringing the rains.

When Parjanya fills the sky with rain-cloud, the winds burst forth, the lightning flashes, the plants shoot up, food springs abundantly for all creatures and earth bows low before him. At his command the cattle fly in terror, the plants assume all colors and the floods descend in torrents. Not just a god of rain and thunder, Prajanya is also upholder of law who punishes the sinners and protect the people. According to S. Radhakrishnan, " Prajanya is a sky god. He seems to have become Indra, for Indra is unknown to other members of the Aryan family. In the Vedas Prajanya is another name for the sky."


In the Rigvedic hymn addressed to Saraswathi, she is depicted as a river goddess, who slays the Parvathas with her might, casts down those who scorn the gods and makes poison flow away from the waters. She is the giver of opulence, strength and wealth. She has seven sisters, sprung from three fold source, who is invoked in every deed of might and sought for treasures.

In the hymn addressed to her, she is beseeched to keep flowing gracefully and not to spurn people, so that they would not be forced to go to far away countries. Saraswathi subsequently became a goddess of learning and consort of Brahma. But in the Rigveda, she is a river goddess with seven sisters, who helps the gods, destroys their enemies and provides waters to the five tribes. There is no association with either Brahma or with learning.

by Jayaram V.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

Της Θεραπειας

Χορός: Τραγουδήστε ω Μούσες, τραγούδι νέο
Μια ιστορία που δεν ειπώθηκε ποτέ,
Όχι από τις δόξας τις μέρες τις παλιές
Ιστορίες για ήρωες με λαμπρές περιβολές δε ζητώ
κι από ψηλά περήφανα αλλαργινά καράβια,
γυναίκες κι άντρες σους θεούς αφιερωμένοι.
Μα πιότερο παρακαλώ σας τραγουδήστε για τον καινούριο λαό
Που θαρρεί πως δεν είν’ οι θεοί παρά ένα αστείο,
για το πώς χάσαμε το δρόμο μας.
Τέλος παρακαλώ σας τραγουδήστε για το πώς θα επιστρέψουμε,
Κεριά ξανά επάνω στους βωμούς να καίνε
Κι η λάμψη επιτέλους να γυρίσει,
Μα ξεκινήστε μας από του παρελθόντος τα λωβά.

Θα απαντήσουμε αφού έχετε ζητήσει
Κι ας μην είναι εύκολο εγχείρημα
Θα σας πούμε για κείνη τη μοιραία μέρα,
που ο άνθρωπος έγινε θεός και στραβό δρόμο πήρε,
πώς η Γη σείστηκε με λύσσα,
για τις μηχανές και τον δυνάστη της νέας εποχής.
Πώς ο περήφανος Ζευς κι η Αθηνά τους θνητούς βλέποντας που ξέχασαν θρηνήσαν,
και οργισμένοι, από τον κόσμο ξέσχισαν, την καλοσύνη που είχαν.
Και πως κάθε μέρα οι νέοι κυβερνήτες την βουλή τους ξεδιπλώνανε στη χώρα,
σκοτώνοντας κάθε γυναίκα, παιδί, άντρα με ήρεμη,
πόσο ήρεμη πανουργία,
που κανένας να πιστέψει δε μπορούσε, πως τόσο καλός κυβερνήτης, των ουρανών ο βασιλιάς
μπορούσε μόνο να πιστέψει.
Και τώρα θα σας πούμε ποιός πλήρωσε το τίμημα για τ’ άνθρωπου την εμμονή σε βία και κακία,
Πώς όλοι οι θεοί όμοια θρήνησαν στο θλιβερό το θέαμα,
Γιατί δεν ήταν αρκετό που ο άνθρωπος μονάχος κατέστρεψε όσα δικά δεν ήσαν,
μα πήρε και τη Γη, τα πολύτιμα μέταλλα έλιωσε, όμορφα ζώα αφάνισε, καλός και δίκαιος θνητός είναι πια σπάνιο εύρημα.

Μα πείτε περισσότερα για κείνους που δεν είναι,
για κείνους που δεν ξέχασαν,
Για κείνους που τιμούν όπως τις μέρες τις παλιές,
γι αυτούς είναι που λέγεται τούτη η ιστορία.

Α, ναι, τους λίγους και ανάριους,
Που με βομβαρδισμένα μάτια είδαν
Τον πόνο, τη θλίψη και τη δυστυχία
Που όλα αυτά τα κοίταξαν με δυσπιστία
Αυτοί είναι οι αγνότεροι απ’ ότι έμεινε,
της καλοσύνης, της ελπίδας, της αγάπης
Σηκώνουν τα χέρια και δυνατά προσεύχονται,
με φόβο για τη ζωή θυσιάζουν,
από την Αθηνά ζητούν σοφοί να γίνουν και πως να φτιάξουν χώρα καλύτερη με καλοσύνη κι ανθρώπους που κατανοούν
Με ξεσκισμένα ρούχα, εξαντλημένοι
τους ύμνους του Ορφέα αρχινούν να τραγουδούν
ωσάν η ίδια η ζωή τους να κρεμιέται απ’ τη δύναμη, τη θέληση να ζήσουν.
Και μ’ ίσα δύναμη και οργή ανυψώνονται.
Οι διεφθαρμένοι, στους αριθμούς αμέτρητοι πίσω τους χτυπούν,
καιν τους ναούς, στη Γη φτύνουν κι όλους τους θεούς κλοτσούν.
Τότε ο Ζευς με σθεναρή βροντή,
πύρινο αστροπελέκι εξακοντίζει στα δικά τους τα σκουπίδια και τη μόλυνση.
Κι ο Ποσειδώνας με το γιο του, Τρίτωνα, μετακινούν όγκους υδάτινους όπως παλιά.

Και σχετικά με τους ανθρώπους τους ανόητους,
που ιερούς και τιμημένους κανόνες έχουν χάσει,
που με τη ζωή γελούν και πιότερο με το θάνατο,
για την ανάσα του άλλου που δε νοιάζονται?

Κάθονται και κοιτούν τι οι Θεοί έχουν φτιάξει,
και βάζουν γυαλιά σκούρα για σκιά
Ξύλο περσότερο φέρνουν
και κάρβουνο πιο πολύ απ΄ όσο στους παλιούς καιρούς εχρησιμοποιούσαν εξορύσσουν
Νοιάζονται για τα λούσα, μα δε βρίσκουν τιμή,
γιατί όλοι τυφλωθήκαν από ανόητες διαβεβαιώσεις και τη δύναμη που κερδίσαν
Γιατί αυτοί είναι οι νέοι θεοί-ή έτσι ισχυρίζονται

Και δε μπορεί κάτι να γίνει,
να σταματήσει ο χαμός της ανθρωπότητας,
να επαναφερθεί ένα είδος αξιοπρέπειας?
Μας μισούν άραγε οι Θεοί έτσι που καταντήσαμε,
ράτσα καπνιάς και βρώμας?

Κουράγιο να ‘χετε, ακόμα κι οι Θεοί το ‘παν,
πως όλη η πίστη σας σε μας δεν είν’ χαμένη
Κι όσοι τολμούν δρόμο ν’ ανοίξουν,
Θα βρούνε τελικά μια μέρα όμορφη τη Γη
και τους ναούς να στέκουν,
Θεούς κι ανθρώπους απ’ το χέρι κρατημένους να βαδίζουν
Τιμή και σεβασμός θα ξαναρθεί,
Διαβεβαίωση γι’ αυτό έχετε τρανή

Ώστε αυτό θα σας πούμε Πανώριες,
ακολουθώντας τη συμβουλή σας, θα βρούμε εφαρμογή.

Όλα με καλή σπουδή και στο σωστό τους χρόνο,
Για όλο σας τον μόχθο θε να βρείτε της μεγαλύτερης αξίας ανταμοιβή

Ευχαριστούμε σας και φεύγουμε με δέος κι ευγνωμοσύνη

Κι έτσι κείνη τη μέρα η ελπίδα τρύπωσε ξανά στον Κόσμο
Και με κάθε στιγμή που περνά, με κάθε ξεδιπλωμένο φύλλο
Θα τραγουδάμε για το πώς θα είναι,
Σαν οι θεοί κι όλη η ανθρωπότητα
Θα ξαναζήσουνε πάλι σαν τότε,
Μια νέα ιστορία ναι,
Μα χάρηκα που ειπώθηκε.



A Poem of Healing

That We may Honour and Celebrate the Deathless Gods in all their Splendour and Glory...

Khoros. Sing, oh mousai,
a new song,
a story never told,
not from the glory days of old,
I ask not for talk of heroes dressed in splendid array,
of tall proud ships from far away,
I ask not of how it was when the empire was good and strong,
and men and women to the gods belonged.
But rather, I prey ye,
sing a song for modern folk,
who think the gods are but a joke,
of how we lost our way,
then finally I prey,
sing of how we may return,
so candles on altars once again may burn,
and glory shall return at last,
but start us off with the mistakes of the past.

Mousai. We shall reply for you have asked,
and though it be no easy task,
we'll tell you of that fateful day,
when man became god and went astray,
of how the Earth did quake with rage,
and machines and the tyrant of the new age.
Of how proud Zeus and Athena wept,
to see that mortals did forget,
and how in anger they tore from the world,
the goodness they possessed,
and how as each day unfurled,
the new rulers took over the land,
killing every woman, child, and man,
but softly, oh so softly was his cunning,
that no one could believe,
that this fine ruler, this king of heaven,
was only make believe.
And now we shall tell you who paid the price,
for man's obsession with cruelty and vice,
how every god and goddess alike,
mourned at the pitiful site,
for it was not enough that man alone,
destroyed that which he did not own,
but then he took the Earth itself,
and the precious metals he did melt,
killed the animals beautiful and fare,
a good mortal is often too rare.

Khoros. But tell us more of those who are not,
the ones who have not forgot,
who worship as in the days of old,
it is them for whom this story is told.

Mousai. Ah yes, the few and far between,
the ones who with battered eyes have seen,
the pain, the sorrow and all the grief,
and who looked upon it in disbelief.
These people are the fairest of,
what's left of goodness, hope, and love.
They lift their hands and pray aloud,
with fear for life they sacrifice,
and ask Athena to make them wise,
to how to build a better land,
with goodness where people understand.
With torn shirts and beaten limbs,
the hymns of Orpheus they begin,
to sing as though there very life,
depended on their strength and will to survive.
And with equal force and anger mounting,
the evil ones in numbers uncounting,
beat them back,
the temples burn,
spit on the Earth and all the gods they spurn.
Then Zeus, with a mighty crash,
throws his fiery thunder bolt at their pollution and trash.
And Poseidon and his son Triton,
move waters as did the long-ago tightens.

Khoros. But what of the people who are all fools,
who've lost the sacred and cherished rules,
who laugh at life and more at death,
who have no care for another's breath?

Mousai. They sit and stare at what the gods have made,
then apply sunscreen for a bit of shade.
More wood they bring more coal they mine,
more than was used in ancient times.
They care for luxury but no honour do they find,
for all of them have been made blind,
by foolish assertions and the power they have gained,
for they are the new gods,
or so they claim.

Khoros. Can anything be done to stop,
this waste of humanity,
to restore to us some manner of dignity?
And do the gods hate us for what we've become,
a race of nothing but soot and scum?

Mousai. Have courage for even the gods have said,
not all of your faith in us is dead,
and those who dare to lead the way,
will find that finally one day,
the Earth will be beautiful and the temples will stand,
and man and god will again walk hand in hand,
and honour and respect will be restored.
Of this you may be reassured.

Khoros. So then we say to you oh beautiful mouses,
we will take your advice and learn how to use it.

Mousai. Then all in good haste and all in good time,
for all of your toil you shall find,
a reward of the highest magnitude.

khoros. We thank you and leave with solemn gratitude.
And so on that day hope re-entered the world,
and with each passing moment with each leaf unfurled,
we'll sing the story of how it will be,
when the gods and all humanity,
will live once again as in the days of old,
a new story, yes,
but I'm glad it was told.

Written by "Tiffany", a member of "Hellenic Recons" hellenic group.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Το βασικό Ρωμαϊκό Εορτολόγιο

. Μήνας αφιερωμένος στον Θεό Janus.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus), προστάτη των αφετηριών και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno),
ως σεληνιακή Θεά των αδιάκοπων νέων αρχών. Έως τις 5 Ιανουαρίου εωρτάζονταν και τα λεγόμενα "Κομπιτάλια", ως προέκταση των "Σατουρναλίων".

9η. Agonium. Γενέθλιος ημέρα του Θεού Ιανού (Janus).

11η. Juturnalia. Καθάρσια εορτή προς τιμήν της Νύμφης Ιουτούρνα (Juturna) συζύγου του Ιανού.

13η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter).

15η. Carmentalia. Καθάρσια εορτή προς τιμήν της χθόνιας Θεάς Καρμέντα (Carmenta), προστάτιδος των κρηναίων υδάτων, μητέρας του Ευάνδρου.

Κινητή εορτή. Paganalia. Τελετές για καλή καρποδοσία της γής.

ΦΕΒΡΟΥΑΡΙΟΣ. Μήνας αφιερωμένος στο Θεό Februus

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

13η. Ίδες. Αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter).

13η - 21η. Dies Parentales. Ημέρες αφιερωμένες στη λατρεία των προγονικών ψυχών.

15η. Lupercalia. Γονιμικές εορτές προς τιμήν των Θεών Λουπέρκους (Lupercus), Φέμπρουους (Februus) και Φάουνους (Faunus).

17η. Quirinalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του αρχαϊκού ρωμαϊκού Θεού Κυρίνου (Quirinus) που αποτελεί χθόνια προβολή του Μάρς.

21η. Feralia. Πέρας της περιόδου Dies Parentales και εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Juppiter ως χθονίου και αυξητικού Θεού.

23η. Terminalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Juppiter Terminus και του αρχαίου αυτοτελούς ομώνυμου Θεού, προστάτη των ορίων, των φρακτών και της ιδιοκτησίας. Τέλος του Ιερού Έτους και προπαρασκευή για τις Καλένδες του Μαρτίου.

ΜΑΡΤΙΟΣ. Μήνας αφιερωμένος στoν Θεό Mars

1η. Καλένδες και Matronalia. Πρωτοχρονία του αρχαίου ημερολογίου. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno) με την επίκληση Lucina. Γενέθλια του Θεού Μαρς (Mars).

14η. Equirria. Ιπποδρομίες προς τιμήν του Θεού Mars

14η. Mamuralia. Καθαρτικές τελετές με διωγμό ενός "φαρμακού", του λεγόμενου Mamurius, έξω από την πόλη.

15η. Ίδες. Αφιερωμένη στους Θεούς Juppiter, Mars και Anna Perenna.

17η. Agonium. Εορτή προς τιμήν των Θεών Mars και Κυρίνου (Quirinus).

17η. Liberalia. Εορτές με οινοκατανύξεις και δρώμενα ελευθεριότητας προς τιμήν των Θεών Liber και Libera.

19η - 23η. Quinquatrus. Πενθήμερη εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Mars και Ιεροί Χοροί των Σαλλίων ιερέων.

23η. Tubilustrium. Ολοκλήρωση του Ιερού Χορού και καθαρμός των συμβόλων του Θεού Mars


1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

13η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Juppiter.

15η. Fordicidia. Εορτή προς τιμή της Θεάς Tellus Mater, της πανδότειρας Μητέρας Χθονός.

19η. Cerealia. Εορτή προς τιμήν της Θεάς Ceres αντίστοιχης προς την ελληνική Δήμητρα και της αρσενικής θεότητας Cerus που ενυπάρχει σε κάθε δημιουργία.

21η. Parilia. Γενέθλια της Ρώμης, καθαρμοί και προσφορές στους Πάλητες Θεούς.

23η. Vinalia. Οινοκεντρικές εορτές προς τιμήν του Θεού Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter) και της Θεάς Βήνους (Venus).

25η. Robigalia. Τελετές για καλή καρποφορία των δημητριακών, με εξευμενισμό του βλαπτικού "νούμεν" Robigus.

28η - 3η Μαϊου. Floralia. Εορτές προς τιμήν της Θεάς Flora.

ΜΑΪΟΣ. Μήνας αφιερωμένος στη Θεά Μaia.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno). Εορτή της
Θεάς Μαίας (Maia), μητέρας του Θεού Μερκούριους.

9η, 11η, 13η. Lemuria. Εορτές εξευμενισμού των ψυχών των νεκρών.

15η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιούππιτερ.

21η. Agonium. Εορτή προς τιμήν του σύνθετου ηλιακού και χθονίου Θεού Vediovis (ο μη Ιούππιτερ).

23η. Tubilustrium. Τελετουργικός καθαρισμός των ιερών σαλπίγγων (tubae) του Θεού Μαρς και θυσίες προς τιμήν των Κεραυνίου Ιούππιτερ και Βολκάνους.

ΙΟΥΝΙΟΣ. Μήνας αφιερωμένος στη Θεά Juno

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

7η. Ludi Piscatorii. Επαγγελματικοί εορτασμοί των αλιέων και όλων των εργαζόμενων γύρω από αυτούς.

9η. Vestalia. Εορτές προς τιμήν της Θεάς Βέστα (Vesta), προστάτιδας της εστίας και της οικογενειακής ζωής. Ημέρα αργίας για τους αρτοποιούς.

11η. Matralia. Εορτή αφιερωμένη στην αρχαϊκή Θεά της Αυγής Μάτερ Ματούτα (Mater Matuta), έφορο της ανάπτυξης και της καλοτυχίας.

13η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Juppiter. Επίσημη αργία για αυλητές και λοιπούς μουσικούς.

ΙΟΥΛΙΟΣ. Αφιερωμένος στον Ιούλιο Καίσαρα

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

5η. Poplifugia. Η Αναχώρηση του Λαού. Εορτές ίσως αφιερωμένες στον Θεό Juppiter. Το νόημά τους έχει σήμερα απωλεσθεί.
Εικάζεται απλώς ότι στην αρχαϊκή εποχή ο λαός εγκατέλειπε την πόλη και έκανε καθαρμούς στην εξοχή.

6η - 13η. Ludi Apollinares. Οκταήμερες εορτές με αρματοδρομίες και θεατρικούς αγώνες προς τιμήν του Θεού Απόλλο (Apollo)

7η. Nonae Caprotinae. Εορτή προς τιμή της Θεάς Juno Caprotina (Ιούνο του Συκόδενδρου) και του χθόνιου Θεού της συγκομιδής Consus. Λέγονταν και Εορτές των Θεραπαινίδων (Ancillarum Feriae).

15η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Juppiter. Διοργανώνεται η επίσημη ιππική πομπή Transvectio Equitum από το Φόρουμ προς το Καπιτώλιο.

19η - 21η. Lucaria. Τριήμερη πανάρχαια εορτή, με άγνωστο σήμερα περιεχόμενο.

20η - 30η. Ludi Victoriae Caesaris. Πολυήμερες εορτές στη μνήμη του Ιουλίου Καίσαρα με αγώνες, αρματοδρομίες και θεατρικούς διαγωνισμούς.

23η. Neptunalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Νεπτούνους (Neptunus). Επίσημη αργία για τους λιμενεργάτες.

25η. Furrinalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν της αυτοχθόνου ιταλιώτικης Θεάς Φουρρίνα (Furrina), προστάτιδας των πηγών και εφόρου του Κάτω Κόσμου.

ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ. Αφιερωμένος στον Οκταβιανό Αύγουστο.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη
στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

13η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στους Θεούς Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter), Βερτούμνους (Vertumnus ή Vortumnus, ετρουτσκικής προέλευσης Θεού της αλκής του καλοκαιριού) και Ντιάνα (Diana), καθώς και σε ανάμνηση της θεμελίωσης του Ναού της τελευταίας πάνω στον Αβεντίνο Λόφο. Επίσημη αργία όλων των δούλων.

17η. Portunalia. Αφιερωμένα στον Θεό Πορτούνους (Portunus), προστάτη των θυρών και των λιμένων, που εικάζεται και ως επίκληση του Ιανού. Επίσημη αργία των λιμενεργατών.

19η. Vinalia Rustica. Εορτή των οινοποιών και των κηπουρών προς τιμήν του Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter) και της Βήνους (Venus).

21η. Consualia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Κόνσους (Consus), χθόνιου Θεού της συγκομιδής.

23η. Volcanalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού του χθονίου πυρός Βουλκάνους (Vulcan ή Volcanus), της Νύμφης Ιουτούρνα (Juturna), της Θεάς Όπς (Ops Opifera) και του Θεού Κυρίνου (Quirinus).

25η. Opiconsivia. Εορτή προς τιμήν της Θεάς Όπς (Ops Consivia).

27η. Volturnalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Βολτούρνους (Volturnus), ετρουτσκικής καταγωγής προσωποποίησης του ποταμού Τίβερι.

ΣΕΠΤΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ. Από το septem δηλ. επτά. Έβδομος μήνας του αρχαίου ημερολογίου.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

4η - 19η. Ludi Romani. Πολυήμεροι θεατρικοί και αρματοδρομικοί αγώνες.

15η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στους Καπιτώλιους Θεούς Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter), Ιούνο (Juno) και Μινέρβα (Minerva). Διοργανώνεται η επίσημη ιππική πομπή Transvectio Equitum από το Φόρουμ προς το Καπιτώλιο και το δημοτελές εορταστικό δείπνο Epulum Jovis προς τιμήν της Ιερής Τριάδας του Καπιτωλίου.

ΟΚΤΩΒΡΙΟΣ. Από το octo δηλ. οκτώ. Όγδοος μήνας του αρχαίου ημερολογίου.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

3η -12η. Ludi Augustales. Αγώνες προς τιμήν του Αυγούστου με θεατρικούς αγώνες και αρματοδρομίες.

11η. Meditrinalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν τού Θεού Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter) και της Μεντιτρίνα (Meditrina), Θεάς της αποκατάστασης της σωματικής υγείας.

13η. Fontinalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Φόνς (Fons), προστάτη των πηγών, πηγαδιών και κρηνών.

15η. Ίδες. Αφιερωμένη στους Θεούς Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter) και Μαρς (Mars). Μεγάλη αρματοδρομία αρχαϊκού τύπου αρμάτων με δυο άλογα. Το δεξιό άλογο του νικητή θυσιαζόταν στον Μαρς (Θυσία του Οκτωβριανού Ίππου). Στους δρόμους της πόλης άρχιζε ο τελετουργικός Ιερός Χορός των Σαλλίων, των ιερέων του Μαρς.

16η - 18η. Ο Ιερός Χορός συνεχίζεται στους δρόμους της πόλης

19η. Armilustrium. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Μαρς (Μars) συνδυασμένη με την κορύφωση του Ιερού Χορού. Τα ιερά σύμβολα και όπλα του Θεού καθαρίζονται και επανατοποθετούνται στον Ναό του.

26η - 1η Νοεμβρίου. Ludi Victoriae Sullae. Επταήμεροι αγώνες προς τιμήν του Σύλλα.

ΝΟΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ. Από το novem δηλ. εννέα. Ένατος μήνας του αρχαίου ημερολογίου.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno). Τελευταία ημέρα των εορτών Ludi Victoriae Sullae.

4η - 17η. Ludi Plebei. Πολυήμερες εορτές προς τιμήν του λαού της Ρώμης με θεατρικούς αγώνες και αρματοδρομίες.

15η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στους Καπιτώλιους Θεούς Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter), Ιούνο (Juno) και Μινέρβα (Minerva). Αρχικά σε αυτή την ημερομηνία διοργανωνόταν το δημοτελές εορταστικό δείπνο Epulum Jovis προς τιμήν της Ιερής Τριάδας του Καπιτωλίου, που αργότερα μεταφέρθηκε στις Ίδες του Σεπτεμβρίου.

ΔΕΚΕΜΒΡΙΟΣ. Από το decem δηλ. δέκα. Δέκατος μήνας του αρχαίου ημερολογίου.

1η. Καλένδες. Πρώτη ημέρα του κάθε μήνα, αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιανό (Janus) και την Θεά Ιούνο (Juno).

11η. Agonalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του φυλετικού γεννήτορα Θεού Ηλίου-Σολ (Sol Indiges).

13η. Ίδες. Ημέρα αφιερωμένη στον Θεό Ιούππιτερ (Juppiter).

15η. Cοnsualia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Κόνσους (Consus). Προπαρασκευή για το Χειμερινό Ηλιοστάσιο.

17η - 23η. Saturnalia. Μεγάλες εορτές, αρχικά 3ήμερες και κατά την αυτοκρατορική περίοδο 7ήμερες, προς τιμήν του Θεού Σατούρνους (Saturnus) για το τέλος του ενιαυτού. Γενικευμένη αργία ακόμη και για τους δούλους, ανταλλαγές δώρων και εορταστικά δείπνα.

19η. Opalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν της γεωθεάς Όπς (Ops) συζύγου του Σατούρνους.

21η. Divalia. Εορτή του Χειμερινού Ηλιοστασίου προς τιμήν της Θεάς Diva Angerona, της Dea Tacita προστάτιδος της Παράδοσης και του Κόσμου των Νεκρών.

23η. Larentalia. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Θεού Ιούππιτερ και της Θεάς Acca Larentia (της προγόνου της ρωμαϊκής εθνικής ψυχής και των εφεστίων Θεών Λαρήτων και επίσης θεομητέρας του Θεού Σολ).

24η - 25η. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. Εορτή προς τιμήν του Ανίκητου Ηλίου (Sol Invictus) που πρωτοκαθιερώθηκε από τον αυτοκράτορα Αυρηλιανό το 270 μετά τη χριστιανική χρονολόγηση.

Κλαούντιο Ρουτίλιο, από το βιβλίο του «Θεολογία Των Ρωμαίων»


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gods and Goddesses of Rome


At the founding of Rome, the gods were numina, divine manifestations, faceless, formless, but no less powerful. The idea of gods as anthropomorphized beings came later, with the influence from Etruscans and Greeks, which had human form. Some of the Roman Gods are at least as old as the founding of Rome.

The concept of numen continued to exist and it was related to any manifestation of the divine. For the Romans, everything in Nature is thought to be inhabited by numina, which explains the big number of deities in the Roman pantheon, as will be shown. Numina manifest the divine will by means of natural phenomena, which the pious Roman constantly seeks to interpret. That's why great attention is paid to omens and portents in every aspect of Roman daily life.

A groups of twelve Gods called Dii Consentes is especially honored by the Romans:

  • Iuppiter
  • Iuno
  • Minerva
  • Vesta
  • Ceres
  • Diana
  • Venus
  • Mars
  • Mercurius
  • Neptunus
  • Volcanus, and
  • Apollo.

These are the ones listed by the Poet Ennius about the 3rd Century, B.C.E.. Their gilt statues stood in the Forum, later apparently in the Porticus Deorum Consentium. As there were six male and six female, they may well have been the twelve worshipped at the lectisternium of 217 BC.

A lectisternium is a banquet of the gods, where the statues of the gods were put upon cushions, and where these statues were offered meals. The number 12 was taken from the Etruscans, which also worshipped a main pantheon of 12 Gods. Nevertheless, the Dii Consentes were not identified with Etruscan deities but rather with the Greek Olympian Gods (though the original character of the Roman Gods was different from the Greek, having no myths traditionally associated). The twelve Dii Consentes are lead by the first three, which for the Capitoline Triad. These are the three cornerstones of Roman religion, whose rites were conducted in the Capitoleum Vetus on the Capitoline Hill.

But what better characterizes the traditional Roman Religion is the household or family cult of the Dii Familiaris. In this cult, the Lar Familiaris (guardian spirit - Genius - of the family), the Lares Loci (guardian spirits of the place where the house is built), the Genius of the paterfamilias (House-Father), the Dii Penates (patron gods of the storeroom), the Dii Manes (spirits of the deceased) and a multitude of other domestic deities are daily worshipped by the members of the family. The household cult is so important that it even serves as the model for several practices of the state cult (e.g. there were the Lar Praestites, Penates Publici, etc.. Even during the Empire, the Imperial cult came to be based on the household cult, now interpreted as the cult of the Genius of the Emperor, paterfamilias of the family of all the Romans).

Other important Gods are

  • Ianus
  • Saturnus
  • Quirinus
  • Volturnus
  • Pales
  • Furrina
  • Flora
  • Carmenta
  • Pomona
  • Portunus
  • Fontanus.
  • There is also a group of mysterious deities formed by native tutelary deities, river Gods or deified heroes from Latium which are collectively called Dii Indigites (e.g. deified Aeneas, Faunus, Sol Indiges, Iuppiter Indiges, Numicus). A multitude of other deities is also traditionally worshipped, which includes tutelary deities (e.g. Roma, Tiberinus), native Latin deities (e.g. Bellus, Bellona, Liber, Libera), abstract deities such as Fortuna (Fate), Concordia (Concord), Pax (Peace), Iustitia (Justice), etc.. Pre-Roman native italian deities mainly adopted from the Sabines and Etruscans are also worshipped: Nerio (Sabine deity and the consort of Mars), Dius Fidius (Sabine as well), etc. In fact, Quirinus and Vertumnus were also adopted respectively from the Sabines and Etruscans. The Dii Inferi, Gods of the Underworld (Inferus) are Dis/Orcus and Proserpina, equated to the Greek Gods Hades/Plouton (Pluto in Latin) and Persephone. These Gods symbolize the creative power of the Earth which provide human beings the means for subsistence (Dis = wealth = Plouton in greek). The Inferus is also traditionally regarded as the home for the spirits of the dead, though the concept of afterlife was quite varied.

    The pious spirit of the Romans consists of a constant wish to bring the favour of the divine upon him, the family and the state. As such, the Roman is naturally willing to pay the deserved homage and sacrifice to foreign deities, specially if he is in their land. In order to achieve victory in war, the Romans often asked the favour of the Gods of their enemies, paying them sacrifices even greater than those offered by their own people. This spirit joined by the affluence of foreigners which resulter either from trade or conquest, brough new cults to Rome. These were as expected democratically adopted by permitting the priests of these Gods to establish temples in Rome. Among the foreign deities, the Dii Novensiles, are Apollo, Ceres (these were adopted as early as to allow them to become part of the Dii Consentes), Bacchus/Dionysus, Sol Invictus Elagabalus, Isis, Serapis, Cybele, Attis, Mithras and many others.

    Dii Consentes

    Iuppiter is the God of the sky, moon, winds, rain and thunder, who became king of the Gods after overthrowing his father Saturnus. The ancient name of Iuppiter was Diespiter, whose root is Dios (= Zeus, God) + Pater (= Father). As Iuppiter Optimus Maximus, he is the tutelary God of Rome. As a warrior, he is Iuppiter Stator, protector of the City and State who exhorts soldiers to be steadfast in battle. But Iuppiter has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Iuno is Iuppiter's sister, wife and queen of the Gods, is the protectress of the Roman State. Her festival, the Matronalia, is celebrated in March on the Kalends. She is also honoured as Iuno Lucetia, celestial light; Iuno Lucina, childbirth, inwhich the child is brought into light; Iuno Sospita, who protects labor and delivery of children; Iuno Moneta, whose sacred geese warned Rome of an impending invasion. Iuno Moneta's temple was near the mint, thus her name was the root for "money". But Iuno has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Minerva, Goddess of wisdom and learning, meditation, inventiveness, accomplishments, the arts, spinning and weaving, and commerce. Minerva was identified with Pallas Athene, bestower of victory, when Pompey the Great built her temple with the proceeds from his eastern campaigns. Minerva and Mars are honored Quinquatras, five days at the Spring equinox. But Minerva has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Vesta is the Goddess of hearth and home, of domestic and religious fire. Her festival is the Vestalia, held on June 7, when Her temple is open to all mothers who bring plates of food. Vesta's temple was the hearth of Rome, where the sacred fire burned. The fire was tended by six Vestal Virgins, priestesses who were dedicated to the Goddess' service for thirty years, and who were headed by the Virgo Maxima, the eldest Vestal. Vestals were always preceded by lictors, the only women in Rome allowed the privilege. If a condemned man met a Vestal, he was reprieved. When a Roman made his will, he entrusted it to the Vestal Virgins. But Vesta has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Ceres is the Goddess of agriculture. During a drought in 496 BCE, the Sibylline Books ordered the institution of the worship of Demeter, Dionysus and Persephone, called by the Latin names Ceres, Liber and Libera. Ceres was the Goddess of the plebeians: the Ædiles Plebis cared for her temple and had their official residences in it, and were responsible for the games at the Cerealia, her original festival on April 12-19. There was a women's 9-day fast and festival when women offered the first corn harvest to Ceres, originally celebrated every five years, but later - by the time of Augustus - held every October 4.

    Diana, Goddess of the Moon and of wild places, the Divine Huntress, protectress of women and virgin Goddess. In earlier times, She was the mother Goddess of Nature. Her temple at Lake Nemi was in a sacred grove and was guarded by her priest, the Rex Nemorensis, the King of the Wood. He was always an escaped slave who was entitled to food, sanctuary and honour - until he was slain by the next candidate. But Diana has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Venus was originally a Goddess of Spring, flowers and vines. By order of the Sibylline Books a temple on Mt. Eryx was dedicated to Venus as the Goddess of love and beauty. She was also Venus Genetrix, mother of the Roman people through Her son Aeneas, Who was also an ancestor of the Julii. Both Julius Caesar and Hadrian dedicated temples to Venus Genetrix. Hadrian's still stands near the Flavian amphitheatre. She has darker aspects too, such as Venus Libitina, an aspect of Venus associated with the extinction of life force. But Venus has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Mars, God of war, was originally an agricultural God whose character changed with that of His people. For this reason, he is the most Roman of the Gods, representing the abundance of the fields, and the battles that must be won to keep and enlarge the provinces that kept Rome fed and thriving. His priests were dancing warriors, the Salii, who sang their war-songs in the streets during his festivals. His sacred spears and 12 shields were kept in his temple on the Palatine Hill. But Mars has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Mercurius is the God of commerce. The guild of merchants honored Mercurius at his temple near the Circus Maximus on his festival on May 15. They also sprinkled themselves and their merchandise with sacred water in a ceremony at the Capena Gate. When Mercurius became identified with Hermes, he took on the duties of messenger of the Gods, Psychopompus who guides the souls of the dead through the Underworld, and God of sleep and dreams. He also became God of thieves and trickery, owing to a trick he had played on Apollo by stealing and hiding the Sun God's cattle. His serpent-twined staff, the caduceus, was originally a magician's wand for wealth (which may be why it is the symbol of the medical profession) but became identified later as a herald's staff. But Mercurius has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Neptunus, God of all the fresh water (from rivers, springs, etc.) and of equestrian accomplishments. Equated to the Greek Poseidon, He is also the God of the sea. He had temples in the Circus Flaminius and later on the Campus Martius. His festival, the Neptunalia is celebrated on July 23. But Neptunus has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Volcanus, the God of the fire of the sky, the lightning and the fires caused by it, he is the raging fire (opposed to the domestic fire, Vesta). He was equated to the Greek Haephestus, God of the fire, forge and volcanos. As a Nature God, he was married to Maia, Goddess of Spring. Equated to Haephestus, he made Iuppiter's thunderbolts and married to Venus. At his festival, the Volcanalia on August 23, fishes were throuwn into the hearth fires. The eruption of mount Vesuvius in 79 AD took place in the day of His festival. As God of metal workers, He also has a festival on May 23. As God of conflagration, His temples were built outside the pomerium, on the Campus Martius. But Volcanus has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Apollo, Greek God of the Sun, prophecy, archery, music, poetry, inspiration and healing, perfection of male beauty, twin brother of Diana. Apollo came to prominence in the 5th century BCE, when the Sibylline Books of Apollo's prophecy (which had been offered to King Tarquinius Superbus by the Sibyl of Cumae) dictated the introduction of His cult in Rome following a plague. Besides Cumae, His oracles were also in other places such as Ionia, Delos, Delphi, Erithrea. It was Apollo who gave the gift of prophecy to His lover Cassandra, who was doomed to speak the truth, but never to be believed. Apollo is father of the God Aesculapius. But Apollo has many aspects, attributes, names and epithets...

    Dii Familiaris

    The Lar Familiaris is the guardian spirit of a family and symbolizes the household. He was honored on all family occasions: a new brideoffered a coin and a sacrifice on entering her new house. Rams are sacrificed to the Lar Familiaris after funerals as a purification rite. During the 1st century AD, the Romans came to honor two Lares instead of one, becoming strongly connected with the Penates. In the lararium, the Lares are usually represented in dancing poses, carrying greek rhytones of wine.

    The Lares Loci are the guardian spirits of a place. In the lararium, the Lares Loci of the place where the house is built are also honoured, being represented by one or more serpents.

    Each man has a Genius, each woman a Iuno. This is the creative force that engenders the individual and imbues him/her with growth, learning and morality. This spirit stays with the person until death. The Genius of the paterfamilias deserves special honor, and is represented in the lararium by a man dressed in white with the head covered by the toga.

    The Penates are connected with each family. If the family moves, the Penates go with it. They are the spirits of the larder, of food and drink, and they share the hearth as an altar with the Goddess Vesta.

    The Manes are the spirits of the dead ancestors. When the deceased receives the due honours and rites, he is allowed to ascend from the Underworld to protect his family. This is in contrast with the Lemures or Larvae, evil ghosts which are the souls of the dead who the Dii Inferi refused to receive in the Underworld.

    Each corner of the house is under the influence of a protector God. Forculus protects the door, Limentinus the threshold, Cardea the hinges. Vesta protects the hearth. Each tool has also its protector spirit: Deverra protects the broom, Pilumnus the rammer, Intercidona the axe.

    The generation of a human being is also ruled by protector Gods. Iuno and Mena assure the menstrual flux of the future mother. Jugatinus presides to the union of man and woman. Cinxia or Virginensis uncover the woman's girdle. Subigus delivers her to the man. Prema commands the penetration. Inuus (Tutunus or Mutunus) and Pertunda put an end to virginity. Ianus, God of passage, opens the way for the generating seed emanated from Saturnus, but it is Liber who allows the ejaculation. Once concepted, the new human being needs Fluonia or Fluvionia, Who retains the nourishing blood. But the nourishing itself is presided by Alemona. To avoid the dangers of upside-down pregnancy, Postverta and Prosa are invoked. Diana Nemorensis is also invoked to allow a good pregnancy. Three dities protect the mother from the violence of Silvanus: Intercidona, Deverra and Pilumnus. In the the atrium, a bet is setup for Pilumnus and Picumnus or Iuno, and a table is setup for Hercules. Nona and Decima allow the birth between the ninth and tenth month. But it is Egeria who makes the baby come out (egerere). Parca or Partula preside to the birth, but it is Vitumnus Who gives life, Sentinus the senses. After the birth, Lucina, bringer of light, must be invoked. Lucina is also the Goddess to whom sterile (or with pregnancy desease) women direct their prayer. After the birth, the pregnant women must be purified, and it is Iuno Februa (Februalis or Februlis) Who frees them from the placental membrane. With the aid of Levana, the sage-woman raises and presents the child to the mother. The father then raises the child with the aid of Statina (Statilina, Statinus or Statilinus).