God of the Month: Vortumnus (Vertumnus)

Little marrow type pumpkin and flower.

Little marrow type pumpkin and yellow flower.

Called The Changer, Vortumnus can be considered the God of Seasonal Change. He causes the plants to swell into vegetables. He turns the grapes purple and ripen the cherries. His influence becomes obvious in August, when the signs of autumn begin to show. At this time, the vegetables are ready to be picked. In the change from winter to spring, the focus is on Liber and Libera, who fertilize the plants. (Vortumnus does bring the warmth of spring.)

Vortunmus is the Protector of Gardens. His wife, Pomona, is the Goddess of Fruit and Fruit Trees. Together, They watch over the fruits and vegetables that we eat. During the Vortumnalia (August 13), I give thanks to Vortunmus for the produce from my grocery store, especially for the heirloom tomatoes.

Salve Vortumnus!
The Changer
The Turner
Your touch causes
The cucumber to ripen
The cherry to be sweet
You bring the changes of each season.
We feel You in the Autumn
But You are always there
The breath of warmth of Spring
The chill of Winter
Turning, turning the seasons one by one.
Salve Vortumnus!


Polytheism and Spiritual Pollution

Mention “miasma,” “pollution,” or “purity” in regards to Polytheism, and many Pagans will take umbrage with these terms. One reason is that Christianity has redefined these Polytheistic terms to match its theology. Since many Pagans are converts from Christianity, they will often think of these concepts in those terms. However, “miasma,” “pollution,” and “purity” had different meanings in Polytheism.

Paganism does have its version of “pollution” and “purity.” Pagans discuss “positive” and “negative” energies. People will cleanse themselves and their spaces routinely to clear out negative energy. For example, crystals are often cleansed before using them. Also, before rituals, many Pagans will smudge themselves to purify themselves and to clean out the ritual space.

Miasma and spiritual pollution are different from both negative energy and Christian sin. Negative energy powers destruction, sickness, and other such things. It can be removed by laughter or positive thinking. Sin is removed by baptism and confession. Miasma, which is specific to Greek Polytheism, is a “spiritual pollution that prevails over all, it is not an ‘evil thing.’” Continuing in his essay, Markos Gage says “Miasma is therefore something we incur in life, everyday life.” (Note 1)

In Roman Polytheism, castus (the adjective) means being morally pure, pious, or ritually pure. Piety (pietas) is maintaining the right relations between people, their Gods, their families, and their communities. Castitas (the noun) is the purity of the ritual and the participants. (Note 2) That means everyone must be physically and mentally cleansed before conducting a ritual. Before a ritual, people perform ablutions by washing their hands and asking that the water purify them.

An error conducted in a ritual is a spiritual pollutant. It negates the ritual and risks the anger of the Gods. It is not that a God will smite someone, but is to maintain the Pax Deorum, the Peace of the Gods. Religious negligence leads to divine disharmony and the turning away of the Gods. This leads to the loss of protection for the family, community, and the individual.

The closest thing that Roman Polytheism has to Christian sin is nefas. This can be defined as anything which is contrary to divine law. Nefas is a failure to fulfill a religious duty. Nefas is a willful act of religious violation.

Polytheists regard the world to be neutral, which differs from Christian theology. St. Augustine stated that the world is both corrupt and corrupting. Therefore, humanity lives in a Fallen World. To Polytheists, the world is both clean and dirty. Kenaz Filan explains, “The world is a clean flowing stream, and miasma the sewage dumped into the water. We clean the stream by filtering that sewage or by redirecting it…to where it can be properly contained.” (Note 3)

Why focus on purity and pollution? When a person prays, divine, or perform any other sacred act, they are engaging with the Holy Powers. There is a doctrine in U.S. law called, “Clean Hands” (also called “Dirty Hands”). (Note 4) The plaintiff cannot have the judge participate in an illegal act. One example is a drug dealer cannot sue to have his stolen drugs be returned. Another is suing the hit man you hired to kill someone for failure to do their job. As Judge Judy says on her TV show, “the courts will not help anyone with dirty hands.” I believe that in our relations with the Gods, we can think of purity and pollution in those terms.

Note 1. Markos Gage, “Answers About Miasma,” from “With Clean Minds and Clean Hands,” Galina Krasskova, ed. P. 51. Markos Gage is a devotee of Dionysius and an artist.

Note 2. The Romans have a Goddess – Lua – who protects all things purified by rituals and for rituals.

Note 3. Kenez Filan, “Miasma” from “With Clean Minds and Clean Hands,” Galina Krasskova, ed. P. 69. Kenez Filan is the author of several books including “Drawing Down the Spirits (with Raven Kaldera)”. He is an initiated Houngan Si Pwen.

Note 4. Clean hands: “Under the clean hands doctrine, a person who has acted wrongly, either morally or legally – that is, who has ‘unclean hands’ – will not be helped by a court when complaining about the actions of someone else.” From The ‘Lectric Law Library, http://www.lectlaw.com/def/c202.htm

Works Used:
Galina Krasskova, “With Clean Minds and Clean Hands”
L. Vitellius Triarius, “Religio Romana Handbook.”

Divining with an Eight-Ball

As a Roman Polytheist, I regard divination as a conversation between humans and the Gods. As a diviner, I need to know multiple forms of divination. Different Gods prefer different systems to speak to people. Some forms are traditional such as Runes for the Norse Gods or wooden staves for Apollo. Other forms help to clarify the answer, which has been given. Many diviners who work in various Polytheistic traditions usually know at least eleven systems to employ. I use four regularly and have another five in reserve for further needs. As a diviner, I do need to know a variety of forms to do my work well.

I use the 8 ball as a divination tool. For me, it is a simple tool for a quick answer and for clarification. Sometimes the answer from the original divination is unclear or the querent needs more information. The “Yes,” “No” and “Maybe” aspects are useful to me. In Roman divination, the question asked has three answers – “Yes, the Gods will allow it,” “No, They won’t,” and “They don’t care what you do.” The “Maybe” of the 8 ball acts as “The Gods are not interested.”

Mathematics of receiving a certain answer in an 8 ball.

The probability of a positive answer with an 8 Ball (includes “maybe”).

P=10/20, with M=10, 20=N. 50 percent for “yes.”

The probability of a negative answer.
P=5/20 with M=5. N=20. 25 percent for “no.”

My Brain on Mathematics


About seven years ago, a wall fell on me while I was shopping. I ended up with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and severe PTSD. I lived in fear of any wall or shelf taller than me falling and crushing me. I refused to go outside without a bicycle helmet.

A major part of my recovery was to learn how to calculate the odds of a wall falling on me. Because one had, I assumed that it was a common occurrence. What I learned was that outside of construction work, it was rare.

I reviewed statistics on the various causes of TBIs. One third were from strokes, while another third were from falls. One sixth of TBIs were caused by car crashes. Of the remainder, the most came from sports injuries, such as being beaned by a flying hockey puck. Being crushed by a wall was an outlier. (These statistics had excluded military TBIs and gunshot victims.)

Therefore, when I go shopping, I repeat to myself how slim the odds are for being crushed by a wall. (I have since given up wearing a bicycle helmet.) It has become a habit of mine to assess the probability of being hit in the head. (I have no desire to reinjure my brain.)

One specific thing that I did which involved probability and my TBI:
I assessed whether the falling debris from the Chinese space station would hit me. When I heard the reports of this space station breaking up, I panicked. After finding out that the debris field would include where I lived, I had a severe PTSD attack. Therefore, I researched how much space debris actually do reach the ground. Most are burned up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. Since 1985, only two reported instances worldwide involved people. Therefore, the probability of any space debris hitting me was miniscule.

The picture of Moby Dick and the boat illustrates how remote wall falling actually is and the trauma I felt (and still feel).

Tempestas and the Gods of the Winds


In June, Tempestas, the Goddess of Storms is given offerings by Romans to keep travelers safe. I find that interesting since June is also the start of the hurricane season in the Atlantic. Perhaps it is not that surprising since hurricanes can influence weather in Europe.

Besides Tempestas, I make offering to the Gods of the Winds. Having good relations with the Winds is necessary to work weather magic. For example, farmers want rain and sun during certain months, while sailors want to avoid wind storms at sea.

The Wind Gods of Rome have the attributes of the climate of Southern Europe. Since I do not know the names of my local Wind Gods, I use the Roman names if they fit. Some of those Wind Gods share similar attributes of the climate of Washington D.C. I believe that different areas are governed by different Gods of Winds (and Storms). Some like Hurican, the Carib God of Storms, rules over the Atlantic and East Pacific Oceans.

Aquilo of the Northeast brings the cold weather. We receive Nor’easters that blow northeast to southwest. These massive storms bring snow or rain, lingering for days. Corus, the oldest of the Roman Wind Gods, blows the cold in from the Northwest, Where I live, our winds of winter come from the West (October through March). Meanwhile for the Romans, Favonius of the West brings spring. For us, the North Wind comes in April.

Starting in May and throughout the summer, the wind is from the South. For the Romans, Auster of the South brought the sirocco from North Africa. This Wind God governs the strong winds of summer and autumn. Volturnus of the Southeast brings the warm rains and winds. Our major storms come from the Southeast. Vulturnus of the East also brings warmth and rain. However, Washington D.C. rarely receives any wind from the East.

Our Wind Gods include Derecho, Hurricane and Nor’easter. Each Wind God is formidable in their own right. Arriving without warning, Derecho is a “thunderstorm-induced straight-line wind” — a squall line with exceptionally strong winds. Derecho. Every few years, Derecho will arrive during the summer to wreak havoc.

Named after Hurican, Hurricane arises in the warm seasons of summer and fall. Spawning in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane brings strong winds and torrential rains. This forceful Wind God creates inlets and destroys islands.

Nor’easter rules only the Eastern coast of North America. Occurring in the colder months, the intense Nor’easter can batter an area for days. Severe flooding often occurs from the high storm surges.

Throughout the world, Wind Gods reign over various regions. Australia has the dusty Brickfielder. For South Africa the Cape Doctor blows form the Southeast. Each has their own particular attributes.

Monotheistic Filter: Expulsion from Eden

The Goddess religions reject the over-emphasis of the masculine Divinity in Monotheist religions and the subjugation of women. These religions depict the expulsion from the Garden of Eden as the Goddess being deposed by the God. The patriarchy that many Goddess Pagans rail about destroyed the peaceful matriarchy of prehistory.

The work of Marija Gimbutas, Lithuanian-American archeologist, implanted the idea of the Great Mother Goddess in prehistory in Pagan minds. The original idea was started by Johann Jakob Bachofern, Swiss anthropologist, in the 1860s. He asserted that the early Europeans were matriarchal. Friederic Engels (of Marx and Engels) reformulated Bachofern’s idea into a matriarchal Golden Age that was dislodged by the patriarchy of the Indo-Europeans.

Marija Gimbutas described the former Goddess culture of Europe. Ruled by female shamans, this peaceful and egalitarian culture nurtured all life. Gimbutas continued, “Through an understanding of what the Goddess was, we can better understand nature and we can build our ideologies so it will be easier for us to live.” (Note 1) Joan Marler, American archeomythologist, added, “If her theories are correct, then peace, reverence for the earth and the honoring of life are not only human capabilities, they are the very underpinnings of European civilization itself.” (Note 2)

Because of the Great Goddess myth, various Deities of prehistory are seen as Great Mother Goddesses. The interpretation of the objects of prehistory have been subverted into a Goddess Culture. For instance, the Bird Goddess becomes the supreme image of the Holy, with Inanna of Sumer and Isis of Egypt, Her Aspects. The Monotheistic Filter employed by the Goddess religions eliminates the male to formulate the One Goddess.


Note 1. “About Marija Gimbutas,” Belili Productions.

Note 2. Ibid.

Works Used:
“About Marija Gimbutas,” Belili Productions. 2007. Web: http://www.belili.org/marija/aboutmarija.html

Adkins, Lesley and Roy Adkins, “Dictionary of Roman Religion.” New York: Oxford University Press. 1996.

Black, Jeremy and Anthony Green, “Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia.” Austin: University of Texas Press. 2014.

Blair, Nancy, “Amulets of the Goddess.” Oakland (CA): Wingbow Press. 1993.
“Goddess for Every Season.” Oakland (CA): Wingbow

Gimbutas, Marija, “The Language of the Goddess: Unearthing the Hidden Symbols of Western Civilization.” San Francisco: Harper & Row. 1989.

Markale, Jean, “The Great Goddess.” Rochester (VT): Inner Traditions. 1997.

Marler, Joan, “The Myth of the Universal Patriarchy.” 2003. Web: http://belili.org/marija/eller_response.html

Orr, Emma, “Kissing The Hag.” Winchester (UK): O-Books. 2009.

Paper, Jordan, “The Deities Are Many.” Albany NY: State University of New York Press. 2005.

Penry, Tylluan, “Sacred Shadows: Ice Age Spirituality.” U.K.: The Wolfenhowlepress. 2013.

Ravenna, Morpheus, “Banshee Arts.” Web: http://bansheearts.com/blog/.
“The Book of the Great Queen.” Richmond (CA): Concrescent Press. 2014.

Monotheistic Filter: Core Unity (All Religions are the Same)

The concept of that the core doctrines of all religions are the same comes from 19th Century Liberal Protestantism and Scientific Rationalism. “Core unity” according to the New Thought Movement, is “the principle is that Truth is Truth, whenever it is found, whoever is sharing it.” (Note 1) Theosophy posits the theory that all religions possess the same hidden truth. Furthermore, this truth can be retrieved and distilled to be worshiped on its own.

Theosophy and its offspring, New Age Religion, adopted and expanded on the doctrine of core unity. Because of the influence of Theosophy on Pagan thought, what people regard to be “karma” is differs greatly from the Hindu concept of “karma.” The Pagan use of karma does not refer to reincarnation, but to what happens in this life. Also, the “past lives” of Paganism is a different doctrine of “reincarnation” of Hinduism.

The other aspect of core unity is that everyone seeks to be united with God. The Unity Church say that “We are spiritual beings in human bodies,” which is a common sentiment amongst Pagans. Religious Science/Science of Mind adds “human partnership with Infinite Intelligence to achieve success.” (Note 2) These 19th Century religious movements developed the popular idea that humans evolve to unite with God.


Note 1. New Thought, “New Thought Beliefs.”

Note 2. Religious Science, “Beliefs of Science of Mind.” 2004.

Works Used:

“Divining America: Religion in American History,” National Humanities Center Teacher Server. 2010. Web: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/divam.htm

Halstead, John, “Are Invented Religions Real?” Earthseed. 29 January 2016. Web: http://godischange.org/2016/01/29/are-invented-religions-real/

The International New Thought Alliance, Web: http://www.newthoughtalliance.org/

Religious Science/Science of Mind Church, 2004. Web: http://religiousscience.us/

Romanian Association for Psychoanalysis Promotion (AROPA), “Resources for Carl Jung.” 2017. Web: http://carl-jung.net/index.html

The Theosophical Society, “What is Theosophy.” 1998. Web: http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/gdpmanu/ryan-wh/wit-hp.htm

Walter, Philippe, “Christianity, the Origins of a Pagan Religion,” trans. Jon E. Graham. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. 2003.

Walton, Chris, “Philocrites: Religion, Liberalism, and Culture.” 2009. Web: http://philocrites.com/index.html.

Gods of the Month: June

June (Junius) is dedicated to Juno, the Patroness of Women. It is unclear why Juno is honored by Romans at this time, since only Juno Moneta has a festival day in June. However, marriages in the last two weeks of June were considered especially blessed by this Goddess of Marriage. For more on Juno: God of the Month: Juno Regina

The main focus of June is the Vestalia from June 7 to 15. The Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Vesta, Goddess of the Hearth, was opened to women. The temple was cleaned, purified, and rededicated. (The rubbish was then into the Tiber River.) In the Roman religion, Vesta is the Perpetual Fire, Who keeps the Pact between the People and the Gods. For more on Vesta: God of the Month: Vesta

I have personal cultus to Hercules, who is considered to be one of the early founders of Rome. Some of the Greek mythology of Heracules was grafted onto Hercules, the Roman God Hero. However, Romans had their own particular myths about Him. For example, the focus of Hercules’ worship, the Ara Maxima (the Greatest Altar) is where He killed Cacus, the monster who terrorized the early Romans.

Two temples of Hercules have dedications this month. Hercules Magno Custodi (the Great Custodian) has one on June 4, and Hercules Musarum (of the Muses) on June 29. The first was vowed on the orders of the Sibylline Books in light of Hannibal’s victories against Rome. The second was where poets and others would come to pay their respects to Hercules and the Muses. For more on Hercules: God of the Month: Hercules

Another God, I have a cultus for is Summanus, the God of the Nocturnal Heavens. He ruled the night as Jupiter ruled the day. His festival day is June 20, when people offered round breads imprinted with wheels to Him. For more on Summanus: God of the Month: Summanus

For more on June in Her many aspects:

God of the Month: Juno Moneta

God of the Month: Juno Lucina

The Ambarvalia

green grass field during sunset

Photo by David Jakab on Pexels.com

At the end of May, the Ambarvalia is held. This festival centers on asking the blessings of Mars and Ceres for the growing crops. Traditionally, a boar, a ram and a bull were sacrificed (Note 1). Modern Romans will offer meat from the store. During the Ambarvalia, the boundaries of the fields are walked with people making offerings of milk, honey and incense for Ceres and the meat for Mars.

As with other Roman festivals, the Ambarvalia was adapted by the Christian Church. Rogation Days, which precede Ascension Day, copies aspects of the Ambarvalia. Processions would go around to parish boundaries singing hymns. Along they way, they would stop at various fields to pray for God’s blessings on the new crops.

A Roman Prayer for Ambarvalia:

“Father Mars I pray and beseech You that You may be propitious and well-disposed to me, our home, and household, for which cause I have ordered the offering of pig, sheep, and ox to be led ‘round my field, my land, and my farm, that you might prevent, ward off, and avert diseases, visible and invisible; barrenness and waste; accident and bad water; that you would permit the crop and fruit of the earth, the vines and shrubs to grow great and prosper, that you would preserve the shepherds and their flocks in safety and give prosperity and health to me and our house and household. To this intent, to the intent of purifying my farm, my land, my ground, and of making an expiation, deign to accept the offering of these suckling victims.”
(from Nova Roma’s website)

Note 1: The suovetaurila is the triple sacrifice of principal livestock. Only Mars, Neptune and Apollo received this sacrifice.