God of the Month: Carmentis

Roman mythology has conflicting lore about Carmentis. What is agreed upon is that She is the Goddess of Childbirth. Other aspects of Carmentis is her willingness to heal when called upon and her ability to prophesize. “Carmen,” named for Her, is a chant, spell, or charm, which is usually recited for healing.

Carmentis has two sisters or attendants – Postverta and Prorsa. Postverta could either refer to the baby’s position – feet first or to the past in prophecy. Prorsa could be the head first or the future. Either way, they are involved with childbirth and the baby’s future. (Some sources say that Carmentis was referred by these two names as well.)

Her festival, the Carmentalia is held on two separate days – January 11 and 15. On both days, women praise Her and chant carmina for pregnant women. They also do no housework on these days.

 Synache, a charm for the cure of sore throats

Come forth! Today Daughter, the One before the Daughter

Today created, before she was created,

This sickness, this disease,

This pain, this swelling, this redness,

This goiter, these tonsils,

This tumor, these little tumors,

This swelling gland, these swelling little glands,

With pious rite I call out, I summon; I entice with songs that You come forth

From these limbs, from this bones, (from this body).

(Marcellus Empiricus, De Medicamentis 15.11.)

 

 

 

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