Gods of the Month: Lars Compitales

The Lars (spirits) protect people and places. Different Lars have different duties. The Lars Compitales guard the crossroads (compitum). Each Lar of the adjoining areas comes together to oversee the meeting point. In general folklore, crossroads are regarded to be a “no-mans land” or open territory, governed by no one. Romans would erect a shrine at the crossroads, which is open to allow free passage of the various Lars.

In January, Romans celebrate the Compitalia to honor the Lars. Dolls are hung from the shrine to represent the family. The Mother of the Lars, Mania, Goddess of the Dead, receives an offering of honey cakes and poppies. The Lars receive that and garlic too. For my Compitalia, I make offerings of garlic and crystals at the Lars of my nearby crossroads.

“I invoke you, Lares Viales, to kindly protect me.” Plautus, Mercator 865.

The Lar Compitales of My Crosswalk

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