Gods of the Month: April

April for Romans is the time of opening buds. Flowers appear, trees come into leaf, and new crops are coming up. At this time, most of the festivals centered on honoring the fertility of the land and protecting the crops. Of the various festivals that I follow are:

CERES and TELLUS

From the 12th to the 19th of April, the Cerialia is held to honor Ceres, Goddess of Agriculture and Gain. The festival is to thank Ceres for the earth’s fertility. Many of the ceremonies of the Cerialia are held in private with the participants wearing white. An Ancient Roman tradition was to set loose foxes with burning torches tied to their tails. (It was believed to drive out diseases of the land.) For Ceres, I usually walk the nearby field three times and offer milk, a traditional offering.

During the Cerialia, the Fordicidia is held on April 15. In Ancient Rome, pregnant cows were sacrificed to Tellus, the Goddess of Productive Power of the Earth, for the fertility of the cattle and fields. Tellus is. The ashes of the unborn calves were burnt and use in the Parilia later in the month. Modern Romans will burn meat and mix it with soil as an offering to Tellus.

PALES

On April 21, the Parilia is held. Similar to the Celtic Beltane Festival, the Parilia focuses on the purification of sheep and shepherds. Bonfires are lit and sheep are driven through them. Grain and milk are offered to Pales of Shepherds and Sheep. For this festival, I pray for healthy livestock and put a stuffed sheep between two candles.

Pales is a mystery as to what They are – male or female, plural or singular. This/these ancient Roman God/s are from the time before the Romans were shepherds, which adds to the confusion of who Pales is/are. I prefer to regard Pales as the entirety of all the concepts about Them.

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