Gods of the Month: Consus and Ops

Ripe wheat on a blue sky

Ripe golden wheat on a blue sky

Ops, the Goddess of Abundance and Consus, the God of the Granary could be regarded as the female and male Gods of the Bountiful Earth. Two festivals for Consus and Ops are held annually – the first in August, and the second in December. The August festivals are held after the harvest, the December ones after sowing.

In August, the Consualia (August 21) and the Opiconsiva (August 25) act as bookends for the Volcanalia, is held for Volcanus, the God of Fire. In December, the Consualia (December 15) comes before Saturnalia (December 17) held for Saturnus, with the Opalia following on December 19. Some religious historians theorized that the reason for the conjunction of these festivals has to do with the “humors of Earth.” The hot dryness of Volcanus contrasts with the cold wetness of Saturnus. Meanwhile, Consus and Ops act as the bookends for these two opposites.

On the Consualia, the underground altar of Consus is dug out. (Romulus, who initiated this festival, had claimed that He found an altar dedicated to this God underground.) Grain would be offered to Consus to protect the stores of food. Around His altar, images of Seia, the Goddess of Sowing, Segetia, Goddess of Standing Grain, and Tutulina, Goddess of Harvesting are placed. These Goddesses are given wreaths with flowers. (Note: Agricultural Deities never have their names said out loud indoors.)

On August 24, the Mundus Patet is opened for the first time in the year. The other two times are October 5 and November 8. “When the mundus is opened, the doorway is opened on the gloom of the infernal Gods.” (Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.16.18) The Mundus is believed to be the underground granary of the Romans.

The Opiconsiva is held in honor of Ops Consiva, Bountiful Lady of Planting. Her sacrarium (shrine) was the penus (pantry) of the Regia (the headquarters of the Pontifex Maximus (the head priest)). The Romans stored their sacred objects were stored there. The Sacerdos Publica (presiding priest) and Vestal Virgins would make offerings at the sacrarium in a private ceremony.

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One thought on “Gods of the Month: Consus and Ops

  1. Pingback: Gods of the Month: August | Neptune's Dolphins

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