God of the Month: Volcanus (Vulcan)

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The ancient God of Fire, Volcanus has his festival, the Volcanalia on August 23. People pray to Him to not be destructive. Offerings are made to Him, Juturna, the Goddess of Streams, Stata Mater, the Goddess who Quenches Fires, Maia Volcani, His Consort, and the Nymphae of the Waters. It does not pay to stint on offerings to these Gods. On the day after the Volcanalia, Mt. Vesuvius erupted destroying Pompeii and surrounding towns in 79 C.E. (Volcanus is also the God of Volcanos.)

On the Volcanalia, people start their work by candlelight. During the day, everyone hangs out their clothes in the sun. This is to encourage the beneficial use of fire. At night, bonfires are lit and fish are thrown into the fire as sacrifices. Traditionally, red animals were also sacrificed. During this time, Volcanus is referred to as Volcanus Quietus, Vulcan at Rest, to prevent the fires of late summer.

Unlike Hephaestus, the Greek God of the Forge, Volcanus is not associated with creative fire. People do conflate these two Gods, but only Volcanus in His Aspect as Volcanus Mulciber, the Smelter, could be considered similar to Hephaestus. Volcanus, who dwells in Mt. Etna, is the destructive fire, who rampages homes and crops. He can be felt in the wildfires that overwhelm the American West. I see the fires of Volcanus as scouring and cleaning the earth. He burns away everything so that life can begin again.

Salve Volcanus!
The Fire Who sweeps across the land
The Fire Who destroys all in its wake.

May the Fire cleanse the land.
May the Fire bring forth new life.

May we accept Your Fire,
But we pray that Volcanus Quietus,
Be at rest during the dry season.
Salve Volcanus!

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2 thoughts on “God of the Month: Volcanus (Vulcan)

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

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

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