Lucaria: The Festival of the Groves

bright countryside dawn daylight

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The Lucaria, held on July 19 and 21, is the ritual of clearing the woods – “letting in the light.” To prevent forest fires, the woods are cleared of debris. Fallen trees are chopped, and the brush is taken away. The focus of the Lucaria is to keep the forest healthy, which is important today as it was long ago.

As with all things Roman, various Gods oversee the process from the cutting to the carting of the brush away. The Goddess of Felling Trees is Coinquenda. The Goddess of Splitting Wood is Commolenda, (the Smasher). Deferunda (the Carter) oversees the carting off of the chopped wood, while Adolenda (the Burner) supervises the burning of the wood. During the Lucaria, these Goddesses are invoked in the clearing of the trees.

Since every piece of land has a guardian spirit, the resident Lar must be asked before digging into the earth or cutting down a tree. An offering should be made before any digging, hoeing, mowing, planting or pruning. When gardening, ask the Lar for graciousness towards you and your family. (The traditional words for the offering is “For the cause of carrying out the work (operis faciundi causa).”)

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