Roman Gods of the Month: May

beautiful blooming blossom blossoming

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

FYI: I put a monthly list of festivals of Gods for Rome and Mesopotamia in separate posts.

For Romans, May (Maius) is sacred to Maia, the Goddess of the Growth of Living Things. As the Mother of Mercury, She is also honored with Him at the Mercuralia on May 15. On May 1st, Maia’s festival day and on the 15th, a priest of Vulcan (God of Fire) will sacrifice a pregnant sow to Her. Maia is his consort since Vulcan (Volcanus) is also the God who ripens the earth with his inner warmth. Modern Roman Polytheists will offer burnt pork to Maia.

May is also a gloomy month since the Dead roam freely at this time. The Lemuria is to ensure that the Dead are placated and do not trouble the living. Meanwhile, the Rosalia focused on placing roses and violets on graves.

Maia, Goddess of Rome

The Days of the Dead
The major focus of this month is the Lemuria, the Roman Days of the Dead (May 9, 11, and 13). On these days, the Lemures (Larvae) seek out the living to have them give the Larvae proper burials. The Lemures also want people to make offerings in their memory to the Gods of the Dead. Meanwhile, the living do certain rites to ensure that Larvae not harm them or their families. (The Larvae could be considered the “Undead.”)

Until the 8th Century, May 13 was All Saints’ Day for Christians. During the 730s, Pope Gregory III changed the feast date to November 1. He wanted to accommodate the Celtic Christians, who had grown in numbers. Meanwhile, Roman Lemuria can be considered the Roman equivalent of Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.

Lemures and Lemuria

Banishing of the Lemures

Mercury (Mercurius)
For Romans, Mercury is the God of Commerce, Merchants, and Thieves. On May 15, merchants would bless themselves and their wares from his sacred well, which was located outside of the Sacred Boundary (Pomerium) of Rome. Modern Roman Polytheists will use water from local streams to bless their local banks and stores.

Julius Caesar noted that Mercury was the most popular God in the Celtic and Germanic regions closest to Roman territories. These peoples regarded Mercury to be the inventor of the arts. In Celtic areas, He was frequently accompanied by Rosmerta, Celtic Goddess of Abundance and Prosperity.

God of the Month: Mercury

Flora
On May 23, the Rosalia (dies rosationis (the day of the rose adornment)) is held. This was originally a military rite to honor the fallen. It later became a ritual to honor all the dead, with roses placed on graves. For the Rosalia, I would suggest going to a battlefield or military cemetery, if possible.

Flora, Goddess of Flowering Plants

The Ambarvalia
At the end of May, people would walk the perimeters of their fields bringing offerings of milk, honey and wine. Ancient Romans herded a boar, ram, and a bull around the boundaries, and then sacrificed them. Modern Roman Polytheists offer meats from the store, and ask for the blessings of Mars and Ceres on the crops.

The Ambarvalia

5 thoughts on “Roman Gods of the Month: May

    • No. Roman Gods are not the equivalent of Greek Gods. Maia is his traditional consort. You can’t make matching one on one with Roman and Greek Gods. Venus usually either has no official consort or sometimes is associated with Mars.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ok yeah but some Roman gods are literally straight up the same as the Greek such as Bacchus and Dionysus. Some are syncretized and do have equivalents because of it. Such as Juno and Hera. All I wanted to know is where the Maia as a consort of Vulcan came from because I never heard of it.

        Like

  1. Aphrodite was married to Hephaestus but has an on going affair with Aries. Both are fire gods, so I guess Aphrodite likes things hot and steamy. Lol
    I found it interesting that both craftsmanship and war are often products of passion on opposite spectrums of fire energy. And love is often associated with fire imagery as well such as “the flames of passion” or “burning with lust”.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s