God of the Month: Summanus

Placeholder Image

On June 20, the shortest night of the year, black cakes are offered to Summanus, God of Nightly Thunder. As Jupiter rules the day, Summanus rules the night. He is the Protective God of the Night. Summanus may not be as well-known as the other Gods, but He is as important.

Summanus speaks to me at night in summer thunderstorms. Since my bed is next to the window, nighttime lightening wakes me up. Then I look out my window in awe at the display of lightening in the sky. For me, I make offerings to Summanus from May 1 to October 31. Then I switch to Jupiter from November 1 to April 30. This practice is personal to me, and is not traditional.

Salve Summanus!
God of the Night
You light up the dark
With your lightening.
You rumble to the stars
With your thunder.

We thank You
For protecting us
When we sleep.
Salve Summanus!

God of the Month: Juno Moneta

In 389 BCE, the sacred geese from Juno’s temple warned the Romans of an impending attack by the Gauls. Following another war with the Gauls, a temple to Juno, Who Warns (Moneta) was dedicated on June 1, 344 BCE. Juno Moneta has saved Rome from many invasions. Today, She warns people of other impending disasters such as earthquakes.

Salve Juno Moneta!
Who warns
Who advises

Your Sacred Geese
Once saved Rome
May we hear Them
May we heed Them
Before disaster overtakes us.

Thank You
For Your Warnings
Salve Juno Moneta!

God of the Month: Pales

ndlivestock

The Roman God(s) Pales is/are so ancient that their number and gender is unknown. Some authorities say that Pales is male, other – female. No one is sure if there is one or two Gods. Pales has two festivals – one on April 21, the other July 7. The second festival was referred the “two Pales” (Palibus duobus). Pales watches over livestock – sheep, goats, pigs, and cows. The Parilia of April 21 is for shepherds and sheep. At this time, both are cleansed and dedicated to Pales’ care. The July 7th Parilia is for smaller livestock.

I think of Pales as singular and plural, male and female. Beyond human imagining, Pales is a mystery to be experienced. Perhaps, we should know Pales as the sheep and pigs do. Can that be possible?

Salve Pales!
Of the Sheep
Of the Goats
Of the Swine
Of the Cattle

Protect them from harm
Let us know You as they do
Salve Pales!

Gods of the Month: Ceres and Tellus

Ripe wheat on a blue skyCeres, a Greek Goddess, was adopted by Romans after a severe famine in 499 BCE. The on-going crisis prompted the Senate to consult the Sibylline Books on what to do. The Books recommended that to the Romans to end the famine, that they build a temple to Ceres. Dictator Aulus Postumius Albus vowed Her temple to be built on Aventine Hill. This temple was shared by Liber and Libera, Gods of Vegetable Fertility. It was also a granary and a place of asylum. Because of this, the temple became the center of plebeian activities. Ceres, Liber, and Libera became the Aventine Triad, the plebeian counter to the Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter and Minerva

Tellus Mater is the Goddess of the Productive Power of the Earth, who is invoked during earthquakes. She is also known as Terra Mater (Mother Earth). However, She is not the Roman equivalent of Gaia, beloved Goddess of Neo-Pagans.

As agricultural Goddesses, Tellus and Ceres are closely associated with each other. Ceres is celebrated during the Cerialia that is held from April 12 to 19. The Fordicilia, Tellus Mater’s festival, is April 15, the mid-point of the Cerialia. Both of these festivals focus on ensuring plenty of food for the coming year.

Salve Ceres Mater!
Salve Tellus Mater!
Help us keep the land
Fertile as You have.

We thank you for
The Giving Land.
Salve Ceres Mater!
Salve Tellus Mater! 

Gods of the Month: Liber Pater and Libera

On March 17, the Liberalia is celebrated to encourage the fertility of the land. (Fertility, as a virtue (Uberitas, Fecunditas), is important to Romans since it is vital to life.) Represented by a large phallus, Liber Pater, an ancient Italic God, ensures the fecundity of plants. Dancing around with a giant phallus is one of the main features of Liberalia. Liber is joined by Libera who protects the female seed. Together, They encourage the plants to grow.

In Roman homes, fascinum (a winged phallus) is kept to ward off evil and to ensure good luck. Children wear them as bullae for protection. Phalli with eyes are for warding off the Evil Eye.

Salve Liber Pater!

God of Fecundity

Keeper of the Male Seed

Teach us to honor Uberitas

Teach us to honor Fecunditas

Salve Libera!

Goddess of Fecundity

Keeper of the Female Seed

Teach us to honor Uberitas

Teach us to honor Fecunditas

Let us always keep

These virtues.

Gods of Babylon: Ninshubur

Ninshubur is the Sukkal of Inanna, the Sumerian Goddess of Love and War. Ninshubur accompanies Her everywhere. As Inanna’s Second-in-Command, She has her own power as well as Inanna’s authority. One of her duties is as the Messenger of the Gods.

What Ninshubur is best known for is bringing Inanna back from the Underworld. Before She left to see Ereskigal, Dark Queen of the Underworld, Inanna asked Ninshubur to wait for Her. When Inanna failed to reappear after three days, Ninshubur knew that She had died. After informing everyone, She went to the temple of the Great Gods. Going from God to God, Ninshubur asked for help in Inanna’s return. Finally She receives help from Enki, the Father of Inanna. When Inanna was finally released from the Underworld, She had to find someone to take her place. Meanwhile Inanna prevented the Galla, the Underworld Demons, from taking Ninshubur, finding someone else instead.

nubbabybasil

By Basil Blake

Oh Queen of the East

Messenger of the Gods

Sukkal of Inanna

Fearless Ninshubur

Consellor of Inanna

Lover of Inanna

Wise are You

 

May we be as fearless as You

May we be as faithful as You

May You speak to the Gods for us

May we hear their messages

May You speak to the Gods for us

 

Faithful Servant

You fought aside the Morning Star

You mourned the Evening Star

We praise You.

Purchase Her Prayer Card here: Ninshubur by Basil Blake

God of the Month: Janus (Ianus)

nbjanus_gpalmer

(By Grace Palmer)

A uniquely Roman God, Janus dispels the idea that Roman Gods are just Greek Gods with Latin names. In Roman rituals, Janus always receives the first offering before Jupiter. As one of the oldest of the Roman Gods, Janus presided over the beginnings of civilization.

This two-faced God guards gates and doors (ianua). Looking in two directions, He could see what was coming and what was going. Janus also governs beginnings and endings. I see Him as the God of liminal places.

Salve Ianus Patulcius!

The Opener of Doors

May only good result

From this opening

 

Salve Ianus Bifrons!

Two faces, forward and backward

Watching.

 

Salve Ianus Pater!

Father who sees

Comings and goings

 

Salve Ianus Clusivus!

The Closer of Doors

May only good result

From this closing


For more on Janus: The Historical Diaries.

nbjanus_gpalmer

(Grace Palmer)

Purchase Janus Prayer Card here.