Banishing of the Lemures

ede34-raven2The banishing ritual that I chose is traditionally done at the Roman Lemuria. (The Banishing of Lemures (the unquiet spirits) is done in May.) I chose it since I do it regularly during the Lemuria. I have found this ritual to be effective in ousting negative entities.

I did the ritual at noon, which is a liminal time. Walking around my home barefoot, I threw black beans over my left shoulder. Doing this nine times, I recited, “With these beans I redeem me and mind.” After doing that, I went through the house banging pots, exclaiming, “Ghosts of my fathers and Ancestors begone!”

After doing the ritual for nine days, I had this feeling of cleanliness in the air. The heaviness left the home, allowing for the lightness to expand. Afterwards, I became a cleaning demon and achieved a sparkling home. This is my usual response after doing the traditional Roman ritual for banishing.

The Multiple Souls of Polytheism

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Polytheism differs from Christianity in that instead of one soul, a person has multiple souls. The Romans have the genius, renamed by Christians as the Guardian Angel. Meanwhile, the animus, which is the dynamic force of personality, can exist outside of the body. One soul dies with the body, while another one survives to form its own body. When a person dies, one soul will merge with the ancestral soul, and another soul will go to the underworld. The physical (body) soul that lives on after death is called a revenant.

This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp. Western culture sees a person’s soul as a singularity. Moreover, the revenant is no longer believed to be real. Since the Dead have been relegated to being phantoms. Modern science has reinforced the idea that ghosts are figments of a confused mind.

The Christian Church deliberately redefined the concept of “soul,” thereby merging all the souls into one entity. Now, when the body dies, the soul merges with God. The Church dismissed the existence of revenants. Tertullian, St. Augustine, and Gregory the Great developed and promoted the concept of the soul being a singularity. Their aim was to eliminate the Pagan veneration of the Dead.

Tertullian claimed that Plato had asserted that the soul remains in the body after death. However Plato said that after death, a soul does continue to exist. Moreover, he divided the soul into three parts – logos (mind), thymos (emotion) and eros (desire).

In Polytheist theology, it is important to note multiple souls are the norm. For example, the Egyptians believed that everyone had nine souls. They are: kha: the body, ka: the living life force, ba: the personality, sekhem: the transfigured life force, khaibit: the shadow, akh: the transfigured soul, sahu: the spiritual body, ib: the heart and ren: the true name of the person.

In Norse Polytheism, the litr is the body’s vital force. The hame, the “astral body,” works with the lich, the physical body. The flygja is similar to the Roman genius. The kinfylgja is the ancestral soul.

It is important to note that the texts written by the ancients are often interpreted by people who are steeped in the monotheistic culture. Therefore, references to multiple souls may be thought of as aspects of a single soul. However, the idea of multiple souls still manifests itself in modern thought. I consider Freud’s theory of the ego, id, and super-ego to be one example.

Monotheistic Filter: “Re-worlding the Gods”

Max Weber, German sociologist, introduced the concept, “disenchantment of the world” to explain the malaise found in modern society. Weber explained that when the revealed religions became dominant, they sought to explain the unknown. The Christian “Myth of the Redeemer” depended on a meaningful cosmos. Therefore, Christianity developed a systematic rationalization of problems and their solutions. Revenants (The Active Dead) became the wandering souls of Purgatory.

After the Protestant Reformation, religion, as a whole, gradually lost its authority over creating meaning for the world. The Enlightenment brought forth secular disciplines such as science and history to provide new definitions. These emerging authorities took over explaining the unknown. Ghosts, once the wandering souls of Christianity, became only figments of people’s imaginations.

Meanwhile, modern people have tried to bring the mystical back into their world, but The Filter prevents them. One popular method is using Carl Jung’s theories of the Collective Unconscious. By employing archetypes, people can allow the ancient myths to regain their power. However, Jung’s theories is a retelling of the “Myth of the Redeemer.” The objective is for people to unite with their Higher Selves (i.e. the God Archetype), and become whole.

Another method often tried is Marxism. According to Marx and Engels, Capitalism has objectified and commodified the world. Therefore, its victims should band together, pool their resources, and defeat this evil. Under Communism, the new religion of humanity, people will work for the common good. Since the basis of Marxism is people’s feelings of instability and pessimism, it fails. These emotions are rooted in the disenchanted world.


 

Works Used:

Dintino, Theresa, “Notes from a Diviner in the Postmodern World.” Self-published. 2016.

“Divining America: Religion in American History,” National Humanities Center Teacher Server. 2010. Web: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/divam.htm

Felluga, Dino, “General Introduction to Postmodernism,” Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. 2015. Web: http://www.purdue.edu/guidetotheory/postmodernism/modules/introduction.html

Filan, Kenaz and Raven Kaldera, “Drawing Down the Spirits.” Rochester (VT): Destiny Books. 2009.
“Talking to the Spirits.” Rochester (VT): Destiny Books. 2013.

Hansen, George P., “Max Weber and the Charisma of Disenchantment,” The Trickster and the Paranormal, 2001. Web: http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOnline/Chapter8-MaxWeberCharismaDisenchantment.pdf

Romanian Association for Psychoanalysis Promotion (AROPA), “Resources for Carl Jung.” 2017. Web: http://carl-jung.net/index.html

Walter, Philippe, “Christianity, the Origins of a Pagan Religion,” trans. Jon E. Graham. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. 2003.

Walton, Chris, “Philocrites: Religion, Liberalism, and Culture.” 2009. Web: http://philocrites.com/index.html