Honouring the Dead

Parentalia started yesterday and, after the usual morning offerings to my Lares, Penates and Jupiter on the Ides, I also went to a local graveyard and attended the needs of some otherworldly family members. I cleaned the stone slab and flower pot, preparing it for fresh greenery in the weekend, when the almost daily torrential rains are expected to stop and a warm sun to shine. I then poured fresh water over the grave, water I asked Anubis to bless a few days ago during this year’s Cynocephalia, and finally made an offering of wheat and wine, which flowed all over the stone slab and dripped along the edges.

In the next few days, I’ll be repeating the gesture, adding flowers, honey and possibly some music, but I also want to honour my family members who are buried elsewhere, in places that I cannot visit before the 22nd of February. To that end, today I’ll be going to an open field on the edge of the city and pour wine and wheat on the soil. For the earth has taken the bodies of my ancestors, in one way of another, so I ask Her to be my intermediate. I’ll also be pouring offerings on one of the local rivers, in honour of drowned family members, ’cause chances are that, at some point in the past, at least one of my ancestors probably died at sea or on water (sailing, riverside battles, accidents, etc.). Parentalia is also a good time to pay homage to Mercury Psychopomp; actually, I’d say He’s a god to turn to when honouring ancestors who are buried elsewhere or in an unknown location.

I’m also considering doing something connected to Ingui-Frey as Lord of Elves, namely honouring house elves or Byggvir and Beyla on the 21st in preparation for the Caristia. Sort of cleaning the house and getting food ready for the feast on the 22nd, but this is me attempting to integrate a Norse-inspired celebration into a Roman festive calendar, so it’s still work in progress.

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4 thoughts on “Honouring the Dead

  1. I’d be interested in reading how you incorporate the Norse in, because syncretism and the varying degrees that people meld practices is so truly fascinating. I love the idea of pouring offerings into the ground for the Dead you aren’t near the graves of to honor and the Earth as an intermediate. Truly beautiful.

    • I guess I’ll just let it flow naturally: my idea of Carista has always been one family reunion, a final stage in the renewal of ties of kinship after days of focusing on the deceased members. If there is to be a family feast, the house needs to be cleaned and ready and food must be prepared, so it feels natural that, on the eve of Caristia, attention should be paid to the housewights, be they Penates or house elves, spirits of the pantry or elves of grain and honey.

      There’s also a potential level of significance with Freyr receiving the Land of Elves as a teething gift, but I’m still working on it. Anyway, glad you enojyed the post.

  2. Pingback: Feralia and the Unclaimed Dead | Foxglove & Firmitas

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