After a vow

Several years ago, I made a vow to Diana when one of my dogs had to undergo a life-saving surgery. The procedure was successful and so once my pet was fully recovered, I fulfilled my promise and erected an altar of heaped stones to Diana. I picked a site in a nearby valley with several springs and dense woods and the altar has been standing there ever since. It does need to be rebuilt at least once a year, since the winter rains normally flood the area and the heap of stones tends to collapse in the process. Pass-byers and city hall workers seem to have grown used to it and appear to let it be, for whenever the grass is cut to keep the nearby path clear, they go around the altar.

Altar Diana 11

Rebuilding it has become a sort of family tradition. My mother and I used to do it on June 20th, which was the anniversary of the fulfilment of the vow, but our dog passed away last year, so the date lost some of its significance. Still, Diana is honoured at our home as one of the protectors of our pets, the other being Mercury, since strays and homeless are part of His people and our dogs we picked up from the streets. Which is why in our New Year ceremony, Diana receives offerings for their well-being and every year, on August 13th, me and my mother go on a sort of pilgrimage to our altar to Her. We walk a distance of around three kilometres, carrying flowers, food and drink, and rebuild the heap of stones on the spot where it’s been for years.

This year was no different, though we had to do it on the nearest Sunday, which was August 10th. We thought about taking our dogs with us, but the weather was too hot and rebuilding the altar takes a considerable amount of time, so even under a shade, it would be a tiresome experience for them. As such, we went for ourselves and did the job, at one point under the gaze of two backpackers that passed by. And three days later, on August 13th, after making and burning the Ides’ offerings, I went there by myself to offer a tribute to Diana. I poured wine for Janus, water for the local genii, and milk along with wheat, flowers and an apple for the goddess. And when I got back home, I offered my dogs a special treat. After all, Nemoralia is also their day.

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