13th: Libations to Persephone and my ancestors;
14th: Offerings of wine and wheat on the graves of my ancestors;
15th: Libations to Mercury;
16th: Offerings of wine and wheat to my ancestors who are buried far away
17th: Libations to Hecate
18th: Offerings of wine and wheat to drowned or lost ancestors
19th: Libations to the Lares Alcobacenses or genii of my ancestral land
20th: Offerings to the spirits of family pets and animals
21st: Libations to Persephone and my ancestors
The point is to give each day a particular focus within the theme of ancestor worship and reach as many family dead as possible. There’s some logic to it, in that it starts and ends with libations to the Queen of the Underworld and my ancestors – like brackets, if you will – leaving the days in between to break it down into several groups: those buried far away, those lost at sea or elsewhere and family pets or animals, alternating with tributes to relevant gods. Depending on how it goes, I may review it completely or make a few minor changes.
Parentalia is immediately followed by Caristia on the 22nd, which is a feast of reconciliation and nurturing of family ties. For some time now, I’ve been looking at the whole season as a model for the overall structure of funeral rites: death (13th), mourning and burial or vice-versa (14-21st), celebration as the dead joins the Family Lares (22nd); death severs ties with a family member, but after the funeral and a period of transition, the ties are renewed as the deceased (or part of him/her) is welcomed by the ancestral Lar. Which is why I’m also thinking of placing a black cloth or ribbon above my Lararium between the 13th and the 21st and then replace it with a flower wreath on the 22nd. Again, all of this is still very experimental.