End of year, end of hiatus

It’s been five months since my last post on this blog, in an absence motivated by work, academic or literary, leaving me little time and creativity to write here. Not that that has affected my religious practices: the sacrifices on the Calends, Nones and Ides have been performed, as have the other monthly offerings and annual celebrations, some with additional elements like wreaths and devotional gestures. There was even time to add new festive dates that will show up in my calendar and I was able to write a few pages of religious text. Again, the only thing lacking was the opportunity to post here. So, in an attempt to recover from the hiatus and return to the blogosphere, here’s a brief summary of what I’ve been doing, religiously speaking:

1. The opening of the flood gates
For some time now, the goddess Nabia has been a part of my practices, both as a major and local deity and Family Lar, but I’ve decided to elevate Her status, largely due to the drought that’s still affecting the country and the October fires, especially the one that consumed most of the Leiria Pine Forest. I’ve thus reserved a corner of a table as a shrine where the goddess is represented by a small schist stone brought a few years ago from a mountainous village called Piodão and on which Nabia receives daily drops of water as a form of tribute. It’s still a temporary set and the exact decoration is being worked out, but, hesitations aside, the shrine has already been used in the last few months for offerings of fire, water and scented oil, which is evaporated in a burner, and the gesture will be repeated on the 9th of every month. And adding to this, I’ve also devised a new annual festivity dedicated to Nabia, together with Reue and Jupiter, which I named Pluvialia – the celebration of rain fall. It will take place on the Ides of October, which was when the rain helped controlling the Leiria Pine Forest fire.

2. A populated sky
On that note, these last few months have also been used for some meditation on Reue, not so much in an academic sense, as that work was done when writing the several pages on Iberian gods, but in a more personal sense. Specifically, whether or not I should include Him in the pantheon I worship, which is already quite diverse and numerous, and under what guise. And the answer came in the form of a title that had already occurred to me, but which I had not yet awarded to a deity: that of Shepherd of Clouds! It’s in line with similar epithets of other celestial gods – like Zeus Gatherer of Clouds – but it has a rural touch that hints at the mountainous areas where Reue appears to have been worshipped. And furthermore it allows for a connection with torrential waters, which may have been part of the god’s sphere of influence in the past and can be metaphorically conceived as a violent stampede of bulls and rams. Eventually, I’ll write a post on it and, who knows, a connection to Nabia may be on the horizon.

3. Drawing a path
And what about Mercury? He’s still a centre of attentions: two daily prayers, a monthly sacrifice on the first Wednesdays, a libation of wine before the closing of every ceremony in Greek or Roman rite – and this month even in the end of a sacrifice to Ullr, as an experiment – adding to the small portions of wheat cast onto the road or poured on cairns in an informal and frequent fashion. And there’s also the book on an Iberian cult to the Son of Maia, whose first pages are partially finished, though with no rush. It is, after all, the most important part of the text, because it must be made clear that the book is not meant to be a bible, a crystallization of moral doctrine or the expression of an orthodox, saving or exclusivist cult. Things that need to be highlighted, explained and reinforced these days. As in a journey, the direction of the first steps influences or determines the destination one arrives at.

4. The new cycle
And as customary, I celebrated Saturnalia, Inguinalia and this year’s Winter Solstice and, a few days before, the annual sacrifices to Faunus and Ullr, besides the usual monthly offerings. Religiously speaking, this is to me one of the most busy months, which also didn’t help in finding time to keep this blog active. But now that there’s only the end of year ceremony to go and before the start of New Year’s hustle and bustle, here I am again. Worst case scenario, I’ll see you again on the Ides of January!

Winter solstice sunrise, 2017

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