Protection

compitaliaThe Compitalia, a festival thought to be older than Rome itself, was held in mid January (January 12th) to honor the guardian spirits of local communities or neighborhoods. Sacrifices and offerings of honey cakes were made to the Lares Compitales at any place where two roads met.

In the countryside the ritual started at nightfall. Each family placed the statue of the underworld goddess Mania at the door of their house.They also made and hung woolen dolls representing men and women, along with strands of garlic and poppies. Slaves offered balls of wool with differing colors, to distinguish gender, rather than human figures. These were accompanied with humble requests that the Lares and Mania would be contented with the figures, thus ensuring the safety of the lives of the people inside the home.

In later years, strands of garlic and poppies were added to the offerings both on the doorways and at the crossroads.

Collected from Wikipedia and various other sources

lararium

January 5 is the Festival of the Lares Compitales. Lares are the Roman guardian spirits of house and fields, ancient Roman deities protecting the house and the family — household gods. The Lares were worshiped in small sanctuaries or shrines, called Lararium, which could be found in every Roman house. They were placed in the atrium (the main room) or in the peristylium (a small open court) of the house. Here people sacrificed food to the Lares on holidays.

Presumed to be sons of Mercury and Lara, Lares are beneficent and friendly spirits, and deeply venerated by ancient Romans. In every house there was at least one little statue, and through these small statues, the Lare was presumed to take part in all that happened inside the house. Often a statue was put on the table during the meals, and other small statues were often placed in the higher places of the house, far from the floor, or even on the roof.

There were many different types of guardians. The most important are the Lares Familiares (guardians of the family), Lares Domestici (guardians of the house), Lares Patrii (guardians of the fathers) and Lares Privati (personal guardians). Other guardians were the Lares Permarini (guardians of the sea), Lares Rurales (guardians of the land), Lares Compitales (guardians of crossroads), Lares Viales (guardians of travelers) and Lares Praestitis (guardians of the state).

The Lar Familiaris protected all household members, free or slave, and was associated with a particular place, thus did not accompany a family who moved. Tradition holds that a family’s Lar would generously help those who honored him by devotionals and sacrifices. But the Lar would turn his back to those who would not offer him thanks or neglected him.

A household’s lararium, a shrine to the Lares Familiaris, usually stood near the hearth or in a corner of the atrium. A lararium often had the appearance of a cupboard or a niche containing a small statue, a niche painted on a wall, or a small freestanding shrine. Sometimes the Genius of the head of the household, pictured as a bearded or crested snake, or as a man with the fold of his toga covering his head, is depicted with the Lar.

The Lares themselves are usually depicted as dancing youths, with a horn cup in one hand and a bowl in the other. As progenitors of the family, they were accompanied by symbolic phallic serpents.

Compitalia – The Festival of the Lares celebrated the Lares Compitales, or local guardian spirits, of the crossroads. The crossroads were the traditional setting for the veneration of the Lares and shrines were set up where crossroads met. The date of this festival marked the end of the Roman agricultural year.

The worship of the Lares included setting little towers with an altar placed before them. Archaeologists Lesley and Roy Adkins note (in their book Dictionary of Roman Religion) that the Lare shrine at the crossroads was “open in all four directions to allow passage for the Lar”.

The ancient writer Ovid, in his work titled Fasti, refers to the Lares as the “night watchmen”. Here we can see the theme of four towers associated with the four directions, as well as four guardians of boundaries or demarcation. This general theme appears in modern Wicca as the Watchers and Watchtowers of the ritual circle. An older system seemingly related to the Lares appears in Italian witchcraft where we find beings known as the Grigori. In Kabbalah based systems of magic the theme of four guardians takes the form of the four archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Ariel or Uriel. They are seen as guarding the four directions.

Collected from various sources including:
Encyclopedia Mythica, World Lingo, and Ask Jeeves.

ancient-greek-girl-evangelos-koumbisThemes: Cleansing; Mercy; Fertility; Luck; Protection: Providence: Kindness
Symbols: Leeks; Onions; Grain; Honey Cake
Presiding Goddess: Charila

About Charila: Charila comes to our aid when there is a famine, a drought, or some kind of abuse, be it in the earth or in our spirits. Greek mythology tells us that Charila was a young girl who approached a king seeking food. The king was angered and slapped her. Charila hung herself in disgrace, but not without some notice by the Delphic oracle. The prophetess told the king to change his unsympathetic ways and make offerings to Charila to appease her spirit. Some traditional offerings for her include honey cakes and grains.

About this holiday (June 3):

On the first day of the Thargelia, a festival of Apollo at Athens, two men, the Pharmakoi, (usually slaves, cripples or criminals), were led out as if to be sacrificed. This practice was also relied on in times of disaster (famine, invasion or plague) or other times of crisis. It was believed that this would bring about purification. During this observance in Greece, the Pharmakoi were ritually driven out of the city with leeks and onions rather than being executed. This act of mercy propitiated Charila, cleansed the city of its “sins,” and ensured continuing good fortune for the region. This also brought fertility, onions being an aphrodisiac.

To do today (or whenever a purification is needed):

To draw Charila’s kindness or good fortune to your home, take a handful of any type of grain and sprinkle it on the walkway near your living space saying:

Follow me, wherever I roam,
and let tenderness and luck fill my home!

And whenever you need Charila’s mercy, productivity, forgiveness, or protection, definitely add onions and leeks to the menu. Alternatively, you could make 2 poppets or dolls to represent your situation, and toss them off your property along with a handful of leeks or baby onions.

 

From: 365 Goddess and other sources

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