Saturnalia Public Rites Ceremonia

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Saturnalia Public Rites Ceremonia

Postby Lucius Vitellius Triarius » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:53 am

SATURNALIA MEDITATIO:

During these dark hours of Solstice’s extended nights and short days, I dig through the files of my mind in search of a particular, consciously-taken mental snapshot of the longest day of the year.

That was back in June, when the temperatures were in the upper reaches; when I donned shorts and sandals; sweat-soaked after just having mowed the lawn for the fourth time; days when the whole spectrum of Nature was in full glory and the very air ripe and blooming with its fragrances. If I concentrate, I can almost smell freshly mown grass and hear bees.

Now, as I stand bone-tired and aching with frosted breath amidst piles of newly-shoveled snow, I pause with purpose and intent to gaze and reflect upon the perfect wonder of Winter deep. In my mind I take another snapshot to capture the image of a muffled, pristinely billowed landscape, with its heavily snow-blanketed pines; soft pillowed shrubbery festooned with muted Holiday lights; and the protruding, frozen skeletons of barren potential stems. In turn, retrieved from the memory vault, I will recollect this Winter portrait next Summer, on Solstice, in June, and gleam in the course of doing so.

Abandoned by our sun, we hibernate and appeal for its return. For millennia, this time of year has been primarily associated with one thing…fear.

Picture yourself thousands of years ago in Northern Europe. There are four seasons. And of those, you are afraid of only one…Winter.

Spring provides opportunities to plant and grow; Summer is abundant; a bountiful harvest occurs in Autumn; wherein you are able to hunt, gather, and store. But Winter is focused on one thing only…survival.

The triggering event is the Winter Solstice. The low sun hugs the horizon, providing little light. There is real fear that it may not return. Will your food stores last? The screaming wind causes you to tremble with the thought that your god, Odin, accompanied by his wolves, is on his annual ride, flying mightily across the sky on his eight-legged steed, Sleipnir, to vanquish the weak.

Life is permeated with fear. Contrastingly, when confronted with uncertainty and the tangibility of death, humankind celebrates life by partying like there is literally no tomorrow. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.

Festivals of Light, as old as culture, evolved into traditions worldwide: Santa Lucia in Sweden, the Lighting of Advent Candles in France, St. Martin’s in Holland, Loi Krathong in Thailand, the Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Diwali in India, to name but a few. Back as far as 217 BCE, the Romans celebrated around the Winter Solstice with the festival they called Saturnalia in honor of the God Saturn. Such celebrations migrated north, where the Nordics shaped Yuletide.

Light cannot be taken lightly. For primitive man, the absence of light, by impairing his ability to see, seemed to plunge the world into nothingness. Thus, even from the earliest times, we find darkness, as the negation of light, regarded as a cause of fear, and therefore, of evil.

The Ancient Mysteries, which coexisted with and underlay the conventional religions of those far-off times, developed the idea of Light as a symbol of Knowledge and Truth. Thus, we find that Darkness is representative of Ignorance and Error.

Let us, Romans, be the Light that is Darkness Visible today. If we can see the effects of malice, envy and self-seeking, the corroding influence of prejudice and intolerance, if searching for those things that improve us and our community serve increasingly to show how much we, ourselves, have to learn, we will retain our enlightenment. We will also augment it and regenerate ourselves anew.

We have all the light we need, we just need to put it into practice. As good Romans, let us be bearers and keepers of the Light. Let us each shine brilliantly so as to illuminate the via Romana that others may find their way and become followers among us. Rome is not a place, but a mindset.


PRIVATE RITES: ON CELEBRATING THE SATURNALIA FESTIVAL

The Public Rite was given by priests on December 17th each year. A public feast and private rites were observed after the public ceremony was offered. Originally, the Saturnalia was a one-day event. By the late Republic, the private festivities of Saturnalia had expanded to seven days, but during the Imperial period varied from three to five days. Over time, it became a period of revelry, reflexing on the excesses of the Golden Age when Saturnus ruled, and would today be regarded as a “party of ill-repute” in many places (with many police arrests for public drunkenness and many other charges). Your household Saturnalia celebration need not reflect any activities that you do not approve of or break the modern law, but should be a time of gaining truth and knowledge and celebrating those things you are thankful for that occurred over the past year.

Celebrating the Saturnalia festival does not have to be a complex or expensive task. Traditionally, each member of the family would give one gift to each family member on December 19th (the Sigillaria), or they might choose to do this activity daily for some or all seven days of the festival. There is no set rule in recorded antiquity on any “correct” or “proper” way to celebrate the Saturnalia.

If you do not wish to do this, or it would not be financially feasible to do so in your household, then try this instead:

Each day, light some candles (or some olive oil with a wooden or cloth wick in a shotglass), sit down with your loved one and have everyone tell each person one thing that they think makes the other person special to them, and/or one thing that they have been personally thankful for during the past year. Conclude each day’s talk with a small prayer and offering to Saturnus. On at least one day (usually December 18th or 19th), you could prepare some cooked pork (bacon, ham, etc.) as an offering, then share it with your loved ones with a glass of wine or grape juice for a small (or large) feast. Remember to shed your bland tunic and toga and wear brightly colored clothes for the meal.



PUBLIC RITES: FORMAL SATURNALIA CEREMONY

When performed in public, the Altar should be adorned with boughs of evergreen, red ribbons, and gilded pine cones (when available); a statue of Saturnus (bands of wool wrapped around the feet of the statue); a small decanter of anointing oil; violets, where available; and, the ceremonia performed in ritus Graecus.

Rites to Saturnus are performed in the Greek Rite, NOT the Roman Rite. This was instituted after the Battle of Lake Trasimene in 217 BCE, when the Romans suffered one of their most crushing defeats by Carthage during the Second Punic War. Until that time, they had celebrated the holiday according to the Roman Rite. It was after a consultation of the Sibylline books that they adopted "Greek Rite," introducing sacrifices carried out in the Greek manner, the public banquet, and the continual shouts of IO Saturnalia that became characteristic of the celebration.

Offerings used: Household Altar incense, Frankincense, Storax bark incense (Etsy.com is a good source), wine, evergreen needles, salted pork, barley and mola salsa.

ABLUTIO:

Washing both hands in clean water, dressed in chiton, and in capite aperto (bare-headed), pray:

May this water cast out all impurities from my substance as from lead to gold.
May this water cleanse my body of impurities, as the rain cleanses the air.
Purify my mind.
Purify my body.
Purify my heart.
It is so.

INVOCATIO:

The appropriate Gods are invoked.

O Iane pater, God of New Beginnings, Hear Me!
O Iane pater, Gatekeeper of the Gods, Hear Me!
O Iane pater, Bringer of the Morning Sun, Hear Me!

O Saturnus, first watcher over the Eternal City, Hear Me!
O Saturnus, oldest of the Gods, Hear Me!
O Saturnus, Sovereign of the Golden Age, Hear Me!

O Saturnus, who with Ianus reigned on the site of the city before its foundation, whose temple is the oldest, and who reigned sovereign, as evidenced by the refusal of gods, Iuventas and Terminus, to leave their abode in the shrines on the Capitol when your temple was to be built. We come before you to release the bounds of wool at your feet to celebrate the freedom of the Saturnalia Festival. Great Saturnus, oldest of all the Gods, watcher over all time and the Capitol, come to me now as each time. You have fondly strengthened me when often You were called, and may You be present in all that is performed in and for this winter festival of the Sun and time of remembrance.

PRAEFATIO:

Mother Vesta, (adoratio gesture) and all the Gods which it is pious to summon, join together to attend to this humble ceremony. With this festival, the light of Your lamp is representative of Knowledge and Truth. Grant that my work may rise with Your auspices. Fill my intentions with warmth and light. Remind me of the noble virtues. May you, mother Vesta, favor me. Aid me in all my daily tasks, favor me and keep my family from harm.

Light oil lamp (or candle).

Oh, Vesta mater, (adoratio gesture) for this petition accept this offering of incense made before you, and upon your will make it so.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

May You be honored by this incense, may You be strengthened by it.

Oh, Ianus pater (adoratio gesture), creator of the morning sunrise, with You begins our prayers this day. May you favor my work and aid my task to communicate with yourself, Saturnus pater, and all the Gods and Goddesses and for this petition may you accept this offering of incense made before you. Upon your will make it so.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

May You be honored by this incense, may You be strengthened by it.

Great Saturnus, (adoratio gesture) oldest of all the Gods,
Great Saturnus, Protector of Latium,
Great Saturnus, bringer of agriculture and civilization to the Quirites,
allow us to reflect back on the conditions of the lost Golden Age, where you reigned supreme, and to celebrate this time as a festival of light leading to the winter solstice, this renewal of light and the coming of the new year to be celebrated at the Dies Natalis of Sol Invictus, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun. By offering you this incense and barley, I pray good prayers so that you may be benevolent and propitious to the Roman People, the Quirites, and to me, my family, and my household.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar. Barley is sprinkled on the altar.

May You be honored by this incense and barley, may You be strengthened by its presence and fragrant smoke.

PRECATIO:

O Iane pater, Gatekeeper to the Gods, with this incense and wine on the occasion of the beginning of this festive holiday period, I pray, ask and beseech you so that you may watch over the Roman People, the Quirites, to me, my family, and my household, and bring us success in our newest beginning, the celebration of the Saturnalia. O God of all creation and God of the Gods, may you be benevolent and propitious to the Roman People, the Quirites, and to me, to my household and to my family.

Raise each offering and present it to the deity so that the deity may bless it.

(Present Wine) Iane pater, I pray that You bless this wine in sacrifice.
(Present Frankincense) Iane pater, I pray that You bless this incense in sacrifice.

O Great Saturnus, Protector of the Latins, whom Ianus welcomed to Saturnia, dethroned and a fugitive, remember the good things I have done for you in the past, and I now humbly ask that may every good fortune attend the Roman people, the Quirites. I pray and I ask that you may increase the sovereign power and majesty of the Roman people, the Quirites, in war and peace; as you have always watch over us among the Latins. Forever may you grant safety, victory and health to the Roman people, the Quirites. May you bestow your favor on the Roman people, the Quirites, and on the legions of the Roman people, the Quirites. May you preserve the health and welfare of the people of Rome, the Quirites, and may you always remain willingly favorable and propitious to the people of Rome, the Quirites, to me, to my house and my household.

O Saturnus, or by whatsoever holy name it pleases You, from antiquity have You accepted the customary offerings of mankind, preserve in good faith the children of Romulus as ever You graced our ancestors and thus bless and accept these offerings I now make in sacrifice to You.

Let offerings be made to you with the appropriate sacrifice of a libation of wine, evergreen, salted pork, and the fumigation of Storax on the occasion of this winter festival of the sun, the Saturnalia, given to you in your immortal honor.

Raise each offering and present it to the deity so that the deity may bless it.

(Present Wine) Saturnus, to this same end I pray that You bless this wine in sacrifice.
(Present Storax) Saturnus, to this same end I pray that You bless this incense in sacrifice.
(Present Evergeen) Saturnus, to this same end I pray that You bless this evergreen in sacrifice.
(Present Salted Pork) Saturnus, to this same end I pray that You bless this pork in sacrifice.

Prepare the offerings for immolation by sprinkling them with mola salsa.

May you accept these offerings to be burnt whole for you in sacrifice.

HYMN TO SATURNUS:

Flute, kithara or lyre music should be played.

Come, O God, kind patron, come! May you favor us in your presence as we sing Orpheus’ words of praise to you:

Ethereal father, mighty Titan, hear,
Great fire of Gods and men, whom all revere:
Endued with various council, pure and strong,
To whom perfection and decrease belong.
Consumed by thee all forms that hourly die,
By thee restored, their former place supply;
The world immense in everlasting chains,
Strong and ineffable thy power contains
Father of vast eternity, divine,
O mighty Saturn, various speech is thine:
Blossom of earth and of the starry skies,
Husband of Rhea, and Prometheus wife.
Obstetric Nature, venerable root,
From which the various forms of being shoot;
No parts peculiar can thy power enclose,
Diffused through all, from which the world arose,
O, best of beings, of a subtle mind,
Propitious hear to holy prayers inclined;
The sacred rites benevolent attend,
And grant a blameless life, a blessed end.

End flute, kithara or lyre music.

O Saturnus, Great Sovereign, may You be honored by this hymn, may You be strengthened by its melodious sound.

O Great Sovereign, we anoint you with oil, symbolizing your agricultural nature and first guidance of our ancestors in the fields, and release you from the year-long fetters of your bondage to celebrate and guide us during this festival in remembrance of your Golden Age, when there was no war, nor want.

Statue is anointed with oil (unless you have a statue of Saturnus that can be filled with olive oil) and the woolen bands removed from the feet. If you have no woolen bands, you could use a wool scarf.

IMMOLATIO:

O Iane pater, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this wine, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

A libation of wine is poured in the focus of the altar.

May You accept this offering, and may this sacrifice pay appropriate tribute to You.

O Iane pater, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this incense, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

Frankincense is placed in the focus of the altar.

May You accept this offering, and may this sacrifice pay appropriate tribute to You.

O Saturnus, Keeper of Time, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this wine, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

A libation of wine is poured in the focus of the altar.

May You accept this offering, and may this sacrifice pay appropriate tribute to You.

O Saturnus, Father of Picus, First King of Latium, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this incense, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

Storax is placed in the focus of the altar.

May You accept this offering, and may this sacrifice pay appropriate tribute to You.

O Saturnus, Guide of the Harvest and Sowing, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this evergreen, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

Dried pine bark/needles are placed in the focus of the altar.

May You accept this offering, and may this sacrifice pay appropriate tribute to You.

O Saturnus, Uniter of the Latins, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this salted pork, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

Small pieces of salted pork are placed in the focus of the altar.

May You accept this offering, and may this sacrifice pay appropriate tribute to You.

REDDITIO:

O Iane pater, master of new beginnings, just as I have offered sacrifices and prayed to you with proper prayer, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

O Father Saturnus, offspring of Caelus and Terra, and consort of Ops, just as I have offered sacrifices and prayed to you with proper prayer, for these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice, and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to myself, to my house, and to my household.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

It is so.

PIACULUM:

O Iane pater, and all other gods and goddesses by whatever name I may call you, if anything in this ceremony was displeasing to you, with this incense I ask forgiveness and expiate my fault.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

Saturnus pater, and all other gods and goddesses by whatever name I may call you, if anything in this ceremony was displeasing to you, with this incense I ask forgiveness and expiate my fault.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

O Vesta mater, and all other gods and goddesses by whatever name I may call you, if anything in this ceremony was displeasing to you, with this incense I ask forgiveness and expiate my fault.

Incense is placed in the focus of the altar.

It is done.

Extinguish oil lamp (or candle).

All present for the ceremony chant:

IO SATURNALIA!
IO SATURNALIA!
IO SATURNALIA!

(Correctly pronounced: “EE-OH-SATURNALIA” or “YO-SATURNALIA,” but NOT “EYE-OH-SATURNALIA”)

L VITELLIVS TRIARIVS
lvtriarius AT yahoo DOT com

Awarded the Corona Civica in L. Curtio L. Aurelio cos.
Upon order of the senate for excellence of service to the senate and people of Rome in founding the Republic

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Re: Saturnalia Public Rites Ceremonia

Postby Lucius Curtius Philo » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:51 am

Salve!

Triarius, this is a work of art! Beautiful, just speechless. This must be included as part of our regular Sacra Publica and encouraged within the privata.

I hope you will join us in writing further ceremonies with the societas numaea. We have a Dropbox account where we are gathering our ceremonies. Please private message me if you are interested for I can send you the link. You have incredible talent at this task. The Gods touch you amice.

Io Saturnalia!

vale.

Philo
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Re: Saturnalia Public Rites Ceremonia

Postby Publius Iunius Brutus » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:11 am

Brutus sal.

A gorgeous ceremony Triarii! A Christmas card to all my friends at the Roman Republic documenting my family's Saturnalia ceremony.

Io Saturnalia! Best wishes to all, from the Iunia Bruta family to your own!

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Re: Saturnalia Public Rites Ceremonia

Postby Gaius Curtius Philo » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:29 am

Amice Triari, you humble me with the beauty of your rite and your devotion! I just loved it and will go to this rite for inspiration in creating my future rites. We are blessed for having your presence and wisdom with us amice!
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