I have started a new routine. Everyday I awake at 4AM. I light the lamps of my lararium and salute the gods. I offer incense to them and meditate. I then reflect on what information they reveal. I then immediately write down the inner voice inside myself by which I hear the gods. I believe this is likely how Marcus Aurelius created his meditations. The things you write become your scripture. Based on your experiences on this mortal earth and with the gods.
Here are my first reflections. I will post more as I create more.
I. The Roman people set great store in the value of the core family unit. The family is the root of everything. The core of all that is good in society. The cornerstone on which Romanitas rests.
II. The family is like an oasis in a desert. A refuge from the trials and tribulations of the outside world.
III. Home. The refuge of Vesta. Where we laugh, and talk, cook, eat, get drunk and dance around the table. Comfort, security, love. The glue that holds the community together. For in the end it is our families – our parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, children, and grandchildren – who we will mourn for the longest when they are gone, and who will mourn for us when we are gone.
IV. The family is the foundation of Roman life. The family is what keeps us on the right path. True happiness is found not in the distractions of the city but in the security of the hearth.
V. Home is where Vesta is, where the Lares dance freely. Here with our books. Where we can rest our weary heads, secure in knowing that the Lares watch over us, watch over our homes, our castles. There is nothing that man or nature can throw at the family that cannot be contained. This is our home. This is our castle.
VI. To the family belongs the hearth. The hearth represents fire. The symbol of life itself. The hearth is a warm, comforting, friendly place. The hearth is a place of protection. Tiberius, do you feel Vesta’s warm embrace here?
VII. See the flames of the hearth dance in the embers. Feed your desires with the coals and tinder. Listen to the hearthstone, feel it’s beat. Our primordial heart beats to its rhythm. And so too does the hearthstone echo our own heart. You can see the hearth shivering. Hear the life of the house. The laughter of the Lares just beyond your mortal senses. Now, a parent is like the hearth. They the source of healthy life. A father and mother are the household’s mortal center.
VIII. A parent is an embodiment of the Lares, the household’s sacred heart. A father, ruler of his kingdom, his hallowed ground. A mother, master of her hearth. Together the heart of the house, the castle, the family. The separation of a mother or father from this heart is feared by children. A parent who has lost their soul is called “ruined.” To lose the heart is to become a widow to life. The expression “devour my heart” becomes synonymous with utter despair.
IX. Parents’ love is all-encompassing, like the Lares’. A child fears the Lares of unknown places but feels safe in the embrace of his parents. The child wants to connect with his parents but doesn’t know how. Embracing parents is seen as “climbing on them,” being intimate. So too as we get older must we embrace and become intimate with the multitude of known and unknown divinities that inhabit the world.
X. Fear comes when we don’t know what qualities to look for in others – in other people, in potential lovers, in potential clients, in potential leaders, in potential wives and husbands.
XI. I remember vividly the scene of my sister’s wedding at the sacred temple of Apollo. A small congregation gathered. As only small polytheistic gatherings are common today at this early phase of the traditional religious rebirth. Every family, every friend and every acquaintance that could be found was present. My sister maintained a regal bearing and seemed at one with everyone and everything around her. What more could a brother want for his sister? The rebirth of old traditions at its best! Later that day we all went out to drink to the bride’s health and security. This we did, as part of a ritual to share happiness amongst our community before the gods. May the couple be ever happy and fertile.
XII. This is how, at its heart, the Romans did things. In rituals and festivals, in family and hearth. To feed the body and heal the soul by drawing it to the core of our being – our divine nature found in our Genius to the benevolent gods.
XIII. Gods do not age or change. They are divine and everlasting. Sacrifices and rituals are not the worship of gods so much as the sharing of a common goal. But one must be careful to follow proper rules of conduct. If we break our rituals we break our connection with the gods and invite misfortune or chaos. A common ritual of the family is to gather around the table for meals. We say a prayer for the food and place small samplings of our food in the lararium. Offerings to the Lares that inhabit our home and safeguards it. The other common ritual at the hearth is prayer. Prayers are said in hopes of gaining favor with the gods. To win health, wealth, love and happiness. On a larger scale this is the thread that binds day to day life throughout the ages. It is restored under my roof and will continue in my descendants. This is the ultimate task of a good Roman.