Simple rituals for starters

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Your first prayer to the gods

There is no special initiation into Roman religion like Christian baptism. You can start honoring Roman deities at any moment with any prayer. But if you want some advice or a little help with your first Roman prayer, we suggest that you start with offering libations at occasions when you feel appropriate.

Libation

If you want to show your respect towards a deity, or if you want to assure they keep you in their continuous favor, you can offer a libation. This is the simplest formula you can use at any occasion, for example, during your meal, or while drinking at a party, or at home, when you feel like it.

Libation of wine to a male divinity

  • Take some wine.
  • Pray the following words aloud:
Latin English
___>Name of god in vocative<___, macte hoc vino libando __>Name of god<__, blessed by the libation of this wine,
esto fito volens propitius be benevolent and propitious
mihi domo familiae! to me, to my household and to my family!
  • Then pour the libation to fire, or to the ground, and drink the rest of the wine.

Libation of wine to more male deities

  • Take some wine.
  • Pray the following words aloud:
Latin English
___>Name of god in vocative<___, macte hoc vino libando __>Name of god<__, blessed by the libation of this wine,
estote fitote volentes propitii be benevolent and propitious
mihi domo familiae! to me, to my household and to my family!
  • Then pour the libation to fire, or to the ground, and drink the rest of the wine.

Libation of milk to a female divinity

  • Take some milk.
  • Pray the following words aloud:
Latin English
___>Name of goddes<___, macte hoc lacte libando __>Name of goddes<__, blessed by the libation of this milk,
esto fito volens propitia be benevolent and propitious
mihi domo familiae! to me, to my household and to my family!
  • Then pour the libation to fire, or to the ground, and drink the rest of the milk.

Libation of milk to more female deities

  • Take some milk.
  • Pray the following words aloud:
Latin English
___>Name of goddesses<___, macte hoc lacte libando __>Name of goddesses<__, blessed by the libation of this milk,
estote fitote volentes propitiae be benevolent and propitious
mihi domo familiae! to me, to my household and to my family!
  • Then pour the libation to fire, or to the ground, and drink the rest of the milk.

Ancestral and household worship

Worship of deceased ancestors and household deities is the core of Roman religious life. If you want to be a pious Roman, which must be the most important goal of all true Romans, you have to start to honor your ancestors, the Manes, and your household deities, the Lares and Penates by prayers and sacrificial offerings. Read more about Roman household worship...

As for now, we will offer you here some very basic and simple rites just to get started with it.

Make a lararium

The lararium is the sacred place of the home where offerings and prayers are made to the gods. The easiest way to set up a lararium is to reserve a small one-tier wall shelf, or a table or cabinet as an altar. A trip to a hardware store, a department store or an antique shop will usually yield something workable. A lararium may be decorated to taste in classical style if one wishes, but it need not be any special style or color. Read more about making a Roman lararium...

Offering sacrifice to the Manes, Lares and Penates

  • You may offer many things, but typical offerings are: incense, wine, milk, sacrificial cakes, flower.
  • Approach the lararium, perform a simple adoratio by kissing your right hand and touching the lararium.
  • Cover your head, preferably with your toga or palla, but anything will do it and will be acceptable.
  • You can pray to the Manes, Lares and Penates at once, or separately. You can also invoke any of them personally, by on his or her name. If you wish, invoke your deceased ancestors, parents or relatives using their names. Invoke your personal household Lar by using the words "Lar familiaris". Invoke your personal god of the penates by using the god's name, e.g. Apollo, Minerva, Furrina etc.
  • Pray the following words aloud:
Latin English
Manes/Lares/Penates/NN, macte Manes/Lares/Penates/NN, blessed
(a) hoc vino/lacte/libo libando (a) by the libation of this wine/milk/cake
(b) hoc thure obmovendo (b) by the offering of this incense
(c) hoc flore dato (c) by giving you this flower
estote fitote volentes propitii be benevolent and propitious
mihi domo familiae! to me, to my household and to my family!
  • Then pour the libation and put the sacrifices into the fire of the lararium, or if you can not burn them, place the items on a plate on your lararium for that day, and when you can, bury or place them under an arbor felix.

Simple request from a deity

Since you are a starter and probably don't know Latin, you can formulate your special request to a deity in your own native language. Ideally, it should be in Latin, and we encourage you to learn this wonderful language of our spiritual ancestors, but it is not forbidden to use another language when you pray and you don't know Latin.

Such prayers consist of two main parts: the formulation of your request, and the offering of sacrifice in order to convince the deity to fulfill your request. It may contain a third part, a vow, in which you offer another sacrifice in the case if the god completes your request.

  • Invoke the god or gods whom you want to ask something. An effective invocation is to chant the divine name(s) three times aloud.
  • Formulate your request in your native language if you don't know Latin. Make sure that your prayer is essentially short, concise, very precise and accurate, and use synonyms and repetitions (e.g.: "I ask you, I pray you, I beseech you...", "...give me, lend me, allow me that..."; "...save me from any harm, any damage, any danger...").
  • When you finished the prayer with your request, use the following Latin formula to offer your sacrifice:
Latin English
(1.a) Cuius rei ergo, macte (1.a) For the sake of this request, blessed
(1.b) Quarum rerum ergo, macte
(1.b) For the sake of these requests, blessed
(2.a) hoc vino/lacte/libo libando (2.a) by the libation of this wine/milk/cake
(2.b) hoc thure obmovendo (2.b) by the offering of this incense
(2.c) hoc flore dato
(2.c) by giving you this flower
(3.a) esto fito volens propitius (3.a) be benevolent and propitious (praying to a male god)
(3.b) esto fito volens propitia (3.b) be benevolent and propitious (praying to a goddess)
(3.c) estote fitote volentes propitii (3.c) be benevolent and propitious (praying to many gods)
(3.d) estote fitote volentes propitiae
(3.d) be benevolent and propitious (praying to many goddesses)
mihi domo familiae! to me, to my household and to my family!
  • Then pour the libation and put the sacrifices into the fire of the lararium, or if you can not burn them, place the items on a plate on your lararium for that day, and when you can, bury or place them under an arbor felix.

Rituals for special occasions

There are some simple rituals collected in or website for special occasions:

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