Prayers to Tellus

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Antonius Musa Precatio Terrae

Holy Goddess, Tellus, Mother of all Nature, engendering all things and regenerating them each day, as You alone bring forth from Your womb all things into life.

Heavenly Goddess, overseeing all things on earth and throughout the seas, in whatever by silent nature is restored in sleep and in death, in the same way that You put to flight the Night with the Light You restore each day.

Earth, Enricher of Life, You dispel the dark shadow of death and the disorder of vast endless Chaos. You hold back the winds and storms, the rain showers and tempests. You alone regulate the weather cycles, either bestirring or putting to flight the storm, interspersing them with cheerful days.

You give the Food of Life unfailingly, in fidelity, and when the soul by necessity departs, in You alone do we find refuge. Thus, whatever You give, in You all will be returned. Deservedly are You called Great Mother of the Gods. Piously then are all the celestial powers distilled in You. The One and True parent of all living things, human and divine. Without You nothing could be born, nothing could grow, and nothing mature.

You are the Great Goddess, the Queen of Heaven, You, Goddess, I adore. I call upon Your power, come. Make what I ask to be readily and easily accomplished, and draw my thanks, Mother Earth, that, in fidelity, You do rightly merit

Hear me, please, and favor me. This I ask of You, Holy Mother, and may You willingly give answer to me: May whatever herbs grow by Your providence bring health to all humankind. May You now send these forth to me as Your medicines. May they be filled with Your healing virtues. May everything that I prepare from these herbs have good result, each and every one in the same way. As I shall receive these herbs from You, so too shall I willingly give them out to others, so that their health too may be ensured through Your good graces. Finally, Mother Earth, ensure Your healing powers for me as well. This I humbly ask.

Corpus Inscriptiones Latinae VI 32323, Acta Sacrorum Saecularium, Rome, Lines 136-37; ref. L. 92-99

Terra Mater, as it is prescribed for you in those books –and for this reason may every good fortune attend the Roman people, the Quirites – let sacrifice be made to you with a pregnant sow of your own, as a whole burnt offering. I beg and pray [that you may increase the sovereign power and majesty of the Roman people, the Quirites, in war and peace; as you have always watched 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 the college of the quindecimviri, to me, to my house and household. May you accept [this] sacrifice of (a pregnant sow), to be burnt whole for you in sacrifice. For these reasons may you be honored and strengthened with the sacrifice of this (pregnant sow), and become favorable and propitious to the Roman people, the Quirites, to the college of the quindecimviri, to myself, to my house, and to my household.]

Julian the Blessed IV.112

Who is the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who, in their turn guide the visible gods: She is both the Mother and Spouse of mighty Jupiter; She came into being next to and together with the great creator; She is in control of every form of life, and the cause of all generation; She easily brings to perfection all things that are made, without pain She brings to birth, and with the Father's aid creates all things that are; She is the motherless maiden, enthroned at the side of Jupiter, and in very truth is the Mother of All the Gods. For having received into Herself the causes of all the gods, both intelligible and supramundane, She became the source of the intellectual gods.

Statius Thebiad 8.303-38

O eternal Creatrix of Gods and men, who animates forest and stream with soul, and joins seeds of life together throughout the world, and You bear the stones of Pyrrha that were enlivened into men by the hand of Prometheus. Hungry men You were first to give nourishment with a variety of foods. You encircle and carry the sea within You. Under Your power are the gentleness of domesticated herds and the ferocity of wild beasts and the repose from flight of birds. Firm and immobile, unsetting power of the earth suspended in the vacuum of space, You are the center around which the rapid heavens revolve. All the heavenly bodies, in chariots of fire, wheel about You, O center of the universe, indivisible from the Great Brotherhood of the Gods. Therefore are You the Bountiful who nourishes so many nations, and at the same time so many high cities and so many noble peoples. You provide Yourself and all the world as one, from above and below. You carry without effort to Yourself Atlas, who toils to hold up the celestial field of stars. We alone do You refuse to carry. Do we weigh You down, Goddess? For what unwitting wrong, I pray, must we atone? That we would so soon come here as a small band of strangers from distant Inachian shores? It is unworthy of You, most beneficial Goddess, to set limits by such cruel means on every side against all that is human merely by birth, against people who everywhere are Your own. May You then abide with and bear arms for all alike. I pray You allow that those warriors who spend their last breathe in the battle will have their souls return once more into the heavens. Do not so suddenly carry us off to our tomb and take the breath from our body. Do not be in such haste; soon enough we will come as all do when You lead them along the path that all must travel. Only listen to our pleas and keep a level plain for the Pelasgians and do not hasten the swift Fates. And You, dear to the Gods, not by any hand or Sidonian sword were you dispatched, but mighty Nature opened Her heart to you, entombing you for your merits in Cirrha's chasm, welcoming you in Her loving embrace. May You joyously grant, I pray, that I may come to know You in my prayers, that You may council me on the heavens and give true warnings from Your prophetic altars, and that You may teach me what You are prepared to reveal to people. I will perform Your rites of divination, and in Apollo's absence I will call Your prophet and upon Your divine spirit for visions. That distant place to which You hurry is, to me, more potent than all the shrines of Delos and Cirrha, better by far than the sanctuary of any other shrine.

Virgil Aeneid 7.120

Hail, O Mother Tellus, for whom I am destined, and you, too, faithful Gods of Troy, hail O Penates. This is our home; this, our homeland.

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