Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lares Familiares

As I make the focus of my work that of my ancestors, I am now looking at the thought of also working with the Lares, in particular the Lares Familiares / Domestici. I have two Lares statues, which I got immediately when I decided to set my ancestor altar, containing family portraits along with the names of known ancestors that I was able to discover through ancestry websites before it met a dead halt in Genoa, Italy in 1765.

From my understanding, the Lares are sometimes regional and local minor gods, or spirits tied to a specific place or home, or family, as is maybe similar to the Norse Dís. The idea of a household deity isn't new, as many cultures have some sort of variation and alongside Hestia/Vesta, the goddess of the Hearth, to which in modern times I associate with the kitchen/stove. Many homes had some sort of Lararium, and some where obviously more impressive than others, as the one below from Pompeii.

I have been looking for resources (first online) in ways to honor and/or work with the Lares, not dissimilar I guess to ones own work with ones Agathos Daimon, in ways to better serve the home, family and livelihood. I have come across this academic research paper regarding the Lares by Mariah Elaine Smith from the University of Kansas that might bring up some interesting information. As with long-lost ancestors and workings with any dead or spirit guides, one must perhaps begin with arrangement of reciprocity.

Thus, I tell myself, one must first set some sort of relationship especially when perhaps decades have passed with no mention, notice or work with a familial Lares. I cannot just suddenly call a lost uncle and request a favor when I have never spoken to him prior, regardless of the good intentions to meet for the first time (as my half-sister discovered when she wanted to reconnect family ties). As the pessimist that I am, I will first assume the ties were damaged through generations that first need mending and then learn the appropriate methods of veneration and offerings. Most of my books pertain to the ancient Greek religion, so I currently find myself lost on where to begin, but as a bookworm and psuedo-historian, happy to begin the journey.



Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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