2022 Update

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After 20 months of mostly working from home (due to the pandemic responses) I have become thoroughly sick of sitting at home on my computer, and thus my output on this website and my other blog (neo polytheist) has been crippled. Never before have I craved real life activities like I do nowadays. Housework has more appeal to me than typing on a computer (although even then I am plugged into the immaterium, by listening to podcasts). My longing to escape cyberspace has been bad enough that I deleted my Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram accounts, as described in my post Social Media Blitz. Meanwhile, I have watched with increasing consternation as a bizarre strain of authoritarianism creeps into Australia and culturally similar nations in a way that seemed unimaginable to me even as recently as last year – 2020 was a picnic (from my perspective) compared to 2021.

What happened in Sydney in 2021 is that everything felt essentially pretty normal (expect for working from home and the emergence of mask wearing) until the end of June. Then the delta strain managed to break through quarantine and dozens, followed by hundreds, of cases per day broke out in Sydney. The only people who were vaccinated at that point were a large chunk of retirees, people with compromised immune systems and some keen beans over 40 (the vaccine rollout was initially rolled out based on age and comorbidities). So the state government decided to lock down for two weeks over the school holidays, which I was ok with (at the time). That somehow turned into an insane four month lockdown, during which Sydneysiders had to stay within 5km of where they live at all times and could only go outside for the most fundamental of reasons, or face the risk of fines ranging between $1000 and $5000. I’d never seen so many police on the roads and streets before and given the complexity of the lockdown rules, and the way they kept being amended every fortnight or so, I was not confident of staying out of the crosshairs of the police and avoiding a fine (although I did manage to avoid being fined in the end). “Justice” in Sydney took on the flavour of the arbitrary and the trivial. I wrote a blogpost about my experience during lockdown: The Priests Are in Charge and It Feels Dystopian. I followed this up with an attempt at short fiction (not my strong suit): The Virus. Given the radical actions of government, and the harm these actions have had most especially on young people, it has been impossible to stay politically neutral. Sydney saw a massive freedom rally in November, almost as soon as it once again became legal to protest. I saw with my own eyes tens of thousands of people (which, interestingly, was very ethnically diverse) and when I went home that evening and watched the news I saw “trusted” journalists mischaracterise the protest as merely “anti-vax” (both I and the friend I attended with were double vaxxed) and downplay the numbers. I feel like I am living in an insane time. Yesterday I did my weekly food shop (which requires me, by law, to first check-in to the location via a government app) and at least a third of the fresh produce shelves were empty, due to supply chain issues caused by government policies. I have never seen so many empty shelves in a supermarket. Australian governments have become like micro-managing bosses, though they keep promising they will stop at some point. I see a glimmer of hope, but I also see a glimmer of despair.

So that was my year in 2021. I am still both Pagan and Buddhist, although I would benefit from being more devout. The ongoing pandemic restrictions have had a limiting effect on Buddhist congregations, which is a real shame. My main Pagan practice is to locate families of ravens and make offerings to them. I have thus managed to turn visits to the supermarket into an act of piety. I have some Pagan topics I would like to research and write about in 2022, but so long as spending time IRL is more pleasurable to me than sitting on my computer those goals may be difficult to attain.

Note that I do not make money from any ads you may see on this website (I assume any revenue generated goes to WordPress). Almost everything on this website has been repurposed from the blog neo polytheist of which I am also the author.

2021 Update

Please see the drop down menus under the heading of this blog for information about Roman Polytheism. Note that almost everything on this website has been repurposed from the blog neo polytheist of which I am also the author. Note that I do not make money from any ads you may see on this website (I assume any revenue generated would go to WordPress).

So how weird was 2020, eh? I spent the year in Sydney. From March onwards I was told to work mostly from home. As of January 2021 I am still mostly working from home. I have noticed that overseas news websites have sometimes misrepresented Australia in relation to her COVID-19 measures, by implying that hardcore measures adopted in certain regions were Australia-wide, but luckily the really hardcore stuff mostly occurred in the state of Victoria, whereas I live in the state of New South Wales (NSW), where cooler heads prevail. We had a hard lockdown in April and early May (though exercise outdoors and visiting romantic partners was permitted, unlike in some other parts of the country), after which point restrictions gradually eased month by month so that things were almost totally normal by November, but then a December outbreak of community transmission ushered in somewhat tighter restrictions again (though most businesses are still able to stay open), including a mask mandate for visits to shops and when travelling on public transport.

In the midst of all this I did write a few blogposts on neo polytheist, the parent of this website) that may be of interest to readers:

  • Pax and the Roman Understanding of Peace, where I explore the intertwined relationship between Pax and Mars, and the pre-Christian understanding that Romans had of the word “peace”.
  • Aesculapius, God of Medicine, in this post I analyse the nature of the God Aesculapius, his cult in Rome, and what medical healing looked like during the Pax Romana.
  • Polytheism for Beginners is intended to be a quick introduction to people new to the polytheistic mindset. It will likely bore anyone who has been into polytheism for some time already.

I am still very much a polytheist, though my practice is still dishevelled. When I see ravens in the carpark of my local supermarket I almost always leave them a food offering (as a sign of respect to Odin; note that according to Mithraism ravens are associated with Mercury, who is the closest Roman equivalent to Odin), I make offerings to Shoten Zenjin (protective Gods of Buddhism) at my Buddhist shrine, I made offerings to Saturn and Sol in my home in December. I have a much loved statue of Mercury that I have made some offerings to in the last year, but I haven’t gone over the top. I also have a statue of Vesta and have made some humble offerings to her as well. I easily made the most offerings to my late husband, before his urn which sits in my living room. The turnstone of my spiritual life in recent months has been to focus on eating better, meditating daily (mostly yoga nidra via the Insight Timer app) and drastically reducing my intake of news and social media (I have gone so far as to delete my Instagram and Twitter accounts). So far the results have been pretty good. KNOCK ON WOOD!

2020 Update

Please see the drop down menus under the heading of this blog for information about Roman Polytheism. Note that almost everything on this website has been repurposed from the blog neo polytheist of which I am also the author.

Due to work, life balance and social commitments in 2019 I didn’t spend too much time blogging or working on this website. Even so, I did manage to write a couple of posts on my blog that may be of interest to readers:

  • The Greco-Roman Cosmos, exploring the popular ideas in ancient Rome regarding the nature of our universe, and how that influenced their ideas about the divine.

  • Beggar Spirituality, a frank look at the problem of whether or not continually asking favours from the Gods really constitutes a satisfying spiritual path.

There are a couple of Roman deities I would very much like to explore this year, but as ever I wish to do a good job, not a half job. So unless I feel I can commit the necessary time and research to the task I won’t start writing in the first place.

Spiritually speaking I have continued to practice Buddhism (consisting mostly of chanting in front of the Gohonzon in my home, and regularly attending Buddhist meetings in other people’s homes), while continuing to believe in a multitude of Gods and other mystical beings. Speaking honestly, I find Buddhism offers a deeply fulfilling spiritual path due a number of winning factors, including the sense that one is part of a community, the wonderful friends I have made through Buddhism, the philosophical and historical nature of Buddhism (which is intellectually satisfying to explore), its mysticism, the sense of purpose it bestows upon my life (ie, to be a Bodhisattva), its ability to incorporate (rather than demonise or attempt to kill off) polytheistic deities, as well as other things. I admit though that I have been very lucky in terms of the people I have come across on the path of Nichiren Buddhism. Unfortunately, attraction to certain religions can be spoilt by unsatisfying encounters with practitioners with whom one does not resonate. To actually like most of one’s fellow practitioners (that one meets) is something for which I am enormously grateful.

2019 Update

Please see the drop down menus under the heading of this blog for information about Roman Polytheism. Note that almost everything on this website has been repurposed from the blog neo polytheist of which I am also the author.

2018 was a very busy year for me and so I have spent very little time on the internet compared to previous years. Even so, I did manage to write a couple of posts:

I do intend to do some Roman oriented posts this year, but the truth is that I generally put quite a lot of time into writing my posts (with the initial research taking up the most significant amount of time), and I’m not sure when the next decent block of time I have to do this will be. The other side of this is the personal sense of spiritual pilgrimage that I undertake when I write. To write something I have to want to undertake an internal pilgrimage regarding what I am researching and writing about. I have been moving away from the notion of Gods being like super-charged mates who can help you achieve your goals, and tend to suspect that for the most part the Gods are not nearly so interested in the personal lives of we billions of human beings. I don’t deny the existence of the Gods, nor their intervention in human affairs, nor do I deny the possibility that some of us have a fated role to play in affairs of cosmic significance (things in which the Gods are more likely to take an interest). I embrace my fate, whatever it may be, regardless of the pain and difficulties that will no doubt arise. What I am less sure of is the value of worship and / or the best way to do it.

2018 Update

Please see the drop down menus under the heading of this blog for information about Roman Polytheism. Note that almost everything on this website has been repurposed from the blog neo polytheist of which I am also the author.

In 2017 I became a widow and so unsurprisingly the posts on the blog which is the parent to this website have mostly focused on death, they include:

Inevitably my approach to religion changed significantly during 2017. I used to focus on making offerings to the Gods at my household shrine. Doing so seems to have lulled me into a false and perhaps childish belief that I could live the good life so long as I observed these rites, ie, into hubristic thinking. I no longer think that it is that simple to connect with the divine, I have ideas about a better approach but I don’t want to get prescriptive. Instead, I hope that readers can benefit from the countless hours of research I have put in (in the writing of the content on this website) to better understand traditional Roman spirituality, while ultimately finding their own path.

2017 Update

Just an update to note that unlike neo polytheist (my other website / blog), this website is more or less confined to the subject of Roman polytheism.

If you would like to see my posts on Germanic polytheism please see:

If you are interested in other miscellaneous posts of mine, you might be interested in the following blog posts:

 

Salve!

This website is the sister website to romanpagan.blogspot.com (also known as neo polytheist). I have set it up in order to repurpose content from that blog in a way that may be more navigable (see the drop down menu in the tool bar above) for people who are new to Roman polytheism, which is also called the Cultus Deorum, the Religio Romana, Roman Paganism and/or the Roman way to the Gods. Roman polytheism incorporates a fundamentally diverse set of beliefs, with the unifying feature being a recognition that the universe is permeated by numerous divine spirits, the greatest of which are Gods. Contemporary Roman polytheism is not about reenacting an ancient religion (that would be imprudent, given how different our social realities are) but rather seeking to gain an understanding of how polytheism was understood and practised in the diverse lands of the Roman empire, from Britannia to Assyria, and adapting that knowledge to our contemporary understanding of spirituality and the divine.

Please note that this website presents one person’s interpretation of Roman polytheism. No person or organisation can claim that they alone represent or understand Roman polytheism, and I certainly make no such claims. I hope you will find this website helpful in your own spiritual journey, while all the while keeping your mind wide open to the possibility that I might have got it wrong (or right). I am no believer in the “one true way”, for as the Gods are many so are the ways. Maybe some of the things I espouse won’t work for you, in which case may your own spirit of enquiry point you in the direction of that which feels most true. That said, I give you an assurance of my sincerity in putting this website together and my commitment to researching both ancient and contemporary scholarly sources in order to illuminate the Roman way to the Gods.

margetson
“The sea hath its pearls” by Margetson (1897)

Written by M. Sentia Figula; find me at romanpagan.blogspot.com and Roman Pagan on Facebook