Nones Ritual

(Also available in Latin)

While the Lares and Di Penates are honored every day in the pious Roman household, the Nones (celebrated on either the 5th or 7th day of the month; see the Calendar) are days when a more elaborate ceremony should be observed. The Nones are sacred to Iuno Covella (Iuno of the Hollow Moon).

The Nones ritual is usually celebrated early in the morning at sunrise by the head of the household (usually the eldest male). If circumstances (or family tradition) dictate, it may be performed at noon or before sunset. No sexual activity is permitted prior to the rite. The performer of the rite does not break his fast prior to performing the rite (if celebrated at sunrise); only a little tea or coffee is permitted.

Before the rite the Paterfamilias washes his hands (having also previously bathed or showered beforehand) while saying the prayer for ablution. He wears a clean white Tunica and Toga. Draped in his Toga he veils his head (Capite Velato) in preparation for the rite. This is done to prevent him from seeing any ill omens during the performance of the rite. The ritual presented below assumes the Lararium is to the North. When (adoratio) is indicated, one raises the right hand to the lips, kisses the fingertips of the right hand, and then extends the hand out in offering. The body should also be swung (twisted) once, left to right, so that the hand is moved sideways in a "general offering" motion. Whenever the burning of incense is indicated, frankincense would be quite appropriate.

Facing north the Paterfamilias lights the Lucerna (sacred lamp or candle) and burns some preliminary incense in the turibulum (a metal bowl in which incense etc. may be burned) designated for "incense only" in front of the Lararium before the rite in order to purify the place. The Paterfamilias incenses himself also. He lights the charcoal in the other turibulum.

In front of the Lararium the Paterfamilias calms his breathing, and meditates silently for a moment to "center" himself.

"Be well, Father Janus of the newly-risen morn. (adoratio). Let me (touch the right hand to the breast) behold in person the shining Gods."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum to Janus, God of doorways, who will open the path between the mortal world and that of the Gods. The Paterfamilias faces north.

"Be well, Juno Covella (adoratio). Or by whatever title else you may have willed yourself to be named. I pray and beseech of you, that you might give to me (the breast is touched with the right hand) and to our family's home good health and also happiness in our work."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, King of the Gods.

"It is so!"

The Paterfamilias faces east.

"Be thou well, __________ (insert the names and titles of the patron deities of the gens) (adoratio). I pray to you so that you willingly might be well-disposed towards me. I (the breast is touched with the right hand) place this incense before you."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum to the patron Gods and Goddesses of the Gens.

"It is so!"

The Paterfamilias faces north.

"Be thou well, family Lar (adoratio). Be thou well, Penates (adoratio). Be thou well, Genius (the forehead is touched with the right hand) of the Paterfamilias (adoratio). Be thou well, Mother Vesta (adoratio). With a pure heart, I (the breast is touched with the right hand) put before you this loaf of grain and give, all ye, good health and also happiness to me, to the house, and to our family in our work."

A small piece of far cake sprinkled with drops of wine, and incense are offered.

"It is so!

"Father Jupiter and ye summoned Gods, if anything was displeasing to you in the offered gift from me (the breast is touched with the right hand) receive Ye this rite of atonement."

Incense is then burned in the turibulum as a piaculum (atonement) to Ivppiter and to all the Gods in the event that something had been wrong or for any unintentional mistakes in the rite.

"So You will, so it is!"

The Paterfamilias turns south in a clockwise direction, assumes the adoratio posture, and a closing prayer is spoken.

"May I (the breast is touched with the right hand), Gens ________ (insert gens name), and the entire nation of Nova Roma have what is goodly, auspicious, fruitful, fortunate, and wholesome. It is so!"

The Paterfamilias facing north once more at the Lararium, touching the altar.

"All may leave!"

The adoratio posture is once more assumed, turning the body from right to left as it is done. The flame of the Lucerna or candle is extinguished. The rite is ended.

Religio Romana | Main Page | Master Index