May 9th is the first day of the ancient Roman Festival of Lemuria!
Lemuria is celebrated on the 9th, 11th and 13th of May and is all about honouring your ancestors and paying your respects to the dead. This is done in order to keep them happy, as well as to protect you from the malevolent spirits known as lemurs.
Because the origins of Lemuria is tied to appeasing spirits who were wronged or not given a proper burial, you may want to craft a Lemuria Spirit Doll to represent them.
The spirits I chose to honour are those who were executed by hanging during the medieval and early modern periods in Europe.
Criminals were rarely given fair trials or punishments, and therefore countless people lost their lives on the gallows.
Not only were these people executed in such an inhumane way, they were also rarely given proper burials. Most ended up in mass graves, forgotten and unmarked.
To learn more about gallows, be check out episode five of the Memento Mori Oracle Podcast.
- Gather five naturally fallen sticks from a tree of your choice. One long for the body and head, and four short for the arms and legs. (I chose pine as it is the traditional material for coffins.)
- Carefully build your figure using the sticks and securing them in place with twine.
- Next build the head using cloth, cotton and herbs. Rosemary and juniper are great choices for purification and protection.
- Finally, sew an outfit for your spirit doll.
Honouring the spirit doll:
Spend the 9th, 11th and 13th of May honouring and providing offerings to the spirit doll. I have opted to use white roses due to their funerary associations.
At the end of Lemuria, you may wish to bury your doll, or keep it as a house protection spirit.