Today 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.
Lemuria may have been created to appease spirits who had not received a “customary burial” or who had died before their time, but it was quickly expanded to include all spirits.
Cleansing & Protecting:
Take special care to cleanse your home regularly during these three days and refresh any protection magic. Replace any old offerings on ancestor altars and take a few minutes to do genealogy research.
One ritual in honour of the dead involved spitting black beans on the ground and reciting the words: I send these; with these beans, I redeem me and mine. You may wish to try incorporating this practice by cooking a black bean dish for your family and leaving an offering of it on your ancestor altar. You could also leave (cooked) dried black beans on the graves of your ancestors as an offering.
Note: uncooked beans are extremely toxic to birds.
Lemuria is also a great time to work on divination. Primarily oracle reading or bibliomancy.
I have put together a list of curated cards from the Memento Mori Oracle that you may consider working with this week. Download the list by clicking here.
Bibliomancy:Bibliomancy is the art of divining messages from spirits by using a book or other text.
The Romans practiced bibliomancy using the works of two writers: Homer (sorted Homericae) and Virgil (sorted Virgilianae).
Bibliomancy is actually quite simple.
Grab a book.
Focus your intention and think about the spirit you'd like to communicate with or think of a question you need answered.
Flip to a random page.
Run your finger along the page until you feel compelled to stop.
The sentence (or paragraph) you land on will reveal your message or your fortune.
If you want to stick to the Roman theme, try using the works that they did.
Odyssey - Homer
Iliad - Homer
Eclogues - Virgil
Georgics - Virgil
Aeneid - Virgil
I prefer to do bibliomancy with gothic fiction, reference books and poetry.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Dracula - Bram Stoker
“The Raven” - Edgar Allan Poe
A Victorian Flower Dictionary - Mandy Kirby
Folktales of England - Katharine Briggs
The Dictionary of Dreams - Gustavus Hindman Miller
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols - Adele Nosedar
No matter what you decide to do on these three days of Lemuria, be sure to make space for the ghosts and spirits in your life, or run the risk of being haunted ;).
Looking for more?
Learn how to craft a Lemuria Spirit Doll
Purchase the Memento Mori Oracle for divination