Day of Mercurius: A Ritual in His Honor

On Saturday, March 19th, while the planet Mercury was in its storm period but before it fully entered its retrograde period in Aries, I led a ritual in honor of Mercurius, one of the deities closest to my heart. The entire ritual was in fulfillment of a vow that I made to Mercurius after He helped me through my doctoral qualifying examinations (completed in August 2010) and also my Master’s thesis submission (submitted in December 2010).

About seven of my Pagan/Pagan-friendly friends and associates (thanks ya’ll!) showed up to help me honor Him. What follows is the very roughly Roman reconstructionist ritual text for that day. Because I was “raised” in non-recon traditions, much of the ritual text and just a tiny bit of the organization has a distinctly Wiccan/generic Pagan flavor. The text also has that non-Roman flavor because the Roman recon ritual text that I found was all quite boring to write and to listen to.

Keep in mind, the text below is not a transcript of the ritual but the original text, prior to its execution. It is mostly true to the day’s happenings; however, a few things did not go exactly as planned, but those discrepancies were not too serious. By the way, because I am always trying to improve my rituals, comments are welcomed! I simply ask that you be transparent about what liturgical “school” you are coming from when you make your comments. Ok, here we go…

PRAEPARATIO

Set up: Create altar, start fire in the focus, start coal in the burner, smudge the place with sage – have some sage still burning when people enter the area.

Process to the ritual area.

Cleansing: Please take a moment to “wash” your hands and symbolically cleanse yourself of any influences that might hinder your ability to engage with the festivities.

Ground and Center: As we prepare to engage the sacred, I invite each of you to ground and center in your customary manner, to bring your attention to this place and this moment, setting aside all else. When you are ready, turn your gaze to the altar.

Light the candles (tealights), lamp, and stick incense while everyone grounds and centers.

When everyone’s attention has returned to the altar, ring the chime two times.

PRAEFATIO

With head covered and incense offerings for Janus and Vesta in hand…

Janus, keeper of the gate, we ask that you open the way.

Sprinkle incense on the focus.

Vesta, heart of the hearth flame, we ask that you bless the sacrificial fire.

Sprinkle incense on the focus.

Janus, god of good beginnings, we ask that you bring all things blessed and auspicious to this rite.

Sprinkle wine (from the patera) on the focus.

Vesta, goddess of good sacrifice, we ask that you bless the day’s offerings and allow them passage to the god of the hour.

Sprinkle wine (from the patera) on the focus.

Ring the chime two times.

PRECATIO

With head still covered, wash hands. Place one hand on the altar, then say…

“Invocation” of Mercurius:

We call now to Mercurius, blessed son of Maia and Jupiter, grandson of the one who bears the world on his shoulders, the mighty god of exchange whose praises we sing.

Come quickly to join us for this hour’s honors are yours in gratitude for the many blessings you have visited upon us.

REDDITIO I

With head still covered.

Mountain-born Cyllenius, god who delights in the high, airy places of the world, to you my Lord we offer Marjoram, a sweet light herb known as the Joy of the Mountains.

Author of Knowledge, you who crafted the alphabet, inspired great scholars, named the stars, and stitched the constellations, to you we offer bay laurel, the ancient world’s primary symbol of achievement.

Patron of Travelers, god of the roaming men and women who knit the world together, sharing who they are, where they come from, and where they are headed with other curious and adventurous souls, to the Traveler’s God we offer Mullein, a common roadside plant that grows wild around much of the world.

Divine Messenger, who joins mortals and Gods together in the sacred bonds of mutual giving and good will, to you we offer Vervain, a class of sacred altar plants for the Romans.

Master of Commerce in its many forms, great god who unites the world in the exchange of language, literature, spirituality and religion, art, science, grain, textiles, industrial goods, and a wealth of other gifts, to you we offer True, Ceylon Cinnamon, one of the most expensive and widely traded spices of the ancient world.

IMMOLATIO & REDDITIO II

Over the bowl containing the goat meat, sprinkle mola salsa and wine. Pass knife over the meat while saying…

Prayer of Consecration:

Mercurius, we consecrate this offering in the old way, with wheat, salt, and wine that it might be blessed for your use.

Now, cut the meat to symbolically kill the goat.

Divide the meat into two or five parts.

Bring the meat to the focus and sprinkle more mola salsa and wine over it.

Prayer to Mercurius:

This sacrifice of young goat is offered to you Mercurius in honor of the many connective, life affirming roles you fill and the myriad blessings you bestow, and in fulfillment of my vow to you. For your glory!

Place the meat on the focus, while saying…

May this offering please you.

Ritual Closing:

We have gathered in peace and friendship to honor Mercurius, great god of exchange. Our offerings are made, our purpose fulfilled.

Extinguish the candles, lamp, and incense. Ring the chime once.

Fire Sacrifices to Other Divinities:

Now the sacrificial fire is open for the honor and glory of other gods. If you have offerings, place them on the focus. Feel free to make a private or public prayer to accompany your offering.

People make offerings. When they are done, say…

Fire Closing:

The gods have been honored today. May the Powers continue to bless us and happily receive our sacrifices.

A brief moment of reflective silence, then say…

This rite is done.

Break down the altar. Then, move indoors to the dining room and get everyone’s attention.

EPULUM

Feast Announcement and Blessing:

Now, let the feast commence! May Mercurius bless this feast. As we consume this bounty, may his blessings of good food, good company, and profound prosperity rain down on us.

Gather plates, cutlery, and drinks. Feast and be merry. Toast Mercurius. Seek blessings. Make additional personal offerings of food and drink.

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