Monday 9th May is date of the Roman Festival of Lemuria. Essentially, this was a ritual by the Master/Mistress of the House involving nine black beans(!) to honour the Lemures – restless and possibly malevolent spirits of those who died violent or unnatural deaths. Conversely, Lars were seen as benevolent Guardian Ancestors to be revered.
Traditionally, a sacred salted flour cake (mola salsa), was baked from the initial ears of wheat of the season, by the Vestal Virgins.
According to Ovid (living circa 43 BCE - 17 CE), Lemuria was derived from Remuria by Romulus to appease the murdered spirit of Remus (Ovid, Fasti, V.421ff; Porphyrius). Ovid records that the custom to appease/expel the evil spirits at this festival involved walking barefoot and throwing the black beans over the shoulder at night. The head of the household was responsible for getting up at midnight and treading bare foot around the house throwing out black beans and incantating, "Haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis (I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine)" a total of nine times. The household would then clang bronze pots together whilst repeating nine times an incantation translating as "Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!"
This rendered the whole month of May as unlucky for marriages and led to the Roman proverb "Mense Maio malae nubunt (Bad girls wed in May)".
Interestingly, in Celtic & Pagan lore, with Beltane being 1st May, this would have been a traditional month in which to marry, demonstrating a reversal of traditional beliefs.
I have speculated as to whether the Festival of Lemuria was also connected with the ancient land known as Lemuria - thought to have been located somewhere in the Pacific - and a hypothetical belief upheld by the Romans that the land might have been destroyed violently (legend says, rather like Atlantis, that a disaster such as flood or volcanic eruption caused its destruction).
By keeping traditions, Roman communities retained a sense of harmony and connection, thereby bringing balance and wellbeing into their lives.
Through Harmony Healing, Joanna offers a wide spectrum of events designed to nurture your welbeing and to connect with nature and the moon cycle. We hold monthly Full Moon Guided Healing Meditations, £20. Book at the Harmony Shop.
Harmony Healing utilises the philosophies of the Ancient Egyptians, in the form of Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Level 1 Egyptian Alchemy Healing. Featuring four online modules of Khemitology (Ancient Egyptology according to the indigenous oral traditions), Violet Flame of Amenti, Mindful Chakra Balancing & Essene Angelology.Missed sessions are fully recorded so that late registrations or are possible. Reyad Sekh Em (RSE) Level 1 costs £266 and run about three times a year. the individual modules are stand-alone and cost either £88 or £66, hence the RSE 1 Package offers a cost saving.
Within Surrey, via Harmony In Nature, we facilitate Forest Bathing+ Sessions to help adults reconnect with nature and reap the therapeutic benefits.
Currently, MP3 meditations and distant readings and healings are proving popular and we offer Harmony Healing Vouchers for any value for use on Harmony Healing services and Harmony in Nature vouchers for Forest Bathing vouchers (£35).
To receive regular Blog updates (headed with a title detailing the occasion or event so that you can choose whether to open it or not), featuring New and Full Moon, meteor showers, eclipses and other meteorological events, interesting anniversaries, ancient festival dates plus notification of dates of numerological significance, sign up for the Harmony Healing e-newsletters above or at the top of any page of this Harmony Healing website. The nature of the Blog means that whenever there are several key dates in close succession, there will be frequent mailings. The sender e-mail address is (and the sender will show as Joanna Bristow-Watkins @ Harmony Healing).