|A Lararium. Source: cafet.1fr1.net|
Maintaining a household shrine is, for many (myself included), the central focal point of Roman oriented polytheism. This is because in ancient times:
"The Roman house itself was the centre of family and private religion. In richer and middle-ranking houses a common feature was a shrine of the household Gods - now conventionally known as a Lararium ... these shrines contained paintings or statuettes of household Gods and other deities; they might also include (in a wealthier house) commemoration of the family's ancestors ... these shrines would have formed the focus of family rituals [Beard, North and Price, Religions of Rome: Volume 2: A Sourcebook]."
Setting up a Lararium was one of the first things I did when I developed an interest in the Religio Romana. Doing so rapidly deepened my practice and understanding of the divine. I had no statuettes to start off with - which is fine, one can invoke the deities by name instead and/or place objects on the shrine to represent specific Gods (eg, an image of a peacock to represent Juno). It is the setting up of a designated sacred space within the home that is of primary importance. This space can include just about anything. The most important thing is that it is clean, and typically one would expect to see a candle flame (or a more traditional oil lamp flame), an incense offering and/or food, liquid or other kinds of offerings (eg, flowers). In my own case, over time, I added a statuette of my patron deity, Mercury, then a homemade figurine of a Lar (household spirit), then a statuette of Vesta and then Venus. Others have entirely different kinds of shrines, which is wonderful - polytheism is by its nature diverse - and some people also have what can be called a Sacrarium or Sacellum, which are shrines that do not necessarily include the Lares or other household Gods.
Here follows a celebration of contemporary shrines in the home. If you would like to send a picture of your shrine for possible inclusion in this post please send a message to Roman Pagan on Facebook.I
|My Lararium / household shrine, particularly dedicated to the household Gods, Mercury and Venus|
|Lararium of Lucanus, a Roman Pagan/polytheist from near Washington DC (Mercury depicted)|