The Report of Societas Hesperiana pro Culto Deorum, for 16th ECER Congress, Rome 2018
The Triple Exile:
As we all know, after the doomed and execrable Second Edict of Theodosius, in the year 392 c.e., private (communitarian and domestic) rituals were banned in the entire territory of the Western Roman Empire. Terrible persecutions punished all who continued to honor the Gods and the Ancestors in all the territories of nowadays Italy. Anyway, we know from historical sources and because of the persistence of many ritual acts in rural Italy that many fellow gentiles continued to perform rituals during the long centuries of oppression.
Furthermore, the memory of the Traditional Religion of Rome and Italy lived on in the upper classes’ culture, in literature and in the esoteric milieus. This is what we call the “triple exile of our legittimate Tradition”: not even “dead” or “extinct”, our religion lives since a millenium and one half in the Italian (and Alpine) Folklore, in our high culture and it was – and it is – also kept and guarded by a line of different groups and organizations, both “religious” or “esoteric”, “secret” or “visible”.
1) History, literature and archeology
Just because of this long survival – and because of the importance of latine literature in the European culture – we have a lot of written historical sources for the ritual aspects of the roman- italic religion. We have a few sources that describe a complete ritual, from the beginning to the end, especially if we talk about the more complex and important public State rituality. Anyway, Cato, Macrobius, Virgil, and many other classical authors give us important and near to be complete extracts of the private, familiar, rituality. Many other authors, like the Roman and even Greek historians, provide us more detailed informations about the public rituality. An important, even if late, source is provided by “On the marriage of Philology and Mercury” by Martianus Capella, a Late Antiquity poet and scholar who wrote a sort of summa maxima of the Roman Age knowledge, poetry, religion, geography and mythology. From this book we can interpretate the etruscan-roman archeological sources that teach us the spacial directions to keep while evoking the Gods, a very important aspect of our Tradition. Archeology could be very important, because through it we can find traces of our Religion how it was practiced by our ancestors, but it needs to be interpreted through written sources, folkloric comparisons and – most important – through a spiritual, not materialistic, approach to the matter.
2) The Living Book: the Italian and European Folklore
Both the private familiar and clanic rituals – which have their roots in the pre-Roman traditions – and the Roman State Religion, have left important and durable traces in the Italian folklore. It was said that the main moments of loss of our ritual continuity were not (only) the christian late antiquity persecutions, but more recent events like the Counter Reformation in the 16th century, Industrialization and the two World Wars. The most archaic religious aspects, id est the ones strictly connected to the Sacred Calendar, to agricolture, to healing and to the spirit of the Dead, were and are practiced in many parts of Italy, with a strong adherence to the rhythms and the forms of the Roman religion or even to more precedent italic, gaulish, hellenic or pre- indoeuropean specific cults. Just do to some examples: Charles Godfrey Leland, an American anthropologist of the late 19th century, observed an almost complete Etruscan-Italic-Celtic pantheon of fairies, spirits, gods and beings who were praised by the commoners of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, just a century ago; in Central-Eastern, Alps the tradition of Faunalia still lives in the KrampusNächte, a procession of wolf-goat masked men which take place in nowadays Italy, Austria and Slovenia; many Goddesses are masked behind very specific Madonnas; many saints are Gods and spirits in disguise… All such information are a Living Book of our Tradition: some aspects need to be purified and interpreted, other are strictly “pagan” in the form and they are survived aspects who can be taken and adopted by their legittimate heirs. We have to note that in almost all this cases of popular traditional remains, only the form remained, but a deep theological aspect lacks. The nowadays followers of the Italic religion should not be “romantic scholars” or historical reenactors of both folklore or ancient history: from both we have to take some information to do what is right to be done, and nothing more. We are not 15th century farmers or ancient romans: we are ethnic Italians and this is our legittimate Tradition for the right of Blood, Culture, Soil and Language.
Esoteric knowledge, philosophy and magic were always followed by the Italian and European upper classes; During the centuries prelates, nobles, scholars, gave life to many esoteric associations and groups, of various tendencies. We know that – during the Middle Ages – a line of poets called “i fedeli d’Amore” (because Amor is both “love” and the acrostic of “Roma”), kept memory of the Roman tradition, in an (apparent?) syncretism with christianity. The most known of them is Dante Alighieri, father of the modern italian language. In the Renaissance, because of the influence of neoplatonist philosophers who left Greece because of the Ottomans’ invasion, we see a strong amount of ‘pagan’, traditional, aspects in high culture and esotericism. It seems that in both Italy and Greece some lineages weren’t interrupted… and some influences perdured till today, like an “underground river”. In certain cases such utilization of our traditional theology, magic and knowledge was “pure” and legittimate. In other cases we observe a strong colonization of foreign aspects, especially from judaism/cabalism and then Freemasonry. We have to wait until the early 20th century to see in the italian esotericism a clear will of freeing our Tradition from every alien colonization. During the tragic days of the WWI, the mysterious group of ‘Ekatlo(s)’ evoked a manifestation of the Dioscuri twin Gods in the sky of Rome, announcing the rally of the italian soldiers after the disastrous rout of Caporetto. It was done “celebrating the same roman- italic ritual, every day…” In the 20s, another group, called ‘UR’ tried to influence the political and cultural reality for the resurrection of Rome, practicing roman rituals. We have to say that even the UR group, even founded by a lineage of neo-Pythagorean followers, was still a spurious experiment with some bounds with occultism and fringe Freemasonry. The groups operated – ritually speaking – only for two years. Anyway, the most roman oriented elements, like Arturo Reghini and Julius Evola, left many teachings and writings for a new generation. They followed the Perennial Tradition hypothesis and they considered our Tradition as an immortal, everliving, divine inspired Spiritual Center, and not only a chaotic mass of historical remains. After the war , in 1968 – at Julius Evola’s home – a group of youth that was free from any occult or masonic behavior, started a new operation: the ‘Dioscuri’. Their aim was – and is – to evoke and protect the Holy Fire of Rome and Italy. As we know, reserved but not strictly “secret”, this operate lives on…
Back from Exile: Roma Renovata Resurgit!
Since the late ‘80s, many different groups and associations started to meet and to practice our religious tradition in a more visible and “public” (in the modern sense of the word) form. Some of them are just a little more than historical reenactment, others were still influenced by pre-20th century para-masonic influences, but a strong core of different groups -young or older- are following a “pure” form of communitarian, familiar and individual rituals which are based on our historical, legittimate, tradition, that is Roman and Italic – Italian and European – without any syncretism with Freemasonry, occultism and, to be more precise, with nothing to do with the evocation of names and entities of the judaic-christian Kabala.
The sources provided us by folklore, archeology, history are very useful for such groups, but only if they are considered as living matter, not only as cold erudition. Our tradition is our local “adaption” – Italian and Roman – to the Perennial Tradition of every spiritual, dharmic Man. If it is true that any sources could teach us “how to perform a ritual”, from the Perennial Tradition we know what a Man, and a Folk, should do to purify and celebrate himself and the surrounding, living and animated, World. What it could seems only “erudition” is actually pure gold in the hands of someone who follow the spiritual path of abdication of the modern, profane, pseudo-valors. Because of its many valuable and living sources our Tradition is still practicable for the ones who want to start a path of purification of the intoxications of this godless modern “Civilization”.
Turning away from an anti-spiritual conception of life, who destroys man and Nature, we return conscious of the most natural way to be spiritually Italians and Romans in our own, still beautiful, sacred Land. It’s not an easy path and ours is not an easy task: we want to win our world back, better than before.
Roma Renovata Resurgit! – Rome Renewed Rises!