Sunday, November 08, 2009

Opening of Mundus Cereris, ancient Rome

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Mundus Cereris was the womb or labyrinthine passage to the underworld, the domain of Ceres (pictured), the great Mother of vegetation. The structure was vaulted in the shape of an inverted sky, divided into two parts, and had a cover. We do not know for certain where the Mundus Cereris was, or is, but in 1914 Giacomo Boni discovered on the Palatine Hill in Rome a subterranean structure which he identified with the Mundus.

The cover was removed on August 24, October 5 and November 8, and these days were religiosi, when the way was supposed to be open to the lower world. First-fruits of the season would be offered to the Manes (ancestral spirits) and placed in the pit.

Because the cover to the Mundus, the Lapis Manalis (Stone of the Manes), is considered an Ostium Orci (Gate of Hades), the Manes (ancestral spirits) are freed to roam for the day, so marriage was not permitted today, and nor were battles nor business considered advisable.

One of the numerous spheres over which the goddess Ceres had influence was liminality, that is, boundaries and transitions between different stages of social life, a function that she shared with Janus. We note that this commemoration almost precisely coincides with the Celtic Samhain (October 31), at which time the veil between the living world and that of the dead is said to be its thinnest, and its Christian corollaries, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, November 1 and 2 respectively ...

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