It’s a warm, summer night in ancient Rome and the first August Full Moon has illuminated the dark sky. Men, women, and hunting hounds march toward Lake Elemi on Diana’s sacred road, crowned with twinkling lights. Women and girls steadily hold candles and torches, smiling and dancing gleefully with flowers woven in their freshly-washed hair. Slaves are dressed in proper clothes, bound to no one but themselves. Boats are lit with oil lamps ferrying the Romans across the dark, mirrored waters of Lake Elemi toward Diana’s temple. This is the celebration of Nemoralia – the Festival of Torches.
Those dedicated to goddess Diana wrap prayers and wishes, written on delicate ribbons, around trees. They offer her gifts of fruits, votives, and statues. They give thanks for nature, its creatures, the sun and moon – all of which Diana presides over. Goddess Diana was also revered as the goddess of the woods, children, fertility, and wild animals, and as such, the hunting hounds were also honored and adorned with flowers. Hundreds of worshippers gathered around in love and harmony as Diana blessed their world with her radiance. Some women would even bathe in Lake Elemi as a ritual – to cleanse themselves with the sacred waters of goddess Diana for protection for the year ahead.
During Nemoralia, the head of the family is permitted to walk around their house with a lit lamp, torch, or candle while whispering Diana’s praises. As the flame burned, it created a protective shield around the home. No evil spirit or disaster could enter for one year until the ceremony was renewed the following year.
In modern Italy, the Festival of Torches has remained a time of truce between humans, nature, and animals. Hunting or killing of any animal is forbidden and everyone is required to be on equal terms, regardless of status. On the first Full Moon of August, all lights reflect upon Lake Elemi and sparkle magically upon its surface.
Are you ready to dive into the sacred and magical waters of Nemoralia? Are you ready to embrace your own freedom and femininity? Are you ready to be untamed? Join me for our free Full Moon event as we invoke the magic of Nemoralia and honor goddess Diana. RSVP here for our in-person and online event.
To help you connect with Nemoralia, I created a Roman Full Moon Set: Festival of Torches. The tools in this set are intended to help you invoke the blessings of goddess Diana.
Curious about the spirituality and ritual practices of ancient civilizations? Join my Magical Sabbatical course, and see how you can weave their ancient traditions with your own spiritual practices.
Do you love harnessing the energy of the moon in all her phases? Join my Full Moon Ritualists community on Facebook where we share educational tidbits on working with moon energy, learn about astrology, and engage in lively, wild conversations with other like-minded tribe members.
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