|Lesson 13 - A Roman Exorcism|
SCHOLA AETII·WEDNESDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2019|
WHY WE NEED AN EXORCISM
Now some may wonder, wait, an Exorcism? Isn't that what Christians do? Or so I hear you say. But, the concept that there are unclean or harmful spirits and energies goes way back before Christianity. Generally the Roman Polytheists were much more concerned with disturbing spirits than the Christians. They built the resting places for the dead way outside the city, connection with anything related to the dead was put under great taboos and rites of cleaning. The Roman festival calendar has several holidays which have pacifying restless spirits and driving out unwanted spirits as a part of it. The spirits of dead humans were usually classified in three groups, the Lares, the Manes and the Lemures. Lares are essentially the benevolent spirits of the dead, like guardians and guides; the Manes are a general term which is neutral and the Lemures are the earthbound negative, restless and dangerous spirits of the dead. Generally, all connection to dead spirits and energies of the dead were regarded as potentially bad, something that should remain entirely outside the realm of the living. Hence the Romans built the cemeteries outside cities, unlike the Christians, who built them as part of the city. So a Roman Cultor will generally always keep anything connected to death and the dead away from his home, with the exception of the Ancestor Shrine, the Lararium, the place where the benevolent dead are venerated.
Then there is the entire topic of Miasma, which I covered in greater detail in "Lesson 8 - Daimons, Spirits and Miasma", which I recommend to read in connection with this lesson. In short, Miasma is a sort of negative energy, which is created by all forms of interruption of the natural order, of life. So the dead, death, a tragedy, a place where great suffering happened, uprisings, scenes of a crime, war or a sacrilege happened, all such places are polluted with Miasma. Apollo, after killing the serpent Python was tainted with Miasma, and had to undergo a long period of cleansing before being allowed back to Olympus, a time which lasted nine years.
So we have essentially two sources of miasmatic pollution: the presence of negative entities or spirits (either of the dead, of angry spirits of nature or of a place), or negative energy of Miasma created by a sinister event. Either of these can haunt places and affect a place, an item or a person in a negative way. If you have mediumistic abilities, you can see that people with strongly negative character traits can sort of create lumps of miasma attached to them and can become sort of possessed, either by a spiritual energy they created or because a negative energy or entity attached to them, when they were in a place of strong Miasma.
CLASSIFYING THE CASE
In theory any negative, unholy, disturbing or miasmatic energy is driven out by positive, divine energies. Doing an Exorcism is a very demanding and potentially dangerous thing, depending on the circumstance. So first you have to try to judge the issue. Sometimes it may just be a hunch, a feeling in a place. You may assume your spiritual or some occult activity may have attracted some malevolent or disturbing entity. Since many Polytheists practice all sort of other esoteric things, the need to create a cleaning ritual based on our Religion seems prudent. Otherwise most Roman Cultors who for whatever reason work parallel with occult practices would be without any religious way to protect and clean themselves or any place. Sometimes, when the case is clear, the source may be easy to know. Like when a severe crime happened or a sacrilege was accidentally or on purpose committed. For example, we know in some countries Polytheists and Pagans still face persecution from Monotheists, and they sacrileges count as "creating Miasma". Let me for the sake of simplicity suggest a list of possible cases, and say a few comments on them, so anyone can see where he stands and what counts.
(1) MINOR SACRILEGE, MINOR CRIME, ARGUMENT
These are the lowest froms of aimless miasma, which stick to a place or to a person, created by a simple sacrilege, like dropping and accidentally destroying a sacred object, a minor crime like an ordinary theft of grocery, or a strong and emotional argument in a place. Such forms of miasma usually disperse over long enough time, but sensible people may want to do a simple cleaning ritual.
(2) PARASITE ATTACHED TO A PERSON
It is much more common than most people know, but individuals with a habituated negative personality can create a sort of spirit or attract a negative spirit which attaches to them. These may either be mindless energy lumps of Miasma up to outright hostile and dangerous parasites. If unattended, attached parasitic spirits can alter the entire personality of a human being. Chronically ill people, who are ill for a very long time - like years - sometimes create or attract such bad spirits, and they themselves become like energy vampires, draining other people with their mere presence. This can be extremely dangerous; removing such a parasitic spirit can be difficult for the person afflicted, depending on how long the negative entity was attached. That person has to KNOW it is afflicted and want to change, for doing so without the cooperation of that person is nigh impossible. There are means to weaken the effect of it, which I shall mention.
(3) HAUNTED PLACE
A haunted place can be either because of a spirit of a dead, a Lemur or evil Mane is connected to some unfinished business or because a tragedy connected it with the place. Some places can be haunted for centuries, and sometimes finding the bones and giving them a proper burial has then ended the haunting. So solving the issue can end hauntings, and of course a proper exorcism can drive an evil spirit away and make it move on to the next world. Unless something happened recently and you have a good Medium or Seer, it can be difficult to track the cause and you may just have the opportunity to drive out the spirit. The dead do not belong to the place of the living.
(4) LARGER CRIME, WAR, SACRILEGE
Places where great crimes happened, places of a violent battle or a large sacrilege, can be polluted by Miasma for centuries or more. They can be close to impossible to be cleaned and often can only be avoided, or an exorcism can calm things, relatively speaking, for a while. Places like mass murder scenes, larger battles from wartime or the destruction of a Holy Site can not entirely be cleaned and only centuries will allow the Miasma to ebb away. In the case of large Sacred Sites a restoration of the Sanctuary would put an end to the negative energy. I would assume most places of the destroyed Polytheist Temples no longer have negative Miasma after such a long time, though, with maybe some exceptions of remote areas. Still, a repeated disrespect from visitors may yet again attach Miasma to these offenders.
(5) OCCULT MIASMA
Any practice of Occultism can create Miasma or attract malevolent entities. Sometimes elemental entities or malevolent spirits of the dead are attracted by Occultism. There is no clear rule to say what practices create them. It is generally reported that for example spiritualism, like the use of Ouija Boards, often attracts negative entities, but also all sort of what counts as "black magic" in the most general sense. In all these cases a regular and thorough Exorcism is warranted.
(6) HOSTILE CULT PRACTICES
This is a bit a hot topic, but I have to cover it anyway. Some religions which are outspoken anti-Polytheist in nature can create negative miasma, attached to a place or a person. Generally doing Kabbalistic rituals as a Polytheist can create an energy that is miasma for you and blocks your spiritual abilities, as generally all rituals of Christian and Islamic practice. I know it is not PC to write this, but as Priest and Occult practitioner I know this is the case, and so I can't conceal this fact for the sake of political sensibilities. It is no reason to be hostile to these religions, but doing rituals or placing religious objects of the monotheist book religions CAN create Miasma. Keep in mind, they are not technically evil, but disruptive energies for us, which can warrant the necessity to remove their energies.
Any Exorcism is making use of objects or material means, of ritual practices and prayer formulas. Sacred items are those types of items, which you can use to disperse negative Miasma or drive out malevolent spirits. They can all be added to any ritual you perform and I shall list them and describe their meaning.
Water is the most basic element of purity and cleaning. It was however not a typical element of cleaning in Roman times or generally among Pagan religions, who focused more on Salt and Incense, but it may be difficult in our times where people live in modern homes to toss salt on your carpet. Water has similar powers and should be blessed to Father Janus. Any Roman Ritual was begun by a ritual washing the hands and asking Father Janus to clean you in order to be allowed to stand before the Gods and begin the ritual. It should be mandatory before any Exorcism as well, and can be extended as a cleaning, by blessing the water in the name of Janus and sprinkling it in places, on objects or people. You can also take a bath to clean yourself of Miasma; just add some salt to the bathwater and offer a prayer to Zeus or Apollo so that the bath cleans you.
Salt is more or less THE classic Pagan element to purify. There is no special deity attached to the salt, so you just toss it in the place where the negative energy is supposed to be. You can place doses of salt on a small table in a room which needs protection, in extreme cases putting four small tables with salt in all the four corners of a place. Since salt is harmful to furniture, I do not advise tossing it in your house or only in the most extreme cases. Just placing salt helps a lot.
Incense like water and salt is a classic element to cleanse a place or a person. It has the advantage to be the least invasive, since neither is salt sprayed into your carpet nor does anything get wet. If you have an order of things, start with water, then salt and incense last, since incense more represents the element of divine blessing. Such a blessing can be performed in the name of any Deity, but ideally in the name of Zeus or Apollo, both Gods connected specifically to blessing and cleaning. Incense has like salt the bonus that it can just be placed and then does its job. (It has to burn down, of course.)
Light in any form drives out darkness. Combating the forces of evil is easier in the light. So ideally the exorcism of a place is done in daylight, not during the night. The presence of the sun is generally anathema to all negative energies. Otherwise you light candles and pray to Mother Vesta to bless the flame and light to drive out shadows and the negative energies/spirits. Any short, personal prayer to Vesta while lighting the candle, invokes her blessing on a candle or lamp. I advise here candles, since they can burn down and you see when it is burned down, how it has done it's job. In theory even artificial light is better than nothing. Everyone can feel how a place becomes pacified when it is illuminated.
(V) BELLS AND GONGS
Bells and Gongs are also dispersing negative energies and entities. I would not recommend a regular bell, but rather either a Gong or one of these Asian Singing Bowls. They can be beaten a number of times, either three times or five times, both are sacred numbers of Pythagorean mystery lore, three representing the Divine Trinity and five the idea of Divine Perfection. The Gong or Bell should be used at the end of an Exorcism to sort of finalize the ritual. The striking of a Gong makes a good ending action. Sometimes I just walk through my house or a place striking my Singing Bowl in a calm rhythm, moving around and let the sound of the gong disperse possible negative energies. We know Roman Rites to drive out nasty spirits often revolved making noise and banging, from which the Bell and the Gong are more serene alternatives to use.
(VI) SACRED ITEMS
Any item given to the possession of a God can help to disperse negative energies. But this is a challenging thing, for a ritual not performed properly may rather spread the Miasma. For example, I have given an Amber Necklace and a Sword to Apollo. They belong to him now. I may pray to Apollo and ask him to allow me to wear his necklace and carry his sword during a ritual of Exorcism, but as always, if you use Sacred Items given to the property of a Deity, you must only use these items with great respect, like you borrow a prized possession from a superior. Such items can support and protect the performer.
Generally, any person can perform an Exorcism. It does not require a Priest. It does not even necessarily need strong faith, since the symbols, words and gestures are sacred in themselves. However, experience has shown that fear is a very bad mindset to start any cleaning or exorcising ritual. That means that anyone doing an exorcism should have a nurtured mindset of trust in the Gods, which is the main reason you may want to call an experienced Priest in any larger issue. If you have none at hand you may consider working with a second person, which especially for the inexperienced person is something I highly suggest. No participant should be too fearful during the rituals. Really big confrontations may be performed by several Priests together.
Depending on how immediate the threat is, you may prepare a few days ahead. Spend these days in more prayer than usual, discard of distracting activities, in short in anything that agitates you, like modern entertainment that stirs strong negative emotions. If you can, do a few days a retreat spent with prayer and meditation, at least ideally a day before. Take a bath, add a spoon full of salt and pray to Zeus, Janus and/or Apollo to bless the bath in order to cleanse your soul and bless you. You may make a simple offering to one Deity of your choice the day before, and pray for protection and guidance for the coming exorcism.
During the rite itself be sure to wear clean fresh clothes and be rested and in good shape. You start any Exorcism with a small, personal prayer to a Patron Deity of your choice. The exorcism rite itself is a simple one, not a complex ritual, but it receives its power from several repetitions. You start with washing your hands in the Name of Father Janus, like every ritual and then light a candle and make a short prayer to Mother Vesta, that she blesses the flame and the light to drive out the shadows of darkness. Do these two to Janus and Vesta at the start. You may, to be sure, write down the prayer sentence, if you are inexperienced. I usually use these:
"Father Janus, clean my hands so that I am worthy to be in the presence of the Gods." "Mother Vesta, bless this flame and this light with thy presence."
If you assume a restless spirit of the dead, you may make an inquiry in the reasons, as mentioned above and consider just fulfilling the wish of the spirit of a dead human being. But that usually requires a very well trained and trustworthy medium. Sometimes Ancestors can remain around the living for various reasons, and you may prefer a peaceful send off. If you assume that, you may prefer a pacifying ritual or a series of prayers before you move on to a full exorcism. This proceeding assumes you have tried other means and the malevolent entity or energy has remained.
Take each step slowly, you do not need to haste. Then comes the Chant. You speak the Chant as many times as you wish or feel necessary, either calm or forceful or a change of each. Do it sort of like an ever stronger call against the Miasma or the Spirit, rooted in the certainty of your faith. I have focused this Chant around Apollo, the God of Light, since I believe he is your best God in any struggle against Darkness and Evil. You go through each item of cleansing, speaking the Chant and using it. Like you start sprinkling water, you speak the Chant while you sprinkle. Then you toss salt and again you speak the Chant. You smoke incense and again speak the Chant. From then I usually focus on a banishing hand gesture. Same with water, salt and incense. Circulate, starting from East - Sunrise clockwise and making a full circle. Clockwise circle movements have been done in the days of King Numa already as a symbol of the divine order, so you will do them with water, salt and incense, and then free-form as you assume right, pointing with the above mentioned blessing gesture or using any Sacred Items of a Deity of choice.
During the Chant you may imagine yourself surrounded by a bubble of light. Maybe spend a moment imagining an orb of white or golden light around you and feel like the Divine Light reinforces the orb or shield, but that is just an extra that may help, not a necessity. I found it helps me, and I practice imagining a sphere of golden light around me whenever I desire.
The power of the Exorcism does lie in its simplicity. It is not a long ritual with many details to remember. Essentially you can learn the Chant and memorize its four sentences, and then the battle is your mind, willpower and dedication being a conduit of the Light of the Gods, which does the banishment and the cleansing.
Now to the Chant I must say the following. It has two forms. One is the Chant as it came to me in deep meditation as a vision. It is incorrect Latin, but has the power of a certain structure. It is difficult to explain. Ritual and magic work because of certain structures. Many rituals with sacred words are actually twisted from the original correct use, and that has a special magic. But, I have also a corrected Latin version. You can use either one, but decide which you prefer and then stay with one or the other. Again, you have to trust me in this, that a Chant often works better when it is originally made or received with some incorrect forms, but you can use the reworked, grammatically correct Latin as well.
(A) ORIGINAL RECEIVED CHANT
Apollo Dominus meam,
Exsilium ex malo tenebris!
Ego sum servus Lux Arcanum,
Pone ipsum praesidio Deorum Viventium!
Procul recedant tenebrum malum,
In Nominae Domini Apollo Soter!
Apollo Dominus meam,
Salva me ab spiritu malo!
(B) GAMMATICALLY CORRECTED CHANT
Apollo mi domine,
exsilium ex malo tenebris es!
Ego sum servus lucis arcanae,
pone me in praesidio deorum viventium.
procul recedant tenebrae malae extremaeque
in nomine Apollonis Soteros!
Apollo mi domine,
salua me ab spiritu malo.
You may use in alteration a translation in your own Language, altering between the Latin version and your own language back and forth during the ritual:
Apollo my Lord,
banish the shadows of evil!
I am a Servant of the Secret Light,
placing myself under the protection of the Living Gods!
Be banished shadows of evil,
In the Name of Apollo Soter!
My Lord Apollo,
Save me from the spirits of evil!
It is important that you speak the Chant with a sort of emotional power, making yourself an instrument of Divine retribution and cleaning, repeating it like a Mantra over and over. You will notice how the light gets stronger and the darkness recoils when you do it right. The Chant is an instrument putting you in a mindset, ever reinforcing a current of Light from the God Apollo. Mix in use of water, salt, incense or a Sacred Item in any way you think appropriate and in accordance with the Gods. Once you feel the entity or miasma flees, murmur the Chant or parts of the Chant and then fall silent. You can use a Gong at the end, either three or five times. After that make a short break and then go to the altar of a God or your house altar and speak a prayer of thanks to the Gods and especially your patron God that he protected and guided you.
C. Florius Aetius
Feb. 6th 2772 auc
PS: I have received a third version of the Chant, I forward as choice of flavour
O Apollo, Domine me,
Exilī umbrās mālās!
Servus Lūcis Arcanī sum,
Sub præsidiō Deōrum vīvōrum dēpōnō.
Ablēgātus sint, Umbræ Mālæ,
In nōmine Apollinis Soter!
Apollo, Domine me,
Salvā mē ab spīritibus mālī!