, 30 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
So given recent discussions among polytheists about gatekeeping & who gets to be or legitimately call itself X [insert demonym, tradition, etc.], I feel I should put this out there, for the sake of contrast, if nothing else (1/30)

#polytheism #polytheist #religion #cultusdeorum
1. When it comes to modern Roman polytheism, your skin colour is irrelevant, your nationality is irrelevant, your gender, sexual orientation, origin, social status – all irrelevant! None of that (dis)qualifies you as a Roman polytheist (2/30)
2. First off, what makes you a polytheist is believing in *and* worshipping many gods. If you don’t – if, say, you believe in many but worship only one or worship many under the belief that they’re all One – then, by definition, you are *not* a polytheist (3/30)
3. Practice matters when defining Roman polytheism, because it’s a practice-based religion, not a faith-based one, and thus mere belief in many gods is insufficient. If you approach it from the Abrahamic perspective of religion as faith, you’ll miss the mark (4/30)
4. What makes one a polytheist of the Roman kind is above all *how* one worships, i.e., the ritual orthopraxy, not which gods one specifically believes or has trust in. And modern Roman ritual praxis, at least as I currently see it, implies the following: (5/30)
a) Marking the Calends, Nones & Ides of each month, which can be done according to one of several systems: lunar phases, fixed solar dates, as per the Julian or Gregorian calendar. And on each of those days, honouring particular deities (6/30)
b) Janus and Juno on the Calends, Jupiter on the Ides, the Family Lares on all three. This is just the bare minimum and one can add sacrifices to other deities on any or all of those three monthly occasions, plus mark other dates every month (7/30)
c) In every ceremony using Roman rite, Janus is one of the first deities honoured and Vesta one of the last. One can add other gods to the opening and closing of the ceremony, which should always be performed with one’s head covered with cloth (8/30)
d) Maintaining a distinction between celestial, terrestrial & domestic deities or divine aspects on one side, infernal ones on the other: the main hand with which ritual gestures are performed for the former is the right, for latter it’s the left hand (9/30)
e) Maintaining a distinction between celestial, terrestrial & domestic deities or divine aspects on one side, infernal ones on the other: food given to the former can be consumed by the living after being deconsecrated, that given to the latter cannot (10/30)
f) Offerings, particularly in more formal ceremonies, are consecrated at the very least by being sprinkled with wheat, wheat flour or salted wheat flour, together with a small prayer which is up to you, your family or community to write (11/30)
g) Ritual fire is preferred for burning offerings for most deities – watery ones may be an exception – and should be used whenever possible. If it’s *truly* impossible, consecrated offerings should be deposited in meaningful & appropriate places (12/30)
5. If you do *all* of these things & they constitute the majority of your religious practices, then at least in my book you are a Roman polytheist, even if most of the deities you worship are *not* traditionally Roman & regardless of skin colour et al. (13/30)
6. Keep in mind that the orthopraxic points above are just the basics on top of which each individual, household or community can then create their practices and traditions, all being Roman polytheists by means of a common ritual core (14/30)
7. Now, it’s true that ancient Roman religion was *not* distinguishable from family, tribal & communal traditions and identity, so that by stating one’s gens, tribe, city or State of origin, one was implying a set of religious practices and ideas (15/30)
8. It was a religion politically, domestically & civically tied & culturally contextualized, which begs the question: shouldn’t its modern authenticity depend on it too being similarly tied & contextualized? The answer isn’t easy, for various reasons: (16/30)
a) The language, culture & traditions of Rome were carried wherever Roman armies went & Roman authority was established, making them, to a lesser or greater degree, the language, culture & traditions of various peoples outside Latium & Italy (17/30)
b) The collapse of the Roman empire shattered whatever direct, singular link was there between religion, State and what we today would call nationality, since from the ruins of the empire multiple European nations were born (18/30)
c) Cultural unity also gave way to a regional fragmentation that originated the Latin-derived languages & predominant cultural matrixes of various modern-day European nations, some of which were later carried overseas (19/30)
d) And trying to simply undo 1500 years of change is an exercise in historical romanticism bound to clash with modern-day rights & liberties that should be cherished & preserved, not ditched for the sake of a purist turning back of the clock (20/30)
9. So no, I don’t think we should do away with modern-day individual rights & religious liberties, including the secular State, but rather accept them for the benefits they bring & that there will be no political link with modern Roman polytheism (21/30)
10. No, you can’t claim that modern Roman polytheism belongs solely to a particular nation, because there are multiple born from the ruins of the old Roman empire & whose predominant cultural matrix is Latin-based (22/30)
11. Similarly, you cant claim that it belongs solely to those of a particular culture, because there are many that are Latin-derived, and culture – apparently this needs to be said – is *not* genetic, but acquired. It’s learned & can be so by anyone (23/30)
12. And no, you also can’t claim that one needs to reconstruct a particular ancient State & culture, because Romanitas or Latinitas didn’t just vanish in the 5th century, but evolved & is alive and well in multiple modern forms. So use them! (24/30)
13. There are many to chose from: there’s Portuguese, Mirandese, Aragonese, Catalan, Spanish, Ladino, French, Occitan, Romansh, Romanian, Corsican, Italian, Venetian, Ligurian, Sardinian – to name some, plus extra-European varieties (25/30)
14. Use those living languages for living ritual purposes. Entwine multiple aspects of one of those cultures with your religious practices, so as to give cultural context to your form of Roman polytheism, organically and diversely (26/30)
15. If you’re already native to a Latin language and culture, you’re halfway there. If you’re not, you’re welcome to learn & familiarize yourself with one, to adopt it and add it to your practices. Again, culture isn’t genetic, but acquired (27/30)
16. Does this mean that modern Roman polytheism will be a diverse religion, with national, regional, communal & even household variations? Yes! And there’s nothing wrong with that, nor is it anything new (28/30)
17. Does it also mean that modern Roman polytheism won’t be identical to its past version? Certainly, because the political and social context has changed & so will its product. As with any living thing, as opposed to a dead, fossilized one (29/30)
18. Simply put, ritual orthopraxy makes one a Roman polytheist, a Latin culture gives it context, historical changes & modern context shapes it one way or another as a present form of a past religion. Modern, diverse, more universal (30/30)
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