𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐋𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐑𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜.
Roman religion was very deeply connected to state and family, the destruction of Republic and its morals opened the doors for the Roman paganism to lose its meaning during the civil wars.
Parallel with the destruction of political institutions of the Republic, the institutions of Roman religions started to lose its meaning and it became an empty shell of what once was. Roman religion for high officials was, almost always, meaningless.
But, from the 3rd century BCE onwards, there were no big changes in the religion system – the triumphs and other rituals were still carried on officially. Many educated Romans studied the religion with scepticism and the religious offices became a step for building a career.
As we see, at the end of the Republic even Roman religion was going through a crisis. It is a result of civilization which degraded the original meaning. What remained of this degraded religion was the religion worshipped in family, an ancestral cult.
The example for this is Gaius Julius Caesar, a non religious person who was chosen for pontifex maximus just so he can build his career. Later he even made coins representing him, something which was before reserved for the images of ancestors, presenting himself as “living god”.
Because of the degradation, the religion of Romans during this time started incorporating other non Roman elements which were popular among the commoners. For example, the Egyptian cult of Isis and Osiris was extremely popular at the time.
The cult of Cybele entered Rome during the war with Hannibal, becoming an official cult. During the war with Cimbri, a priest of Cybele from Pesinunt was staying in Rome which made Cybele extremely popular with people. Even Gaius Marius visited Pesinunt after ending the “revolt”.
“The belief of Pythagoras prevails among the Gauls, that the souls of men are immortal and that after a prescribed number of years they commence upon a new life, the soul entering into another body”
Egyptian Love Song
“Now my heart is as the sun-scorched South,
Where lie the fields deserted, grey and bare.
Come! And kiss me when I die,
For life, compelling life, is in thy breath;
And at that kiss, though in the tomb I lie,
I will arise and break the bands of Death.”
“I am the serpent, long in years, sleeping and born every day
I am the serpent who is in the ends of the earth
As I sleep, I am born, I am renewed, I am rejuvenated every day.”
Estonia, was named after an ancient Baltic tribe called the Aesti. A fun fact I found, Estonia has one of the highest percentages of blue-eyed people in the world. Here are some Bronze Age graves from there.
The Importance Of Trees
In our tradition trees were seen as habitats of our deceased ancestors. This is because of the belief that we were made from trees, the tree of life which is placenta. Souls of the living, like the souls of the dead, also shared a special connection to trees.
When the child was born the placenta was buried below the tree which was considered as his. This person had a special connection with the said tree because his placenta and tree became one. If one would harm the tree or if the tree got sick it was a bad omen for that person.
This is an ancient belief which held until recently. My aunt told me that the placenta had to be buried below trees which were considered sacred and the tree had to be planted by the father of a child. When the baby is born the placenta is buried below the planted tree
We also had a belief that the tree has to be cut down when the person dies. In the moment when they would put the person in the ground the tree had to be struck down but not entirely, the trunk has to fall on it’s own and the bond shouldn’t be cut off suddenly. My aunt said it’s because when we die our souls aren’t rooted in the ground like trees were when we lived. You have to cut it down because the soul should be able to move freely around the world like a bird, and find the place which it will inhabit while dead.
It’s undeniable that the connection between souls, placenta and trees exist. Those who deny the importance of placenta are damaging to our traditions and they never heard stories like these. They are so deep into scholarly works to see the truth right in front of them.
They will also say that all of this is our projection, that we interpret it like this to fit our narrative. My aunt is very much holding these traditions as sacred and she didn’t read any philosophy or mythology books. These are the traditions passed down for generations to us. They will also say that all of this is our projection, that we interpret it like this to fit our narrative. My aunt is very much holding these traditions as sacred and she didn’t read any philosophy or mythology books. These are the traditions passed down for generations to us.