Manes were in ancient Rome, spirits of the dead. Generally, the manes were “good spirits”; the Di Manes were divine spirits. The term “manes” also referred to an individual spirit of the dead, to underworld deities and to the underworld. The Romans placated manes with offerings called religiousae.
Feast: 24 August
The Manes are Rome’s deified ancestors. A modern term for “ancestor worship” is manism. Their name may mean the “kindly” or “goodly ones,” possibly an attempt to soothe and propitiate difficult spirits, sort of like hopefully addressing a snarling hound as, “Good doggy!” The goddess Mania presides over this host of infernal spirits.
The Manes were originally envisioned as the benevolent dead, who must be consistently propitiated to stop them from becoming the threatening dead like the Lemures. Manes eventually became a looser term, incorporating spirits associated with death like tomb and cemetery guardians in addition to dead souls.
Spirit allies: Mania and Ceres are venerated alongside the Manes.
Day: 24 August, the Roman Festival of Mania. On this day the cover that shielded the entrance to Hades was lifted so that the ghosts had easy access. Just to be on the safe side, however, the Manes are also traditionally honored and propitiated throughout the entire year.
Offerings: Beans, bread, eggs, honey, milk, oil, wine, and roses
See also: Ancestors; Ceres; Ghosts; Lemures; Mania
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.
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