Levana – The Lifter
Levana has dominion over newborn babies. Her name refers to a Roman birth ritual:
The mother placed the brand new baby on the ground.
The father could acknowledge paternity (or not) by lifting the baby or not.
The Roman paterfamilias ruled his family like a god. He could acknowledge and claim a child or he could deny the child his home or have it abandoned and exposed to face virtual certain death. Levana’s name derives from the Latin verb levare, “to lift up” as in levitate or elevate. Levana is the spirit who lifts up the baby; the paterfamilias performs the ritual but he is the proxy for Levana.
With the abolition of Roman religion, Levana faded into obscurity. She is the subject of Thomas de Quincey’s prose poem, “Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow.” According to de Quincey, Levana only reveals her face in dreams.
Women may invoke Levana to instill paternal instincts into the fathers of their children.
- Roman Mythology
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.