The adoration (Greek: Khaire, Latin: Adoratio) is a form of saluting done to a divinity, performed to demonstrate one’s veneration. It is performed when saluting a deity, or when approaching or passing by a temple, a statue of a deity, an altar, a grave, or other sacred places such as the hearth, the lararium, and so on (Burkert 1985, 75).
How to perform adoration
Your right index finger and thumb together, and are brought to the lips and they are softly touched with a kiss; then the right arm tends forward in greeting and/or touches the sacred image (Titus Livius, “Ab Urbe Condita”, V, 22, 4) (Minucius Felix, “Octavius”, II, 4). A short and simple prayer may also be uttered (Burkert 1985, 75).
If you prefer to make things more solemn (especially when you are about to offer a more solemn sacrifice, or when you approach a relative’s grave), one should have their head covered. The covering of the head, which is a way of paying respect to the Gods on more solemn occasions (e.g., while offering sacrifice, entering a temple, etc). Plutarch writes that it is done as a means of “humbling themselves by concealing the head, or rather by pulling the toga over their ears as a precaution lest any ill-omened and baleful sound from without should reach them while they were praying” (Plutarch Roman Questions, 10) and to symbolize “by the covering of the head the covering and concealment of the soul by the body” (Plutarch Roman Questions, 10).
With your head covered, approach object (altar, statue, lararium, grave, etc). Then take your right hand to your lips for a kiss and rotate all your body. Your rotation finishes in your original position facing the sacred spot, so that you can proceed with your ritual.
You may also wish to adore in an even more elaborate way when you approach an altar. You may encircle the altar and then stop before the altar. Then you may bring your hand to your lips and rotate, as instructed above.
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Nova Roma. “Adoratio.” NOVA ROMA Dedicated to the restoration of classical Roman religion, culture and virtues. Accessed August 17, 2017. http://www.novaroma.org/nr/Adoratio.
Felix, Marcus Minucius, and John Henry. Freese. The Octavius of Minucius Felix. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919
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Plutarch. “Roman Questions.” Sir Thomas Browne. Accessed August 18, 2017. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/plutarch/moralia/roman_questions*/a.html.
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