In ancient Rome, May 9 through 11 was Lemuria. This was a time of great consequence and set aside to appease the spirits of the household dead, who were believed to be particularly active during the month of May. It seems that the most terrifying of the wandering apparitions were those of children who had died young, because they apparently harbored ill feelings for the living. The head of the household would rise at midnight and make the mana fico sign (the thumb between the middle of the closed fingers). He would then walk barefoot through the house and scatter black beans as a ransom so ghosts or spirits would leave the other household members alone. Otherwise, they might be carried off.
Little is known of the public rites that took place at this time, except that all state affairs were in abeyance, no battles were fought, no business was conducted, and no marriages were contracted. It is, however, believed that the sacrifices made to Mania (mother of the Lares) on May 11 might have been part of the Lemuria, because Mania was a Goddess of death.
Protection Bag Items
A small black bag; one each of the following stones: cat’s eye, flint, jet, obsidian, olivine, and onyx; 10 black beans; one black votive candle (in a holder).
Light the votive candle. Chant the following as you place the stones in the bag one at a time:
To any who shall cause me harm,
Your powers I now disarm.
Place the bag full of stones next the candle. Allow the candle to burn out. Carry the bag in your purse or brief case, or place it near the main entrance of your home.