Purity gods

Lenus Mars, the primary deity of the Treveri, is a deity of health and wellness. Lenus was the protector of the Treveri themselves, and ended up with a healing portfolio due to His association with hot springs that were said to have healing properties. He's characterized as defending against wounds and injury in addition to defending the civitas.

Venus Cloacina, on the other hand, is Etruscan but comes to us by way of the Romans, and started off as the spirit of a waterway that eventually turned into Rome's main sewer. She accrued more responsibilities over time, eventually ending up as a goddess of cleanliness, filth and sex within marriage.

Deities of health are complex, but Lenus Mars and Venus Cloacina aren't as dissimilar as they appear. In fact, the ways in which they are different complement each other fairly well, and I'd like to present them both as candidates for being given cult.

They both deal with purification, cleanliness and good health as well as disease. Both are sort of distasteful in the sense that they deal with things that trigger our disgust reflex, pus and blood for one and urine and excrement for the other. All these are elements that are profaned and made dirty by the fact that they've left our bodies; as such, both deities also deal with the concept of purity.

Both are both agent and means but in differing proportions. Cloacina allows the filth to be vanquished, makes it vanquishable. Lenus, on the other hand, actively does the vanquishing, at least partially through ablution. Even though both are about health, only Lenus is about the physical healing process itself. He limits His healing to the boundaries of the flesh, to physical wounds and infirmities. Cloacina, on the other hand, is about prevention of disease and dirt. As such, She's also the deity of cleaning your environment, of hygiene. If Lenus is the disinfectant, Cloacina is the sterile gauze.

Another big difference is the moral dimension that attaches to Cloacina. Being injured or diseased doesn't carry any stigma for Lenus, but Cloacina's role of being the patron of "sex within the marriage" suggests that Romans had a concept of fluid bonding, that bodily fluids being exchanged could bring impurity with them. You could easily make a case that She should be petitioned to 'cure' not only infidelity but also its effects.

If health and wellness are important to you, if cleanliness is important to you, adopting one or both of these deities into your hearth cult could make a big difference.


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