|Lararium fresco from a tavern in Pompeii - on either side of the Lares is|
Mercury on the left and Bacchus on the right. Sacred snakes appear below.
Over three and a half years after I first set up my household shrine a few things have changed – one of the biggest changes is that after years of wariness of statues I now have a carefully chosen statue of Mercury on my shrine, for he is a God I particularly revere. Initially I held the notion that the household shrine, or lararium, should, to be consistent with the religious practices of ancient Romans, only honour household deities, but I have since come to realise that ancient Romans did not necessarily hold that view. Mary Beard writes:
"… one of the most distinctive and easily recognisable features of Pompeian houses is shrines that we now call by the Latin word lararium, shrine of the Lares or household Gods … some of these are quite elaborate affairs … But many others are much simpler … In many cases statuettes of Gods and Goddesses stood on the ledge or shelf of the lararium. Sometimes these depict the Lares themselves, but a much wider range of deities has been found … After the Lares, Mercury is the most popular divine subject, closely followed by Egyptian Gods … with Venus, Minerva, Jupiter and Hercules, in that order, coming next [M Beard, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town at 295-298]."Some hold that it is better to have a separate shrine to the household Gods (whom I invoke as “spirits of the household” during the shrine ritual) as distinct from any other Gods one wishes to especially honour, but I live in a small home and it is not practical to have separate shrines. I am very happy with my modest multi-deity shrine.