Main Gallery | World Goddess Oracle | Goddess Art | God Art | Tarot | Commissions | Patreon | Prints | Cards | Blog | Facebook | Obscure Goddess Online Directory

Deverra is a minor Roman Goddess Who protects a new mother and infant by driving evil spirits from the house in which the child was born. With the Goddess Intercidona and the God Picumnus, Deverra was invoked in a ritual to keep the wild forest spirits (later identified with Silvanus, the God of the wildwood Who symbolized the untamed forces of nature) from playing tricks on or otherwise harming the mother and her child.

Each Deity invoked in this ceremony presided over a specific tool that represented an important aspect or gift of civilization. The night after the birth, while the mother and her new child were inside in bed, three men ritually circled the house. The house itself can be seen as symbolic of the division between wild and tamed (or "domesticated", which after all comes from Latin domus, "house"), as a house at the most basic level is what separates indoors from outdoors. After walking around the house (which established and emphasized the boundaries between inside and outside), the men stopped at the door. The first man then struck the threshold with an axe to invoke the protection and blessings of Intercidona, whose name means "She Who Intervenes" or "She Who Demolishes". Intercidona, a Goddess who oversees the felling of trees and the shaping of timber, represents the forces of civilization that are used to clear fields for agriculture and to build houses. The second man then knocked on the threshold with a pestle, invoking Pilumnus (or Picumnus) who was especially believed to protect children and keep them from harm. His pestle (Latin pilum) represents the action of grinding grain into flour, from which bread is made. The third man then swept the threshold with a broom, invoking Deverra. Her name means "She Who Sweeps Away": the civilizing action performed has been alleged to be connected with the fact that grain in the storehouse is swept into piles with a broom; however I suspect the sweeping action is really a more general act of protection to "sweep" evil out of the house and purify the site.

This ritual to protect infants from the harm brought by the spirits of the wild has a lot in common with those used in Celtic lands, where the faeries were believed to kidnap babies from their cradles, leaving a sickly duplicate or changeling in its place. Iron was commonly used to repel the faeries—for example a pair of scissors could be hung by a cradle, or a knife placed under the pillow or bed. Like in the Roman ritual, which used an axe tapped on the threshold, iron was seen as a symbol of civilization and technology, something man-made that was hated by nature spirits.

Also called: Deuerra.