Lady of Drains–#WitchBlogWed

Roman Drain header, blog of Juli D. Revezzo, by Charlesdrakew, from Wikipedia

If you’ve been paying attention to my blogs for a while, you know that we’ve been homeowners for quite a few years. Well, this week, we had a little maintenance to do. I’ve had this house for years now, and what came with it, but a disposal in the kitchen sink. Well, the stupid fan/blade/thing part (yes, I’m a writer. That doesn’t mean I know anything about disposals!) stopped working years ago and I’ve just dealt with having a strainer in that side of the sink. However, it still ends up getting clogged so that I end up with a mini-pool of a sink whenever I do the dishes. Quite irritating! I wonder how Victorian housewives had to deal with these things (no, no, no! Not another research obsession)!

We had a Roto-rooter guy come last year and snake it out. Because yes, the sink is built in such a way that the snake(s) we have in our toolbox wouldn’t do the trick. So, he cleaned it out and we’ve been okay for the year. 
(I’m getting to the mythological part of this, I swear, folks, bear with me!)
Er, not Venus Cloacina, but Venus nonetheless! This one’s
actually called Venus w/ a Mirror, and it’s by Titian. (1555)
This last month it’s been fouled up again. So, hubby finally just said “to heck with it” . He spent all Saturday yanking and tugging and cursing at the thing, but finally removed the disposal. And we have a proper, working sink again! All hail, oh Venus Cloacina, lady of drains!
Who? Venus Cloacina. She’s the goddess of the Roman sewers and a lady of purification…started out as a river goddess, then found herself equated with Venus. Okay… How does one equate sewers with purification, you ask?
Well, they say this version of Her keeps all the nasty stuff away from the city and away from our kitchens, so there. If you’ve ever seen any documentaries about Pompeii you’ll know, people did strange things back then like build the bathroom right next to the kitchen *wrinkles nose* and didn’t have any drainage out of the communal baths. *more wrinkling nose* So no doubt, veneration of this purification goddess might’ve been a good thing.
Did she actually  have a real shrine there? Well, I’ve seen drawings and engravings of such…so I’d say yes. And did they make offerings or whatnot? Not that I’ve seen in a short research it took to write this article. Plautus wrote a poem mentioning it, there was a truce enacted there between the Sabines and the Romans, and a Centurion stabbed his daughter there so he wouldn’t have to marry her off (or hand her off as spoils of war, as it were). Ugh.

You can read a bit about the goddess Venus Cloacina here, or here for more of, more sordid history, if you like.

And lest you think I’m off my rocker or just being a silly, superstitious witch, or a writer with an overactive imagination, let me share a personal story. Several years ago, a storm came through my hometown and took out the electricity, for two weeks straight. We’re always warned that in the case of such a storm, it’s good to have two weeks worth of drinking water on hand. Well…

We had running water, but guess what went with the electricity? The pumping station. That utility that pumps the water and waste out of homes. For two weeks, we could shower, we could wash dishes, we could fill our water glasses, but woe betide us if we let that water …go down the drains–or out the toilet.

You’re getting the picture, I hope. It’s one I’ve never, ever forgotten and hope never to have to experience again! So, personifying a goddess in charge of drains? Not so far fetched, is it? I can see how it came to be a thing for the Romans, a couple thousand years ago.

 But as long as Venus Cloacina keeps that kitchen sink drain running smoothly for me, I’ll be happy. 🙂

Thus ends my mini-lecture on Roman mythology, for now. Yes, I realize it’s an odd topic to blog about with Lughnasadh just passing us by (how did we get to August so soon?), but no doubt it’s, a straggler from the finishing up and releasing of FRIGGA’S LOST ARMY (which, yes, there is a connection to Pompeii in the book!), and it occurred to me while hubs was working on said-drains, this weekend. 🙂

The Roman Forum: Its History and Its Monuments by Christian Hülsen
Handbook for Rome and the Campagna edited by Norwood Young. (1908) Cloacina
The Roman Goddess of the Sewers
A Deity worth Veneration


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header photo by Charlesdrakew, from Wikipedia

Juli D. Revezzo is the author of the historical fantasy FRIGGA’S LOST ARMY, the Gothic fantasy romance LADY OF THE TAROT, now available in Audiobook from Audible and in ebook and paperback, MOURNING DOVE LOCKET, the latest in the Antique Magic paranormal series, also the Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series, as well as the Victorian Romance HOUSE OF DARK ENVY, among others. Her books are available at Amazon and elsewhere.