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The Faces of Fortuna

RHYS SAGE | FEATURES



Fortune and luck have always been things that people have wanted – whatever form of luck they so required. As such the Goddess Fortuna has been compartmentalised into many different aspects or faces of fortune. It’s rather interesting to see that these people so many years ago were simply asking for similar things that we are. It’s almost like they’re so close to us but so many things have changed. They’re just like you and me – they’ve felt what we’ve felt and know what it means to be human. I think that sometimes we forget that history was built from people’s bones and not just a story we tell.

Fortuna Annonaria brought the luck of the harvest.

  • Everyone needs a nice meal and the harvest would determine the meals to come and the money that was needed to live. However, even in our contemporary society people still starve and hunger still plagues the masses even with our “superior” techniques. I guess access to food will always be the first necessity and the easiest thing for leaders to manipulate. If only Fortuna could feed us all with her cornucopia.

Fortuna Belli the fortune of war.

  • Conscripting the public and sending them off to fight has been the pastime of many civilisations. Sometimes war is a brutal necessity, but we still have this desire to maintain control through martial practices. If anything, the wars in modern life have become worse and worse – until we have had wars that were not really wars but more a threat of war. The subjugation of people, the erasure of someone’s existence. I think many people have hoped that Fortuna likes us more than the people we’re fighting.

Fortuna Redux brought one safely home.

  • When the world is open and travel is allowed,people will walk free – they’ll explore and spread out, finding nooks and crannies that they wouldn’t and couldn’t find otherwise. However, eventually everyone has to come home, wherever that may be. They walk the miles or they take a ship or a plane. It’s the way your feet seem to just take you home. Fortuna favours the travellers and their return.

Fortuna Publica the fortune of the people.

  • Individual people require luck as do the larger groups of bodies they make up. They require the luck that they won’t be killed by a Roman spear or an officers’ bullet when they walk down the street. They require the ability to feed their family, to hold a stable job, to be loved and to give love freely, to be who they are without scrutiny. Fortune for the people is hard because it is the accumulation of a thousand needs, of so many people and their own wants and deeds. Fortune for the people is fought for because Fortuna favours that everyone should be free.

Fortuna Liberum protected children and brought them luck.

  • Everyone wants to protect their children and this was no different in the past. Children are always going to be vulnerable and they are usually protected by the family, the state and apparently the gods. The children are the future. Maybe once it was because they carried on a house name or retained the family fortune, but it is also because they are our legacy. They are what will be when we are nothing but dust and memories. The way a newborn cries and the way they smile with eyes wide – even today we can see the magic in that. Honestly, it would be helpful if Fortuna decided to babysit once in a while.

Fortuna Primigenia directed the fortune of a firstborn child at the moment of birth.

  • Specifically, there’s always been a thing about firstborn children – something about them inheriting the family legacy, blah, blah, blah. In the past especially, newborn children rarely survived into adulthood and even today newborns are particularly vulnerable. But the first child is a marker - it is a change of what was into what will be. It is as Ovid so loved a metamorphosis of sorts. Fortuna knows that the firstborn child is a line that once crossed one can never return from.

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