Deverra

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Deverra was one of the gods that protected midwives and women in labor, the other two being Pilumnus and Intercidona.

She oversaw the brooms used to clean temples before different worship ceremonies, sacrifices, and festivities. She was represented with a broom used to sweep away bad forces.

Related article: Demons, Monsters, and Ghosts of the Italian Folklore

The ancient Romans believed that “the god Silvanus entered the houses at night and rested on the body of those who were sleeping and oppressed them with his weight.” Thus, to protect pregnant women from the god Silvanus, they invoked the protection of three deities: Intercidona, Pilumnus and Deverra. The ritual involved three men going around the door of the house in the night, beating the threshold with an axe (a tool connected to Intercidonia) and then with a pestle (a tool connected to Pilumnus), and finally sweeping it with a broom (a tool connected to Deverra), so as to ensure the protection of the house and prevent access to Silvanus.

The ritual of cleaning the threshold of the house, or room, in which a baby had been delivered was also performed in cases where there was a sick person inside or an individual had died there.

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