After learning about Vayu, the Romani wind god, in my poem by Valdemar Kalinin, I was curious to learn a little more about Romani spirituality. I know that religious beliefs vary among Romani, some being Christians while there being other religious practiced as well. I know that Romanies ultimately originate from India, and that being one of the reasons that they believe in a wind god because it relates to Hinduism- a prominent religion in India. However, I was a little shocked to find that some believe that “Romanies have no religion” upon reading up on radoc.net. “It is not difficult to understand why outside observers were uniformly convinced that Romanies have no religion. Apart from there being no tangible evidence—a sacred text, a temple or a priest for example—Romani society is tightly closed to outsiders, considerably reducing the opportunity to observe cultural behavior at close quarters. Ethnographers attempting to enter Romani households report being kept at arm’s length by various means, even by being met at the door with feigned epileptic seizures or frightening explosions of profanity” (http://www.radoc.net/radoc.php?doc=art_b_history_romanireligion&lang=en&articles=true)
Romani spirituality is alive and well, despite those who deny it. There is connection with Greek deities, as two deities, one named Vayu (the god of the wind and air). One of the sayings about Vayu is “Our Vayu flies under everyone’s petticoats, and no one can catch him” (radoc.net). There is also a female spirit of fates called the vursitorja, which hover for three days after a child is born to determine its destiny and to influence the choice of name the parents will decide upon.
The Romani practice of Ayuredic shows similarities to the Indian caste system, and is central to Romani ritual purity. “The Ayurvedic concept of ritual purity and ritual pollution, so central to Romani belief, existed in the 11th century caste system and continue to exist today; thus members of the same jati (sub-caste) may eat together without risk of contamination, for example, but will become polluted if they eat with members of other jati; and because the jatis of one’s associates might not always be known, contact between the mouth and the various utensils shared with others at a meal is avoided, just to be on the safe side” (radoc.net). Romani spirituality and practices are still seen being practiced, but many Romani practice Western religions like Islam, Christianity, and Islam. I plan to use Romani spirituality, like some of the gods in my poem, as well as some of the practices because they are unique and historic.