As I have blogged before, Wicca has been primarily my Path for the last 16 years that I am worshiping the Goddess and the God. Primarily because of the desire to associate myself with a formal religion that I have tread into the Craft of the Wise. The Wiccan Path is the most enlightening path for me; I have found a religion which would suit my devotion to the Goddess and the God that I revere, and this is Roman Paganism.
The Roman religion prior to the personification of the Gods was confined to the belief of the Numen. The Numen is the inherent spirits of the place, guarding individual objects, place, nature, the home, etc. Ancient Romans treat everything as if they are "alive" since everything has an intelligence. This is more similar to the Japanese concept of the Kami.
Roman Paganism is more appealing to me since the deities that I worship is in this Pantheon, so rather than becoming an eclectic Wiccan, I could directly follow the old religion which venerates the Gods that I revere. If you are a Wiccan worshiping Kali and Shiva, why not follow Hinduism so the worship becomes formal and more structured? Just my thoughts.
The structure of Roman Pagan religion is very rigid. They have the College of Priests, priests or flamens who handles services for the 15 deities with official cults. They also have a high priest called called pontifexes and sacerdos who holds the title as a priest of a specific temple. They have different priests for different deities and with different tasks and duties. They also have augurs who would "know"the will of the gods prior to any activity that the people are doing.
Another more complicated part of the ancient Roman religion is the variety of domestic gods that they venerate. Aside from the worship of Vesta as the Goddess of the Hearth, individual families give offerings to the household gods called the Lares and the Penates. The Penates are domestic gods and are always given offerings during meals or when doing anything connected to household work. They are given thanks and left food to ensure that things would go well. The Lares on the other hand are gods which oversee a specific place. They are also honored in houses and in some other places like the crossroads. They are bound to the place and would protect/bless anyone in the place as long as they are given the offerings. Manes on the other hand are ancestral spirits of the dead members of the family and would give their blessings and protection to the family itself. Unlike the Penates and the Lares who governs the place/house regardless who's in the area, the Manes is bound to the family and would move with the family where ever they are going.
With the concept of the Numen, the Lares, Penates and the Manes- everything in the Roman religion requires offerings and veneration especially if you want protection and your endeavor to be successful.
Magic in ancient Rome revolves on the use of Potions, charms and gemstones which are believed to possess certain characteristics that are given by the Gods. The most intriguing concept of Roman magic though is the division of the magic based on gender. Love magic is also divided into Eros and Philia, Philia which is commonly thought to be employed by women who were considered inferior socially during that time. The magic employ the same materials such as potions, amulets, etc and this is mainly directed to take control of men; a feat that would get power from those who dominated their patriarchal society. Eros on the other hand are employed by males who would give lust and affection to women.
There are still alot of things that I need to learn when it comes to the ancient Roman religion. Luckily there are revivalist groups like Nova Roma who aim to reconstruct the Old Roman religion in this modern day and age. They follow the Roman religious structure and revived the festivals that the Old religion celebrates. I hope I could practice it the way they did in the past.