Mane, Lare, and Lasa 1

Ciao a tutti,


Lately, I’ve been getting into some wonderful discussions regarding the “spirits and spirit allies” that we work with as part of the various Italic Craft Traditions.


What is interesting is that there is a whole host of information out there.  Some of it agrees and sometimes it contradicts itself. I think that it may have to do, at least partially, with culture, change over hundreds of years, and language drift.


Here is some information that I have. It’s mostly from oral lore but I thought that it might be of interest.


First, the spellings seem to vary quite widely and I’ve seen them all as both masculine and feminine with little regard to actual grammar rules  That’s the Sicilians for you.  :-)


Mane/Mani – generically, the Mane are the spirits of the dead – specifically the human dead and not animals.  Although the term refers to any human dead, the Ancestors are generally put into the category of the Lare with “the dead who aren’t ours” considered Mane and “potentially” malevolent. Mind you, I say potentially because the belief was that “other people” could be a problem if you didn’t know the proper way to interact with them and that might cause offense to which might cause an issue.


Lar/Lare – the general term for “domestic spirits” in the sense of those spirits who are beneficially attached to a household or people. This would include the household/family ancestors as well as any nature spirits with which the family had set up a working relationship (house spirits, spirits of field and stream, etc.). The interesting this about the Ancestors is that there is a practical difference between how many native Italians/Sicilians work with them versus the decedents of immigrants in the USA. In the USA, people tend to work with specific ancestors but honor ALL the ancestors as a general concept while many natives tend to restrict their Ancestor focus to only a few (maybe 3 – 6) generations back.


Lasa/Lase/Il Lasa – general term for the spirits which included the elemental, nature spirits (not associated with a specific family or people), the genus of a place, and La Buona Gente (La Bella Gente, The Shinning Ones, The Grey Ones, The Good Neighbors, etc.).  Basically, spirit entities that in modern terms would be considered “on a different evolutionary track than humans”.


Do you have any info that you’d like to share?










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One thought on “Mane, Lare, and Lasa

  • Enzo

    My friend Edouard pointed out that in his studies, “the Manes were not often feared. They were considered benevolent. The spirits who could harm were the Lemures, among whom were the people who had died and who had no burial, the criminals, etc….”

    Yes, the Lemures were the restless dead. I suppose that I see the Mane containing all the dead (people) so the Lemure would be a specific type of Mane. Food for thought! Was there one word for the generic but benevolent dead and another for the malevolent (Lemures) and a third for all dead? Anyone? Anyone?