Holy Daze, er, Days

Photo by Chuntera

As far as the Holy Days are concerned, I find them falling into three categories: seasonal celebrations, lunar celebrations, and dates chosen for some other significance.

Like most folks of a Paganish persuasion, I follow the Gardner/Nichols eight-fold calendrical creation for the major seasonal festivals. I like the structure it provides and the celebrations, for the most part, resonate pretty well with me and the land I’m living in. Since I work mainly with OBOD-style ritual for these High Days, I toss in some fancy Welsh names for the astronomical celebrations, but aside from that, the symbolism is pretty much the same.

But, as many others have noted, the dates for the cross quarters (Samhain, Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnassah) do not necessarily coincide very well with North American geography. One of my goals this year, then, has been to try to notice the changes in the natural world which herald the seasonal shifts here in New England. This is a work in progress, but so far I have some typical signs for the beginning of Winter, Spring, and Summer at least. Next year I hope to be less tied to the calendar for these holidays, and better able to celebrate them when the signs are right.

The lunar celebrations that I mark are full and dark moons, and through my kung-fu practice, lunar new year (aka Chinese New Year). The bi-monthly observations usually have me focusing on the ancestral animal tribes, journey work, and spellcraft. These lunar rites are more personally oriented, where as the seasonal festivals are more community centered. I find this strikes a nice balance, simultaneously letting me be both socially connected yet continuing to develop my personal practice (lunar new year is obvious exception, being a more community-oriented event).

Lastly, there are a couple of modern holidays that I like to observe for my own quirky reasons. The first of these is Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5th, which marks the end of my Samhain observances. Then there are relatively normal holidays like Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day, where I like to try to at least give the divine mothers and fathers a nod of thanks. And, to honor my Discordian streak, I partake of a bunless hotdog on a random Friday, in remembrance of the Original Snub. And of course, there’s Gourdfest, the ultimate gateway drug to paganism.

Just remember kids, if it starts raining cheese at any of these rituals, you probably screwed up.


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