Calendars or, my year at a glance (the Pagan Experience week 8)

Wk 4- Feb. 23- Any writing for the letters C or – I am keeping this familiar format on week 4 for those who have joined me from the Pagan Blog Project.

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I’ve got two calendars running through the year, here. One is the secular calendar. The second is a localized form of the Athenian calendar. Localized because I do not use the Hellenic Months Established Per Athens (or HMEPA) but rather, I use the Hellenic Months Establised Per Oregon (or HMEPO)  My months roughly synch up with the HMEPA months, but the start dates are set to the New Moon for my region, not for Athens.

Why do I used the Athenian months? Pure and simple: there’s always one month (sometimes two!) named for Poseidon. I wish that, in the beginning, I would have done like Hellenic Temple of Zeus, Apollon, and Pan does and name the months for the festivals I observed, but then most would be named Poseidon and that would be confusing! Nowadays, the Athenian months are simply familiar to me, so I keep them. But, as you’ll see, I pick and choose which ones I even acknowledge, and mostly it’s just that I know the festival or holy day in question is a part of that month, and not that the month means anything to me outside of that.

Because the path I’m on is a living, breathing, changing thing, I do like to revisit my religious calendar from time to time, to see what works, what doesn’t, what needs to be tweaked. Because 2015 is the year of Writing All the Things (three books, with a forth getting print ready is the goal), I’m letting myself off the hook with a lot of these — which is rather a good thing as I’m getting back to my center. Daily devotion — that is, bringing myself back on a daily basis to the center from which I lead my life — trumps monthly- and extended-Family devotion. This is a good reminder, a necessary reminder.

In the past, Beth and I have tried a number of things. We’ve tried being sticklers about dates (and sometimes we are). We’ve tried observing cross-quarter days on their astrological times rather than the calendar times. We’ve moved things around. We’re not interested in what something looks like so much as we’re interested in things working. We do what works for us. It’s our tradition, after all. And, her particular calendar will look a bit different from mine, because there are things she observes which I do not, and vice verse. So, this is me, mine.

Around January 1st we celebrate 12th Night. Because Yule proper does not happen on the same date from year to year, this is just an approximation. Because this is the end of Yule (though far from the end of Hunt Season for us) 12th Night is pretty relaxed. It’s immediate-family only. If I’m going to do any runecasting for the year to come, I do it on this night, and if I’m going to make any oaths for the coming year (Write All The Things!) this is when I make them.

Also sometimes in January, sometimes in February, I honor Poseidon Phytalmios. As mentioned previously, this is impossible to pin down. It happens when it happens.

Theogamia falls in the month of Gamelion, which corresponds with January/February, depending on when the extra month falls. This year, in my calendar, Theogamia falls on the 16th/17th of February. Here I mark the marriage of Zeus and Hera.

February 2nd is Ewemolc or Imbolc. We tend toward Ewemeolc here in our home, because sheep and fleece and spinning! This is a more labor-intensive day for Beth, granted, but it’s one I look forward to every year (and with Fiberwytch’s ever growing armory of spinning tools to cleanse, anoint, bless, thank, and pay homage to, one that I suspect I’ll help out with more and more)

February 2nd-3rd is our Feast for a Fallen King which Beth wrote about quite nicely a few years back.

February 9th marks my wedding anniversary. (When I exchanged vows, I was using the Athenian calendar exclusively, and that date fell upon Anthesterion 8th. I go back and forth about when I want to observe it, often making a small moment of it on both days. Due to unfortunately associations, February 8th is right out the window. I’ll admit that I like to observe it most on whichever day happens to be sooner, that year. I’m female. I can do that.

I’m not planning on doing much for Anthesteria this year beyond holding it in my mind — though I did last year and that felt off. This year the dates fall in the beginning of March. (My Sacred Marriage Triad is all off this year, thanks to Poseideon II!) My observance of this three day festival is pretty pick-and-choosey, admittedly. I honor Hermes and the dead, and I honor Dionysos and Ariadne/the Basilinnas, and I pretty much forgo all the vintner bits of the festival. It’s a ceremonial nod toward a day of the dead for e, as this is still thick in our Hunt Season, and in our household, the Veil is only ever gauzy anyway.

Bolverk’s Day is on March 17th. In our household we honor Bolverk and Gunnlod. We celebrate the creation of the Mead of Poetry, and the gift Odin makes of it to the gods (and inadvertantly, the world.)

We honor Idunna and Bragi at Ostara (March 20th this year).

We honor Loki on the 1st of April — though without tricks or foolery. I hate April Fool’s Day as such, but being able to honor Loki on this day turns it into something nice.

Sigrblot is on the 6th of April.

Poseidon Hippios is honored on the 8th, or on the day closest to the 8th on which I do not have to work.

We honor Jord on Earth Day because it fits.

Walpurgisnacht is the beginning of the “end” of Hunt Season for us. This observation has altered, sadly, as time goes on. Once we used to climb to the top of Spencer’s Butte, the tallest point in our valley . . . and then we made adjustments . . . and now the physical labor and the being away from home when we’re needed here make that aspect of this day not possible. So, we make a feast, and we celebrate and we are grateful for what the Hunt Season brings us, and what it leaves us with. We celebrate survival.

May Day on the 5th of May signals the end of the Hunt Season proper. Hunt Season is (and especially for Beth) is an on-duty season. It’s not about holy days and festivals and rituals. It’s about being on-call 24/7, not to Odin-her-Husband but to Odin, Lord of the Host. This is true for me, to a much, much smaller degree.

May 19th Queen Anne Bolyen’s Day. We apparently really go in for the somber days. May 19th marks the anniversary of Queen Anne’s execution. We honor her memory with a pilgrimage to our local rose garden, where we leave offerings for her, read aloud prayers and poems we find and people send us. Queen Anne is one of Beth’s disir, a group of spirits we call The Queens, though over time she’s become an important figure in my life, as well. There is much to admire about Anne Bolyen.

June 19th-21st is a three day festival/workfest that centers around our local Sheep and Wool festival. Because there is no demarcation between “secular” and “religious” life for us — it’s all life!! — this is both religiously focused and a lot of mundane work. We kick the weekend off with a libation to Frigga and Poseidon. (Not so much in conjunction with one another as one and also this other one.)  Then we shop like mad for the store. We psych ourselves up for the Fleece Show. We get what we need. We come home. We start washing the heel out of fleeces. We prayer for a sunny day (not yet a given in our neck of the woods by this time).

Vigil for the Bulls runs July 6th-14th. This is my “counter-Yule” festival that coincides with the Paplona’s famous Running of the Bulls.  This is  one of my “working” festivals – it’s largely about being present and being aware and offering healing, about aligning oneself on purpose with suffering and offering what one can. It’s many nights of libations, sacrifice, blood, and, at the end, funerary rites — by the river when I can, at home at our hearth shrine when I can’t. Honored here are Poseidon, the Dioskoroi, Dionysos, Indra, and, of course, the Bull.

Aphrodisia falls on July 22nd

The full moon of August I honor my first meeting with Poseidon, and I hail Him as Poseidon Salibureous.  In August I also honor Poseidon of the Ponds. Ideally on the 8th of the month, but it’s really whatever date ends up working for me to get my butt to either the Delta Ponds or part of the Wetlands. We also generally do something, albeit small, for Lammas.

By September we’re gearing up for the “work months” to start again. We celebrate our birthdays (Beth’s is the 22nd, mine is the 24th, and we generally do a three day celebration. Please note that by celebration we generally mean movie-watching marathon, bookstore browsing, a meal out at one of our favorite cafes, and possibly too much wine. We’re mellow that way) (oh, and also cake). On Sept 29th  we mark Winterfinding as well as Valfather’s Day. In years past this would also be Feast of Treats but we moved that to Samhain proper. In our tradition, this is when the Hunt starts to gather. Oh, they’re here and there throughout the year, but this is when it starts to be about business again.

October brings us Samhain. We’ve gone back and forth with this one, too — because honoring our Beloved Dead is . . .  not complicated, exactly. But there’s our immediate family, and our extended family, and one is more relaxed/intimate, and the other is more formal. (Not formal, really, just more so in comparison-to). So, we mark Samhain with the Feast of Treats in honor of our Beloved Animal dead (read: immediate family) and then either later in the day or on November 1st we hold a Dumb Supper for our Beloved Human dead (read: less-immediate family). Samhain also kicks off for real-for real the start of the Hunt Season for us.

November 11th is Einhenjar Day.

And then, December!

December 4th is Beth’s wedding anniversary. December 6th is St. Nicholas’ feast day (or, as I like to call him, Poseidon Nikolaos) which I’ve adopted as a celebration of Poseidon for reasonsDecember 7th is Tulya’s E’en – a Scandinavian folk holiday in which all the trolls are thought to be released from underground; a good time to sain (bless/smudge) property and dwellings) prior to the dangerous nights of Yule. December 13th is Lussinata. The day before the Solstice is Modranacht, and then it’s Yule. In our tradition Yule and Poseidea have become largely one in the same. Poseidon has taken an active role in the Hunt (and considering the purpose behind the Hunt, as we see it, and the involvement of horses in the Hunt, I’m not terribly surprised).

Not listed above are things like Hekate’s Deipnon, at the dark moon of each month, which I mark in my own way. In my understanding, Hekate is not important to *me*, but She is important to Poseidon, and I keep this day because He asks me to do so. I’m fond of Her, and I like to think She is fond of me, as well, but I can’t say no to Poseidon when He says, “Hey, honor this One, She matters to Me.”, and the Full Moons which are Working Days but not really holidays.

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paganexperience

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3 thoughts on “Calendars or, my year at a glance (the Pagan Experience week 8)

  1. Wow. pretty amazing calendar. I was happy to see I matched on one thing – on the dark of the moon I do a ritual for Hermes and Hekate. 🙂

    This makes me mindful that should I ever have the grace wave to be able to retire there will be space for me to consider putting more on my calendar for these oh so gracious Gods and Goddesses in my life.

  2. Pingback: Calendar, or, my religious year | The Serpent's Labyrinth

  3. Pingback: My Personal Religious Calendar (The Pagan Experience) | Wytch of the North

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