Textual Arachne

A weaver of threads.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Setting the tone

FAQ bit: Pagans who follow a semi-Celtic calendar have eight holidays; solstices, equinoxes, and the 'quarter-days', which roughly split the time between solstice/equinox. Those often go by Imbolc (February), Beltain (May), Lammas (August), and Samhain (October).

The solstices and equinoxes are the holidays that I remember to celebrate even when I'm slacking off. There are a few years where I've been a "Beltain and Solstice pagan", a la Christmas and Easter Christians. But in the last three years, I've begun taking them more seriously and finding ways to celebrate and ponder their place in the wheel of the year.

One of these ways is half-charm, half-resolution. I believe that the manner in which I conduct the day of the equinox/solstice sets the tone for the next quarter of the year. It's not a matter of foreseeing, or even of casting a ritual for the time to come. It's closer to a resolution; a new beginning; a "getting up on the right side of the bed" for the next three months.

So I'll plan to be productive, or caring, or silent, or academic, or self-pampering for the day, and consciously invoke that side of me for the near future. I construct the way I want the next three months to be, and spend the day acting as the 'condensed version' of that time.

However, it's starting to apply to things that I don't plan. One Winter Solstice I fasted all day, planning to feast in the evening...but absentmindedly snacked on some chocolate about half an hour before the fast would have been complete. And the next quarter was very much defined by being very self-disciplined...except when I forgot. Or the equinox I planned to be superproductive and instead got sick, but fought it off by the end of the night. A kind of instant lesson in self-care.

Why am I thinking of this now? It's high summer, and the Summer Solstice is a holiday I always end up forgetting or paying less attention to. Winter, Spring, no problem. Summer? Things are big and growing! Why sit still and meditate? And it's sunny, and warm, how about if we just rest? Thus, my summer solstice dedication is often cut short to spend time enjoying myself. And true to form, my summer is often full of comfy, unproductive but pleasant lazing around.

This has me thinking. The summer holidays, the summer points on the wheel, are the hardest ones to remember to celebrate. Every day seems like a celebration, and remembering the wheel of the year is to remember that we will fall back into cold again. I've never celebrated Lammas, for example. In the middle of joy, it's tough to remember not only that it won't last forever, but that it is a natural gift of the world.

Lady, let me be able to praise you in the time of plenty as well as in the darkness.


At 7:54 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

As my tradition would respond: amen v'amen!

(Or, in a different vernacular altogether: Word.)

At 7:55 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

As my tradition would respond: amen v'amen!

(Or, in a different vernacular altogether: Word.)altogether: Word.)


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