The title of this post should probably have been, "Whoops, what happened to Samhain?", as weeks have gone by and I've failed to write about it. I know what happened to Samhain - it fell on the 30th of April for us in the Southern Hemisphere. Despite knowing it was coming, I couldn't really get in the mood. On the day, I lit a black candle for my dead, said their names, read some poems aloud and meditated, and that was that. It didn't feel like a dark and intuitive time, the veil didn't appear to lift, and most people I mentioned "Australian Halloween" to looked at me with great bewilderment.
My lunchtime view on day of writing, under an unseasonably warm Autumn sun.
Last year, just before the Summer Solstice, I set about a blog project in which I intended to catalogue my experiences of working with the Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year. We're not quite halfway through, but I think the results have been a little lacklustre. To put it bluntly, I am struggling to make any meaningful connections, particularly to the cross-quarter days. I've griped about all of this before, so I won't bore you today, but I will say that I've discovered that imposing a European, nature-based system of Sabbats upon my life - even when corrected for Hemisphere - is just not working. I'm uninspired by this project!
So, what to do? In short, I'm going rogue.
I'm devising my own calendar of celebrations and sabbats, subject to constant change, evolution, and experimentation. I'll keep the Solstices, and maybe the Equinoxes, and to that, I propose adding a few days of my own, days on which I can celebrate the luminaries who inspire me, or remind myself of energies that I seek to cultivate. I'm beginning to suspect that I'm a chaote at heart!
Pamela Colman-Smith's Birthday, 16th February.
A day to celebrate the craft and community that Pixie was so instrumental in creating.
David Hockney's Birthday, July 9th.
A celebration of colour and creativity, a reminder that art transforms the way we see.
Mary Oliver's Birthday, September 10th.
A reminder to be in awe of the natural world and the written word.
The World Series, Late October.
Because baseball is holy. May the goddess have mercy upon the Giants this year!
Our Lady of Guadalupe's Feast Day, December 12th.
A celebration of the goddess, with a tip of the hat to my Catholic roots, and both of my wicked Catholic grandmothers.
No doubt, as I play with this, there will be days added and removed, and rituals invented, cemented, and discarded. I suspect the main problem I will encounter with this system will be lack of community, but let's face it, I couldn't get anyone to celebrate Australian Halloween with me so this won't be much different! At heart, anyway, I am a solitary practitioner.
Want to play?
If you, too, have been struggling to connect with traditional pagan celebrations, I encourage you to join me! Perhaps you'd like to add Talk Like a Pirate Day to your spiritual calendar, or to bake a cake for Martha Stewart's birthday? Consider who or what makes the turning of your world a little more joyful, and celebrate it with a ritual, a festival, a feast of your own devising.
A final note, before I go off to make my new calendar. It is not my intention to trivialise the traditional Wheel of the Year or disrespect those who follow it. Just as those who observe the Sabbats find deep meaning in doing so, I seek to find my own, personal meaning in the passing of the year. Let's respectfully do our own thing, side by side!
On that note, do let me know - what do you celebrate throughout the year? Are there any unorthodox or invented festivals or observances in your calendar? Any suggestions for dynamite spiritual holidays or rituals?
Leave me a comment below or come say hi on Twitter!