Calendars

greenbgGiven that it’s still (sort of) the beginning of the year, we’ve been talking about calendars a lot over at the Cauldron forum.

For many Pagans, particularly of a Wiccan or Druid flavour, calendars are fairly straightforward. There are plenty of us, though, who do calendars differently – from Norse to Kemetic.

But I think it’s often assumed that Gaelic-influenced Pagans have an easy life with calendars. Isn’t it just the Wiccan holidays spelled a bit differently? (A question someone once actually asked me… *grin*) And it’s true that I have it relatively easy – I celebrate the four traditional Irish festivals, even if sometimes on slightly different dates from other Pagans, and I observe some of the others – particularly the Solstices. (I don’t really do the Equinoxes.)

Grianstad an Gheimhridh offerings

Grianstad an Gheimhridh offerings

But then there’s everything else I celebrate, and that’s where it gets complicated. When it comes to the Three Sisters of Munster, saints’ days are the best evidence we have for the dates/seasons when Lasair, Inghean Bhuidhe and Latiaran were honoured – but it gets complicated. Lasair, for example, has at least three different days that are called her saint’s days. In the end I’ve settled on days that seem to reflect these deities’ seasonal origins around Imbolc, Lá Bealtaine and Lá Lúnasa, but trying not to clash with those days either. So I’m currently dedicating 8th February to Lasair, 6th May to Inghean Bhuidhe, and 25th July to Latiaran.

Offerings for Lasair and Gobnait

Offerings for Lasair and Gobnait

St Gobnait‘s feast day is 11th February, and this year I spectacularly failed to remember it. But I celebrated her along with Lasair on the 8th. Given the merging of them in the myths, that felt sort of OK.

Then I’m trying to fill in the calendrical ‘gaps’ with other Gaelic and British traditions, old and new – little things like Wren Day on the 26th December, Oak Apple day on 29th May, St Patrick’s, Guy Fawkes night, and the New Moon as my monthly sacred day (ideally when I first see it myself). I’d like to find more traditions that I can celebrate, too. Having events to observe helps me keep my practice on track, rather than letting it slip until suddenly it’s been four weeks since I did anything and I’m really out of practice.

My next aim is to do more work on investigating and integrating Anglo-Saxon traditions and festivals, since my practice isn’t always very responsive to the land where I currently live.

And, in the end, these are just opportunities to honour my gods. Which I want to do more of.

Bhearra doesn’t have a traditional day – if she ever did, it’s been lost in the mists of time. I make a nod to her on Latha na Callich – it’s really a day for her Scottish sisters, but it’s something. Mostly, though, she’s not a spirit who can be caged by holy days and calendars. She is always present, out in the wild, her form a little different on each day of the year. The early spring storms and south-westerly winds are her restlessness, at the moment, as winter struggles with spring and the land wakes up. She’ll bring the spring growth soon, and then the planting, growth and harvest are hers, as much as they also belong to the Three Sisters.

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3 thoughts on “Calendars

  1. I have to agree re: Cailleach Bherra. I never really felt like there was a singular “day” I could really define as Her “festival day”; a shot of scotch or whiskey when the snow fell always seemed to work.

    (Until uh, it started snowing here too much this winter and I like my liver living, thanks. :) )

    • I don’t think of her as just a winter goddess – in Beara she’s more of a weather, land and fertility goddess – so I’m more inclined to celebrate her around Latha Ni Callich, when the spring storms are going haywire. But really any weather weirdness has her stamp on it, so snow is good too! When we got stuck in a sudden unexpected snowstorm last year, it had her fingerprints all over it. :)

  2. At the moment I seem to be coming across many people who are moving away from the Wiccan / Druid wheel as established Gardner and Ross-Nicholls in the 70’s (I think?) I tend to celebrate the festivals with my grove but often find there are points between that seem as or more significant in terms of changes in nature, the weather or just to me on my spiritual path than set points in the solar calendar or the gaelic festival days. I also honour days of importance to my deities- Gwyn’s ritual battle with Gwythyr on Mayday, his feast on Sept 29th, Samhain / Nos Calan Gaeaf and Mid-Winter, and Beltane as sacred to Bel and Belisama my local river goddess (clash!).

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