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.)
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.
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.