I have seen a few Youtube videos regarding the Week 4 topic. I love seeing how others plan out their years – there are so many different calendars out there for Pagan/Polytheist folks – one of my good friends even follows the Catholic liturgical calendar, which I learned has quite a lot more too it than the Protestant year I grew up with.
I am afraid that my year is fairly standard and boring in comparison. I follow the Celto-Wiccan style Wheel – Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Litha, Lughnassad, Mabon, Samhain and Yule.
Imbolc is coming up in less than a week. Through most of my practise, Imbolc has been a holiday that I only really observed by buying flowers or a little crocus plant, and maybe some divination. This is mainly because on the coast, there are usually cherry blossoms starting already by February. By the last couple of weeks of the month, spring is in full force.
Since I have moved to frozen Calgary, recognizing a warmth and fire holiday when you are in the midst of a winter that feels like it will never end has really grown in importance in my life. This year I am fasting for four days before hand (due to an unrelated medical test), and I will be doing some intense meditation and divinations as well as reading some myths to my little ones by candle light. The morning of Imbolc will see us making fairy wands so the kids can run through the snow in the back yard jingling to wake up the earth.
In March, our little family will be celebrating Ostara while in the middle of a vacation to the coast, so there will be much beach time, and picking of wild flowers. We might even get together with cousins for an egg hunt.
Beltane falls on May first, though the festivities usually begin the night before. In previous years we have had a fire in the fire pit, but our current house doesn’t have a pit in the yard, so I am going to have to get creative. I might buy a portable one now that I have a paying job again. Fire is the big symbol of Beltane. For a family, I think that that may mean barbeque!
Then Litha, the festival of flowers and fruit. I love this one, and my little girl does too. I doubt we will have a lot of access to wildflowers this year (townhouses tend not to have big gardens), but we can still picnic in the park and make flower crowns.
Lughnassadh has been a tough festival for me since I have had to live gluten-free. The festival of wheat and bread is complicated when you can’t really partake. Flat breads usually work out pretty well with gluten-free flours, so we may just end up making this the feast of pizza this year.
In Canada, Thanksgiving is usually on or around October 13th, so Mabon is like Thanksgiving lite. It centers around food and harvest themes. Last year we had an actually autumn so we got to collect leaves on our long evening walks. That was fun. The weather will really determine our celebrations.
Last year the kids were finally old enough for trick or treating, so we had a small Halloween, and discovered that much of the neighbourhood doesn’t trick or treat at all. It made me a little sad for the older folks who go all out, but never get trick or treaters. I will be making sure that we go out so that they can have some kids at their houses to appreciate the decorations and candy.
For me, Samhain is about remembrance and ancestors. I meditate on those I have loved and lost, and leave offerings for them. And I make soup. No specific reason, really, I just always feel moved to make soup at Samhain.
Most years, Samhain leads right into NaNoWriMo, so I am SUPER busy through all of November. Then we have Yuletide which tends to keep me busy for the rest of the year.
Our Yule has a short candle vigil on the longest night (since I usually can’t, for mundane reasons, stay up all night), and then it is very much a secular Christmas with as much Pagan imagery as I can get – the stag is a big figure in our house. Snowmen are the kids favourites so we always have those as well. And we also have some gnomes and a large Holly King/Santa decoration who sits on the table. The kids love talking to him and telling him all their wishes.
I used to do Twelfth Night/New Years when I was younger, but in recent years I just haven’t had the energy, so I tend to let it slide. I might revive it when the kids are old enough to stay up and enjoy a mummer’s party.
At most of the Sabbats I will do divination and meditation on the symbologies — occasionally, spellwork, but not often. I will probably be focusing more on animistic interpretations of the Celtic wheel mythos this year.
I took this article as an opportunity to revamp and repost the Wheel of the Year page. If I can keep up the momentum I have now, I will be adding to it. I will probably write my Litha post in the next couple of weeks or so — that way I can pretend that there isn’t still a foot of snow outside my door.
That’s my year. Pretty simple. Until next time, folks.