I covered in Part One that festivals aren’t on my calendar for 2014, and why. So what is?
This year I really want to focus on two things: taking better care of my Beloved Dead, and creating a regular offering cycle for my gods.
The latter has been a project I’ve been working on, on and off, almost since I adopted the label pagan. I have no idea how many versions I’ve gone through over the years, particularly as my personal pantheon took some time to solidify. For the past seven years, my cill shift in Brighid’s honor has been the only consistency- and more than once I tried to shoehorn my twelve into a 20 day rotation. I do not need to tell you the ways this was awful.
I decided late last year that once a month per deity seemed reasonable and do-able. (Aside from my work for Brighid, which will remain on the 20 day cill cycle.) I decided that I would pick a day, from whichever of the cultural calendars I draw from, that seemed like a logical choice, and then I would begin observing them, one month at a time. Obviously I’ve been observing my shifts all along, so February sort of didn’t count, but on the 19th of the Kemetic month that fell within January, I made an offering to Djehuty, and I will continue to do so every 19th from here on out; for Dionysos, I chose Dikhomenia (the full moon) which falls on the 15th of the Hellenic month, starting this month I’ll make an offering to him every full moon. I’ll do this one month at a time, and hopefully when 2015 rolls around I will have eased myself into a functional offering cycle. One thing I’m happy about is the drift of the lunar calendar- presently I have five offering days tied to that cycle, so they (and my cill shift) will shift around the three fixed calendar days, keeping things fluid and familiar, but not rigid and prone to tedium. (I have not selected days for the Dagda, the Morrigan, or Lugh as of yet, but I need to do that soon.)
As for my Beloved Dead, right now most of it is pretty straightforward: individual birthdays and deathdays. I could technically leave it there, but I find it wanting- particularly that there’s no regularity, nothing for them as a group, nothing for the Nameless Dead.
One thing I’m looking at is a monthly offering for the Dead as a whole, Beloved and Nameless- Kiya mentions here that the sixth of the month appears to have been a monthly akhu festival, which could work nicely. Regular enough that everyone gets attention throughout the year, and not so frequent as to cause burnout as some other options might. (I know one person who at least used to offer once a week, and though I might be able to manage that, I feel like it would get rote really quickly.)
I also want to do some work on festivals for the Dead. Yes, I said no festivals for 2014, I know. But as the historical festivals of Wagy and Samhain are quite a ways off, as is my own Seven Suppers, I think I have more than enough time to make adequate plans. Finding a Hellenic festival for the dead might also be a consideration, even if I don’t incorporate it into this year’s plans. Similarly, something for Veteran’s Day would not be inappropriate, as several of my Beloved Dead served. (I won’t be marking Memorial Day for my own Beloved Dead, as I don’t have any ancestors who died in service. A distinction I only just learned!)
Finally, I’ve been spending more time on my genealogy work (something that would be suitable for a once a month offering, it occurs to me) and marking Opening Night last month was really meaningful for me- drawing an important date out of my family’s history and relating it to my own current life. The nature of historical documents being what it is, I will probably not be able to find a personal link to many of them. But where I can- my Aunt Senta and Great-Grandmother Margot’s arrival in the US, or the day my Great-Grandfather Clement volunteered for WWI, for example- I would like to remember in some way. I’m digging into my genealogy because people are more than the spans of their lives, and I want to know them better, and I want to honor them better.
It’s a work in progress! As I expect it will remain- something I need to keep in mind, when the frustration sets in.