New Posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays -- er generally

Saturday, January 30, 2016

seasonal rituals

Celtic or Gaelic festivals can be taken on many levels. There is looking at them as a recognition of seasonal changes. This year Imbolc is February 1; Beltane May 1; Lammas August 1; and Samhain October 31. They relate to spring, summer, fall, and winter with each also potentially having a spiritual meaning.

Imbolc has many suggested pronunciations but most do leave off the B. It comes midway between the winter Solstice and spring equinox. It actually is more like spring than the equinox in the lands from which this festival developed. By its celebration in places like Ireland or my part of Oregon, spring is in the air. The trees are budding out, the lambs are bouncing around the fields, the grass is growing, and thoughts turn to planting gardens. Even if more snow falls or more freezing nights come, spring is already in the people's hearts. 

The interesting part about festivals like Imbolc are how many different cultures have found the time important in human life. Something that was more obvious to peoples who lived a more agrarian life than most do today.


If someone wants to find ways to celebrate it that involve ritual, there are many possibilities especially in Wiccan books. Here's a link with some suggestions.


My interest in Wicca goes way back. I have quite a few books on the festivals and rituals. I am not a witch, nor do I have an interest in becoming one. As someone might know who reads me regularly here, I am kind of off religions of any sort. There are though many misconceptions about witchcraft with those who believe it's connected to Satanism. It's not. It is an old faith with rituals, which relate to the seasonal cycles, to healing, and strengthening people through often communal celebrations. I think knowing when they are, giving thought to them, can be beneficial whether we do the rituals or not. To me, when rituals come from natural, earthy sources, they are apt to have more benefit to our lives. We need to be connected to the earth and it's too easy to lose that in today's world.

In the early 90s, I wrote my first book that involved the paranormal. That was Sky Daughter and as with most of my writing, the story evolved very organically as I wrote. For those of you, who have considered being a writer but haven't gotten started, start. Writing begets writing. You begin a story with characters. As happens in all friendships, you get to know their personalities through their activities and your interactions with them. 

In Sky Daughter, the heroine is not a believer in the mystical, when she returns to her family's ancestral home, where her grandfather still lives. From then on, what happens teaches her more about who she is as well as who her family had been. The hero is Jewish but not practicing. Each of them come from a place of disbelief to facing the unknown and finding ritual sometimes is needed even if the person does not know why it works. Sky Daughter takes place before and during Lammas.

I've since written more stories that involve the mystical, may write more in the future, but Sky Daughter is special to me for its combining of nature, the mystical, and human needs. It's a theme I do return to often even if the mystical is less dominant.

2 comments:

robin andrea said...

I have always appreciated discovering these new seasonal understandings on your blog. It makes so much sense to me to celebrate the season of the suns this way. Midway to spring is one of my favorite times of the year. The day is already getting longer and the sun noticeably higher in the sky. There are buds on everything and the birds are feasting. I love Imbolc!

Tabor said...

I know I have read about this season before and forgotten it and your explanation is just what I needed. Religion has little to do with spirituality. Your spring is about a month earlier than ours, but with climate change, today was 70! I took a hike and wadded through mud and meltling snow.