Late post is late, but it’s finally done! I swear, I am really bad at getting these done recently, particularly when I haven’t started them and have NFI what I wanted to talk about. I must try to prepare more of these in advance so I’m not starting from scratch all the time. (And stop changing my mind about what to write about.)
But this week, I’m writing about Festivals! I’m including all kinds of festivals, Sabbats, Kemetic, and other assorted ones. In some ways, I think it’a bit pointless to talk about as I don’t often celebrate festivals, let alone with actual rituals, but they are important to me even if I don’t always mark them with anything elaborate. I’ve got a post lined up to talk about ritual, and another for the Wheel of the Year and calendars, so I’ll save talking about those at great length and concentrate on the festivals themselves.
I’ve never been great at sticking to a fixed set of festivals. I’ve done the Sabbat thing, and I’ve attempted to do the Kemetic calendar thing, but neither on their own has really satisfied. In recent years, I’ve tried to do a more combined calendar, but I think I’m going to have to change my draft again to reduce the number of festivals. The Kemetic calendar has a large number of festivals, even when I reduced it to Gods I’m not directly involved in.
But I do like the Sabbats. I like their seasonal arrangement and how I can relate the Sabbats to what’s going on around me. I know that one option for making a less heteronormative God/Goddess Wheel is going to involve looking at the environment around me and taking a more Earth-based approach. A central Wheel myth may not be as important to me, but I can’t say that for sure right now.
As for Kemetic festivals, the ones I’ve celebrated the most often are Wep Ronpet (New Year) and Aset Luminous. I’m going to add Opet and the Mysteries of Wesir to my schedule though. I quite like those two. The two festivals I’ve never really felt a desire to celebrate are the Feast of the Valley, and the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion. I’ve never been entirely sure why, apart from the lack of connection to the Gods involved, particularly Hethert and Mut. I’m not close to Them, so in some ways, it’s understandable that Amun would preference Opet and Heru-sa, Soaring Falcon, as they’re more focussed on indivual Gods, not families.
It’s this kind of thing that makes finding a suitable calendar hard, because for me, major festivals are easier to mark and plan for than a whole slew of smaller feast days and whatnot. I don’t think I would ever remove all the myriad feast days and such from any combined daily calendar I make, but there’d have to be a distinction between festivals I actually celebrate and mark, and those which are more likely to be marked with a prayer during morning devotions than anything else.
What also makes it harder is the blended path I’m embarking on. Incorporating festivals and holy days from three different civilisations, as well as the Sabbats, makes for a crowded schedule, so I’m more inclined to pare it back to those I’m planning to celebrate, just for my own sanity. Only festivals related to my particular Gods, rather than any for Gods I don’t particularly follow or worship.
I think this is why I’m creating/collating two calendars. One is just for major festivals, and the other is more of a devotional thing, with each day marked with festivals and appropriate prayers that can be said, and would cover more of the minor ones as well as the major ones. I don’t know if any other Pagans work with something like this, but it’s something I’ve seen my parents use as Christians. They’ve got a little book that details each day of the year and any readings or festivals/feast days that might be happening. I’ve taken my inspiration from that and tailored it to my own needs. I’ve got all the formatting done and set up, it’s just a matter of getting it to the point where I’ve got all the festivals in.
I think I’d also like to put together a book of rites and other forms of festival celebrations as a personal reference. Something that has what I’d like to do, all things going right, and what sort of offerings, foods, magic, rites, prayers, etc might be appropriate. I think I’m going to need something like that in order to keep what could be a very busy and eclectic calendar organised.