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Pagan Calendar/sabbats/festivals - who celebrates what?


Guest LisaLQ
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Please bear with me as I'm still learning (hence putting this in Starter area!), but can someone explain the festivals/sabbats to me please?

 

Eg. what each path call these (eg Ostara/Eostre/Spring Equinox), which path celebrate which, etc.

 

I have been reading online but I'm still struggling to understand. I dont want to make a big booboo by saying "Happy Ostara!" (too late but for example) if it's the wrong name or wrong celebration for the person I'm saying it to, likewise I dont want to suggest I'm celebrating a specific sabbat/festival that is not part of MY path and offend someone...

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Oh hun that's like asking how long is a piece of string. :lol:

 

Work out what YOUR festivals are and wish happiness to people for those, don't bother trying to learn them all. You don't expect yourself to know all the holidays and festivals of the non pagan religions, why should pagan ones be any different?

 

Only idiots would take offence at you blessing someone for something you believe. :)

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Eeeek, you're a polite and sensitive soul aren't you? :)

 

Okay, I find that pagans generally don't mind if someone wishes them a Happy Whatever from THEIR path - regardless of whether the person they're saying it to celebrates it. I wish people a happy Pomonalia, Floralia, etc even while knowing that they don't follow my path, but it doesn't matter, you're wishing someone the blessings of that day, and that's always very acceptable :)

 

So try not to get too hung up on what every other Pagan celebrates, because, frankly, you - and everyone else on the planet - won't manage to remember who does what when :lol:

 

I mix and match festivals to be honest. The Romans were big on festival days, around two a month, when everything stopped, games were held, commerce suspended etc, and fasting took place. Not really going to happen in 21st C Scotland :)

 

So I celebrate festivals that have meaning to me.

 

I do follow most of the common "pagan markers" of the so-called "Wheel of the Year":

 

Starting at Imbolc (why then? Simply because it's when I think of it as the new year. The year to me is a cycle, circular, and there's no "start" date to it :D )

 

Minerva's birthday - 19th February - day before mine :D

 

Greater Quinquatrus on March 19th (for Minerva)

 

Spring Equinox (I don't call it Ostara) I celebrate because it's the balance shifting towards longer days.

 

Beltane at the end of April, the start of Summer. One of my favourite, favourite festivals. I also celebrate the Floralia then.

 

The first week in June I light the fire for the Vestalia

 

Midsummer, speaks for itself. Solstice

 

Lammas - start of August, the beginning of the Harvest.

 

13th August, the Vertumnalia

 

September 1st, Festival for Juno, Goddess of Marriage

 

1st November, the Pomonalia

 

And then Yule. Midwinter. Solstice. I also celebrate the Saturnalia round then.

 

 

So, you see, quite a busy year, but not one that is shared in every respect with other Pagans, so I don't expect others to know every date, just as I don't know all dates for other paths too :)

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when I first came on line and discovered other pagans I realised I couldnt possibly be a real one because I had never heard of half these festivals, or most of any of the other stuff if the truth be known. :lol:

 

I then tore myself in knots trying to remember every one and celebrate every one even though for the most part I felt nothing.

 

Prior to that I had nodded to the passing seasons which I saw in the land and in the fields (The farmers are generally more intelligent than to keep to specific days) and 'celebrated' only two, Beltane and Samhain. Or May day and All Hallows which are still my preferred names.

 

In the end I gave up trying to be the perfect pagan, realised most of it was a neo concept and went back to doing what the hell I liked so long as it felt right to me. :)

 

Have fun finding your way and dont let anyone piss all over your feelings!

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Thanks for your help folks :)

 

I'm very keen to celebrate the passing seasons, equinoxes, etc - so to me I'd like to do the main eight, it's just I dont know which names are right for me, and I'd hate to say "I'm celebrating Ostara" for someone to think "but she's not x path so she should be calling it xxx" and find me offensive. If you get me.

 

It may be that in time I find myself drawn to only a couple of different times of year, in the meantime I'd like to get their names right in case people think I'm taking the mick :lol:

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Heathenry doesn't do the 'wheel of the year' thing, with eight festivals. Apart from two festivals, we're all different and celebrate what matters to us as individuals or a kin group.

 

the two biggies for us are Mothers' Night (Yule eve) and Winternights (sometime when the weather changes to winter - it may be celebrated on different dates each year and according to which part of the country you're in). Most of us may well observe the 12 days of Yule. Apart from that, days personally important to me are the summer solstice and the equinoxes. I also retain an affection for Beltane and Samhain, though they're not festivals of my religion. :lol:

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I'd hate to say "I'm celebrating Ostara" for someone to think "but she's not x path so she should be calling it xxx" and find me offensive.  If you get me.

 

352116[/snapback]

 

oh, the 'main eight' are all Wiccan, so as long as you use Wiccan names for them, you'll be fine. Different people do use different names, but I'm not aware that has anything at all to do with religion, just with personal preference. Different people also spell them differently e.g. Beltaine instead of Beltane. that's just personal preference, as well. :lol:

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And, there are very few people who would think "why is she calling it X when she's a ...?" Lots of people don't have defined paths, so it's impossible to say what a person should or should not be calling a festival.

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Aaah I'm starting to understand slowly.

 

I shall have to have a think about things, as I dont feel I'm Wiccan. Early days yet, from what I gather I dont fit in any specific path, but I'm still learning.

 

Are there any other less specific special days, eg along the lines of the equinoxes, a general celebration of the seasons?

 

Spring equinox, Summer solstice, Autumn equinox and Yule?

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Well, 4 out of the eight on the "Wheel if the Year" do that, they mark turning points in the year as you've described. Yule, Spring Equinox, Midsummer, Autumn Equinox are the main astrological markers, the other festivals are more agricultural "nominal" markers".

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I know the "Quarter" markers as "Sun Festivals" and the Between ones as "Fire Festivals".

 

As Pomona says the Sun festivals - Equinoxes and Solstices - are fixed by the Sun's position.

The four fire festivals are much more season dependent. For instance, for me most people celebrated Imbolc [usually about the beginning of Feb] far too soon, where I was the snowdrops were not out. Not that it is anything to worry about but I went off on my own and celebrated when I wanted to :) [as well - I do love celebrating with the tribe - there were about twenty five of us this time.

 

 

My path is Druidic so I use some different names. e.g. For me "Ostara" is Alban Eilir but again it just does not matter and I would never think you were taking the mick whatever name you used.

 

There are different wheels some which follow the moon rather than the Sun. I do not know the Heathen ones and I'd be interested.

 

The names and dates shown below are a sort of populist quasi Wiccan set but they work.

yearwheel.gif

 

If you are settled where you live I do think it is well worth getting to know where the Sun is and how high it gets over landmarks close to your home - maybe from the kitchen window. When the sun shines on the michrowave the frosts are over :lol:

Edited by Moonsmith
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I think the only thing I'll really miss there is Samhain/Hallowe'en, unless there's a pick 'n' mix path?  :lol:

352126[/snapback]

 

See, now, that's interesting (and yes, there is a "pick'n'mix" path: it's called "Eclectic" and a huge number of pagans follow that one :) ) - Samhain's one I personally couldn't think about leaving out, it's a very special time of year for me - that feeling of "thinness" of the barrier, the "if I stay very still, very centred, and reach out with my mind just so..."-ness of it. Sensing whispers just beyond hearing, sights disappearing out of the corner of my vision before I have a chance to swivel my eyes to see properly. The feeling that the earth is beginning it's retreat to slumber, the extinguishing of light to step into winter. The hair on the back of the neck feeling that the Wild Hunt is setting out again...

 

 

*shiver*

 

No, I definitely couldn't miss out Samhain :)

 

But - as you say, each to their own :)

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I think the only thing I'll really miss there is Samhain/Hallowe'en, unless there's a pick 'n' mix path?  :lol:

352126[/snapback]

 

I celebrate Halloween AND Christmas!

 

You don't have to miss anything.

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that feeling of "thinness" of the barrier, the "if I stay very still, very centred, and reach out with my mind just so..."-ness of it.  Sensing whispers just beyond hearing, sights disappearing out of the corner of my vision before I have a chance to swivel my eyes to see properly.    The feeling that the earth is beginning it's retreat to slumber, the extinguishing of light to step into winter.  The hair on the back of the neck feeling that the Wild Hunt is setting out again...

 

 

*shiver*

352136[/snapback]

 

*grin* that makes me wish it was the end of the year again. It's not a feeling I think you experience as sharply any other time of the year. I love it.

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I do not know the Heathen ones and I'd be interested.

352127[/snapback]

 

The trouble is, there aren't many that date back. Bede, writing about the old English Heathenry, refers to Mothers' Night, which might harken to idesaniht or to the European cult of the Matronae. Personally, I go for Idesniht. The idesa (disir in Old Norse) were femal ancestors who may have supplied the family luck - it tends to shade off into other heathen concepts such as the hamingjar and fetches.

 

The was the first night of the 12 days of Yule. This was a time when slaves were entitled to a bit of freedom. A special time, as attested by King Alfred's laws in the (IIRC) 7th century. Although we're now shading into the Christian era in England, the celebration was still there. :)

 

Winternights, as mentioned, is attested (again IIRC) in both England and Scandinavia. I think a part of Scandinavia used a set date - but the weather is more reliable over there! :D

 

There was also a set moon calendar, with names for months that hint at religious connotations e.g. 'holy month', 'blood month' (the time of sacrificial feasting). we know (from the old tales) that bloats (feasts) were held to the elves at a certain point in the year in Iceland. We also know that a day of celebration was devoted to Thor in early February, though I can't recall what period that comes from.

 

Bede also mentions two months called 'Hretha' - roughly the vernal equinox - and Eostre, and there has been much speculation that these are goddesses. From UPG I'd agree, though there's no support in the texts.

 

For me, my Lady seems to like midsummer, though there's nothing in the records that associate that time with her. My patron - whom I might expect to like the vernal equinox, or Beltane, seems to favour Samhain/Winternights. Perhaps it's to do with that being the rut. :P Beltane time has seemed to have been taken over - for me - for another patron: Loki. But there, 1st April has always seemed apposite, and it's very like him to want to hog a whole month... :D

 

 

No, I definitely couldn't miss out Samhain  :)

 

352136[/snapback]

 

think of him, in the wind and the mist. At full strength.

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I guess it really depends on interpretation too. Samhain (if I've read correctly) is to do with the end of the summer, a time when the veil between here and the afterlife is thin, a time to remember those who've passed on. Much like the origins of Hallowe'en, before it got all commercial (ok, I admit it, I still dress up and bob apples with the kids). I can relate to that, even if I dont believe in the otherworld or multiple gods/goddesses.

 

I think I'm thinking too much. I do that a lot - it's part of being bored and stuck in. I dont want to get too deep at the moment, I dont want it to be a hobby or distraction, I want it to be me.

 

So theoretically, I can call them what I like, celebrate what I like, believe what I like, and it wouldn't be harmful to me or hurtful to others?

 

And on that note, I'm off to celebrate a cup of tea on the sofa watching Miami Ink :D

 

Edited to alter atrocious spelling (note: I can spell atrocious but not "here").

Edited by LisaLQ
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]

 

think of him, in the wind and the mist. At full strength.

352164[/snapback]

 

 

:D

 

*goes off to lie in a darkened room*

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So theoretically, I can call them what I like, celebrate what I like, believe what I like, and it wouldn't be harmful to me or hurtful to others?

 

352176[/snapback]

 

 

Yup. And you don't have to ask anyone's permission about how you celebrate or how you think or believe or react. It's the scary and wonderful thing about Paganism. No doctrines. No commandments. No writings threatening dire retribution if you don't do as someone/a book tells you to.

 

Great, innit ;)

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Excuse me, "The main Eight" are not simply "Wiccan". Druids celebrate them too, and have different names for them. I can never remember them, not being a social druid.

 

Alban Arthuan is Yule.

Alban Heruinn is Midsummer.

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Excuse me, "The main Eight" are not simply "Wiccan". Druids celebrate them too, and have different names for them. I can never remember them, not being a social druid.

 

Alban Arthuan is Yule.

Alban Heruinn is Midsummer.

352253[/snapback]

 

 

Alban Eilr is spring equinox and Alban Elfed the autumn equinox

 

ED ;)

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call them what you want, do what feels right, and you wont be going wrong. one thing that bugs me with paganism is the idea that theres a proper way of doing everything, and if you dont do this or that, you're not a proper pagan.

 

the majority of us are probably eclectic. we find things that fit for us. we do things in a way that we like. if you become hung up on the what nots and the where nots, you become drowned in a sea of confusion and start right back where you began.

 

there are people who are strict with their path, dont like to pick and mix. and thats fine, but with everything there must be -something- you dont agree with and personally i think thats ok.

 

tis all about choice.

 

 

wow. rant. sorry

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Ooh dont apologise, I'm soaking in all this info like a (somewhat leaky) sponge, and it didnt come across as rant-ish!

 

I've still got an awful lot of reading to do, I'm not going to be certain who or what I am for a long long time, if ever. But the one thing I do know is that I dont believe in multiple gods/goddesses, just the one. Although in my head he's "God", we're not talking the bearded man in the sky, just an all encompassing as yet not understood higher power - someone watching over us. I'm not even sure about that - although I'd like it to be true, would mean I've not been talking to myself for 30 odd years lol. So I dont know how or where I fit, probably wont. So while the old legends surrounding certain festival appeal to me and I can see why they came about, I dont actually believe them as fact. Erm. I hope this makes sense and doesn't offend.

 

So while I'd love to welcome the spring, autumn, etc and enjoy the old traditions and celebrate, I do see them more as myth and legend, and wouldn't want to upset or offend someone by taking their customs and using them while not believing in them, if you get me.

 

Urgh, I really wish I could say that in a less....well...you know.

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So while I'd love to welcome the spring, autumn, etc and enjoy the old traditions and celebrate, I do see them more as myth and legend, and wouldn't want to upset or offend someone by taking their customs and using them while not believing in them, if you get me.

 

 

352266[/snapback]

 

 

Well, it's not compulsory to celebrate the arrival of Spring, or any other season etc by placing a deity central to the celebrations. The changes of the earth are incredible enough to be worthy of note and joy IMHO ;) So if you're moved to giving thanks at the sight of the first catkins, go for it, ditto the first autumn leaf-fall ;) Nothing mythical or legendary about planting the first seeds in your garden and hoping and praying that they bear fruit :P

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Excuse me, "The main Eight" are not simply "Wiccan". Druids celebrate them too, and have different names for them. I can never remember them, not being a social druid.

 

Alban Arthuan is Yule.

Alban Heruinn is Midsummer.

352253[/snapback]

 

Sorry, Fred. I had the feeling (given the close partnership of Nuinn and Gardner) that that might be so, but haven't read enough about OBOD Druidry to know better. :D

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I do not know the Heathen ones and I'd be interested.

352127[/snapback]

 

The trouble is ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,[snip],,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, a whole month... :D

 

.

352164[/snapback]

 

 

Thank you Moonhunter.

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So while I'd love to welcome the spring, autumn, etc and enjoy the old traditions and celebrate, I do see them more as myth and legend, and wouldn't want to upset or offend someone by taking their customs and using them while not believing in them, if you get me.

352266[/snapback]

 

You don't need to worry so much about offending people Lisa! This is a discussion forum and people are not usually offended by exploring such ideas. This is an interesting disscussion.

 

Thing is, the festivals of the wheel of the year might be central to some people's path, but for others they might be useful markers. I'm not a ritual sort, but I see the value of the festivals as a way of marking the rhythms of life and the cycle of the year. Beltain, as a celebration of the birth of Summer makes a lot of sense to me as does Samhain as the pivot between light and dark (or life and death). Even if I do not believe in spirits beyond the vale, I value Samhain as a time of evaluation......... of looking backwards and forwards. There are many ways to interpret the festivals, and these ways can be profoundly personal to you. If they mean something slightly different to you, it is not an insult to someone else who has a different way of looking at them.

 

Mike

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Pick'n'mix here :lol: I celebrate Yule and midsummer the most. And depending on what else is happening round abouts those times I'll also do something for Samhain and Beltane. I tend to go "oh is it? ok that's nice" to the others, you might have noticed that lol. I'm more likely to take note of what the moon is doing and as others have said, what the seasons (and to a degree the weather) are up to.

 

However I don't always do a *thing* for it, it really depends on what I feel like. Celebration can be as minimal as going for a walk to the beach and sitting there for a bit or a walk in the park (if there's no beach option - not walking to the sea from London!) or attempting to do something creating with leaves and plant stems etc. Sometimes I'll stay up for dawn, or wake up early, but that depends on how dodgy my sleep patterns are at that point in time.

 

It can be hepful to pay attention to dates and things as you open up, but only so far as that way you can decide for yourself what feels right, rather than having as such dictated by someone else. Sort of giving it a go :)

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