Part of trying to distinguish my path from Wicca–which is important to me not because I hate Wicca or Wiccans, but simply because I’m not Wiccan and feel my path should reflect this–is figuring out a set of holidays that actually celebrate things I, as a modern Pagan, find important and even holy. Also, that I can celebrate as a Pagan who is severely allergic to everything outside.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I’ve come up with six holidays so far. Two, I’ve kept from the Wheel of the Year because they have themes I can connect to, and feel are important in everyone’s life. One is a normally secular holiday I’ve brought into my spirituality. Three are entirely created by myself, based on those aforementioned things I find important and holy. I list them here, and the descriptions and/or keywords that explain their presence in my holiday lineup.
Samhain: Celebration and acknowledgment of the ancestors. The Mighty Dead. Thinning of the Veil. Death and dying. The cycle of life and death. Death as an important part of life. Learning not to fear death, or Death.
Yule: The Longest Night. Deep darkness, spark of light. Warmth, comfort, friendship, sharing. Community. Hope.
New Year’s Day: Newness, new goals, ridding oneself of the unwanted and unneeded. Inviting in desired newness. Celebrated here because I am a modern Pagan, and while I love and embrace Samhain, January first is and will always be New Year’s Day to me.
Day of Self-Care: A day to assess and celebrate oneself, to evaluate one’s own health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Identify work that needs doing (magically and practically) to get on the road to health. Includes making positive changes to one’s life; if you’ve been putting off making that big decision, taking that big step you know would be good for you, this is the day to do it. We all have a spark of the divine in us, so taking care for and of ourselves is a holy act.
Day of Service: A day to look at one’s community, and determine how one can help to the best of one’s ability and limitations. This could be a one-day event, such as volunteering one day at a local shelter, or it could be the day to begin a longer service to the community. One’s community is however one defines it; one’s coven, one’s neighborhood, one’s school, one’s online community, one’s religious community.
Day of Creation: A day to celebrate fertility of the mind and spirit, without the sexual aspect normally associated with fertility. Art, architecture, sculpture, writing, structure, organization, story, myth, function, interior design, painting, altar/shrine design, and all manner of human-made beauty.
Though they might seem to start out that way, these are in no particular order. The first three come packaged with dates. The last three I will have to decide where I think they belong (the Day of Creation is probably most analogous to Beltane… but I don’t know if I want to do that).
I may or may not add more in the future. This, like everything in my path, is a work in progress. As I begin to celebrate these holidays (beginning with Samhain this year), I may find deeper meaning in each of them, or find that they don’t actually fit me or my practice at all. Or I may feel these are right, but something is still lacking. Who knows? The only way to find out is to practice, and see what happens.
I like the concept of Chaos Magic. This feels a bit like Chaos Paganism. Experiment until you find what works. Get rid of what doesn’t work, keep what does. Document, document, document.
I hope this is useful or thought-provoking for someone out there in the Pagan Internet.
–Celestine Nox (yes, I’ve changed my name again)