Days, moons, seasons
Google Docs is my friend and I do a lot of my writing there. Microsoft Office and its variations are something I only use at work, when I must. Blog posts, poems, stories, journal entries all get dumped into Google documents; e-books in PDF get saved there, and Google uploads your photos there now, too.
In my Google Docs I have a file headed “Personal Sacred Calendar”. It consists of a table with three columns. The first column is headed “Seasons”. It lists my associations for the eight holy days of the Neopagan Wheel of the Year, along with their dates. The second column is headed “Moons”. It contains dates and keywords for both Western astrology, the full moon in each sign and the sun in the opposing sign, and for a sort of terrestrial lunar calendar that mixes the Song of Amergin and the Ogham calendar. I first saw the Song of Amergin treated as a calendar, using the original order of the lines and not the Graves recension, in the late Alexei Kondratiev’s excellent book Celtic Rituals, back when it was first published and more poetically titled The Apple Branch.
The third column is headed “Days”. It lists all the individual holy days I observe, and there are a lot of them. There are eight holy seasons and twelve or thirteen moons, but dozens of holy days, at least. Many of them are in honor of saints or sancti, spiritual ancestors and biological ones as well. The Ekklesia Antinoi honors quite a few sancti; I still honor a number of Christian saints–today, in fact, is the feast of Columba of Iona–and then there’s my grandmother, my great-aunt, my father and my father-in-law. I also include some folks like Victor and Cora Anderson; I have no Faery lineage or training, but they trained Starhawk and Thorn Coyle, whose books have been important to me. I have inherited something of value from them, albeit at a remove, and feel that I owe them respect for that.
The Ekklesia Antinoi observes *a lot* of holy days. They include traditional holy days of Greek, Roman, and Egyptian religion, such as the Vestalia today, the Boukoklepteia for Hermes, a festival for Bes of Egypt, and also days specific to the mortal and immortal life of Antinous, along with significant days in the reign of Hadrian and his Imperial connections. It would not be difficult to fill in around the days already covered by something and have at least one commemoration every day of the year. That may not-so-secretly be the goal of our Magistratum and Sacerdos PSVL.
When I started to practice devotion to Antinous, I resolved that I would simply observe the festivals of the calendar, if and when I could, as much as possible. If I didn’t observe something in my first year, maybe I would make a connection with it next year. My celebrations rarely rise to the level of ritual; I reserve that for the really big, Antinous-specific days. Usually I do some combination of the following: Read about the festival, write about the festival, make some offerings or extra offerings, and say some prayers, of my own or others’ composition. Earlier today I reblogged a prayer to Vesta that I wrote for the festival last year and posted at my druid blog. This year I am resolved to thoroughly clean my stove during the festival; fortunately, it lasts until the 15th, so I have a good window of opportunity.
From everything I’ve read, while it may seem to us that our ancestors worked much harder than we do, they had a great many more days off, usually of religious significance. In the midst of lives that lacked many of our benefits of travel, communication, and medicine, they still celebrated a good deal, giving thanks, asking for further help, and taking the gods’ presence as a good excuse to party. And so I say, gimme that old time religion, and pass the wine.