It’s New Year’s Eve! Yay! And last night my wonderful husband and I got into a little bit. He accused me (yet again) of trying to take on too much. What a jerk, right!? Except he had a point. He sat there and lasted off ten different projects/endeavors I was currently involved in, several of which are fairly time demanding, and finished with “…and those are just the ones I know about. You get into so many things, its hard to keep track!”. Well, I did ask for discernment on Samhain. I just wasn’t planning on it manifesting in my husband, Mr. Super-Laid-Back-Jumps-Into-Everything Guy. So it looks like my New Year’s Goals list (not really resolutions, just a list I revisit at the beginning of every year), will be shrinking, or at least rearranging, significantly. Be careful what you ask help with during rituals, especially on the holidays, you might not necessarily like how your requests are answered. Happy New Year!!
So the more I grow, the less impact the solstice and equinox holidays have on my spiritual practice. You know; Yule, Ostara, Litha, Mabon. While we have a pretty good indication that’s the solstices and equinoxes were acknowledged in pre-Christian Ireland, we really don’t have any leads as to specific festival practices. So while I do celebrate what I call the Big Four, I associate them with more spiritual/cultural events. The turning of the seasons, however, is more of an acknowledgement to the link between physical nature and the Mythic Realm, regardless of deity or culture. Still important, just not as impactful.
And it really didn’t feel like the beginnings of winter yesterday, what with it reaching 62 degrees and all the snow melting. Bah-humbug.
I’ve had bits and pieces of this post lying around for the past month, and just now am finding the time to sit down and organize it all. Even starting as early as I did with my planning, Samhain still snuck up on me and I wasn’t totally prepared. Though, honestly, who is? But I would definitely call the celebrations a success.
So here’s how our family observance was going to go: I was going to wake up early and totally scour my house, saining as I went. A and I were going to spend the day listening to traditional and tribal music, make parshells, and go around in costume. Them I was going to cook a lovely dinner, lay out the Feast for the Dead, and eat with the family. After E and A went up to bed, I was going to bust out my drum, and do some meditating before launching into my solitary ritual service. Sounds like a wonderfully laid plan, right?
Here’s what really happened. A spent the previous week adjusting his sleep schedule from waking between 8 and 8:30 to around 6/6:30. I am not a morning person, ever, so waking up early was shot to hell. But we did get up, and what could have been cleaned in about an hour to an hour and a half, took a little over three. I’m convinced toddlers exist to disrupt cleaning. But the house was cleaned, if not sained, and ready for company. We did listen to some music, but then A decided he needed to watch every Thomas the Tank Engine movie ever made, so off went Pandora. We made no parshells, and my attempt at the masks I wanted to make flopped. But hey, the house was clean, and I kept the thought of the Ancestors foremost in my mind that day. I did make a lovely, delicious dinner, and invited the Ancestors in, and laid out leftovers as offerings outside for any Folk about that night. And then I crashed.
I did have the opportunity to attend ritual the next evening with a group that are Celtic/Norse influenced within a Neo-Wiccan/Eclectic framework. I absolutely loved their group dynamic, and the energy flow during the ritual. It began with calling the quarters and such, but there was an altar for the Dead, individual cleansing, deity invitations, and toasting, all of which I practice personally. Attending something like this that is led by a group that obviously has an understanding of the cultures and deities they were working with was a pleasant experience. Near the end, we went around and announced what our New Year’s resolutions were, and within the energy raised and the group focus, it felt binding. Mine is to find discernment and empowerment in the projects I undertake, to not let myself become overwhelmed, to let things flow away that I can’t control or worry over at that moment in time. So far, I’ve felt empowered, but not so discerning, because I still find myself taking on (what I feel to be) too much.
A few days later, I believe it was November 12th, we had our first snowfall of the year, and it was a real snow, not just a super light dusting that was gone by midmorning. I skimmed a bowl full of snow, and once it was filtered and melted, I ended up with about 6oz. of water. At least I now have water for saining.