Monday, August 31, 2015

The Non-Traditionalist

I have a confession to make, I've never celebrated Lammas as a holiday. Then I realized, I rarely celebrate any of the holidays in the literal fashion. I do preform actual rituals, when I feel like it.  I'm just not a traditional hands-on person in the spiritual sense. I wasn't brought up religious, so it's not second nature for me to conform to these traditions. I like most adults wasn't brought up pagan, my parents were Christian in the looses sense. After childhood my family stopped practicing most holiday traditions and even big holidays like Christmas became just another day. As an adult I struggle with the basic efforts for the required holidays. Decorations don't go up themselves nor will they be put away.  I would like to be more festive, but is it really worth the dusting?  Will Martha Stewart maintain the up keep and put this stuff away when the season ends, or am I stuck cleaning up even more of a mess than I usually put up with?  I'm too practical to go completely nuts.

So what is my relationship with holidays? I have always been a solitary pagan. A quality I enjoy.  By my late teens, I was already accustomed with my family's neglect in festivities. At this moment in time I began to question the need for the material objects during rituals and ceremonies. What does it matter which color the candle is and why bother with it at all?  The candle doesn't have the power, I do. As I rediscovered rituals can have their meanings without all the colorful stipulations, I rediscovered magic and myself. I shouldn't force some energy for something that has always come naturally, so stopped caring. 
The same concept applies with the holidays.

Another reason is I don't belong to a coven or any direct community. Because of this, there really isn't any incentive. Mind you, all the powers behind Christmas usually fails in their manipulative ploy of marketing affairs to engulf me with desires for material items made to make me feel less desirable. I entertain that I'm, sparing these groups an abundance of aggravation.

 Samhain, Yule, Imbolic, Spring Equinox, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas, Autumn Equinox can be wonderful holidays to celebrate, but because most of us are no longer farmers, many of these traditions need to be reexamined. Samhain, Yule and the Spring equinox have adapted to modern context. Halloween, Christmas and Easter, knock offs, but a step in the evolutionary latter in preserving these traditions.  

Holidays like Imbolic, Beltane, Summer Solstice, Lammas and the Autumn Equinox didn't adapt as well as three other popular holidays. Mostly because of their strong ties to farming, once the most common profession, now one of the least. 
Imbolic  a time to order seeds and set up location for crops becomes pointless. Yet, we could take a step back and see there is more to this tradition to starting up a farm.  What I have come to realize it is no longer the planting I need to be focusing on, but my future. For me, this wasn't a time to create a Bridget doll and cradle. No need to light a red candle. I do not need to focus on a bride, but what the bride represents, the future. This could be checking out colleges or the want adds. It could be contacting that realtor about looking for a new place. Joining that gym to reach your weight goal.  Have a dream? This is often a good time to create and set a plan in motion.
As the wheel slowly moved to the
Spring Equinox, where having lived up north, I had a healthy appreciation for the first signs of spring. Be it a sprout of green peaking from a snow bank or buds covering the barren tree's, always brought me a feeling of hope. Living in Florida has changed my perspective. I have learned I am more successful nurturing and growing ideas better than plants and they too will suddenly grow. Planning a wedding, well where is your planner? Got that essay to write for that scholarship, get to it! Pants feeling looser? Before you dive into that chocolate cake, invest in a juicer. 
For me, if you can't celebrate
 Beltane with bonfires and debauchery, you can celebrate it by trying out different ideas or concepts. It may suck not enjoying Beltane in the traditional sense, you can at least make the best of it by embracing some of its meaning. For example, this is certainly a good day for trying something new. It could be a new food to a new experience like sky diving. 
Summer Solstice, the peak of the length of days. A time to embrace the divine masculine, which is often measured through aggressive assertions of dominance. This is a time to show your peacock feathers to the world. Be confident, look people in the eye. Embracing the strength you have earned from your hard work and discipline.
Lammas, a time of the first harvest for farmers. It's a time to reward yourself without undoing your goal. It might be a good time to splurge on an expensive item or fattening treat. It's a time to feel good about yourself. 
Come the Autumn Equinox,
our mortality becomes the subject of debate. As the seasons change from the peak of life, to the crippling fall in death, our own life we cycle played out year after year. As time goes by, your list of dead loved ones out number the living strangers amongst you. Grandchildren not yet born handling your affairs. This is a time to not fight, but accept your mortality.

Samhain has always been a spiritual time. I love dressing up and trick or treating. I've been Medusa, the grim reaper, Charlie Chaplin and much more. Even as a child, I saw magic everywhere that day. Something I never let go. Although I don't believe one day a witches broom shall grant my flight, my Charlie Chaplin costume caused me to connect with an older generation. This led to each others happiness. Although I'm  sure those gentlemen, I encounter that day have passed away, I'm convinced this has resulted in just another door to the land of the dead I have access to. To me the power in Samhain is about dressing up. 
Winter Solstice/Yule, is the longest night of the year. Next to Samhain, it is my most celebrated holiday, especially now as a parent. My daughter is still young and between four grandparents, she has managed a gift giving holiday that spans five days. What I try to do to compensate, because I do not have the funds to compete against the grandparents, is to spend time with my daughter around this time. Most often we are making  gifts. For me, this holiday could last over two weeks. Even before I was a parent and this time of year just meant overtime, I always reminded myself to be more giving. 

In the end, the Holidays are there to serve you, to help plan your year and your life. Use them wisely and don't be ashamed for not openly celebrating what you choose to practice.