- a collection of essays on Neodruidic Studies
- a journal of Post-Reconstructionist Neopaganism

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

RITUAL TECH, Sorting It All Out for Your High Day Themes

To me, the Rites of the Wheel are primarily for the celebration of seasonal mysteries, not just being occasional opportunities to call on certain deities and pay tribute to them...

Unfortunately I fear many ADF groves out there these days are only doing the lesser model. It seems that the seasonal content I hold to be fundamental to our Work is held to be secondary or sometimes even virtually irrelevant to the setup many of their high-day rites. Such an outcome is utterly abhorrent to my vision of Our Druidry.


Sorting out the seasonal, symbolic  and practical meanings related to a high day is a very important process in having things end up “making sense” and thereby having your annual round of liturgical works become  a dynamic,  interrelated system  - rather than just a series of thematically disparate ‘events’.


        The SEASONS of a LIFE:

The "standard" Neopagan names for the High Days are not carved in stone. 
The current revised set of names, fair to everybody, Celt or Norse, USA or Australian, goes as follows:

    December Solstice;     
    February Crossquarter; 
    March Equinox;           
    May Crossquarter
    June Solstice;              
    August Crossquarter; 
    September Equinox;   
    November Crossquarter.

        The Nornic Modalities :

 From          Past         Urd            Formerly
 Through    Present    Verdandi      Presently
 To              Future      Skuld         Consequentially…

The Seasonal Delineators

What’s  peaking?           = The  beginning of the end  of...
What’s  finally ending?   = The  end  of...
What’s  beginning?        = The  beginning  of…

A better approach for getting a handle on seasonal factors? SEE THIS...

Symmetry :  oppositional relationships across the Wheel…

         Yule               is opposite          Summer Solstice
         Imbolc           is opposite           Lughnasa
         March Eqx.    is opposite          September Eqx.
         Beltane          is opposite          Samhain

A good exercise:  
Come up with a sensible and dynamically functional justification for the following: “Why would ( “should”)  Imbolc/Brigantia  be held on the February crossquarter-day instead of some other time of year...
 (ewes and lambs excluded) ?” - see " **Answer..." at bottom of page...

Think back / think ahead..
The core of this factor is about seeing if there is a sensible relationship between this rite and the last and/or this rite and the next - but make sure you’re not just duplicating one of the following...

Beware of the Neopagan High Day "SEASONAL SMEARS” 
You’ll have to make a decision. These simply can’t  all  be “right”…
HINT:  Clear this up by using the Seasonal Delineators above.
Candle-rite:       Samhain                                                              
Candle-rite:       Yule;                                                            
Candle-rite:       Imbolc.                  

Springtime!        Imbolc
Springtime!        VernEqx
Springtime!        Beltaine
Wedding rite:    Betaine**   
Wedding rite:    Summer Solstice  
Wedding rite:    Lughnasa    

              Harvest!           Lughnassad
              Harvest!           AutEqx
              Harvest!           Samhain

Dark Descent:   AutEqx
Dark Descent:   Samhain
Dark Descent:   Yule

**BTW, there’s a wealth of old European traditions about May weddings being unlucky.
…leading consequently to the familiar June-weddings custom

The Methodology of the Mysteries

The Rites of Eleusis, the grand religious initiatory celebration of the ancient Greeks was performed continually for nearly 1400 years and thereby developed a specific and apparently very effective set of operants for the dispensing of its profound mystery-teaching. A writer contemporary with the Rites tells us that the Eleusinian Mysteries were delivered through a sequence of special methods:

the    dromena                  “things acted”,
the    legomena                  “things said”,

the    deiknymena          “things shown”

AND so, we put it all together, and come up with a map...

--------- **ANSWER to the "Example" question above...
from the "Seasons of a Life" diagram?

IMO, we have an opportunity to discover a dynamic here having begun at the midnight NATIVITY of the December Solstice, carrying-forward its infant through the next step of its WEANING here in the FebXQ (hence the recurrent milk-themes), to its inevitable Indo-European life-step of FOSTERAGE, wherein the child now can first be handed-off into the care and tualage of someone other than strictly its mother; i.e. day-care, kindergarten, and “school”. So, in the Nornic modality of “From/Through/To”, the Mystery of Brigantia / Imbolc can be summed-up in the phrase “From Nativity, through Weaning, to Fosterage”. In support of this I offer the fact of the traditional image of Brigid to the Irish and Scottish was that she was the “Foster-Mother of Christ”, and figurehead-matron of their people.