Posts filed under ‘Holidays’

Winter Solstice Podcasts

I was going to make a list of my favorite Druid, Celtic, Irish, Pagan, Heathen podcasts, however since it’s almost the solstice, for fun I’m going to list winter solstice/holiday season episodes. I have only listened to a few of the holiday-specific episodes, and I’m making comments as I go. So far I have a review of the Kindling the Hearthfire Yule 2017 episode.

Story Archaeology– this is a team effort between Isolde Carmody, an Irish archaeologist and Chris Thompson, a professional storyteller.

Midwinter Special: Craneskin Bag: a Santa’s Sack of Gifts from Irish Mythology

A Crock of Cobblers: a Holiday Special 2014

New World WitcheryEp 21 Winter Lore 2010, Yuletide Cheer/Greetings! Ep 38 2011Ep 47 2012, Ep. 58 2013Ep. 70 2014 Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Ep. 85 2015, Ep. 103 2016, Ep. 104 Yuletide Fear (ghost stories) Ep. 120 2017 Cheer, Ep. 121 Fear,

This is about magical and esoteric traditions and folklore unique to the New World, there are interviews and discussions with practitioners from many different cultures and traditions. And to be clear, this is broader than Paganism, I would say that magical traditions in general regardless of origin, have the commonality of an animist worldview.

Kindling the HearthfireEp. 8 2017 This is an ADF Druid centered podcast begun by folks in the ADF Pantheacon party suite. First part is music, poems, invocations for the season, there’s a talk by Rev. Rob Henderson about holidays that can be celebrated in the Hellenic & Roman traditions- since their seasons are a bit different than us northern folks are used to, then there’s info about the Vedic hearth culture, the Indo-European root culture of Hinduism,  and a section on cooking, including an Indian recipe.

Heathen TalkEp. 22 Yule 2015 – Discussion of Yule, the Wild Hunt & Mannerbunde. I am going to note that the folks on this show have some very specific ideas about Heathenry that not everyone in Germanic polytheist religions share, they have a very tribal, cultural focused take on heathenry. With that in mind, it’s a great show.

Celtic Myth Podshow– retellings of Irish, Scottish, Welsh and other Celtic myths, legends and folktales, and Celtic music. This show is on hiatus but episodes are still on the website. Christmas Music Special 2009, Ep 22 Christmas Wish 2010, Ep. 32 Yuletide 2012, Ep. 38 Winter Music 2013,

 

 

 

 

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December 14, 2018 at 2:50 am Leave a comment

GLBTQ Pride 101

It’s Pride season, and you know what that means. Lots of people excitedly attended their first GLBT pride event, or watching them from afar, and both groups frequently not really understanding why we have pride events. I can tell this by many of the comments and questions I hear from new Pride attendees, younger people, folks who have come out more recently, allies who have this one GLBT friend/family member but otherwise don’t know much about the movement or communities. GLBT folks who have moved from different countries, other parts of the country, rural communities, more conservative backgrounds and so forth also have different perspectives that they bring in. It’s a huge range of people that comes together to celebrate who we are now as well as remember our past, which is both fun and exciting, as well as the potential for many types of misunderstanding! So let’s clear some of that up!

Why/when/by whom was Pride started?

Gatherings of gay, lesbian and bisexual folks were often secretive because homosexuality (or as it was called “sodomy”) and cross-dressing were illegal, gay bars were frequently subjected to police raids and harassment. At the Stonewall Bar in New York City, patrons got fed up after numerous such raids & arrests, and resisted and rioted on June 28, 1969. Many of the participants of the Stonewall Riots were poor & working class Black and Latin@ drag queens and trans women, gay men, bisexuals and lesbians. The next year, a committee was formed to organize events to commemorate the riot, and the phrase gay pride was coined as a name for the events. (More about the founders of Gay Pride)

Why be proud of your sexual orientation? Why make a big deal out of it? Why isn’t there a Straight Pride?

Nowadays, while GLB* folks are increasingly accepted in many places, we still face various forms of discrimination- both legal and illegal, health disparities, rejection from friends, family and community. There isn’t a “Straight Pride” because there doesn’t need to be one, heterosexual people don’t even need to think about their orientation. People assume that their children will grow up to be heterosexual.  Briefly mentioning one’s orientation, partner’s gender or other telling things is still seen as “making a big deal” out of being gay/lesbian/bi, while someone can directly or indirectly mention things that indicate romantic or sexual interest in a different gender constantly without that being seen as strange or “flaunting” heterosexuality. Having a relatively few characters that are gay/lesbian/bi or out celebrities may be seen as “shoving this gay stuff” down “regular” people’s throats.

There are also many festivals and parades throughout the summer in most communities in which GLBT people are often unsure (at best) whether we can be openly ourselves. We are sometimes expected to go partly or fully back into the closet, or at least “shut up” about who we are in order to participate in other community events so we don’t make someone who can’t deal with us uncomfortable.

*Note: I’m going to discuss the T some more in a later post, transgender people & transgender issues are definitely part of our movement, communities (though not always as much as they should be)

Rev. Melissa Hill of ADF has written a more detailed summary of the Stonewall Riots here, as well as discussing honoring leaders of the movement as heroic ancestors.

Article from Bustle about the history of Pride Month

June 13, 2018 at 9:25 pm Leave a comment

Scottish Harvest Customs

While in Ireland the harvest is celebrated at Lunasa, harvest customs come later in Scotland.

Historical Info from Chronicle of Celtic Folk Customs by Brian Day

On the 14th or the 21st- the Autumnal Equinox- Nutting Day is observed- the day “the Devil goes a-nutting” Young people gather nuts, some avoid doing so lest the Devil abduct them! Nuts are associated with fertility so some girls avoid gathering them so as not to get pregnant.  It is also the end of the blackberry picking season- it’s believed that when the archangel Michael kicked the Devil out of heaven, he landed in bramble bush. Mold found on blackberries is his spit.

The main September harvest celebration is on the 28th- Michaelmas Eve- bonfires are lit, roast lamb is eaten. In Scotland Michael is the patron of fishermen and horsemen. Struan Micheil is traditionally made and eaten- a cake made of sheep’s milk, eggs, butter and grain, decorated with a cross. A piece is thrown on the fire to placate the Devil.

the 29th- Michaelmas Day

Irish customs for Michaelmas come from the English- giving geese as gifts, even to the poor, plucking their down for pillows, apple picking, cider-making and hunting season begins and fishing ends.

In Scotland, wild carrots are dug up and given as gifts. Another tradition is to visit the graves of relatives on horseback- this is called circuiting. Horse-racing and other athletic events take place.
Articles

La Fheill Michaeil by Tairis

Celebrating La Fheill Michaeil by Tairis

Associated Deities & Myths

Lugh (equated with St Michael)

Macha- horse-racing association

Rituals

Mid-Autumn Rite by Ozark Pagan Mamma

September 18, 2015 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

Heathen Holidays Sept-Nov

The Autumnal Equinox- September 20-21st is celebrated under various names in Heathenry

In Urglaawe it is called Erntfescht– Harvest festival, called Harvest Home in English. Dunner (Thor) Siwwa (Sif) and Idunna are honored. September 28th is the goddess Zisa’s feast day (Zisasege) and for practicality this is often combined with Erntfescht.

Hostblot (umlaut over o) in Swedish, Haustblot in Icelandic, the name means “autumn sacrifice”

Winter Finding is a name used in North American Heathenry for the fall equinox. Not to be confused with Winter Nights!

Alvablot in Swedish or Alfablot in Old Norse (date varies from October-November in Scandinavia & Iceland) A time to make offerings to the alfar or elves- male ancestors (the female version being Disablot) or specifically spirits of grave mounds. Sometimes this is observed as part of Winter Nights.

Winter Nights- Vetnaetr in Icelandic This can be celebrated anywhere from Oct 19th to the 26th of October, due to Neo-Pagan influence sometimes it is on the 31st of October, or 1st of November. It can also be a 3 night festival. A time for honoring ancestors and preparing for winter.

Allelieweziel– October 31st is celebrated in Urglaawe, as Frau Holle begins the Wild Hunt, gathering lost souls for reincarnation. Between Erntfescht and Allelieweziel, the Butzemann or activated scarecrow is burned.

Ewicher Yeeger– the Eternal Hunter, is a deity unique to Urglaawe. He is identified with Holler, the Continental German name for Ullr. Around November 15, Ewicher Yeeger rails against King Frost and his army of Frost giants, to give Holle more time to gather souls.

November 11th is Remembrance Day observing the end of World War I in the British Commonwealth, and Veteran’s Day (honoring both alive and dead veterans) in the United States. Heathens in these countries sometimes will hold a blot/sumbel to honor the military dead- sometimes calling it Einherjar Day– the name referring to Odin’s warriors who go to Valhalla. I leave it to the individual or group whether it’s appropriate use that label for all who have died in various wars- your theology/cosmology may vary.

Another more German folk custom-y holiday (observed in many European countries) that falls on the same day is Martinmas, or Martinsdag. Obviously, yes a Christian holiday, but I think it has re-Heathenizing potential. Children carry lanterns in processions behind a man dressed as St Martin riding on a white horse. A feast of goose is traditional, as are bonfires.

September 3, 2015 at 1:47 am Leave a comment

Lunasa Resources

Historical Info

Lunastal– Tairis article, has separate sections on Scotland and Ireland

Lughnasa, Festival of the Harvest by Morgan Daimler

How to Celebrate

Celebrating Lunastal–  Tairis article, has separate sections on Scotland and Ireland

Celebrating Lughnasa– Together or Alone by Morgan Daimler

Deities & Myths Related to Lunasa (this will be links to other resource pages)

Tailtiu

Lugh

Aine

Macha

Rituals

La Lunasa Ritual

A Lughnasadh Rite by Ozark Pagan Mamma

A Celtic-Norse Loaf-Fest Blot by Ozark Pagan Mamma

ADF Lughnasad by Ceisiwr Serith

Honoring Lugus & his relatives by PSVL

Prayers

Morning Lunasa Prayer adapted by Morgan Daimler from Reap Blessing #90 in the Carmina Gadelica

Lunasa Prayer– adapted by Morgan Daimler from Reap Blessing #89 in the Carmina Gadelica

Crafts & Recipes

3 Easy Lunasa Crafts by Ozark Pagan Mamma

Kids’ Activities for Lunasa/Lammas/Freyfaxi by Ozark Pagan Mamma

Lunasa Music Playlist by Ozark Pagan Mamma

Other Inspiration

A Dream of Lughnasa by Morgan Daimler

July 10, 2015 at 1:29 am 1 comment

Untangling Heathen Holidays: July/August, Northern Hemisphere

As I commented before, when looking up information about Heathen holidays, especially with American-based books and websites, it tends to be a big Pan-Germanic mix- some Icelandic, some Anglo-Saxon and some modern American inventions like Einherjar and Vali’s Day. Then there are holidays based on Christian-era folk traditions, which may or may not have pre-Christian roots, but as my readers know, I’m more of a fan of continuing comparatively recent folk traditions that we can share with non-Pagan/Heathen members of various cultures. In the end, I’ll likely end up blending things together from more than one tradition, but I want to know where things come from to begin with! My suggestion is celebrate whatever is being harvested- in my area, it tends to be cucumbers and tomatoes and in July the blackberries in my front yard ripen.

Observance- Cultural Origin- Customs

Lokabrenna- July as month to honor Loki- American Heathen + Global Online Lokean community, with inspiration from later Scandinavian folk beliefs If you are into astronomy (or astrology for that matter) the folk beliefs connect Loki to the rising of Sirius and the hot “dog days” of summer, check when Sirius is actually rising- this could fall in July or August.

1st or 2nd of August- Lammas, Loafmass, Hlaefmaesse– English, Anglo-Saxon revivalist

Based on English Christian customs of baking loaves of bread made from the first wheat harvested and offering them to the Church- a festival of first fruits. More info- Wyrt Wizard, Lammas Eve.  The English folk song “John Barleycorn” is a popular one to sing, and may be associated with Frey himself or his servant, Byggvir (meaning barley). Some Heathens, particular Vanatru see Lammas as the time when Frey sacrifices himself for the land and people, probably a Wiccan or Neo-Pagan influence.

“Come Hláftíd (Loaf-Tide) Béowa, the god of barley, and his bride, Béole “the little bee”, are given worship.  The “first fruits of the harvest”, bread and beer, brewed of barley and honey, are offered to them, that they might beward the speedsome harvest.”- Ealdrice Haedengyld 

1st or 2nd of August Freyfaxi– Icelandic name- American Heathen usage

It’s unclear to me whether this festival was celebrated in pre-Christian Scandinavia or Iceland. The name for this holiday seems to come from the Icelandic Hrafnknel’s saga and Vatnesdaela saga, both feature a man who was a Freysgodhi (priest of Frey) who named his horse Freyfaxi. There are also horse associations (horse racing in particular) with Lunasa, the Gaelic festival around the same time. So to me this one “clicks” with the intermixing of the Norse with the Scots and Irish.

Chapter on Loaf-fest/Freyfaxi in Our Troth

Many connect the harvest with the story of Loki cutting off Sif’s hair. A ritual drama can be acted out, or the story can be told, sung or recited in poetic form. Making corn dollies as part of a “first sheaf” rite is also an option- the Last sheaf tends to be observed in October/November.

Hoietfescht– Urglaawe- Festival of the Hay-time, Hoiet is the Deitsch name for July, and this festival falls either the last week of July or the first week of August. Other names include Sommermit or Corn Boils. At this time, the Wanes (Vanir) are honored for the gifts of the harvest- Frey, Freyja and Njord

General References:

The Holy Tides- Hlaefmaesse- Freyfaxi

Hoietfeshct by Rob Lusch  p. 10, Hollerbier Haven: A Journal of Traditional Deitsch Wisdom Vol. 3, Issue 2

July 8, 2015 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

Creating Devotions for Secular Events- Brainstorming

In theory, I believe there isn’t a strict separation between the holy and the mundane- to some degree there is, but the lines are blurry as with everything spiritual. I have been reading thoughts lately by Sannion, Galina and other folks about polytheistic devotion vs. social/political activism and where those lines should be drawn. I’m still sorting my thoughts out on this- as readers of this blog know, I see a commitment to social justice as a part of my spirituality. But I also strongly believe in separation of church and state, and don’t want one particular political dogma to be enforced in any of my religious groups. I will admit, I’m mostly an armchair philosophical polytheist with agnostic leanings (or vice versa?) and I keep meaning to motivate myself to become more spiritually active in spite of my doubts and my Sunday Christian background…it’s complicated.

Most of the community work I do is not explicitly religious- the groups I participate in may include Pagans, but of course we aren’t necessarily the same type of Pagan and we aren’t going to have prayers smack dab in the middle of a meeting! Being in a secular environment most of the time makes it difficult to stay in a spiritual frame of mind- I feel the need to go thru some type of paradigm shift!

But there are ways to incorporate your beliefs and even “sneak in” practices in secular settings without violating anyone else’s rights.

Pray, Meditate, Make an Offering before leaving to attend an event. You can also say a prayer- silently or aloud in some situations.

Arts & Music– if you are involved in planning an event that includes art and music, try to include themes, styles and topics that fit with your tradition or path but also fit with the mission and purpose of the event. There are tons of things that to me, have some type of spiritual association, that to other people will just seem like good music and art!

Nature– engaging with local elements of nature in some way and encourage eco-friendly practices (it could even be something as simple as bringing a potted plant as a centerpiece for a buffet) Think about the nature spirits, Gaia etc. as you do so.

Relating to People– practice values like hospitality in your relationships with others

Remembering History & Ancestors– Learn about the history of the organization, event, business, neighborhood, city etc. that you are working with. Incorporate positive aspects of that knowledge into your participation. Take into account negative aspects as you work for change/improvement and consider potential ripple effects on yourself and your community. (Wyrd/orlog if you are Heathen)

These are kind of vague, I realize but I am brainstorming here- I will work on making some specific suggestions by using examples of events that I attend myself in another post.

May 6, 2015 at 4:31 am 2 comments

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