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Eight High Days

Discussion in 'Paganism DIR' started by The Hammer, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    Do you celebrate the 8 High Days?
    • Winter Solstice (Yule)
    • Imbolc (Candlemas)
    • Spring Equinox (Ostara)
    • Beltane (May Eve)
    • Summer Solstice (Litha)
    • Lughnasadh (Lammas)
    • Autumn Equinox (Mabon)
    • Samhain (Hallowe'en)
    Or some variation thereof? How do you track your liturgical calendar? Is it Solar oriented? Lunar oriented? A set calendar date?

    I celebrate the 8 High Days myself, usually with a Ritual. I also follow a Solar Cycle and use this website to help me time when the Seasons change: 2020 vernal spring equinox fall autumnal solstice summer winter and cross quarter dates and times worldwide from archaeoastronomy.com

    I started using the Solar Cycle with the 8 High days, as opposed to a set date, when I was in the military and frequently changing timezones.
     
    #1 The Hammer, Oct 30, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  2. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    I celebrate all eight because all have their own special meaning to me. Samhain that starts tomorrow is in celebration of the end of a cycle and reminds us what death has to teach us about living. It is the time when the veil is the thinnest between our world and the sidhe/annwn. It reminds us of the mysteries of life and death.
     
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  3. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I call them solar/seasonal festivals. As they are intentionally grounded in natural events that transcend humanity, I will not use artifice dates and only use natural dates (e.g., the true moment of solstices and equinoxes as well as the midpoints between each).

    Early on I used to create my own calendars comprised of the eight tides. It made me very cognizant of how enslaved we are to a particular way of thinking about time. I was forced to adapt it to this artifice to make it workable within my culture, which just made me unhappy and frustrated. I stopped doing it after a couple years.
    :sweat:
     
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  4. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    I definitely agree that each one has it's own meaning, and they all have their importance :). I plan on celebrating Samhain this next weekend (Nov 7th), while I did enjoy the Full Moon with a little drumming, and had a nice encounter with an opossum, that I am taking as my Omen for the upcoming year.
     
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  5. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    Solar Festivals. I like that term, and it makes sense for something that is grounded in the cycles and position of our Sun, I too use the True time/Date as opposed to an affixed calendrical date.

    You mentioned that you use to create your own calendars, but that it made you cognizant of having to adjust your thinking on time, as well as how difficult it is to build a workable framework within your current Culture. Care to elaborate? What did you have to shift about your thinking on time? What Cultural conflicts did you run in to?

    An conflict my wife and I always discuss every year, is the timing of and when we Celebrate Yule. I prefer to celebrate it on the 21st or whatever happens to be the longest night of the year, whereas my wife is a Christian and prefers to celebrate the traditional December 25th. We still have not come up with a good compromise, so I celebrate on the 21st, and then we both Exchange gifts on Christmas.
     
  6. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I wish I could remember the name of the Pagan who had a really good article or few on the nuances of creating a calendar for nature-based religious traditions. :sweat:

    In the absence of that, it's first worth recalling that the calendar used by most right now is one of many calendar systems humanity has developed throughout history. Ways of marking time have a powerful impact on a culture and if one calendar overwhelming dominates it makes it pretty much impossible to use any other calendar system unless you completely disengage with that culture.

    When I originally designed the calendar, it was composed of eight "tides" that were strings of numbered days without any organization into weeks. The entire thing was a spiral that would constantly add onto itself. This represented both the cyclical understanding of time common to nature-based religions as well as the continuity of existence within these repeating cycles. The solar festivals themselves might be a fixed date, but its themes carry through across the entire tide. I would be mindful of natural events in my local area that occurred during each time and used that to better refine my rituals.

    However, imagine trying to keep track of "muggle time" using such a calendar. No references to months, no references to days of the week, none of that.
    It straight up doesn't work unless you are lucky enough to be able to fully disengage from the rest of your surrounding culture. For most of us, that simply isn't an option. When I got to making the physical calendars, I needed to include elements of "muggle time" like days of the week and references to months/days. Having those constant reminders of time tracking that jars against nature-centered timekeeping was just... it defeated the point in a way?

    One of the big lessons I learned from trying to do this is how enslaved we are to the calendar system and that way of looking at time. Enslaved is a strong word, but I choose it deliberately - it requires a considerable act of rebellion to get away from it. All timekeeping systems are constructs that control human behavior. It all seems innocuous until you start to think about it. I digress a bit, but a very good article about this was posted up on the Wild Hunt years back - Column: The Time Of Your Life | Paganism, Perspectives
     
  7. Wild Fox

    Wild Fox Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I celebrate both days so a simple solution is to just celebrate from the 21st through to the 25th. That's more days to celebrate. I also had a good discussion with one of the people studying Newgrange who felt associated celebrations during solstice were not a single day but actually several days while the light enters the internal chamber.
     
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  8. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    We do call them solstices because there are several days that the sun appears to "stand still" in the sky. places like Newgrange (among others) were aligned to this. :D
     
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  9. Hildeburh

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    No, personally as an Anglo-Saxon pagan I don't celebrate the the eight neo Wicca Wheel of the Year celebrations, it's a modern construct which does not fit easily with the Germanic sources.
     
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  10. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    I couldn't imagine trying to build my own Calendar from scratch, I commend you on even attempting that. Using 8 tides, with just the numbered days between them, kind of reminds me of the way they keep time in the Harvest Moon Games, 4 months of 30 days each, with each month representing a Season, but I digress. I would agree that we are very much Culturally locked into a particular way of doing things many times by hegemonic forces beyond our control.

    I think I read in one of my Anthropology classes, of a Culture who viewed time as a Cycle/Circle as opposed to Linearly as most Western Societies currently do, and I am blanking on the name. Ok, not quite Cyclical, I think it's the Walpiri in Australia.

    Eternity Now: Aboriginal Concepts of Time
     
  11. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    While I perform my own Ritual on Yule (21st), we also do a Book exchange on the 24th a la Iceland ( What is Jolabokaflod? - Iceland's "Christmas Book Flood" ), and then exchange the rest of our gifts on the 25th. I am trying to convince my wife for us to spread out the gifts over the full 5 day period, but she still likes the Tradition of Christmas gifts, so she can have that one :).
     
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  12. The Hammer

    The Hammer Well-Known Member
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    For sure, I know that not everyone follows the 8 spoked Wheel of the year. This is what I was hoping to discuss, other variations. How does your path view time? How do you mark your Holy days?
     
  13. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I tend not to do anything to mark any of those days other than Samhain. I found that I was having to remind myself that the other days were coming up and that I should probably do something to mark the occasion. That ultimately led me to acknowledge that it's only Samhain that I feel any deep connection to.

    I tend to keep it simple. I'll light a black candle in a pitch dark room, then spend some time reflecting on death, the dead and the various dark gods and spirits. I'll do that until I feel satisfied that I can stop.

    As far as keeping time goes, I base it on whether or not the sun has set and when it feels appropriate to get the candle and turn off the lights. Sometimes that means it's in the late evening of October 31st whereas other times it'll be early morning on November 1st.
     
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  14. Callisto

    Callisto Active Member

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    I'm a Trad Wiccan and a Hellenic reconstructionist so I have two separate calendars. The Wheel of the Year which I don't adhere regularly to outside of celebrating with a coven, personally I adhere to portions of the Attic calendar (ancient Athenian calendar).

    Btw, the specific configuration of the 8-sabbats Wheel of the Year is of Wiccan and modern Druidic origins and has been around for about 60 years. Originally, Wiccans only celebrated 4 sabbats: Samhain, Beltane, Lammas, and Imbolc. Gardner was friends with Ross Nichols, founder of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD, modern Druidry), and Nichols was editor for one of Gardner's books, "Witchcraft Today". The Druids at the time celebrated solstices and equinoxes. The two friends combined their calendars which resulted in the WotY.
     
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