“I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up–they have no holidays.”
– Henny Youngman
Around the world, right now, people are celebrating. Some gather to honor a God or Goddess, some the birth of a child, others the anniversary of an important cultural event, and others still to commemorate the season. No matter the reason, festivals, and celebrations are one of the ways humans create an annual rhythm−a construct that draws those of similar backgrounds or ideals together regularly. In a highly mobile society, this may be among the most important things Witches continue to do as part of our tradition. Even solitary practitioners who join in at open circles.
Distinct Dates for Wiccan and Pagan Celebrations
Wiccans and Pagans alike have a Wheel of Time that follows annual cycles. But what about the human factor; what about our own seasonal round? There was a time when many people just went through the motions of an event because it was expected of them. Wise Witches believe that people yearn for something with more heart in it. Rote words and movements are, well, dull and sometimes down-right gloomy. That’s not our idea of what personal (or family) holidays should be like. Let’s take what was once ordinary and make it magically extraordinary.
There are tremendous benefits in finding your way to celebrate all those moments in your life that create the book of you:
- You create continuity. You are writing tradition for future generations.
- You open the door to fellowship with family, friends or even that stranger in need.
- You begin to internalize the true meaning and lessons in your life.
- You pause to breathe amidst chaos and find a comforting familiarity.
- You reflect to your community something different; something special.
- You honor experiences and special moment that might otherwise get lost (or worse, forgotten).
Meaningful Personal Pagan and Wiccan Observances
So, how exactly do we keep ourselves from getting too caught up in approaching celebrations by rote, and instead really making them sing with meaning for everyone gathered? Well, for your customary observances. Ask yourself:
- Did your family mark this holiday or celebration in any manner? If so, was there something special you can translate into your magick? Is there any cultural (family line) significance to this celebration and if so can you consider adding cultural touches to round out the sensual input?
- Beyond the traditional correspondences for this celebration, ask yourself what it means to you and what’s happening in your life right now. How can you honor that spiritually?
What type of special preparations can you make to encourage a deeper appreciation of the energies? Examples here include fasting for a day before the ritual (if physically feasible) or foregoing something that normally distracts you from spiritual matters (like TV) for a set amount of time.
- What sensual cues can you bring to the celebration to improve the overall impact for yourself or others? (Think sights, symbols, aromas, clothing (costume), decorations, post-ritual foods).
- How can you share meaningfulness with others? Typically, allowing them a voice in the preparations helps a lot. The more that participants get involved, usually, the more excitement occurs.
- Don’t be afraid to observe “old” traditions in whole new ways.
- Breathe a little fresh air into your observances (consider this getting bonus points for creativity).
- What about making all new traditions or spontaneous observance? This is where things get fun.
Steps for Planning a Personal Pagan Celebrations
You might think this is going to be hard but relax. You know pretty much all you need about ritual constructs and magic methods. Now you are just adding icing on top – making that perfect yummy spiritual cake suited to the occasion.
Consider these factors:
- What Are You Celebrating?
- When do you want to celebrate it? Do you want a special moon phase? Sun sign?
- Where should it be held?
- Who do you invite (if anyone). It’s ok to hold an observance that’s just between you and the Universe
- What type of ambiance do you want and how do you create that using magical symbolism?
- What about activities (the body of the event). Now don’t overcomplicate this. If you want good music as a friend who DJ’s or who has a karaoke machine. No one ever said you have to be pitch perfect – the Gods really don’t mind.
- What do you use for closure when your special day is done? Indeed, this can be as easy as saying it’s time to go home!
- Post Event Reflections: In retrospect would you change anything about your celebration? If so what (make notes)? Do you feel the people who came (if any) understood your purpose and elevated it? Did you get that wonderful magic tingle on the edge of your awareness (BRAVO!). Oh, don’t forget: do you want this observance as part of your regularly scheduled magical events?
Annual Magical Celebrations and Rites
Some things do not bear repeating. Closing a relationship is a good example. While you may want (at some time in the future) a healing or forgiveness moment, that time is not now. It may never be now again. Some things in life should be released so you can move on with a clear head. In this case, your ritual gives you spiritual conclusion. That is incredibly important, not something you would want to have to do again.
On the other hand, if your family or friends come up with a “rockin” rite that genuinely shimmered with energy, why not add that to your annual schedule? That’s what our ancestors did and look at us now! Join in that amazing history so future seekers have a piece of the puzzle they may not have had otherwise.
Sing your soul’s song; Dance in the light of the moon.
Adapted from “Witch’s Book of Wisdom,” by Patricia Telesco. All rights reserved.