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Author Topic: Your calendar?  (Read 4417 times)
Fauna
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« Topic Start: December 27, 2010, 02:38:52 pm »

I've been looking around the internet and doing my research in the library and there seems to be quite a lot of festivals and special dates, when you add them all together it comes up to almost one everyday! I haven't the time or means to throw a big celebration every other day and I was wondering how others do it.

So how do you do it? Celebrating all the festivals but in a small way? Constructing your own calendar with dates that feel special and relevant to you? Choosing the calendar of one city and sticking to it? Or not doing it at all? What do you do these dates come? I'd love to hear what everyone does and sorry for all the questions. Smiley
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« Reply #1: December 27, 2010, 03:16:12 pm »

I've been looking around the internet and doing my research in the library and there seems to be quite a lot of festivals and special dates, when you add them all together it comes up to almost one everyday! I haven't the time or means to throw a big celebration every other day and I was wondering how others do it.

So how do you do it? Celebrating all the festivals but in a small way? Constructing your own calendar with dates that feel special and relevant to you? Choosing the calendar of one city and sticking to it? Or not doing it at all? What do you do these dates come? I'd love to hear what everyone does and sorry for all the questions. Smiley

One thing that must be remembered is that many of the festivals on the ancient calendar were more civic than religious.  So you could easily cut those out and celebrate the major religious ones.  Since every polis had its own calender, most people who follow ancient calendars pick one and stick to it (the Athenian Calender is probably the most popular for the simple reason we know more about it).

Personally, when I was more of a Recon I tried to create my own religious calendar based on my locality.
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« Reply #2: December 27, 2010, 03:35:38 pm »


Personally, when I was more of a Recon I tried to create my own religious calendar based on my locality.

I'd love to know more if it's not too personal. Smiley What sort of things did you do it create it?
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« Reply #3: December 27, 2010, 05:03:33 pm »

So how do you do it? Celebrating all the festivals but in a small way? Constructing your own calendar with dates that feel special and relevant to you? Choosing the calendar of one city and sticking to it? Or not doing it at all? What do you do these dates come? I'd love to hear what everyone does and sorry for all the questions. Smiley

I'm starting with the Athenian calendar (if you've seen HMEPA, that's what I'm basically looking at).  I'm in the midst of going through a full year and trying to figure out what it makes sense for me to celebrate, and what needs modified or even left behind because it doesn't make as much sense in the Midwest USA in 2010 AD as it did in Athens in 400-some-odd BC.  What exactly I do for each festival...  I'm also figuring out.  Cheesy  Some I just offer a hymn and a libation; others I do a full-on religious ritual for.  It just depends on what seems appropriate, how much information I have to go on, and what I'm able to do.  In addition to trying to figure out which of the ancient festivals to celebrate, I'm also looking at what modern stuff might fit in.  Usually I at least offer libations to appropriate deities on significant days (holidays, major events in my own life, etc.). The ancients celebrated what was significant to them; I'm looking to celebrate what's significant to me.

If nothing else, I think it makes the most sense to pick one city to start from.  Greece wasn't, I am given to understand, all that unified way back in the day, so of course if you try to find a unified calendar it's going to get really confusing.
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« Reply #4: December 27, 2010, 05:51:36 pm »

I'd love to know more if it's not too personal. Smiley What sort of things did you do it create it?

I looked at the local agricultural cycles, weather patterns, etc.  I had my Demeter festival in October since that is the end of the growing season.  I honored Zeus in August since that month sort-of marks the rainy season in my area.  Since I live in a seaside resort area, I gave Hermes and Poseidon festivals in late spring (April and May, respectively) because that is the beginning of tourist season.

Generally I assigned a month in the modern Gregorian Calendar to each of the Twelve Olympians based on circumstances like the above.  The second Sunday of each month is when the festival took place (first Sunday was dedicated to the entire Pantheon).  Of course, I currently identify as being more Eclectic (and I had a tiny bit of this trait even in my Recon days) so my method has very little to do with historic accuracy.
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« Reply #5: December 29, 2010, 09:10:30 pm »

So how do you do it?

My answer is somewhere between make my own calendar and do nothing.  I have ideas about a few festivals and some holy days throughout the year.  But I'm not a ritualist by nature, so the only thing I've celebrated was Ice-out (when the ice is gone from the Big Lake) by making a pilgrimage/pomp drive around the lake.

Not being a ritual-holder, my ideas are mostly vague.  I approach my religion as a syncretism of Hellenism and SecularAmerican (NewEngland) culture.
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« Reply #6: March 04, 2011, 06:15:48 pm »

I've been looking around the internet and doing my research in the library and there seems to be quite a lot of festivals and special dates, when you add them all together it comes up to almost one everyday! I haven't the time or means to throw a big celebration every other day and I was wondering how others do it.

So how do you do it? Celebrating all the festivals but in a small way? Constructing your own calendar with dates that feel special and relevant to you? Choosing the calendar of one city and sticking to it? Or not doing it at all? What do you do these dates come? I'd love to hear what everyone does and sorry for all the questions. Smiley

I've followed the Athenian calendar for the last four years or so. At first I followed it exactly, but as I got more experienced, I adapted it according to what makes sense in my locality (like celebrating the Haloa fertility festival for Demeter and Dionysus in December when the ground is frozen and there is snow does not make much sense).

What I mainly do is observe the first eight days of the moon which are sacred to particular deities, and then observe whatever festival (if any) traditionally occur in that lunar month. So the Noumenia is celebrated when the waxing crescent first appears, then the agathos daimon is honoured the second day, Athene, the third day, and so on. To honour a god, I would light my hearth candle that represents Hestia's sacred flame, recite a hymn for her, then light incense for the god(s) I am honouring from Hestia's flame. When the incense is lit, I would say a hymn to the deity, and then maybe offer a libation or a food offering. Since I practice alone, I don't really do any big festival celebrations, just simple domestic worship.
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« Reply #7: March 04, 2011, 10:34:45 pm »

I've been looking around the internet and doing my research in the library and there seems to be quite a lot of festivals and special dates, when you add them all together it comes up to almost one everyday! I haven't the time or means to throw a big celebration every other day and I was wondering how others do it.

So how do you do it? Celebrating all the festivals but in a small way? Constructing your own calendar with dates that feel special and relevant to you? Choosing the calendar of one city and sticking to it? Or not doing it at all? What do you do these dates come? I'd love to hear what everyone does and sorry for all the questions. Smiley


I currently follow Hellenion's 2011 calendar right now; it's based primarily on the ancient Athenian calendar (from about 800 BCE to 323 BCE). There are a lot of Hellenic calendars out there, but I find Hellenion's to be extremely easy to follow/understand, and it does a good job of matching up the ancient Hellenic months with our current months (well, the ones followed in America, anyway). The only this is, this calendar is very American-based, so if you're from somewhere else in the world it might not be as helpful, as far as how it matches up the ancient Hellenic stuff to our more "modern-day" week days/months. I really like it so far, though. You can find it here if you're interested: http://www.hellenion.org/

I'm sort of still figuring out how "reconstructionist" I want to be with my practice, and I currently don't follow every single festival/celebration/libation day on the calendar...some of the more "city"-based festivals, I feel, don't really apply to me right now...since I clearly don't live in cities like those, nor am I even in Greece right now (or able to celebrate with a big community of people). However, some of the other festivals/recognized celebrations, such as the Eleusinian Mysteries and Lesser Mysteries, for example, apply to me very closely, since I am primarily a devotee of Persephone (my Patron) and Demeter. I also find that recognizing the monthly "Hekate's Deipnon/Noumenia (New Moon)/Agathos Daimon" three-day celebration also feels really comfortable and right for me. Basically, for all the festivals/holidays/libations days other than those (and any relating to Persephone/Demeter), I'm just sort of "feeling my way through." I'm still somewhat new to this particular Hellenic calendar (the one I mentioned above), so I'll see where it takes me after a full year, and keep what fits and drop what doesn't.

Also, on a somewhat unrelated note, though I'm not in any way Wiccan/Neo-Pagan/etc., I still celebrate the Wheel of the Year holidays as well...mostly because it's something easy and enjoyable that I can do with many of my other Pagan friends, and it's a fun way to recognize the changing of the seasons. What I mostly do is attach a Goddess or God from the Greek Pantheon to each of the Wheel of the Year days and honor Him or Her on that day (so, sort of like my own made-up libation days). So, for example, the next Wheel of the Year holiday coming up is Ostara, which I will most likely celebrate with my other Pagan friends, and for that one I have chosen my Patron Persephone to honor, since it's basically "the coming of Spring"...so it seems most appropriate (to me) to give libations to Her at that time.

Good luck Smiley
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« Reply #8: March 04, 2011, 11:08:48 pm »

So, for example, the next Wheel of the Year holiday coming up is Ostara, which I will most likely celebrate with my other Pagan friends, and for that one I have chosen my Patron Persephone to honor, since it's basically "the coming of Spring"...so it seems most appropriate (to me) to give libations to Her at that time.

In some traditions of Witchcraft, the Spring Equinox is the time of the Spring Maiden's return. In Starhawk's book, The Spiral Dance, the Spring Equinox ritual incorporates this theme.

I also celebrate the solstices and equinoxes, though not the Celtic holidays (Samhain, Beltane, Lughnasadh, Imbolc) just because I'm not interested in them. Though the ancient Greeks followed lunar calendars, they did place important festivals around the solar occasions. The Greater Eleusinian mysteries were celebrated around the Autumn Equinox, the Rural Dionysia took place around the Winter Solstice, the City Dionysia took place around the Spring Equinox, and the Adonia took place around the Summer Solstice (as did the Panathenaia new year festival). I personally honour Persephone at the equinoxes (her return in spring and her descent in autumn), and Adonis/Dionysus at the solstices (birth in winter and death in the summer).

You can celebrate the Wheel of the Year as a reconstructionist if you Hellenize your celebrations. Ancient calendars are guides you can adapt and build upon, not things that need to be followed exactly in the present day. There's no reason you can't make up your own libation days. We aren't living in ancient Greece, we should worship in a context that makes sense for us now.
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« Reply #9: March 05, 2011, 07:21:40 pm »

You can celebrate the Wheel of the Year as a reconstructionist if you Hellenize your celebrations. Ancient calendars are guides you can adapt and build upon, not things that need to be followed exactly in the present day. There's no reason you can't make up your own libation days. We aren't living in ancient Greece, we should worship in a context that makes sense for us now.

I agree completely - reconstructionism does not necessarily mean you can't do or shouldn't do things, such as celebrate the Wheel of the Year holidays - you just add your personal touch to them, to make them fit your path. My reason for not calling myself a reconstructionist just yet is mostly because I'm still fairly new to a lot of things, having started my path half a year ago or so now, therefore I'm still figuring out a lot about myself and my path, fine-tuning things and adjusting to certain practices. I'm definitely leaning more toward some reconstructionist tendencies, but for now I'm just content calling myself simply a "modern Hellenic Pagan."

Due to my busy schedule, it actually works out to have my libation days be the Wheel of the Year holidays - days that are easy to remember and easily celebrated with friends, rather than many of the various monthly libation days already in place for most of the Gods on the Hellenic calendar I use. The Wheel of the Year holidays also give me a chance to really enjoy my community (friends, boyfriend, etc.) so it makes up for some of the more community/city based festivals that I don't feel connected to on the Hellenic calendar due to my current location, time-period, etc....but I can still "get the feeling of them."  ^_^
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"...Read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."
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General spiritual blog: http://greetingnewlight.wordpress.com/

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« Reply #10: March 05, 2011, 10:40:08 pm »

I agree completely - reconstructionism does not necessarily mean you can't do or shouldn't do things, such as celebrate the Wheel of the Year holidays - you just add your personal touch to them, to make them fit your path. My reason for not calling myself a reconstructionist just yet is mostly because I'm still fairly new to a lot of things, having started my path half a year ago or so now, therefore I'm still figuring out a lot about myself and my path, fine-tuning things and adjusting to certain practices. I'm definitely leaning more toward some reconstructionist tendencies, but for now I'm just content calling myself simply a "modern Hellenic Pagan."

Due to my busy schedule, it actually works out to have my libation days be the Wheel of the Year holidays - days that are easy to remember and easily celebrated with friends, rather than many of the various monthly libation days already in place for most of the Gods on the Hellenic calendar I use. The Wheel of the Year holidays also give me a chance to really enjoy my community (friends, boyfriend, etc.) so it makes up for some of the more community/city based festivals that I don't feel connected to on the Hellenic calendar due to my current location, time-period, etc....but I can still "get the feeling of them."  ^_^

Fair enough Smiley
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« Reply #11: March 29, 2011, 11:33:27 pm »

Ancient calendars are guides you can adapt and build upon, not things that need to be followed exactly in the present day. There's no reason you can't make up your own libation days. We aren't living in ancient Greece, we should worship in a context that makes sense for us now.

That's pretty much what I kept in mind as I constructed the New Boeotian Calendar.  I really don't worry too much about how closely this is to what the festival cycles of ancient Boeotia actually were, cos what matters most to me is what I observe in the here and now and how much sense it makes.  I've added a few new things, as well.


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