As a secular witch, these are the personal holidays I celebrate.
While as a witch I enjoy the idea of celebrating the cycles of the year I do not celebrate the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel of the Year is a religious Wiccan concept linked with the life cycle of Wiccan deities.
For me, I enjoy recognizing the changing of the seasons. It makes me contemplate my place in my ecosystem and gives me time to set aside to plan for my future and to reflect on the past. I also enjoy a reason to celebrate and to take some time out of my life to relax and enjoy existing. For every holiday I will do a tarot reading for things to focus on until the next holiday and I usually walk around the neighborhood I’ve lived in for 15+ years to pay notices to changes in things in plants and animals. On some of the holidays I reset my house wards, but some set to moon cycles. Mostly I make food from seasonal ingredients and give myself a reason to celebrate. Also, most of my holidays don’t have set days. They are set to when I can carve time out my life. I make room for them in my life. I’m working on writing more down for each of my holidays but I’m going to be doing it as the seasons change this year. So, Here is and outline of my holidays.
For me, my new year starts at Candlemark (somewhere between February
1-4) It’s the mark of the beginning of the end of winter, the light is
coming back in small bits. I make candles for the year for Full Moon Dance Night* and I make food
with things I’ve canned or frozen the summer before to bring some summer
into the end of winter like a soup made with tomatoes from the garden. I also like to buy seeds, plan my garden and sometimes plant seeds inside. This is also a time where I finally feel that I can shake the holidays and really set to do the things I have spent a month planning.
(somewhere between March 20-23) is like a tipping point. There are getting to be more vegetables and new growth in my garden. Time for planning and often for spring travel.
(May 1st) is International Workers Day. I never work on this day.
It is a day of rest, but also an acknowledgement of workers and a day of
protest against injustices.
(between June 19-23)
My birthday is the 19th and it always get wrapped up in this. It’s a
time to stand in the garden barefoot and and eat strawberries ahd have picnics.
(August 1) My garden is producing good stuff, but it is the beginning of the end of the growing cycle. It’s time to give thanks to my yard and share my harvest. Also, I’m a sucker for school/office supplies and this is whey they start bringing out lots of neat new things for Back To School, so I indulge in buying some new pens or notebooks for myself.
(sometime from mid- September to September 23) to Sometimes it’s not the equinox at all. Sometimes it’s the first or second week in September when you start to see a familiar slant of the sun and the air feels a bit brisk in the mornings. It’s the beginning of soup weather and filling the house with the smells of baking bread.
(October 31) Halloween is pretty much a secular holiday as it is, so celebrate! Put the garden to rest, pick those last lingering tomatoes. Buy the fun decorations. Give candy to kids. Dress as someone different and walk the world that night. Explore your shadows and prepare for the darkness ahead.
Winter Solstice/ Sockstice
(December 20-23) For me, this is Sockstice at my house. We invite people over and have a sock drive for a local group that supports people affected by domestic violence. There’s food and drink and laughter filling the house with warmth and we often have a fire on a dark and cold night. Also, we listen the 1st wave ska music as our holiday music. I don’t know why we have been doing that for 6 years, but we have.
The point is that The Wheel of the Year is a Wiccan system of holidays and I’m not Wiccan so I’m not just going to take the names and take the meaning out. Some of the Wiccan names are taken from older Celtic holidays names associated with pagan and folklore, sure. Also, societies have celebrated the changing of seasons for millennia. So, how can that be incorporated into my celebrations. As a secular witch, I first I asked myself why I wanted to celebrate the changing of the seasons? What value did it hold for me? Besides that I just want holidays, which I answered above. How do I give myself space to celebrate and to make my own holidays? How can I draw from the place I live regionally? What do these times of the year mean to me? These are what I came up with and I’m going to be working on expanding on them through this year.
My christmas mixtape is here, and it’s been a while since my last Jamaican Music playlist, the third in the series, twelve tracks featuring a selection of 1st wave Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae hits from Jamaica (35 minutes). Photo Credit: “West Indian Community Center, photo Vanley Burke, Birmingham,1979″
You Make Me Happy - Alton Ellis (1970)
You Don’t Need Me - The Melodians (1967)
I Won’t Let You Go -Byron Lee and the Dragonaires (1964)
You know how in August and September I was all “my life is awesome! Things are great! The world is open and full of possibilities!”? Well, it’s starting to feel that way again.
A woman came into the shop today asking about zines and saying that she kept wanting to come and and was talking about her daughter at the high school down the street. She bought a “angels have the phonebox” doctor who button. I told her about how we were just in Cardiff at the Doctor Who Experience and she was very jealous. Anyway, she said that she and her husband have a business that cuts metal, glass, other stuff. Then she said they have a lot of scrap metal and could cut us a sign to hang on the outside of the shop! I’m sure we’ll talk more about specifics. It’s just nice that I’m feeling comfortable and safe and chatty in our shop with strangers.
Today Paul and I started listening to 1st wave ska. I have no idea why this is a holiday tradition for us. Maybe the music is nice to hear when it is cold and wet outside? We’re listening to lots of Trojan records stuff in the kitchen tonight. I had no ideas that there was a Trojan album of Sisters. Anyway, we tore about an artichoke and dipped it in a vegenaise/balsamic/paprika/garlic sauce I made.
Tomorrow is antiCon/SantaCon in North Portland. I’m closing the shop and I have a crew so that will be fun. Also, two of the stops are on either side of the shop so I think I’ll just open the shop and have some beer from the fridge and play some tunes that I actually like and have some friends hang out while handing out buttons and flyers. I’m gonna call it advertizing!
I also found a new (and free) program for accounting and now I’m obsessed with checking it. It plugs into etsy and paypal so it tracks all the annoying fees and shipping and puts them in the right place. Apparently between My etsy shop, Small World Buttons, and Portland Button Works I have lost a good chunk of money. That’s good. At least I don’t have to pay taxes if I’m in the red. Being able to see all of this from the beginning of next year will be a better start.