I’ve been minded to say something about what I call Outward Observances, and promising to talk about magic, paganism, and other stuff, it’s been on my mind to do it.
One of the things that really gets me about modern paganism is the degree to which it really rather ignores the ancestors and the power of the past to move us. Pagans are both extremely ancient and very powerful, and very recent and very new-agey. It seems all the time as if we have a deep history and no history at all. Whereas history is a deep and strong river running through my life… I want to find ways to use the pagan past to help bring my sense of being a pagan to life.
I’ve been wanting to work on that in my own life, and given my Church background, I’ve been thinking how much I admired the calendar of the saints in the Episcopal Church. Not every day is a celebration, and not every day needs to have something going on, but many days do, and they often come in clumps. Furthermore, there are lots of days and times that have modern significance and reconnect me both to the modern world and to the deep past. So, I’ve been slowly assembling a calendar of these Outward Observances, of things that I want to do and times and entities that I want to celebrate and honor in my life on a regular basis.
Several of these days are coming up:
8 January: The Justitia
Today is the Justitia, the feast of the Roman goddess of justice (the one with the scales, the sword, the bare breast and blindfold). Today I am going to write to the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, and ask them to remove the drapes surrounding the statue of Justice. She’s an important symbol, and if she’s covered up, there’s a suggestion that justice isn’t being done. I’ll mail the letter today, too.
11 January: The Carmentalia
Today is the feast of the nine goddesses of prophecy in the Roman tradition. Today I am going to do three tarot readings: for myself, for the nation, and for the world; and burn incense to these nine divinities. I am also going to pour out a jug of water to Justuna, the goddess in charge of all those who work with Elemental Water.
12 January: The Compitalia
Today is the feast of the Lares, the household gods. Today I will wash and clean all the objects on my household altar, and clean out the niche in the living room where it stands. Maybe I’ll also remove some objects from it, and add new ones. I’ll also burn incense to the Lares, and ask them to bless me and my household and my tribe on this day.
13 January: The Ides of January
Today is the Ides, and while it’s not a Roman celebration, it is a day to give thanks and benediction to the genius, or tutelary spirit, of the Apple and the Apple tree. So I’m going to get a lot of apples, of a lot of different kinds, and hand them around at school and to everyone I can, today. If I can, I will go down to Lapsley Orchard, and take a walk in the orchard, if the owners will let me.
16 January: Concordia
Today is the festival of Concordia, the goddess and divine principle of harmonious relations with others. I haven’t figured out what to do about this one other than burning incense. Maybe I’ll try to make peace with someone I feel a rivalry or difficulty with, or arrange to have lunch or dinner with someone that I haven’t seen in a while.
17 January: Felicitas
Today is the festival of Felicitas, the goddess of good luck. So I’ll make a point of burning some incense on my household altar for her on this day, and maybe putting a set of dice on the altar for her, as well.