I was up late preparing for my protogrove’s Autumn Equinox celebration, and I woke up earlier than usual on a Saturday to continue my preparations. I’m not even leading today’s ritual, although I am performing several important parts. I’m also leading the magical working: a grovemate’s mother blessing/saining ceremony. There’s a buzz of excitement in the house. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’m truly excited.
Remember when you were little and the holidays filled you with so much anticipation? You could barely contain yourself as the day approached? For me, I have vivid memories of planning Halloween costumes, getting up early on Thanksgiving to watch the parade on TV, or impatiently counting down the days to Christmas. Ah, the magic of childhood…
That never has to go away. You may celebrate different holidays now, but you can approach them with that exuberance.
It’s hard when you first step on a spiritual path that is different from your family’s, but I think that’s especially so when you’re embracing a minority religion and you are clueless on the community around you. During my days as a solitary eclectic practitioner, finding my way, I would honor the holidays by myself in my bedroom or, sometimes, in the forest. The initial buzz of taboo a converted Catholic might feel wore off, and I was left, instead, with a bit of sadness. Sometimes, it felt too much like an obligation. Of course, those of us who walk these paths embrace a self-imposed obligation to revive and maintain the old ways, but it shouldn’t be begrudgingly. We should leave behind the “12 Pains of Christmas” attitude when moving over to the Earth-Centered paths.
Finding community changed everything for me. Suddenly I wasn’t alone. I found a spiritual family! Of course, I’m sure it’s perfectly possible for a solitary practitioner to celebrate the holidays with joy, but for me it didn’t work. I needed that community. As a child, I planned Halloween costumes with my parents. I watched that Thanksgiving parade with my sister. I counted down the days to Christmas with my family and friends. Each was followed by celebrating with others, and I crave that community. In my humble opinion, since Druidism is a tribal religion by nature, these very community-centric celebrations are experienced best with others, sharing in the joy. Now that I’m older and wiser, I realize that, even if my family isn’t Polytheistic or Pagan, we all connect in our appreciation of picking out pumpkins, drinking apple cider, making snowmen, planting in the spring, and that first dip in the river after a seemingly endless winter. You may not have ritual with your biological family, but you can still celebrate together.
Whether you are part of a grove or not, find your joy and excitement. Really meditate on what you’re doing and why. Create an appropriate playlist and fill your home with mirthful sound. Plan a special, seasonal meal and decorate with plants and harvest to connect with the land. Plan important magical workings for the day and truly anticipate it. Embrace the day as a child would. If you’re like me and you have a child, think about what he or she will remember down the road. What pleasant nostalgia will fill her heart when she sees the seasons change?