Let me start this post by insisting you all go and subscribe to Devi's newsletter. I just got the December issue and it's fantastic.
Something in it triggered a plan... An ambitious plan.
Like most of you, this is one of my favourite times of year. And even though I'm insanely busy it occurs to me that there is a really neat way of squeezing as much awesome out of the festive season as possible.
And that's to have a festival festival.
A lot of us out here in these occult internets are -shall we say- "magically omnivorous". This opens up a lot of options for experimenting with different festivals and holy days.
If they fall outside your core tradition then you can scale your involvement accordingly. Just don't trespass. In my case this amounts to little more than an offering and a themed dinner. Because why not? Tis the season, after all. And holding a themed meal in honour of a being you may not have had any prior contact with certainly doesn't break the trespassing rule.
Here are some of the upcoming festivals and a few suggestions for activating them. I'm leaving Saturnalia off the list because I want to play with it later. Hat tip to Devi, as previously mentioned, and also to Dver.
The festival list
Faunalia - December 5
Festival in honour of Roman horned god, Faunus. Something tells me this one will be popular. Leave an offering in a quiet woodland area. (As in, somewhere with a minimised human presence.) Then hold Sunday dinner in his honour. Obviously something Italian would suit.
St Nicholas Day - December 6
Another awesome and approachable saint. I'd tell you more but Devi has some great stuff in her newsletter and I'm serious about wanting you to sign up. Here's a page with a whole bunch of St Nicholas prayers for you to incorporate should you so choose. (The site itself is fantastic.)
Agonalia - December 11
Do not miss this one! This is the best day to make sacrifices for success in the coming business year to the gods of your choice. According to the wikipedia entry, the festival's attribution was disputed even in ancient times, so it's wide open.
I'm not going to tell you how to sacrifice or to whom. This year has seen me traffick with Janus a bit, so he'll be mine. Remember though, this is for next year. Not this year. It's not a thank you, it's buying in some help in advance.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Day - December 12
The Empress of the Americas. You all know how this goes. And if it's too churchy for the more militantly Pagan among you, pause to consider the actual story. There isn't a human here. It's not the ghost of a dead nun. (Not that I have the slightest problem with that.)
A goddess appeared in the form that would be most recognisable, a bunch of miracles happened. The end. Believe me, she's allowed. Your celebration doesn't need to be the slightest bit churchy. Downloads here.
Saint Lucia's Day - December 13
Mulled wine, A Nordic hag goddess who hunts through the snowy night skies with an army of the dead, small children with super powers, gingerbread.
Eponalia - December 18
Feast Day for a local girl made good: A Celtic Horse Goddess that became popular all over the Roman Empire. Another one on this list that's been known to me in the past. She has a more complex esoteric lesson than you would originally think on the surface. It's not just about horses. Think back on what the first horses would have done to a pre-Celtic society and (*hint alert*) where they came from.
Unless horses have something to do with your life, this would be a classic offering/meaning meditation affair. At least it will be for me. Although the Royal Stables are more or less up the road and I'll be taking some Australian relatives on a sightseeing tour that day... But it's probably just a horse-related coincidence. A synchro-neigh-city. (Sorry.)
Opalia - December 19
Hmm, I just found this one while researching for the post. You can detect a survival from the earliest days of humans in Europe hidden in the background. And it's masquerading as a Roman seed-sowing festival.
This is an Earth Mother who was "the mother of all the Gods". If you have the time, there is some exploratory ritual work here that needs doing. My suggestion would be to start with the traditional invocation that includes sitting on the ground, with both hands touching the ground and summoning up from underneath. Do share the details if you give it a go.
Divalia - December 21
Yes, yes. I know it's Yule. (And a full moon and an eclipse. More below.) But doesn't Divalia sound interesting? I like the part about "driving away all sorrow and the chagrin of life."
It's busy off world, too
Hopefully you've done your monthly forecast for December. If you have, then you'll see that it's a downright odd month out in the black.
Donald Michael Kraig has a great piece on the Llewellyn blog on the season's astrological implications. They are certainly something to consider in this context. There will be a lot of free juice going.
Factoring in the planets, the muggle commitments and -oh yeah- Christmas, it's an ambitious list, yes? But I'm up for it. If you're not, then feel free to add things or subtract them from it. Feel free to do whatever you like when you make your own seasonal list.
Just be sure you check it twice.