Blessings, and all that, to people who celebrate. I don’t.
I went to a ritual with the local druid and pagan group yesterday, it was short and sweet, and followed by coffee in the cafe. There was mini eggs and mead, and a little gift of sunflower seeds and felt bunnies.
We got heckled by a passing Christian who wanted us to know that his prophet had risen, presumably from a Sunday morning lie-in. I’m being facetious, of course. I know for Christians it’s Lent. It was very rude of the heckler to try to impose his beliefs on us, we were doing no harm and in a public place.
The place in question was Julian’s Bower, a turf maze in Alkborough, Lincolnshire, that overlooks the confluence of the Trent, Ouse and Humber. The weather was windy and there were bursts of heavy rain on our way there, but the wind dropped once we started and the rain held stopped in plenty of time for the ritual.
I enjoy going to these rituals, not necessarily because they resonate with me, but because it’s nice to get out and meet up with like-minded people. I find the format a little too generic; casting circles, calling elements and directions, and some of the references are clearly made for the American market. It can throw me right out of the mood when I’m in the Lincolnshire countryside listening to the rustle of birch leaves and blackbirds, and the call to the south is about turtles and volcanoes. I can’t get back into the feeling then, because my brain is picking apart the references.
My beliefs are rooted in the land, sea and weatherscape around me. Yesterday they were calling on the directions and elements for protection, and ignoring the Humber, a powerful wight, right there in front of us. I tried to apologise and add the wights of the rivers to the ritual in my head.
I also have a problem with calling the vernal equinox ‘Ostara’. It is derived, via modern witchcraft, Wicca, etc. from Grimm, who derived it from the German word the Grimms claimed for April. Call the vernal equinox the vernal equinox!
Ostara is slightly related, linguistically, to Eostre (variations on this spelling exist) but in the wrong month! The Spring Equinox always falls in March – Hrethamonath, not April – Eostremonath. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Naming a festival after one goddess in the month of another goddess is disrespectful. The honouring of Eostre doesn’t start until the full moon in April and lasts as long as you like. I’ve been reading a bit from the Fyrnsidu website, and they suggest May Day as the end of the period honouring Eostre.
I have written about this before, here.
I will return to this subject at an appropriate time, next month.
I was asked yesterday, by a respected member of Lincolnshire’s pagan community why I chose the Norse path. I had to correct him straight away. Why do people always assume heathen = asatru? I told him my relationship to the land is paramount and that the Anglo-Saxon period attracted me from a young age as part of my obsession with history. It all just fits together. I am sure there are some Heathens who wouldn’t consider me heathen because I don’t necessarily worship the ‘major’ gods, but screw that.