Wheel of the Year
The celebratory calendar of our faith is based on the agricultural calendar, and the solstices and equinoxes. It is very nature and agriculture based, as our ancestors relied on those things for their survival. Because of that, holidays tend to be a date range, and because of modern work schedules and responsibilities, we generally only use them as a guideline and have our celebrations when it is most convenient for the folk to be able to attend. After all, community is the point of what we do, and it is important that we come together and do honor to the Gods ancestors, and Land spirits at the appropriate seasonal tides as well as on our own. One example is that in my tribe, we generally celebrate Yule the second week in January. This is largely because I have been in the restaurant business my whole life, and getting time off during the “Christmas rush” was just impossible (GM’s can’t be off during December). As a result, our celebration as a tribe tends to be later in the season and we hold a small family private ritual on the actual day. A compromise that I am certain our Gods, being as pragmatic as they are, would not have an issue with. After all, it is actions that matter, and actions that build worth and gefrain! Each Holiday has its focus, and a purpose, ritually, metaphysically, and socially. In our modern world, since we don’t live or die based on our ability to grow food, we need to make sure that we concentrate on the focuses of these holidays and how they can be applied to our modern world.
One of the most significant festivals of the year, Yule is the original celebration of the Germanic people that was adopted by Christianity because they could not get the Germanic tribes to stop celebrating their seasonal tide. Their answer was to claim it was a Christian holiday to celebrate the “birth of Jesus” which is of course a crock. It is historically known that Jesus was born in the summer, and when have you ever seen an evergreen tree in the Middle East? This is the celebration of the winter solstice, the harbinger of the bitter cold and desolate winter season, and a time of community and gift giving, since the folk would likely be stuck inside and in close quarters for most of the season. It also brings cooperation to the forefront, as the folk must work together to survive the winter. Ancestors are celebrated as well, as the time inside by the fire is a great opportunity to share their stories and keep their deeds alive for the folk. It is a time when the bonds of community are strengthened and celebrated!
Disablot is just what it sounds like, a blot (or offering) to the Disir of the tribe. The Disir are the female ancestors of the tribe, the venerated mothers of the Folk, and the ones who manage the frith of the folk. In Sweden, the Dísablót was of central political and social importance. The festivities were held at the end of February or early March at Gamla Uppsala. It was held in conjunction with the great fair “Disting” and the great popular assembly called the “Thing of all Swedes”
Ostara is a spring fertility ritual. It is also the Vernal Equinox if you are in the northern hemisphere. We celebrate the rebirth of the earth, fertility, the spring season, and our connection with the Landvaettir and the natural world.
This is the summer celebration (sometimes called MayDay). It is a time for celebrating the summertime and the early harvest, and bonfires are generally lit and danced around and jumped over. It is all about celebration and enjoyment of the summer season… This is when our tribe does our Sigrblot, or blot for victory in the year ahead…
Midsummer This is the summer solstice celebration, a celebration of the first harvest and the bounty of the earth. It frequently involves Fryer and the other fertility Gods and Goddesses.
Sometimes referred to as Hlaefmaesse or “Loaf Feast” This seasonal tide is celebrated in the Month of august. It celebrates the life-giving harvest and the turning of the seasonal tide.
Also called Fallfest, this holytide is when we celebrate the fall, and begin to enter the winter. It is the autumnal equinox, and the second harvest festival. Where the emphasis is on the rebirth that is in the seeds of the harvested crop.
One of the three most important holidays of the year, it is the beginning of winter, where the offerings are made in thanks to Gods and ancestors for the bounty of the harvest, and offerings for protection through the harsh coming winter. It is also the time of year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and as a result our ancestors, Gods, and wights are close at hand. Ancestors are usually the focus of the Winternights feast.