Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eleusinian Wheel of the Year: Sabbat Edition

After living with the moon-correlated Eleusinian calendar for a day, I have to admit I am still a bit unsatisfied. Perhaps it's the Celtic blood in me, but I am deeply attached to the eight high days. So, while I figure out which way I will eventually zag, I thought I'd post the calendar adapted to the eight-Sabbat system and provide a little more explanation about each rite. I'll start with the cross-quarter day the Celts used to mark their new year, as it is pivotal in the Demeter/Persephone cycle as well.

(Festivals written in caps are the main eight, while those in regular type are sort of mini-rites that prepare for the major high days. The dates I use are the actual astronomical dates for the quarter and cross-quarter days.)

November 7: SKIRA
Descent of the Maiden; Demeter Becomes Crone
This is a time to give thanks to the source of all life for your success; to take note of what you have learned and gained; to store resources in a place of protection; to face fear of the unknown; to celebrate courage, transformation, and independence while yet acknowledging the many ways your loved ones, both living and dead, have helped along the way.

This complex of rites includes the joyous Stenia Festival in preparation for The Mysteries

The 21st (Winter Solstice): Stenia Festival
Persephone Brings Light and Life to the Darkness; On Earth, Demeter is Cheered 
A time of great joy and celebration, remembering that the sacred aspects of sexuality and the renewing power of humor are integral to the ongoing creative process. This is a time to personally identify with the Earth and the creative power of the Goddess.

Dedication and Crowning as a Mystai of Demeter
The cycle of the blessed seed is shown as the mystery of the soul revealed. Initiates are cleansed, blessed and consecrated as Children of Earth--Children of the Great Mother--Kin to Queen Persephone.

Celebration of Demeter's Divine Laws; Remembering our Divinity
We pause in our lives to focus on the sacred values that a spiritual awareness imparts to the life experience. We consider the powers, influences and blessings of the Holy Mother and Daughter. We honor the Great Mother and our inherited Divinity.

This series of rites and festivals culminate with the ascent of Persephone from the Underworld.

March 6: Rites of Proerosia
Pre-Plowing/Planting Rites
At this time we prepare for our goals, considering not only the practical preparation, but also honoring the forces of divine power that are in play. A time of new beginnings requires sacred prayer, study, education, learning new skills and procuring resources.

March 13: Rites of Arkichronia
Creation of Fertility Talismans. Combining Earth and Underworld Powers
There is a magic that is born from the union of life and death. Now is a time to allow the highest influences to combine with your ideas and aspirations. Know that creativity has been influenced, even fed by the barren times. Realize and utilize the effects of the past on the present.

March 20 (Vernal Equinox): Rites of Nestia
The Sadness--Queen Persephone Must Leave Her Beloved Plouton
We celebrate both the value and sadness of sacrifice and honor right sacrifice as service and noble action. We give up a well-worn path in order to reach a future goal. We release the sadness of the past while retaining the beauty of our best moments as we proceed forward with our lives.

The Ascent of the Maiden. Persephone Becomes Kore. Joyous Reunion of Mother and Daughter
This is an ideal time to begin any new creative endeavor. The childlike energies of excitement and joy fuel the process. Joy and Knowledge are united to forge a powerful beginning.

Celebration of New Green Growth
We celebrate the early successes of new beginnings while continuing our right action and prayers. We are grateful for the source of our tools, materials, energy and inspiration. We continue toward our goal while maintaining a healthy sense of humor.

June 21 (Summer Solstice): FESTIVAL OF CHLOAIA
Festival of Flowers; of Verdent Demeter and Kore
All that we have worked for now brings its first rewards. We celebrate the pleasures of success while remembering to honor and thank the divine source of life. We continue to seek support through prayer.

The First Harvest. Demeter is Harvest Queen. The Seed and Maiden are Matured
At this time we gather in what we have sown, reaping the rewards. Blessings abound and now is a time to give thanks.

September 22 (Autumnal Equinox): FESTIVAL OF KALAMAIA
The Threshing. Freeing the Seed Grain from the Chaff. 
We see what is good in past experiences and choose to release those influences we no longer want. We make decisions of where best to spend our resources, keeping some for now, some for the future, and some to devote to the sacred. We honor the source of our bounty and those who taught us the skills by which we profit.


Blessed By the Mystery,
-M. Ashley

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