Tag Archives: sabbaths

Wheeling – uhm, winging it

19 Feb

Every year after Yule, before the new year really starts, I take some time to calculate the sabbaths. And this year, based on correlation between solar and lunar year, Imbolc does not arrive until rather late, namely on 02 March. I checked all my calculations twice. It still looked weird. But so far, the weather has proven solar and lunar calendar right, for winter is sticking around and I am oh-so-glad that I bought these cozy thermo leggings.

(They may not be pretty, but they keep me warm, so suck it!)

Anyway, simultaneously I have been reading “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood. Part of the future she describes in her novel – go and read it, I’ll wait (it’s that amazing) – is a kind of climate change scientists have been warning us about for only the past, I don’t know, twenty years? (And there are still people who don’t believe in man-made climate change.)

So, while winter is still hanging on with all its might, sending snow and ice as gifts, we also have surprisingly warm days, the first early bloomers are poking their heads out and our car is covered in pollen. Hazel? Birch? It’s yellow.

Which brings me to a new question – imagine yourself twenty or thirty, maybe even thirty-five years down the road. Still going Pagan. How are we going to celebrate the wheel of the year, this supposedly ancient system to measure the progress of time, when climate changes as it has been said it would do? There’s a good chance we will be facing draughts, or excess rain, winters have all but disappeared, and weird plants and animals will be springing up to conquer new ecological niches.

Now, for a confession: I doubt that the Wheel of the Year(TM) is very old. In my opinion, someone (possibly Gardner) took some random information on the solar anchors of the year and some lore and folk traditions he knew about and mushed them up into a calendar-like system, for we as humans like calendars and systems. This would make the wheel of the year more like a fairytale. Not necessarily less real, for so many of us use it, just not ancient, pre-Christian wisdom.

So, what are we going to do? I like celebrations as much as the next girl, and I would hate to miss out just because climate does not agree with some Pagan books. So here are a few things I have been mulling over recently:

I would totally keep the solstices and equinoxes. These are pretty fix, for the time being, universally observable from what I understand, and are celebrated in one way or another in most cultures.

And for the other four … do we need them? We could just stick with the full moons and choose themes relevant at the time of the full moon (either in our lives or in nature). Or we could try to list our observations over the next decades and come up with a new system. It’s not that unlikely that climate will stick to rules – just not the ones we are familiar with. It may possibly be a mix of both. Or something completely new and unique.

(I’ll never give up Halloween, but I may have to find a new model for Samhain and the other funny bastards.)

Thoughts? Prayers? (Just kidding, thoughts will be more than enough.)