Timing Is All in the Research.

I woke up this morning with the Wheel of the Year in my head. I could clearly see it in my sleep-addled brain, but it faded as I tried to focus on it while I was waking up. Obviously, this is a sign that I’ve put it all off for long enough. It’s time to follow the advice that Dver set for me, “I struggled for ages trying to force Hellenic religion into a general Wheel of the Year model, especially when I was celebrating with a mixed group. Sometimes it worked fine, other times not so much. I think the FIRST thing to do is figure out if the Wheel of the Year model works for your bioregion. It is based on Northern Europe and will not make sense for many areas in the US. Being about agricultural patterns and weather, it needs to be modified so that it conforms to the actual climate you’re living in. THEN you can examine each stage, the meanings behind it, and identify (if possible) what Kemetic gods and concepts go along with that. Or just create your own festivals similarly reflecting the progression of the year.”

This dream was also brought about by thoughts about the calendar that I’ve been having prior to falling asleep. Last night, I was beginning to settle down to the idea of creating my festival calendar. It’s difficult, in the extreme, but with Kiya’s notes (willingly given: thanks much) as a jumping off point, I’ve begun to see the folly that once held me back. I had been so absorbed with the need to mathematically figure out the specific dates that I began to despair. Math is not my strong suit and I’ve long since realized that. The thing is that I was holding myself back on purpose, with whatever excuses I could come up with. Since Kiya has helped me with her own little calendar system and since Dver pointed out, in numerous posts and so many help-filled comments, I need to stop basing things off of what I think they should be but work on them as I feel that they should be. And so thus, with calendar systems in my head prior to sleep and the Wheel of the Year in my head after waking up, I realized that it’s time to kick my ass into gear.

I can’t hide anymore.

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13 thoughts on “Timing Is All in the Research.

  1. Kicking very similar thoughts around in my head as well! Can’t wait to see the work you do on your calendar! It’ll help me sort out ideas on how to do my own.

    • To start, I bought a notebook for calendar notes. I’m going to start with the Wheel of the Year since it’s much easier than, you know, a thousand Kemetic festivals in a lunar calendar that doesn’t really line up with how we have calendars nowadays. Once I get the Wheel of the Year settled, expect a post!

  2. The calendar is always troublesome. The high Aswan dam went up in the 70’s, putting a complete end to inundations, and holidays don’t seem to line up with equinoxes that well. Also,
    At the moment, I take the lazy way and use the KO calendar, though when Kiya has her calendar all set up I may switch to that. I sometimes think of the holidays as synched to seasons in the Duat, and doing them at the same time as other Kemetics gives a heka boost.
    Some holidays work out very well. Hathor is headed upstream right now for the upcoming Beautiful Reunion, and that’s a good holiday for spring!

    • I think that’s the problem and why I haven’t done much with the calendar issue. How can I celebrate a patented spring festival if it’s the middle of winter for me, here, and the land is covered in feet of snow? (Not a problem this year, but it could be a problem next year.) I tried meshing the calendar with the seasonal calendar here and it fell apart on me. I’m thinking that in working with the Wheel of the Year, I’ll get a better understanding of what I want and then, hopefully, be able to practice it in a better, happier manner later on. Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.

  3. I’ve made a several attempts to squeeze Mesopotamian holy days into a modern framework. I have used ancient lunar calendars, I have used the Wheel of the Year, and often times just tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. My problem is not so much creating a modern liturgical calendar, but how different it is from the bulk of my friends that use the WotY.

    Some festival days are easy. I can easily merge the Sacred Marriage of Inanna and Dumuzi in with Beltane. Some are very hard. It is very difficult to find the same deep spiritual meaning that many neo-pagans attach to Samhain. Thus the feeling of belonging the wider community is hit and miss.

    • Do you have a calendrical frame work to base this on? That’s the problem with me. Technically, there is a frame work. However, you have to mathematically pinpoint the heliacal rising of Sirius for all of it to work out. And each year, the rising changes, so do I then change my calendar year to follow suit or do I say, “go hang,” to the rising of Sirius? There are other issues, but those are the biggest one that I can think of off the top of my head.

      Sometimes, the fun is trying to maintain a framework outside of everyone else’s. I’ve decided to flow with the WotY until I figure out my own calendar.

      • The main issue is that most ancient calendars were lunar calendars. To do a true liturgical calendar then means abandoning the solar calendar. This then causes problems in that the WotY is a solar based calendar. Likewise, most of the non-academic works on pagan holy days attempt to place them within the solar framework. So it will always be off from the WotY unless we artificially mold our days to a solar framework.

        In my case I do have a good source. The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East lists each calendar for each city in ancient Mesopotamia. The book is so dry that it is completely unreadable, but I can still pinpoint the calendar used in Uruk which was the cult city of Inanna. This works fine for solitary practice, but not when I am connecting to the wider pagan community.

        So right now I am doing a bit of both. On one hand I feel I need to be modern and social so I try to use the WotY. Then I always feel that pull to also create my own lunar calendar for my private practice. Maybe the solution for me is to accept the WotY as the generic calendar for social events, but keep my spiritual center with the lunar calendar.

        • Oh, yes. I understand this problem in spades. I live and work by a solar calendar, but my festivals have to be based on a lunar. And how many lunar calendars are out there to give me a frame work? (Serious question there… I’ll have to look into it.) I’m looking to do a two-for, myself. I want to continue to live by the solar calendar and associate my deities with the WotY, but I also want to have that intense lunar associations that is incredibly difficult and painful to calculate properly. That’s what I’m planning, anyway: to have both of them. I want to have the association with the WotY so that I can go out and do pagan-like things if I ever find a community. But, I also want to have a practice all to myself that I can teach my son (and any future children) and maybe share with a good friend or two. So, I understand the split. I understand the frustration. And I understand that it’s going to be difficult, but if you can do it, then so can I. :)

          Excellent! I wish my sources were so great. (They’re not.) I mean, I have calendars and whatnot, but there are so many different aspects to Egyptology that makes it difficult to develop a proper framework. Opinions get in the way a lot. Plus, I think there’s all of three books that actually talk about the calendars of ancient Egypt instead of just, you know, blathering on about how they developed a calendar and that being it.

      • Most people say that the best way to follow a lunar calendar is to use either the Jewish or Islamic one as a framework. I believe that the Eastern Orthodox Church also uses a lunar liturgical calendar. The Jewish calendar is not that far removed from the ancient Babylonian calendar, and their calendar still includes the month of Tammuz at the time of year that Sumerians and Babylonians celebrated the death of Dumuzi/Tammuz. Strange that they never changed that.

        One thing I tried, and this was several years ago so I will need to review the notes, is to adjust the months a bit so they are all 30 days (instead of being solely based on the lunar cycle). It throws the moon cycles off slightly, but the Sumerians and Babylonians tried similar tweeks to keep the calendar more consistent. Then they usually added about 3 leap days at the end of the year to adjust to the new annual cycle.

        Another thought is that ancient cultures also struggled with mixing the lunar and the solar. Sumerians also had celebrations based upon the solar cycles. They also struggled with how to keep days like the Spring Solstice consistent in their lunar calendar. One historian, I am not sure which right now, wrote that they attempted to create a solar calendar in the straightjacket of a lunar calendar. That’s a good way to put how it feels.

  4. I’m attracted to the Solstices and Equinoxes, but I don’t really know what to do with them. In my practice they become more cultural and regional celebrations than spiritual ones.

    • I’m writing mini-essays about what the Sabbats revolve around, then what they mean to me, then what gods I think are associated with them. So, stay tuned for lots more path-forgey posts!

    • My interest in the calendar and holidays has been reborn here. In the next few weeks I will pull out my old notes, and do something of the same. Right now I am concentrating on writing on how the Sacred Marriage was celebrated in Uruk. This is one celebration that can be tied with the WotY in Beltane. These short posts are from a esoteric point of view, but the final piece is a vision of how the celebration looked and felt in ancient Sumer. However, I would like to sit down and write more of an intellectual essay of the celebrations as well.

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