Last week I held my Candlemas. (I've started calling it First Rite of Spring for some reason, which is cumbersome but less inaccurate than "Candlemas" or "Imbolc" would be.) It was pretty amazing, and got me thinking about things like those little moments of formality in ritual that one includes even if one's ritual itself is rather relaxed and informal in tone. Wearing particular items, getting out particular altar decorations or tools, washing, anointing. Things perhaps one does not even think about any more, they are such a part of one's religious observance. I've also been wondering over nudity and why it feels so important an aspect of ritual in my religious witchcraft.
I felt a sudden compulsion, that night, to decorate. For the Gods. My mind turned to daydreams of an altar-room, where I could hang banners and paintings on the walls and set sculptures on shelves. And I managed to spill candle wax on my altar cloth, so I'm in the mood to find another one of those. Something to embroider, perhaps? Or the work of someone else? I think the easiest way to go would be to buy more of the material of my present altar cloth, and then another that would be easier to wash when more wax inevitably spills. And then I got out my paints for another purpose and started thinking it would be pretty neat to paint the altar itself.
At present, though, no move has been made in any direction. I have left the idea to percolate.
I've been slacking a little on my threefold religious week. That is to say: my idea to do lore study, non-lore study and a formal prayer or blót each week. I still like it as an idea and occasionally remember to actually do it, but too often I've been thinking "oh yeah! I should to that tomorrow" and then forget for the next three days. Weeks seem to run through my fingers like sand or water. So much to do, so much to do. And I end up doing so little. In some ways I feel generally out of sorts and wonder if it's a hold-over from my appendectomy. While I'm mostly healed, I still can't exercise the way I did, and it's frustrating to feel normal and yet be reminded here and there that the healing process can take a while when muscle protests or stitches pull. Instead of a "you're officially better now, get back to life as normal" it's more of a process and it's left me slacking when it comes to picking things up again.
Idis-thing soon. I'm in a place, Heathenry-wise, where I want to start fine-tuning my holiday calendar. I don't Charm a Plough because a) I don't own a plough and b) the ground here doesn't freeze. I don't know why I feel like that second part is important. Anyway, the assimilation of knowledge is a bit of a long slow process when it comes to where I'm at right now. If you've ever wondered to yourself why so many Heathen groups and kindreds seem to celebrate things at different times of year, or have a different number of holidays, this is sort of why.... there's no set text or how-to book that.... actually that's wrong, there ARE how-to books that tell you when holidays are, but then you aren't at a 101 level any longer and you realise that those books are rather simplistic in the times assigned for holiday dates, and really when you look back at the texts it's more confusing, and should you hold Mother Night before Yule or at Idis-thing? And how many autumnal holidays are there? And is Yule held at the winter Solstice or later on when it gets colder? ....yeah. But there's no easy answer to those questions because our sources say different things. The Heathen world incorporated a fair-sized chunk of Europe and a considerable length of time, and things were done differently from here to there. So it's up to you. And being up to you, you sort of have to do all the research yourself and then decide how and when you want to do things.
Meanwhile, Idis-thing. I don't know what I'm going to do this year, quite. Or when; I hold my Hedgecraft holidays according to astronomical dates, but my Heathen ones are mostly season-based. I'll hold Idis-thing when I smell spring in the air. I'm not sure we're quite there yet, but it must be on the horizon. Having said that, I haven't gone outside much lately. I should probably do that.