One of the difficult things about being a pagan goth, at least for me, is celebrating the Sabbats in the traditional manner. I have no problem with late summer and fall harvest festivals, like Lammas (aka Lughnassagh), the Autumn Equinox (Mabon), or Samhain/Hallowe'en, or with deep winter celebrations like the Winter Solstice (Yule). But somehow, I just cannot get excited about rituals involving standing out in the sun for any period of time, let alone being HAPPY about it! So Sabbats such as Imbolc/Candlemas, the Spring Equinox (Ostara), Beltane/May Day, and especially the Summer Solstice (Litha) can be a real problem for me. However, I have found a few "darker" ways to get around this dilemma.
Frankly, a couple of these Sabbats have absolutely NO meaning for me. Beltane (May Day) was originally a fertility festival, which is fine if you are trying to have children, grow crops or a garden, raise animals, or "birth" something in your life. And although I've always enjoyed rituals for Lammas, the August festival of "first fruits", again, there isn't any real meaning for that in my life. So I decided to remove these from my calendar entirely, unless and until I can find some good reason to celebrate them. However, I added the Mexican Days of the Dead in November ("Dias de los Muertos") because four days of celebrating and honoring the dead just seem SO appropriate, especially right after Samhain!
I have already replaced Imbolc with the Celebration of the Eternal Maidens/Youths I described in my previous post. Here is my projected list of 'new and improved' Sabbats:
February 1 or 2:
(similar to Samhain and Hallowe'en combined)
November 1-3: "Days of the Dead (Dias de los Muertos)"
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term "coming forth by day", the generic name of the so-called Egyptian Books of the Dead was "The Book of Going Forth by Day". They were individual collections of various prayers, formulas, spells and information written for the dead to help them get past all the dangers of the Underworld so they could reach the Hall of Judgment in safety, and then telling them what declarations to make to the gods so they would hopefully be admitted into their version of the Afterlife. Each "book" (which might be written on papyrus scrolls, on the inside of the coffin, or even on the tomb walls) was specifically geared toward the individual who purchased it, so they are all somewhat different. In creating this particular celebration (which is still a work in progress), I changed the word 'going' to 'coming' because I am building it around the idea of the dead 'coming' to us instead of us 'going' to them. Well, it makes sense to ME, anyway...
So, what holidays do YOU really celebrate, and how do you celebrate them?