At Year’s End

As the secular year comes to a close, I’m looking at the things I celebrate this time of year…and note that there’s a dearth of documented religious activity for my particular path.

I’ve said before, in other posts, that I’m quite jealous of people whose religious holidays coincide with the secular ones of Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The fact that I don’t have any specific religious holidays to celebrate at this time of year doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prefer to have some. And so, this year, I am taking a look at what I do for the secular holidays of this season in the hope that I can try to create some new religious connections.

For starters, when I think about this season I tend to associate it with gatherings of family and/or friends, with tons of food.  Even though I’m not a people person, these are the things I need as autumn turns to winter. It would therefore make sense to take that need and incorporate them into a celebration of my own that could incorporate other people without infringing on their own religious traditions.

A friend of mine said recently that her path appears to be a Kemetic-Christian one, since she’s decided to celebrate Christmas as an akhu festival. This idea, though, makes so much sense to me.  There’s such a heavy emphasis on family and tradition around this time of year that incorporating my Ancestors/ Beloved Dead is just a small step beyond what I normally do.  So this evening, I’m going to take out the creche my mother gave me, and when I set it up on my mantel I will place it next to my current akhu shrine. A candle will be lit, offerings will be given, and I will thank Them for my life as it stems from theirs.  Once the candle burns out, I’ll replace it with an LED candle that can burn continually through to New Year’s Day.

We have other family-related activities planned.  My husband will be baking for the holidays, including a recipe on that my grandmother used to do every year.  I’m planning to go to church on Christmas Eve with my parents.  I fought against the obligation last year, based on the fact that I didn’t think it appropriate for me to participate.  However, I not only missed the ritual of going and singing the hymns of the season but my mother was heartbroken.  When I mentioned to her that I wanted to go with them this year, her whole voice lit up.  It’s a small thing, and so reminiscent of my childhood that now realize attending is, in fact, very appropriate for my own personal spiritual practices.

(However, I will not be partaking of Communion as I am no longer a practicing Christian.)

There are other things I think I will do as part of the closing of the secular year.  On New Year’s Day, I plan to give the house thorough spiritual cleansing, which I haven’t done since we moved in. I plan on (hopefully) replanting my indoor garden if I can get the equipment to function; with the New Year will come new growth, after all.  I also plan on performing some sort of excretion rite either on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to destroy that which I no longer want to carry. While these things are not specifically Kemetic- or FlameKeeping-oriented, I think they’ll make a nice addition to my practice as a whole.

As a final thought, let me leave with this: I sometimes think we’re too quick to cast aside rituals that belong the religions in which we were raised but now reject. I don’t think this is inappropriate, per se, but I wonder how much we toss aside that actually means something, only to have to try and recapture it later.   My attending Christmas Eve church with my parents is a case in point – I rejected it…only to desire to take it up again.  I didn’t realize how much it actually meant to me and to how I view this season.

So, with that in mind – what have you tossed aside that you now want back?


3 responses to “At Year’s End

  1. For Kemetic holiday type stuff, you could celebrate the return of the Distant Goddess on Winter Solstice. 🙂 Well, if you honor that goddess, anyway.

    Christmas and New Year’s have always been secular for me, even when I was a Christian. These holidays were always about gift-giving and hanging out with loved ones. In a way, nothing got thrown out when I converted. It’s always been about finding some way to incorporate the Netjeru and share the holiday cheer.

    Sooooo, with that said, I got Bast and the Pesedjet a small gift. It’ll be their offering for Christmas morning. They better not have peeked at it. 😉

    • I am Sekhmet’s, so it’s certainly plausible for me to do so. However, I can’t match the Return of the Distant Goddess up with the solstice – it just doesn’t work for me calendrically (yes, I make up words!) at this point not just from a practice standpoint but also from the place that She hasn’t returned by the Solstice – She’s still gone.

      I know Per Ankh used to celebrate it in January/February but I need to do more reading on timing, etc. before I figure out when to celebrate it. Part of the problem I’m having is the plethora of calendars…none of which mention it directly. Even Normandi Ellis left it out of her book…which is about festivals based on what she calls “Egyptian Goddess Mysteries”.

      Damn you, multiple calendars and having to factor in solar, lunar, and secular things!!!

      • Yeah, the calendars get to me, too. There’s too damn many of them and it’s a lot of work sorting them out. That’s why I’ve decided to just do a fixed one and then make up a couple of holidays to fill in holes. (Looking forward to celebrating Shu and Tefnut on Valentine’s Day!) It’s not Recon, but I’m not exactly Recon m’self. :p

        This year I celebrated the return of the Distant Goddess on the solstice, but Wep Ronpet is likely a better choice. Historically, the festival is supposed to coincide with the heliacal rising of Sopdet, so . . . yeah.

        Things get complicated way too quickly.

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