Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Short Note On Rituals, Calendars, Technology and Whatnot

Good Day to all.  I've been off the grid for a long time, but I had a quick set of thoughts that I wanted to share. 

This past month, I've been trying to pull together a pagan calendar for my personal reference and use.  Since I'm trying to record lunar phases, Neo-pagan holiday, and the traditional holidays in the Roman, Greek, Norse and Celtic calendar, I'm having a crazy time of it.  Every second I get a bit of air I feel like suddenly a new holiday or bit of information I should consider pops up and I'm further down the rabbit hole than when I started.  My ipad calendar app enjoys at least one note on it every day of the year, whether it's just marking different faiths methods to tell time like the 1st Nation's set of months or the Celtic tree months, or it has festival days on it. 

I haven't even gotten to when Mercury goes retrograde.  I haven't decided if I want to track any other planetary motions. 

And I haven't gotten to adding the other holidays outside my pagan bubble!  Why add these holidays you ask, because I want to be that person who knows when Diwali and wish my friends a Happy Festival of Light and I want to acknowledge when Hannukkah and Passover start for my Jewish peeps.  Part of making he world less Christian and more multi-faith, is about more than showing solidarity with other pagans.  It's also about the simple courtesy of knowing when other groups holy days are and knowing just a little information so I can show appropriate support/acknowledgement.

This brings me to a major calendar application's failing.  I would love a master calendar that already marked the phases of the moon.  Short if that, I'd like a calendar that would let me repeat an event every x amount of days instead of limiting my repetition options to weekly, monthly, and yearly.  The timing means that each month I have to hand write in lunar notations.  Each year I'll have to write in the closes approximation to the Greek reference calendar I can find with each holiday.

Going farther than that,  I would love for that calendar to have an option where it would joint mark the Gregorian calendar with the Jewish, Hindu, First Nations, Celtic, Chinese, Lunar, Greek, and other calendars I don't know of.  Heck I'd love to be able to swap from one dominate form to another but have all my appointments be understood no matter which format I swapped to.  And I'd love a calendar that gave me an option to create my own wheel of the year and over lay it with the Gregorian Calendar.  I do follow my own completely unique schedule tailored both to my belief and to the weather here in the Alabama, as opposed to a calendar I used to follow in MA. 

The mate told me if I was willing to pay money for such an app (which I am, for one with the right layout and sophistication, I'd drop big dollars like as much as $30 cause it is something I can and do use every year) I should learn to make it.  Part of the problem here it that it would take me literally years to part time gather all the information with good sourcing which I would need to create calendar dates and do a quick explanation write up of the holiday/different calendar cycles.  Forget how long it would take me to learn the coding and build an attractive friendly layout.  Plus I'm torn about whether this whole need to schedule, mark time, and be aware of how others are marking time is something that a lot of people feel as a gaping hole in their lives, or if it's just me.  I'm kind of an A type personality when it comes to scheduling and considering other's schedules.

Of course beyond researching holidays dates and meanings, that has me diving into other general research information of what is on the world wide web that may be of interest to me.  I always start out so curious and glowing with hope and thirst for more.  I keep thinking there is real collective power and deep innovative new thought I'll stumble across.  And some of the information I'm reading is certainly valid.  Some of the crafts and recipes offered are fantastic. 

Something I wish I wasn't seeing so much of is all these seasonal rituals which are riddled with assumptions about the practitioner.  My seasons do not run correctly for me to use these rituals on a lot of major Sabbat days. 

And I wish the rituals didn't make so many presumptions about what kind of tools I use and so on.  I don't have an altar.  By this I mean both that I don't have a singular place of worship as these suggested practices imply but also that I have no altar in my practice.  I have shrines.  Plural here is very important because I focus my energies on multiple things and in multiple places in ritual.  Occasionally, I will focus on just one shrine and one aspect in ritual, it's something I'm trying to write in more time to do in my practice, but my faith, as a whole is really more about opening myself up to differences than drawing things together in the singular.

I wish there was more explanation regarding the selected details too.  Out of all the themes one can choose in any Sabbat, why does this ritual celebrate this one in specific?  Why certain numbers of candles and why those colors?  Why this food and drink?  Why these scents or oils? 

This is not to say that I can't guess why. Heck, this isn't even to tell others that every detail needs to be written into a posted ritual, though a link to the information that our using would be nice.  It's not about critiquing another's practice or offering (you'll notice I haven't posted any links or made this post about specific information), it's just about helping a person to see specifically where your ritual and your practice are coming from so he or she can best judge if this information will be helpful to him or her.  I mean if the the information were very helpful and I wanted to learn more about the tradition from which the knowledge comes from, how would I do that? 

I know this is a lot of questions and a lot of complaining I'm doing about people who have for free offered their time and insights to our community.  I do want to acknowledge that anything they chose to share online is a gift of sorts to those seeking.  I also want to acknowledge that quite a bit of the information was rich and meaningful to me, despite this little nit picks I have.  So let me close with a than you to those who share their thoughts and content online and simply add that this post is asking for more not trying to silence anyone into giving less.