I just realized recently that this January is my 7th anniversary of beginning to keep the flame for Brighid and starting up a true devotional relationship with her, as it’s when I requested to join the Cill on TC. (I went through a brief hiatus of being part of the Cill, but the relationship with Brighid didn’t go on break.)
I’ve also been thinking recently about advents. Last year I did an Imbolc Advent, as organized by Erin Lund Johnson. It really helped me deepen my practice with Brighid, and reconnect to Her.
December was the Christian Advent, the waiting period before Christmas and the birth of Christ. I learned all about this in church, and went to almost all the Advent services in December. (Snow + night shift schedule made it very difficult.) When I was a child, “advent” meant “24 pieces of chocolate just for me!” Now it means something different (though we still bought an advent calendar, but not a real one, as it was for ALL of December to count down to New Years as well; dear gods the chocolate was bad, but it tasted like childhood, so that is something).
In my calendar for the Three the big holidays are the four festivals of Imbolc, Beltane, Loafmass, and Samhain. I’ve begun to feel that I would like to do advents for all 4 of these festivals, not just Imbolc. It’s not a practical idea for me to do advent for every one of the 8 holidays in my calendar, at least not at the moment nor long term (might be a fun experiment one year, though!).
The beauty of an advent for a holiday, however, is that it can be one day a week for the weeks leading up to it, thus not taking up quite a lot of time (Christmas Advent was, max, a few hours per week for me as a layperson). Traditionally this is Sunday in the Christian tradition, and Imbolc’s Advent last year was on Sunday as well, which makes sense as a day that many people will have free and also as a day that could be associated with Brighid, if you are the type to associate days with gods. However, it needn’t be Sunday if that day doesn’t work. It can be any day of the week.
So it is a way to deepen one’s experience of a holiday while still being fairly flexible in time commitment, and it’s for these reasons I am really liking the idea of doing it these four holidays. Hence 2017 is going to be the year I do an advent for each one, not just Imbolc.
Imbolc Advent was supposed to be on January Sundays, as last year, because Sunday makes sense to me as a day for Brighid. However, in practice this ended up being Monday — I still feel odd sitting in just the next room from my husband to do religious stuff while he plays video games or whatever. This isn’t a thing from him; he’s supportive. It’s my own weird hangups about Doing Religion when living with a partner, and this is really the first time I’ve had to deal with it. I’ll eventually have to get over it, especially if I want to raise our future spawn with religious stuff, but for now it’s still an awkward phase for me.
I plan on changing the day of the week for the other holidays — Thursdays in April for Beltane, Saturdays (or Tuesdays? We’ll see) in July for Loafmass, and Wednesdays in October for Samhain. I associate Thursdays with the Morrigan and Wednesdays with Manannan, and Saturday feels like a good day for all Three. We’ll see how that goes.
At this moment I’m not entirely sure exactly how I’m going to celebrate the rest of these Advents, but that’s what I’m going to figure out. I really loved what Erin put together last year, but this year I need to figure out my own thing for them. I am still in the process of building my own system, and this is part of that.
Brighid’s blessing upon you this Imbolc!
(Stay tuned for a write up about how Imbolc Advent went for me.)
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