One of the things I have been thinking about lately is what to me it means to celebrate the Sabbats found in many Modern Neo pagan witchcraft traditions (and even in some non witchcraft traditions these 8 sabbats still seem to appear in some way shape or form). For years, I celebrated and honored the sabbats with rote rituals from books with little to no true meaning behind them. Yet I did them because I thought I had to. After that I began simple prayers and feasts with offerings to the Gods, and it still made little to no sense to me. The holidays had no meaning to me and my life. Mythological and symbolically, I always understood what they meant, but never felt anything in my spirit or soul.
I’m not a farmer, though I do respect farmers and those who work the land for food for the rest of us. I understand that without the farmers I would not have the food I have on my table. yet I do not have that direct connection with the land that farmers do because I am not working it every day. I look at what produce is available during the seasons and understand the history and much of the lore behind the 8 sabbats but to me the agricultural meanings have had no real impact on my life.
With yesterday having been the Summer solstice I have started to wonder what it is that I can do to have a ritual that is actually meaningful to me. To create a ritual that would be meaningful to me I need to figure out and understand what it is that is important to me. What am I celebrating and honoring aside from the Gods, and how do I fit that into the summer solstice or longest day?
After the last month I have begun to understand what it is that my path really means is is about. For me my path is a mixture of Norse Paganism where I honor those Gods and their spirits as well as a form of Modern NeoPagan Religious witchcraft loosely inspired by Wicca. The Gods I honor in my witchcraft path are not so much about the Grains and the animals or the field and the hunter but they are a God and Goddess of Life and death. The bringer of life and the Guardian of the afterlife. One to bring us into life and one to take us out. Life and death are a pair and that is what the focus of my path is.
Summer is a time for play and freedom and light. Summer has life all around there are flowers blooming, trees growing, long days and I can hear the laughter of children all day as I sit in my office working. I listen to the birds every morning and watch the animals play in the trees and dart across the roads in their search for food and mates.
It’s been listening to them play and realizing how important life is that helped me come to realize what is and has always been the center point of my practice: The sacredness and importance of life. Even as a child before I became a witch, that was a core value that was instilled on me: All life is sacred. All animals are here for a reason. You should never kill anything unless your life is in danger or you intend to eat it.
On the flip side I also learned that in order for us and other animals to survive other creatures and beings (plants as well as animals) need to die. Life and death, creation and destruction are two sides of the same coin that work together. There can be no life without death and there is no death without life.
I have been a practicing witch and Pagan for 20 years now. I am always looking and developing my path and practice. Sometimes the answers that I have been seeking stare me right in the face. In this case it was a revelation made from a life changing event. This revelation also has me thinking back to the Charge of the Goddess where the Goddess mentions that all acts of love and pleasure are her rituals. By enjoying life (pleasure) I am engaging in the joys of the Goddess.