Saturday, August 24, 2013

Q is for Quarters

The Eight-Fold Year!  Though I'm on a Druidic path now, I come from a Wiccish background, and have been celebrating these eight holidays for more than ten years now.  And still, I cannot for the life of me remember which are the cross-quarters and which are the quarters!  So today I'll write about all of them, or the idea of the Wheel in general.

Isaac Bonewitz, the founder of Ár nDraíocht Féin, my Druidic home, wasn't crazy about Wiccan techniques in his system of Druidry.  Not that he had anything in particular against Wiccans, but he set out to create something different.  There are no circles cast in ADF rituals, no calling of the four elements, no duo-theistic divisions of God and Goddess.  But the one thing he did keep was the holidays of the Wheel of the Year.

For starters, it helps that the holidays the Wheel is based on, mostly ancient Celtic and Germanic practices, are a part of the Indo-European cultures Isaac was building his religion on; so it wasn't unreasonable to keep them as main holidays.  But there are many other Indo-European celebrations that could have made the cut for High Days as well.  Though Isaac and the early members of ADF were adamant about a more accurate ritual structure, they also wanted ADF to become a public religion, a face of Paganism to the general public - and this meant a certain amount of unity with other Pagan practice.  And so, the eight holidays of the Wheel of the Year became the sanctioned High Days of ADF, on which every Grove must hold a public ritual.

Of course, there are many individual ADF members who choose not to mark some or all of the eight days for their own reasons; and since personal practice is just that - personal - nobody minds.  But I still follow this calendar, and I am happy that the original ADF members chose to adopt it.  Though there are very few ADF members in my state, I can still go to other rituals for these High Days and have fellowship with a larger Pagan community, and also find some personal meaning in the rituals as well.  Though my practices are largely different from the majority of Pagans I've met near me, I can still share this commonality with a larger group, and that is something that strengthens and deepens Our Own Druidry.

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