It’s My Party, I’ll Celebrate If (and only when) I Want To

Have you ever had one of those conversations where everyone pretends to be joking, but all listeners understand that everyone is as serious as a Caribbean storm when you’re naked, alone and unsheltered?

I just had one of those…

I was invited to a public First Harvest celebration. I declined—mostly because I had just gotten home after having been gone for a month, but also because I wasn’t feeling it.

“I’ll celebrate next week or the week after that, depending how things go,” I said.

“You eclectics are such a mess,” the lady said.

I grinned. “I don’t know about all the world’s eclectic Witches, but I’ll celebrate when I feel like it. Who knows, I might even skip this year’s festivities.”

“How do you skip Lammas?” She laughed. “Dear friend, you’re in serious need of a coven.”

“I didn’t say I was skipping the First Harvest, dear friend,” I might have overemphasized the dear bit. “In case you haven’t noticed, the seasons will move forward regardless of what anyone does. I meant that if I don’t feel the mood, then I will not celebrate.”

“I get it, Magaly, I was just teasing.” She wasn’t smiling anymore (neither was I). “Anyway, I better go and continue planning. You know how my coven and I take the turn of the Wheel very seriously.”

I didn’t say anything, because just like the main character in a story I just finished revising, when general stupidity gets too annoying, “nothing but crap comes out of my mouth,” and we all know that crap-talk never helped anyone.

The exchange made me think of the intro post for A Day on the Wheel blog, where Renee B discusses labels, expectations, and her decision to walk her journey in her own intimate way.

More than once, I’ve heard that one of Paganism’s most dangerous weaknesses is the fact that everyone likes to do whatever they want. I don’t know about that… I see diversity, individual thought, freedom of being and pretty much anything that helps us embrace who we are, as one of the our most powerful strengths.

Your thoughts, my Wicked Luvs…   

borrowed from Holly’s Horroland who borrowed from Rosario + Vampire
by the way, I really like the bathing suit top
and I love the watermelon jack-o’-lantern... it makes me think of Halloween in July ;-)

52 comments:

  1. You know, back in the day it wasn't about a date on a calendar. Why does it have to be now? You celebrate when the time is right! And I fully agree with you Mags, it's the diversity and the freedom this path brings that makes our individual journeys so wondrous!

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    1. A long time ago, Alan suggested something that stuck with me: many people look for validation, and it seems that getting it mean looking as much as an organized religion as possible.

      The reverence of Nature should be, well... natural, right? If someone feels they must follow a calendar more power to them. But for them to expect everyone to do is ridiculous.

      Like you say "You celebrate when the time is right!" for you. Anything would be only for show, methinks.

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  2. It's kind of weird, considering that a lot of these pagans don't even lead an agricultural lifestyle, so they don't have a harvest to celebrate.

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    1. Exactly my thought. Last year, my husband and I were quite active in our garden, so it made sense to celebrate the harvests. This year, not so much. The Wheel still turns....
      ~Sunfire

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    2. Don't get me started, Mantan and Connie. I can get almost aggressive when people try to push me around by telling me that this is what was done in the old days, so we must do it. Excuse me, but I don't think you were there!

      I know it's silly, but it seems to me that some of us focus too hard on dressing up for the party, but forget to feel the touches of Nature in our bones.

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  3. Kourtney makes an excellent point. There was no specific day way back when. When the harvest was ready was when they would celebrate. That was not necessarily August 1 every year. I think we, meaning our current society, place too much emphasis on time. Everything has to be done by a certain time. We have to plan for everything right down to the minute. The Earth doesn't work that way. Time does not mean the same thing to Her as it does to us. I am not a believer in 'needing' a coven. I have participated in rituals with a group and it was lovely but, being the introvert that I am, I prefer to practice my Craft alone. You just keep on doing what you do, deliciously wicked Magalicious!

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    1. As a girl who grew up in a farm, I can tell you that the cassava roots, corn, cacao and coffee beans, rice, plantains... can't read the calendar, so they will be ready when they very much damn please. Sometimes we didn't get enough sun, or got too much rain, or whatever, so we didn't dance and sing around our first crops (I miss those days!) until they were edible.

      Nature is a natural thing, and as all things natural, they follow their own patterns.

      So yep, Kourtney and you make an excellent point. And like you, I enjoy group celebrations every now and then, but most times I keep my spirituality to myself. I like it that way.

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  4. I understand that some people feel nervous in this world, and therefore NEED to be part of a group where one person tells them what to do(then they can say it wasn't their idea if it all goes wrong), but like you, I prefer to walk my own path. I happily celebrate whenever I feel it is right to do so and is most convenient to me. I repeatedly bite my tongue when others complain that "Spring is late/early....". The seasons turn as they will. They are not bound by our red tape and piles of paper work, and certainly not by a calender that has been altered on a regular basis to suit whoever was in power at any given time. It is nice to have a rough idea about when a particular celebration may be suitable...something to look forward to, but that's as far as it goes for me. My "Coven" would have peeps from all over the world, so the actual "seasons" here would not match with my sisters in the southern hemisphere...but they are still my sisters :D XXX

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    1. You know what? I think your feelings about "when others complain that 'Spring is late/early...'" has given an idea for a story. I'm giggling just thinking about it. Me thinks you'll love it :D

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  5. For the Celts, celebrations took place around the positioning of the moon and sun. Lammas is a Catholic thing, Lughnasadh was specifically Irish. Last I checked, you weren't Irish, anyway. Bottom line, it IS your party. Your connection to the earth, the spirits, your ancestors, et al, is unlike mine or anyone else's. If you aren't feeling it, then you're going through the motions and that's hypocrisy.. and hypocrisy is not in Magaly's make-up. While the coven might take "The turning of the Wheel" seriously, Magaly takes her authenticity seriously. To me, that's much more important.

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    1. I think some of us work so hard at tagging along and doing what we think everyone is expecting of us, that we start to forget who we are. And this time, the "we" doesn't mean "me." But you already knew that ;-)

      I'm always intrigued by how hard people try to feed societal expectations. And the worse part is, that I don't think it makes them happy. Or maybe it does and I just don't see it...

      I can't believe you missed my obvious Irish(ness), Kallan! I... I... I own tons of green stuff, and I drink beer and... well, I don't really drink beer, but I own tons of green stuff :-D

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    2. *Gasp* How did I miss all of the green stuff?? Seriously, you have the Irish f-you attitude when it comes to someone telling us what to do.. so, my apologies, Mags. You totally ARE Irish ;)

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  6. I think you summed it up perfectly with the title of this post, "It’s My Party, I’ll Celebrate If (and only when) I Want To". It is up to each of us to decide when and if we celebrate a Sabbat/holiday, there are some days that our schedules, health, or even interest is a particular holiday prevent us from celebrating.

    I like being free to do my own thing, when I want to do it.

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    1. "I like being free to do my own thing, when I want to do it." I'll dance to that ;-D

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  7. "Holier than thou-ism" isn't just restricted to Christianity, alas. Some pagans can get quite bent out of shape about the "right" way to do everything. Sheesh.

    Love that watermelon JOL! And it illustrates your point perfectly!

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    1. No ma'am, it isn't. There is always someone trying to tell someone else how much better they can do things.

      I just had some watermelon. I was inspired ;-D

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  8. I got into a bit of a heated discussion with another blogger once about celebrating certain holidays in addition to Pagan holidays. I agree with you that it's all about the individual and if I or someone else wants to celebrate extra cultural or secular holdiays I in addition to Pagan holidays then I think it's fine. So I also think it is fine to celebrate when and if you please. Sometimes life gets complicated.

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    1. I say that if it makes you happy (without harming you or anyone else) then go for it. And a person feeling that you not doing what they how they wanted is harming to them doesn't really count. So celebrate away.

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  9. *Sigh*

    It never ceases to amaze me how people insist upon making rules for others that they, themselves do not, and cannot possibly, keep. It is like sharing the joys of self-flagellation.

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    1. "...sharing the joys of self-flagellation" is one of those phrases that don't leave my mind easily. The imagery... wow.

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  10. You know when I celebrated First Harvest? Mid-July, when I pulled the first tomatoes off the plants in my back yard. They were delicious. The celebrations of the Wheel for me are broken into Celestial (based on planetary body positions) and Terrestrial (based on stuff happening on good old Gaia). I will celebrate the Vernal Equinox on the day that day/night are of equal length in March. But I will celebrate the season of Spring when my psychic senses are screaming at me that the Earth has awoken and new Life is busting out all over. Pagans who *only* celebrate based on the human-made calendar are, in my humble opinion, out of touch with the true power of Life all around us.

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    1. I recently, maybe yesterday, wrote a post by Tess that described a woman getting up and walking into the rain in the middle of the night. The person she described read so... alive and natural.

      You are definitely right, the moment we start celebrating only when a man-made calendar tells us, is the moment we forget to live.

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  11. Given that so many or us are urban or, at least, unfamiliar with the patterns involved in animal husbandry & farm/ranch work, plus taking into consideration climate change, how accurate is the seasonal wheel of the year, anyway? That is such a clunky running sentence, but the feel of it matches me when someone starts in on a strict adherence to the wheel calendar.

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    1. So very true, if I celebrated the harvest by the fruiting of my pepper (that is the extend of my vegetable garden) I would celebrate every few months. I swear, this pepper is turning the wheel all on its own. It might only give one piece of fruit, but it does it doesn't seem to care if it's snowing or storming outside.

      P.S. the phrase "animal husbandry" has always made giggle.

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  12. "Rules is rules", or so some say. That is the point of the problem. Some believe that as a broad sweeping statement for one and all. Then there are those (of us) who believe that the rules are a) not meant for us, b) have little to do with the truth, c) get in the way of freedom of expression, d) leave little to the individuals right to choose, or all of the above or none of the above.

    Circumstances have a way of getting in the way or making way for celebration of traditional, cultural, social and individual celebrations. I'm a hippy so I go with the flow. But that's me. My sister is a "letter of the law" kinda gal and gawd help anyone who doesn't do it the correct (her) way. And yes I will be driving the bus to hell according to her, but the rest of you will have one helluva ride with me, I trust.

    It was so great of you not to let said "other pagan" with the wrong sized undergarments distress you.

    I walked outside yesterday morning and the air had changed. There is a feeling, smell of "Indian Summer".......this is First Harvest for me. It's the smell of school starting, living out of the garden, fall just around the corner. That's my time of celebration based on my own internal "rules". And I honor what ever tickles your fanny. So why can't we all agree???? Because if that were the case, we'd have nothing to bitch about....and that also is one of my fave things that tickles my fanny.

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    1. I think the mood is going to hit me when we "harvest" our lone pepper. It just looks so juicy--Nature ripped, red and sweet... I bet I'll celebrate then. Right now, I only one to get the house in order after being long for a while. And write...

      *hehehe, fanny tickles*

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  13. (I love that picture: it totally looks like the watermelon is about to bite off her... bikini.)

    I can't help but recall all the times (growing up) when we were delighted - DELIGHTED - to get our first hay harvest in mid June, because it meant we'd possibly get two full harvests that summer. The second one, if the weather cooperated, would be in August. So, even though my family wasn't religious in any real sense, and there was no religious meaning attached to this, we celebrated like crazy when our first harvest came a week or two before Litha. ("Celebrated like crazy" meant Dad splurged on taking us all out for ice cream. Woot!)

    That gets me thinking - as others have pointed out - that 'the harvest comes when the harvest comes' and there's no calendar in the world of plants and climate. How did we end up putting these dates down on a calendar anyway? (That's a serious question for the academically/historically-minded out there; I really want to know!)

    My personal opinion: The best thing about paganism, is that there is room for those of us who do things our own way, *and* those of us who want some rules. The worst thing about humans, is that we all want to be in the best club so we can look down on the rest of us.

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    1. It was the same for us! In our case it was rice. We didn't call it anything, but on the day of the first cutting (no machines, but hands) we would dance around the first pile (mostly the kids) while someone cooked. There was singing and good cheer, mostly because there would be food and money to buy what we couldn't grow ourselves ;-)

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  14. If your goal for Paganism is for it to become some kind of organized religion or dictatorship, than yes - you might be right about individuality being dangerous.

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    1. You, Ms Misantropia, have a way to make me roar. That would be some kind of dictatorship, indeed lol

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  15. Do all the flowers bloom on the same day every year? Is something wrong that they don't?

    Do the Aspens all change at the same time signaling fall? Do they all bud out together in the spring?

    Can you set your watch by the hummingbirds when they leave for warmer climes? How about when they come back?

    How 'bout no to all the above?

    I think freedom from rigidity is a blessing. Following my heart and celebrating my seasons and holy days when and how ~I~ feel moved to makes me happy.

    (Long way of saying "I agree with you, Magaly")

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    1. "...freedom from rigidity is a blessing," indeed. It is the reason we fight so hard to keep it, isn't it? I think, every now and then, some of us forget...

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  16. “You eclectics are such a mess,” the lady said. WOW, now that statement pisses me off.. What made that 'lady' come to that conclusion? Sounds like she was upset that if not all joined in then something was wrong w/ 'you eclectics'.... What's that saying: point the finger and the finger points at you.... DIVERSITY- rules in my book... Isn't that what society is??? Isn't that how we learn?

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    1. Every eclectic person knows that there is order in our madness. Someone else might not see it, and that's okay because most of the time we can't make sense of their craziness either.

      We learn from seeing different people do/say different things. The alternative would be boring and insufferable... to me.

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  17. I friend of mine from South America, and currently resident in Australia, shared an Andean celebration that takes place throughout the month of August. I think Karen describes it best:

    "This is an invitation to celebrate, honour and give thanks to Pachamama during the month of august
    During this period people of the andes says : she have her “mouth open” we have to feed her
    Its a way to give thanks for all the thinks we receive it , our food, home, health , after all she is giving everything to us
    My idea is just to spread this simple knowledge and wisdom thru the net and reach as many as possible, so you are welcome to join me in ceremony and ritual and dig a hole in your home (backyard) , this is the way we will feed our mother and thanks her for everything she is and does
    How it work?
    By intuition and following some simple traditional ways of the andes
    Open and dig a hole in your backyard ,if you don’t have a backyard go to the beach a park and do the same , I will do mine on the 1st of august and live it open until the 31st of august ,so i will feel her during the whole month, but if you feel like you can do it just one day any day during august , as i said dig a whole ,as you do it communicate with her and ask for permission and let her know that this will be in her honour to give thanks for everything receive it ... before this you can collect some corn, tabaco, herbs, fruits ,eggs, bread etc whatever you feel connect with , yes chocolate too!! so as you dig the hole connect with her and give thanks, for your health, your beautiful family, for having bread everyday in your table, give thanks for the air you breath, for the sun who nourish us, give thanks because simple you are alive, honour our mother telling her beautiful things and how much we love her, chant ,sing, burn incense,sage , play your drum, flute, didge ,dance around the hole , its a beautiful time to celebrating her , as she is getting ready to blossom in spring ...
    And pray , pray for peace, joy happiness, health, prosperity ,pray for more light entering on earth, pray for justice, for freedom of thoughts ,pray for whatever reason you want !
    Yes is this simple , remember our actions make a huge difference on this beautiful planet , and is time to remember how we use to do things before and remember the eternal wisdom we carry that is passed to us to re awakening our memories thru this simple rituals and ceremonies
    Thanks for The Andean people , the Amautas, Chamans, abuelos y abuelas for keeping until today the simplicity of life
    So lets do it my people, lets co create our beautiful reality
    In love and harmony
    Karen, daughter of Pachamama"

    I found this so lovely that I went out in the field behind my house, dug a hole, and gave my initial feeding. And when I feel the impulse, I will do so again--probably around the full moon. I think this will take the place of any Harvest festival for me. It just feels right. Karen said also that foodstuffs are not the only gift to the Earth Mother--crystals, flowers, sweet woods, etc. are also acceptable. While the southern hemisphere is awakening, I give my gifts so that Pachamama rests well on a "full stomach" as it were.

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    1. Sweet, simple and as earthy as one can get. I like this two. It would be nice to dig a little hole, bring offerings from a little extra and partake in a meal with Pachamama--the Earth Mother would probably like that. It sounds very serene...

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  18. I agree with everything you said my friend ;o) Like you said, it's your party, well actually, you said, it's my party, you know what I mean! LOL! ;o) I just hope I'm invited ;o) Big Hugs ;o)

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    1. Sweet Stacy, you have an eternally open invitation to all my parties!

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  19. I think it can be a strength or a weakness, depending up on the person. There are those who embrace structure. They need it to know what to do and how to do it. I get it. I struggled with that early on in my path. When I finally embraced my individuality and understood that my nature does not agree with pretty little boxes wrapped in neat bows, then I did much better.

    Neither one is bad, as long as you know what works for you, and that others don't have to be the same as you.

    As far as your "friend", I hate those kinds of conversations. If someone makes a jab like that I don't count them as a friend anymore, and limit or eliminate my involvement with them.

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    1. It all comes down to choice... Keeping that in mind, everything in the world can be a weakness or a strength, and sometimes both at the same time.

      The lady and I aren't close. I was actually surprised when she called me, "friend."

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  20. This has been an exciting conversation to follow, Magaly. It is a good active struggle like the 5 of wands in the MotherPeace Tarot deck. Women honestly hammering out a new path on an old road. I mean we haven't been here for 5,000 years so lots of people will have different ideas. I enjoyed it so much I tried to copy all of the comments but it didn' work so I will just have to come back to this post when I want to refer to it.

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    1. "Wemen"!?! What about Alan? He has been hammering, too. Just kidding, he usually just kicks stagnation in the kisser and leaves the hammering to me ;-D

      In all seriousness, this conversation has been exciting and interesting in different ways. Not just because it is nice to see that I'm not alone in my thinking, but that so many others have reached the same conclusions via different paths. It brings lots of hope, doesn't it?

      Hm... I'm not sure why you can't copy the comments, I don't have any kind of block... Maybe Pagan Culture just likes you a lot and wants you to visit a lot :-D

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  21. I'm a couple of days late to the convo, but as a Witchy Woman living in the Caribbean, I've struggled with exactly this issue. It was difficult to get into the Harvest Celebration mood before my garden took off, but this year wild fruit trees gave of themselves all over the cay. How does it make any sense to celebrate on a specific date if that's not when your harvest was or if you're not in the mood. Solitaries make people nervous even when we are supposedly "like-minded"...we just don't listen very well. I feel about covens the same way that I feel about church congregations. Bleh. Dear Friend reminds me very much of a Church of God preacher that I once knew. Paganism is strong because it is a living, breathing, evolving, multifaceted creature that is different for each person. Some of us worship The Earth, Sun, Moon, & Natural Processes. Some of us worship Thor or Amun Ra or Isis or Cerunnos or Brighid or the Divine Spark within us all. That we are not all united in a single Borg-like train of thought is not a weakness. It speaks to a strength that the Collectives, the Covens, the Congregations of the world just don't understand.

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    1. And by the way, I love the carved watermelon. Reminds me of the Orange-O'lantern I made one year.

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    2. I totally agree. There is great strength in a "family" that understands the power and importance of freedom, individuality and creativity when it comes to spirituality. We speak so much of how we want to emulate Nature, but sometimes we forget that even though snow falls at the same time the shape and patterns of the flakes are always independent. And let's not even talk about the individuality of each drop in a Caribbean storm...

      Oh, and my Sexy Sister Sarah is never late, she just gets to the party whenever she pleases (and can ;-).

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  22. And yet another reason I don't belong to a coven. Celebrating the gifts of nature must come from heartfelt spirituality and at the very least, be, well, natural. If you have to make yourself feel the moment, then it is fake and borders drudgery. My soul would be devastated if I did not follow my own truth moment to moment...but look who I am talking to, the queen of free spirited goddesses. Have a beautiful week doing whatever you feel. Mina

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    1. "My soul would be devastated if I did not follow my own truth moment to moment..." that is exactly how I feel, my Mina. I think some people want and need coven life. And it's so fulfilling for them that perhaps they think anyone who isn't part of it, might not know "the truth." It sounds way too much like church to me. And well, you know my feelings about that!

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  23. Nature, herself is not rigid and unmoving....neither should be those who celebrate her :)

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    1. And thank goodness for that. Can you imagine a planet that did/looked the same all the time? *shutters*

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  24. This is what I get for being without internet for 4 days. Thanks for linking me! :) I, too, got sidetracked for Mid-summer (Lammas for most). It's funny how people can get so sucked into the fixed dates for everything that they forget the real reason they're even supposed to be celebrating it. The same has really happened to most other holidays, pagan or not. With my vehement hatred of Christmas, it's about time for the rejuvenating of why the holidays were even important to begin with.

    Thanks for reading, all!

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    1. It is a shame, isn't it? Like you said, not just for Pagan holidays or holidays in general. Many seem to have forgotten why we celebrate birthdays, weddings... the ones that get me the most are Independence Day and Memorial Day. People do all kinds or ridiculous things that leave the holidays looking like a joke. Shame, shame, shame.

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