Calendars Part 2 – Calendar In Progress

I have recently been looking into how to calculate a Kemetic Calendar.  The new year in Ancient Egypt was determined by when Sirius first appeared on the horizon after a 70 day absence.  People calculate this differently.  Some look at the time of twilight, while others use the actual sunrise.  Some wait until they think there is enough time to spot Sirius on the horizon before the sunrise.  There is even the location of the person to consider.  Do you want to use the rising of Sirius in relation to Cairo or the rising in relation to your personal geographic location?  I based my calculations on the time that Sirius appears before twilight in relation to my hometown, placing the first day of the current Kemetic civil year on August 9th, 2013.  I used this site to help me determine the structure and start date for my Kemetic calendar.  The links on that site are also useful for researching the specific holidays.

I plan on laying out a calendar for both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 Kemetic years to help me get of feel of when major holidays are.  I have printed off blank months and filled in the precise dates of each day of the season and month (with the help of some espresso) for the current (2013-2014) Kemetic year.  I’ve also added the new moons to the calendar and plan to use them to determine the lunar Kemetic and Hellenic calendars.

I’m currently investigating the different holidays and trying to determine which ones I’d like to celebrate.  I am consider repeating certain festivals every month to honor specific Deities more than once or twice a year.  For example, there is a festival of Djehuty on 19 Akhet I.  I might honor Him on the 19th of every Kemetic civil month.

I am currently using Hellenion’s calendar as a cheat sheet for the Hellenic calendar and holidays.  When I finish an initial run of determining which Kemetic holidays I will include, I plan on going through the Hellenic holidays to combine them with my Kemetic calendar.  Again, I will pick the ones important to me and possibly assign certain monthly days to certain Deities.

Laying out dates is a start.  I’m excited to get into investigating what each of the holidays is about (if we know) and how it was and is celebrated.  It is exhilarating to think that at some point I might have a whole year’s worth of holidays and reasons to celebrate my Gods.

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The Calendar Jumble

The Cauldron Blog Project theme for March is Calendars, Cycles, and Patterns.  My calendar is basically non-existent.  I do nightly devotionals honoring Hekate, Djehuty, Loki, and Sekhmet.  I celebrate the Wheel of the Year holidays with the local ADF proto-grove as a way of participating in the community.  I have honored the occasional Hellenic holiday or specific Gods as things come up.

The ancient calendars are filled with holidays.  I don’t want to celebrate each one, but I have to know the when, what, and Who of the holiday before I decide.  The Hellenic calendar is based on the phases of the moon.  According to the Hellenic calendar, Hekate is associate with the new moon.  The last new moon passed by unnoticed, so I’m thinking of setting alerts on my phone for the phases of the moon and/or holidays.  I’m looking into using Google’s calendar program.  I’m also trying to piece together a Kemetic calendar.  I would like to honor Djehuty and Sekhmet on dates that are relevant for Them.  There are other Netjeru that I want to honor as well, so it is important to me to learn the Kemetic holidays. Combing the Hellenic, Kemetic, and present day solar calendar presents a challenge, but it is definitely possible.  My involvement with Loki is very new.  I don’t foresee me adding Heathen holidays, but those might be famous last words.

March feels like a Sekhmet month to me.  She has been helping me a lot of late, so I would like to do something for Her.  27 Peret IV is Sekmet is Angry in the Land of Temhu.  If I’m correct in my calculations, that falls on March 29th this year.  I don’t know what I would do for it, but finding the date is a start.  April 1st seems like an appropriate day to honor Loki, so April might be dedicated to Him.  Ideally, Everyone should get a set day each month.  This will take time to establish, especially since I’m working with multiple calendars.  They might just get the nightly rituals for now and have a turn on a month by month basis as I piece a calendar together.  It is a slow going process made slower by the fact that I have spending my time elsewhere.

It is my intention to do something monthly for Hestia and for my guardian angel.  I keep a real candle or a battery-powered one lit around the clock for Hestia, but I feel like I should do something in addition to that.  I”ll have to see if She had a set day in ancient Greece.  My guardian angel helps me all the time, but I’m not sure how to insert a monthly thank you.  The Hellenics honored their agathos daemons on the second of the lunar month, so I could do that.

I also want to do something for my ancestors.  I plan to eventually set up an ancestor altar or shrine.  Finding the space might be a little challenging.  My house is whirlwind of stuff, and flat surfaces are at a premium.  I am currently in search of finding another bookshelf or two.  Writing a prayer to the ancestors would be a start.  I have to remember that there is a first step for everything.

This is the current disarray of my calendar.  It is mostly a jumble of ideas and research that is yet to be done.  I am trying to create something that is significant for me.  My hope is that I’ll have something set by the end of the year, but we’ll see.  For now, I’m working on a month by month basis.

Self-Love

The Cauldron Blog Project listed different types of love for February, so I’m going to talk about self-love.  I know it is March, but I’m plodding along.  Warning: The article below may contain triggers for people with self-harm or suicidal issues.

Self-love is sometimes difficult for me, as I am sure it is with most people.  Dealing with bipolar disorder, my feelings have not always matched up with where I wanted them.  I have a history of severe depressions, suicidal ideations, and actions.  I am on a regimen of daily medication and periodic talk therapy.  I’m not where I want to be in my education or career.  My anxieties in dealing with people can sometimes simple tasks seem like monumental mountains to climb.  I have had and continue to have so many advantages in my life that I feel inept in my inability to fully utilize them.

March and April tend to be rough months for my moods and depression.  Even though I don’t always feel self-love, I am trying to be better about acting it out through self-care.  Taking my medications and brushing my teeth are such acts.  I try to remind myself of my accomplishments.  Small steps forward are still progression.  Maintaining is still better than steps backward.  Steps backward can always be countered by steps forward.

The interesting thing about bipolar disorder is the extreme self-adoration that can come when I’m hypomanic.  Feeling like I can take on the world and succeed in everything is exhilarating..  Unchecked, this turns into complete narcissism.  When you get just a taste it is invigorating.  Tasting supreme confidence coupled with clarity of thought causes me to believe that there is a middle ground that I can achieve.  Depression and despair might be more much common to me, but even the dulled memory of ecstasy reminds me of what it possible.

I’m not advising leaving mental illness untreated.  I wouldn’t be able to function as well as I do without my medication and therapy.  I have tried tasting the ecstasy, and it only leads to despair.  The echo that I have value, though, is worth retaining.

I do believe that loving yourself helps others to love you better.  I also think that loving others unconditionally helps you to love yourself.  Focusing on something outside of yourself helps you to direct some of that love towards yourself.  It softens your heart.  I don’t advocate always putting yourself last.  That breeds resentment.  Blind love is not the same as unconditional love.  If you feel unconditional love, some of it leaks back to yourself.  This is much easier said than done, especially for those of us whose brain chemistry works against us.  Even one success is worth the effort.

New Beginnings

I’m going to try to catch up and keep up with The Cauldron Blog Project.  The Cauldron is a pagan forum that I go to learn about others’ paths.  January’s topic was Resolutions, Habits, New Beginnings, so I’ll start there.  I’m new to practicing polytheism.  I was finally able to accept that hard polytheism is my world view in the middle of 2013.  I spent most of my life as a practicing Roman Catholic.  I did a lot of searching over the years, but it was still hard to admit to myself that I was a polytheist.  Once I did, more research began.

I started off practicing Hellenismos, and then I got interested in Kemeticism.  It is definitely possible to honor both of these religions, but I just don’t have the spoons to do it right now.  The Gods or my tarot cards or my subconscious brain, however you want to call it, kept insisting that I cut back and drop the labels.  I was stressing myself out trying to do everything perfectly and failing in every way.  So now eclectic is the closest thing I have to a label, and I don’t really like it.  It has some bad connotations in my mind.  I’m mad that I see it as less respectable, and I’m mad that some other people would agree.

I want a practice that is recon-influenced.  I’ve looked into Hellenic, Kemetic, and Heathen practices.  I don’t know if I want to follow all of these paths, but I want to be able to honor the Gods that I follow in a way that They feel respected.  I want to snap my fingers and have everything laid out, but building something takes time.  That is how I have to approach it, as a building project.  I have to get the base done before I can put windows in the top floor.  Laying the plumbing pipes comes before putting up wall hangings.  Finding a place to start and figuring out what comes first is confusing, but life takes work.

I am trying to slowly build a life with Deity.  I started nightly devotionals on January 1st.  I would like to add in some daytime devotions throughout the week, but finding the energy can be hard.  As long as I can take at least one step in my religious practice, it is a successful day.  I just have to remember that.  My nightly devotionals are one of those steps.  Although I find it frustrating, I would like to add  some meditation to my week.  I would like to add some daily rituals to give thanks to Gods that I don’t honor nightly.  I am slowly trying to find workable ways to add these things to my schedule.  I am reading blogs, books, and message boards to see how other people do things.  I don’t want to start down one road because it is the only one I see.

I joined the Neo-druid organization ADF to get a Neo-pagan view point and to meet people.  Their dedicant path is a little overwhelming, but I think it would be good for me to do at least a portion of it.  I may be posting some of it on this site as I work through it.  I was able to meet a few people and to attend my first pagan celebrations with the local proto-grove for Samhain 2013 and Imbolc 2014.  I don’t know if druidry will stay a part of my path, but that is why I am trying it.  Meeting people has given me some insights.  I am trying to absorb as much information as I can.  Sometimes, though, I have to take a step back.  Taking on too much too quickly is one of my faults.  Absorb and pray.  Read and practice.  Little steps add hope.  I don’t know where they’re taking me, but I hope they’re leading somewhere.