Thanks Giving.

Ms. Geri Walton has a post on her blog, 18th and 19th Century, that I think is well worth the read and very appropriate for this week as we celebrate a time of Thanks Giving. The holiday can bring up some very complex issues and this entry addresses a few of them.

You can find the post here. And while you are at it, read some of her other writings! She does excellent research, valuable to any enthusiast. Find out more about Ms. Walton here and don’t forget to follow her blog for additional insight into America and Britain during the 18th and 19th centuries.

A NOTE

The post linked contains quotes from a sermon given by a Unitarian minister in England, named Thomas Belsham. The Unitarian church has long been an ally to the disenfranchised and those seeking equality. This includes multiple pagan faiths.

However, if you feel reading it will violate your personal integrity or values in any way, please refrain. Do not read first, then spew negativity. Appreciate the message, take what wisdom you may, and move forward with new knowledge.

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Google Calendar: The Multi-Pagan Faith Edition.

Our first attempt at creating a Google Calendar has been something of a learning experience. There were many painful moments and it is by no means complete, but hopefully what we’ve created will help others. Here are some thoughts.

1. Ancient Calendars Have Side Effects.

These include, but are not limited to: headache, increased caffeine dependence, uncertainty, stress, sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure, obsession, and speaking in tongues. Treatment includes support groups, meditation, therapy, and finding others who are more patient and knowledgeable about the history of lunar-solar patterns than you.

2. Make Use Of What Google Has To Offer.

Many others have created calendars so you don’t have to. There are some which track moon phases (wish we’d known that sooner!), holidays from around the world, and even the Stardate!

Here’s how to find them: When you first open your Google Calendar, look to the left-hand side of the screen. Near the bottom you will see options for My Calendar and Other Calendars. Next to Other Calendars, there is a drop down button. Press it. Browse interesting calendars and see what you find!

3. Make Use of Those More Knowledgeable Than You.

Anyone who has ever attempted the Herculean task of creating and understanding the festival calendar in Hellenismos, will understand and appreciate the work of Elani Temperance. As her creation is so fantastic, we did not attempt to create our own. Please see this post on her blog, Baring the Aegis. (Actually, just read the entire blog. It’s amazing.) You can add her work directly to your Google calendar using the small button at the bottom right of the screen. Make certain you send her some love for all her hard work!

The Kemetic/Egyptian calendar is just as overwhelming. See the discussions here and here to understand why. We found the calendar created by Panhistoria to be the most plainly laid out for beginners. It is what we have relied on for this first attempt at calendar creation. We have not finished cross-referencing all of our sources, so expect the Kemetic portion entire calendar to be in flux for some time as we adjust the dates to be more accurate.

4. This May Take A Lifetime And That’s Ok.

We had planned on our calendar being multi-faith and color coded and lovely and easy to read, but we’ve run into a few road blocks. While we research and work to straighten out the cornucopia of information, please be patient with us. For now, our calendar focuses on those events and holidays we have the most knowledge of.

As we find more information, we’ll be adding on. So don’t be too surprised if some festivals and holidays move around. Virtually none of the ancient systems match our modern ones. Different ways of looking at the world, different regions, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We want to be accurate, but to do that, we’ll have to go through some trial and error.

5. And One More Thing.

Festivals and holidays have never been static. Every region moves dates to suit the needs of the people. The celebration of the solstices and equinoxes have a range of dates. Entire months have been lost, days have been added, entire calendars have fluctuated due to political maneuvers, religious mandates, a shift from lunar to solar, etc. The Gregorian calendar, in particular, has a messy history and it isn’t used all over the world.

But most importantly, remember: every calendar is a guide. Ours is no exception. Use what you can, ignore the rest. This is your way of relating to time and faith. No one can tell you to celebrate on a day you don’t like and no one can tell you a holiday has to start on this day at this time. After all, everything had to start with someone. Why not you?

Do you see something we missed? How do you incorporate your traditions? Are you syncretic with your local civic calendar or just wing it?

Google Calendar in the Works!

Currently we are working on creating a Google calendar. It will be a “general” pagan affair with holidays and celestial happenings from various traditions.

Having said that, some many traditions are less well known to us, so we might not have as much information for some groups. If we miss your holidays, we’re sorry! It is not an intentional slight. We are still learning ourselves and our group has gaps in knowledge about a wide range of faiths and belief systems. But never fear! We are actively working to correct this.

Next year we’re hoping to add more information and separate the various paths. So one calendar for Asatru, one for Hellenismos, etc. This will make the calendar much easier to use, but for now, we’re keeping it together. The decision to do so is partly for ease of creation and partly because of time. This will also serve as a test to get the feel of Google calendar.

If all goes well, we’ll have everything up and running on July 1st, 2015! If you find it helpful over the last half of the year or have suggestions for edits, please let us know! We’d love to have some feedback so we can better serve the community.