Private Calendars and Patron Gods

Even the best preserved of the old calendars of festivals and holy days, those of Athens and Rome, are imperfectly known. These ancient calendars refer to gods that are unknown or very little known today, or to cultural and political events that have no relevance to modern society, or to agricultural cycles that are very limited in their geographic location. It has become common practice for people today to create their own sacred calendars that are more relevant to their own interests and to modern life. I have such a calendar myself, which I have followed for more than a year now. It uses the modern months, based on the Roman solar year. I make no attempt to follow the lunar cycles. Quite often I do not even see the moon from one month to the next, so why should I use the lunar cycles to mark the passage of time. The sacred days marked on my calendar are dedicated to the deities to whom I feel the most linked and connected. At a minimum, the observance of a festival day consists of placing an image of the deity next to the altar, and the offering of a candle and a short prayer or hymn. Sometimes I perform a more elaborate ritual, with candles, flowers, decorations, offerings of food and drink, hymns, litanies, prayers, and meditation. The calendar has worked fairly well so far, but is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory. I am thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over.

The deities listed on the calendar are those to whom I have a link of some sort or in whom I have a more than common interest. I don’t really have a patron deity as such, a deity to whom I am intensely devoted, although perhaps I should say that I have a whole circle of patron deities, with varying levels of interest. 

Day 1 to Hekate. I used to think of Hekate as a sort of fringe goddess, limited to magick practitioners, and of little relevance to the world of classical Greece. Then, one evening in the summer of the year 2006, Hekate paid me a little visit and I changed my mind. Oh, yes indeed, I changed my mind! I approach Hekate from a Hesiodic perspective, seeing her as a bright and primeval goddess of sky, earth, and sea.

Day 3 to Athena. An oracle recommended that I approach Athena. This has not progressed very far.

Day 4 to Hermes. Problematic. Sometimes I feel that I should have strong links to Hermes, but sometimes I feel that I have disappointed him somehow.

Day 6 to Hercules. A long time ago I tended to think of Hercules as a muscle bound oaf of perhaps questionable divinity. Then one day, while in a museum gallery of Hercules statues, he made himself known to me in a rather startling fashion, and I have been a devoted admirer of him ever since.   

Day 8 to Poseidon, Amphitrite, and Triton. The trinity of the sea. A strong link, but mysterious and undefined. They stand at a door, or point the way to something, perhaps.    

Day 11 to Sobek. Mighty and ferocious, terrifying in his immensity, but kind and gentle to his own, of whom I am one.

Day 13 to Faunus. The link to Faunus has faded somewhat over time , but still persists.

Day 15 to Zeus Ammon. A weak link, slight and mysterious, but definitely a link.

Day 18 to Pan. A new link developing within the past couple of years.

Day 20 to Sekhmet. Fierce and welcoming. I used to think that I should have a special relationship with Bast, since I love cats, but nothing ever developed. Then one day Sekhmet said “I am here” and Bast said “Go to my sister Sekhmet”. So I went.

Day 22 to Apis.  An oracle recommended that I approach Apis. There is a link here, but weak and undefined. Or perhaps subtle. Sometimes I see Apis as a cosmic entity rather than as an earthly entity. The bull of the cosmos in addition to the bull of the Nile.  

I pay honors to other deities during the course of the year, as circumstances call for. I make offerings to Saturn and Ops in December and to Ianus at the beginning of the year. I once had very string links to Flora but those have largely faded away. I still pay honors to Flora during the Floral Games around May 1. Antinous has his own annual cycle of holy days and I observe most of those. Wepwawet is a new addition to my circle of deities. I have not assigned a monthly day for him yet.

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Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 3:15 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This was wonderful, not just for the glimpse it provided into your personal calendar and religious practice, but also for your insightful commentary on the gods you honor. I’d love to see more of your thoughts on each of them!

  2. Excellent!

    I am hoping to do a series of posts on various styles of devotion for those who are not daily-devotion people…there is nothing wrong with weekly or monthly devotions, or just following many holy-days. Depending on what my style of life is at any given time (e.g. job and living situations in particular), my own devotions vary considerably…

  3. I have almost reached the verge of making some major changes to my calendar, and perhaps in actual practices too. Poseidon and company seem to be calling for more of my attention, and I might be on the point of making a breakthrough of understanding with Hermes. Maybe.


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