So here we are, getting into Blood Moon, and part-way through a move. When I first left my mother’s house, I wanted to dive into building my own seasonal traditions – stuff like specific meals or dishes, decorations and activities, that I’d bring back again and again to mark the Wheel of the Year. At first, this was tricky – in significant part because I was trying to strike a balance with a then-spouse who didn’t believe in… anything, really. But he’d been raised with Christian feast-days, so he wanted to keep those even though they weren’t particularly meaningful for him. My wife’s cosmology is significantly closer to my own, which makes things like ancestor plates and longest night parties a lot less contentious.
With each place I’ve lived since then, I’ve tried to incorporate those traditions, figuring out what’s easy to sustain, what feels appropriate, what needs to be marked and how, with each passing year.
My wife has referred to our new place as our “ten year house” and also as a house that is a “home”, and “ours”, rather than just a place to sleep while marking time… As we move in, I’m looking at it with an eye to the Wheel, and to the traditions I can foster within (and outside of) its walls. Traditions like:
Beltane as the day we turn the compost and plant out the first early veggies (like kale, chard, and peas), and the time of year when we mark our collaring ceremony and (typically) receive our year’s supply of maple syrup
Midsummer as the First of Tomato (to use a Barbara-Kingsolverism) and, possibly, the First of Serviceberry, rhubarb, and strawberry as well
Lammas (AKA: The August Long Weekend) as the time when the beans, raspberries, cucumbers, and other elements of Ontario’s “Yummy Season” come into fruition, a good opportunity for backyard grilling and all-day canning marathons (maybe even canning parties) using hot plates and slow cookers set up on the patio
Mabon as the gentle winding down of Canning Season with the last blanching-and-freezing, pickling, and fruit-butter-ing; a feast of apples and apple-friendly things like onions, kale, grilled pork sausages, and early baking squashes like delecata and acorn; and the gearing up (literally) for the other Harvest we attend
Samhain as the day we harvest the winter squash, toast the harvest & the generous land with a feast and a nod to the ancestors, and lay the garden to sleep for the year
Midwinter as the longest night, celebrating the old year and offering blessing for the new – along with personal family milestones like our wedding anniversary –
Imbolg – The time of year when seeds are ordered for the garden, Meat CSA orders are placed, and we celebrate the years we’ve been together, both in romantic partnership and in M/s service.
Ostara – Placing the veggie CSA order, the maple syrup order, watching the river as it starts to hint at breaking up. The time when we work to clear through any Extras we have lingering among the preserves we’ve been eating up since November in the name of “spring cleaning” and mentally prepping for Beltane and the beginning of the next cycle’s gardening season.
Some of these festivals – all of them, eventually – will include things like changing out the wreathes on the front door, switching from cooking primarily outdoors to cooking primarily indoors (eventually, when we acquire a grill – now that we have a patio to put it on) and back again, switching from one set of seasonal-weight blankets to another on the bed, putting up Midwinter decorations (December 1st, or the first snow, whichever comes first) and taking them down again (Imbolg-Eve). They’ll also include regular bouts of cleaning and tidying, purging and repurposing and, with any luck, switching out the winter clothes (particularly the outerwear) for the summer items.
Most of these traditions don’t sound particularly fancy – more to do with day-to-day living than with feasting and celebration. But I think that’s the point: To bring these moments on the year wheel into sharp focus but also into the rhythm of your life.
Meliad the Birch Maiden,
 I suspect they’re also less contentious because we’re better suited to each other in general, which is worth noting.
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