I prefer to call it Naturalistic Paganism, but you can’t very well run from the fact that it’s basis is in atheism for me. This blog will be about day to day Naturalistic Paganism according to how it fits in my life.
I used to get pretty hung up on labels. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. Back then, I think, I tried a bit too hard to fit somewhere. Rather than forging my own path in life, I wanted one that was neatly worn down by other traffic. With Paganism, unless you can buy what someone else is selling, this just doesn’t work. Quite a lot of my opinions on all things Pagan had to come under scrutiny as a result.
I have never bought the concept of separate and sentient deities. I know I’m not alone. I just am not content to give up the lifestyle that I think fits me, and that’s where natural paganism comes in. In the last 20 years, I haven’t lived any other way but according to the Wheel. So, the Atheist Pagan is who I became.
So, how exactly does one practice Atheist Paganism? Well, probably much the same way as any other Pagan, just minus all the deities. This doesn’t mean that I don’t use their images, I mean, after all they are connected with the Wheel. It just means that I don’t expect these deities to hear me or otherwise pay any attention to me simply because I don’t believe they are capable of doing so. I don’t do elaborate rituals with all the fanfare that some Pagans do. In fact, it might be hard for outsiders to even tell that I do anything at all.
In this article, I’ll cover all 8 holy days according to Pagan Wheel of the Year. My spin on them in somewhat different, however. I used to get stuck during some of them and had to make them fit how I saw the Wheel and how it would pertain to my life, my location and my own craft.
My changes started with names. Again, being hung up on labels, I just got into a rut where nothing seemed to work, feel right or fit. I wasn’t a Wiccan, so using the Wiccan names for the holy days just seemed a bit disingenuous.
Starting with the Witches’ New Year I will have Mid-Autumn. Traditionally called Samhain for some and All Hallow’s for others, neither fit for me. Around where I have lived, this day is right smack in the middle of fall and it made sense to just call it what it is. The difference is that I won’t be celebrating this on October 31st, which is the fixed day for most. Instead, I feel that since it’s a cross quarter day, celebrating it directly between the high holy day before it and after it is where I’m most comfortable. Besides, I want Halloween to have it’s own day. Halloween IS the day that I will be remembering the dead, but the seasonal holiday of Mid-Autumn is November 6th.
My celebration will be about a nice meal, and an offering to the cycles of the Earth in the form of incense. Anything else will have already been done on Halloween. If you’ve followed me this long, you’ll probably deduce that Halloween, for me, is it’s own Holy Day, but my own added day.
Winter Solstice will be December the 21st. I will be getting a bit more elaborate, here. A wonderful meal featuring all the staples of this season – a Pagan, and in my opinion “rustic”, decor. Along with this, I will be observing the entire longest night of the year. I have a couple of things planned, but I’m not yet sure how I will pull them off where I live. We’ll see, and I’ll profile it on my blog, A Day on the Wheel. There will be incense offerings throughout the night.
Mid-Winter will be celebrated on February 4th. A meal and offering will occur here. As well as a “to be planned” ritual. This is also the day I will acknowledge the change between the focus of the ‘selves’, the Light Self and the Shadow Self. Two different sides of the same person. We focus on the Light Self from Mid-Winter to Mid-Summer because that’s when the light is at it’s strongest.
Spring Equinox is March the 20th. The standard will apply here as well. Meal, incense offering, some kind of ritual. It’s a high holy day, so the food will be more elaborate. I will also be starting my seedlings in their seed pots on this day!
May the 4 is Mid-Spring. It’s never been the beginning of summer in most places I’ve lived. Granted, it’s hot where I live, now, by May 4th, but not on a consistent basis. It’s the middle of spring, it’s owed it’s due. Many people celebrate this on May 1st, but that day has a secular holiday attached to it called May Day. Some even do May Eve, which is the night before on April 30th. The exact cross quarter falls on May 4th, so that’s the day I use. We’ll have a meal, and incense offering and a ritual, of course.
Summer Solstice is June 20th. For me, this has always been a turning point in the year. The day when light turns to dark, and we begin preparing to put away the Light Self to focus on it’s other half. Being a high holy day, the meal will be more elaborate, the incense offering will be the whole day. My rituals are always pretty small.
August 6th is the Mid-Summer celebration. The hottest part of the year, it should be seen as such and named accordingly. This is the day my focus will have totally shifted to the Shadow Self. I will symbolize this with a mask of some sort. The meal and incense offering will be tailored to the hottest part of the year.
Autumn Equinox will be September 22nd. The first day of fall will have it’s own meal and incense offering. A ritual of some kind having to do with harvesting will probably occur. I may be harvesting my own plants. We’ll see.
So, there you have it. That’s what the holiday calendar looks like. There will also be posts on my blog for Full Moon and Dark Moon, I’m not sure what I’ll have up for those days. I’ll also be cataloging witchy things on other days throughout the year.
I hope you find something here of value, if you do, drop me a note!
This article first appeared at A Day on the Wheel.
Renee B. is a housewife living in the South. Originally from the plains states, she was raised in a non-religious household. After meeting some Pagans as a young adult, she has been forging her path through the vast forest of Paganism and living according to the Wheel of the Year for almost 20 years. She identifies as a Naturalist Pagan and Atheist. She writes a blog at http://wheelday.blogspot.com/.
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Appearing Sunday, August 18th, 2013