So, when Imbolc was a way off, I had plans. Big plans. The way you do, when you aren’t responsible for implementing those plans, yet.
As it approached, however, I just wasn’t feeling it. I like the idea of constructing my own quasi-Roman holiday, naming it Februaria, and honoring the Earth Mother, the dieties of light, and, of course, the ancestors. But I didn’t really form any full ideas.
Then the day got nearer.
Yesterday, I blocked out time to do it today.
Then today came, and I let myself get distracted. Was I going to not celebrate it?
Sorry, kindreds, I’m just not feeling it today
I almost stepped in front of the altar and said some version of that. It wasn’t a holiday that resonated with me, and I could persuade myself that the kindred didn’t want forced praise and thanks, did they?
Then I remembered the word orthopraxic and I thought, I want to be the kind of guy who does the right thing, whether he feels like it or not. How often have I stood in front of the altar and said some version of “I praise you, for it is good that a mortal should praise the Gods”? Call it integrity — my commitment to be my most full self — that made me get in front of the altar and do something.
A spontaneous ritual
Spontaneous rituals seem to get the most emotional response from me. Even the rituals that I write myself don’t have the emotional content of me thinking on my feet. (See Samhain 2016) That’s not why I chose to go spontaneous, it was really because I almost didn’t do anything.
So, in front of my altar, I praised Vestas and got a good omen when I lit the candle on the first try (these things matter to me) and then, with just the fire and the tree, I proceeded to ask Proserpine to assist as the gatekeeper. Then, with nothing to offer but praise, I offered praise to the deities of light, beginning with Vestas, then Sol, Luna, Apollo and Diana.
Finally, I took an omen to ask Vestas for a bit of wisdom as I consider how to more genuinely worship her. I got the Knight of Wands.
I had a good feeling about the card but didn’t look it up until the ritual was finished. Then, I wound the ritual down, genuinely glad that I’d done more than just call it off.
Later, I looked up the knight of wands in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom and was well pleased. Realizing that Wands are the suit of Fire was nice. Here is the bit that gave me encouragement:
Because Fire itself symbolizes movement, the knight of Wands shows this quality in the extreme. He represents eagerness, action, movement for its own sake, adventure and travel.
Notice that on his shirt the salamanders’ tails do not touch their mouths, symbolizing incomplete action, unformed plans. In contrast to the King, the Knight has only begun his adventures.
That seems to be an omen that I can work with as I try to find ways to honor Vestas in my own home, at my own hearth.