Marking Time

First published by, June 2014

I’m writing this just after the solstice. Usually I’d drop everything to make sure that I participate in a ceremony on or very close to the 8 Celtic festivals. As it happens this year some relations could only come at this time, that I hardly get to see. So I decided that I’d forgo the celebrations and spend time with them and celebrate after.

Religion and ritual is important in my life, which is essentially all about relationships with the land and also people and community; so what could be more important than family? I decided that it was more important to spend the time with them, as I won’t have the chance again for some time – the foundation of my way of life starts at home, with my own inner life and my relationships to my close family and friends. Everything else is underpinned by that; get that right, I believe, and everything else will fall into place.

So I’m a bit late with the solistice celebrations, so what? Much as it’s nice to observe significant events at a particular time or place, ultimately it is the process of connecting and taking part that is more important than minutiae. The whole Celtic wheel of the year is about time and the passing of the seasons – which the eight festivals mark, very much connected with the land and our reliance on it for sustenance. In reality we are living on and connected to the land at all times – every day is a chance to celebrate that connection, anywhere and anytime we choose.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a big fancy ritual in ceremonial garb at a sacred site or if you have a quiet simple solo ritual in your back garden. What is important is to mark the turning of the seasons and acknowledge our small part in a huge cycle that is the life of this planet. Each of us has to find our own way to connect with the divine, when and how it is done is not really important, that we somehow find space and means to do so is what really counts.