You know how you have friends of circumstance? You worked together at that one shitty job, but being around each other made it all worthwhile. You had the same 3 classes one semester in Sophomore year of college.They lived in your apartment complex and did their laundry on the same day as you. And, for a while, you felt like you’d known them forever and that you were going to know them forever. Then the unthinkable happened.
You got a less shitty job. You declared a major and took different classes. You moved.
Thanks to social media we can now keep up with one another, but it’s never truly the same. You go from making time to meet up with one another, to telling each other on Facebook that you need to make time to meet up with one another, to feeling bad that you don’t make time for them, to texting Happy Birthday and liking each other’s Instagram posts, to no longer feeling bad that you don’t make time for them, to almost forgetting that they exist until TimeHop reminds you of those good good times you had 12 years ago.
That’s how I feel with the sabbats.
There are spokes on the Wheel of the Year that come and go and I simply have stopped feeling bad if I miss them. I want to feel bad. I want to go on a guilt trip that I didn’t at least make a modicum of effort.
Sure I didn’t do a ritual per se, but I bought a nice loaf of bread from a baker and left some out for the spirits - one might say if they were me 5 years ago.
When I was growing up in all the various closets I grew up in while gestating in the belly of my small east Texas town, I told myself that when I finally moved away I’d be all these things. I’d never miss a ritual. In fact, I’d have a room dedicated to my Pagan practice. I’d have special tools and grow a garden separate from my daily eating vegetable garden that I was definitely also going to grow. It would have mandrake and mugwort and white sage and some...nightshades...or something. I didn’t even really know what any of those looked like, but I knew I was going to have them.
Whatever god that listened to those dreams must have laughed and laughed and laughed, because, instead, I got a busy life and a slowly dying relationship with the sabbats aided by halfhearted posts on social media wishing everyone else who’s also skipping the holiday a VERY BLESSED ONE!
On the flip side, I have the entire week off work for Samhain, and my circle is getting together for our annual festivities that includes a big ol’ sleepover at my ranch. I’ve been planning menus and decorations for a while, and I’ll spend most of October prepping for it. I have a Yule log and always enjoy the extra witchy not-quite-Christmas gathering with my friends. I still paint my eggs with wishes and bury them at Ostara. So I tend to forgive myself for the holidays that I simply do not remotely care if I miss.
I was listening to the latest episode of New World Witchery where Cory interviewed Paige of The Fat Feminist Witch (great episode...go download). In it they talk about the resurgence of the witchy aesthetic on places like Instagram and Tumblr. People glom on to accounts that make it look as though the person is living in a slightly sideways reality from the rest of us, off in a mystical cabin in the mountains surrounded by bones and spirits and writing in a grimoire that would make any Owens woman quake with jealousy. Those accounts are pretty, and they provide some nice wallpaper for my phone from time to time, but they aren’t real. Just like a good gym selfie, the witchy aesthetic posts are carefully staged and edited and photoshopped in order to achieve that otherworldly feel.
They’re not real. Real is busy. Real is obligated. Real is rushed. Real is complicated. Real is running so many errands on your one day off in weeks that you get to 8pm in the evening and flop on the couch ready to watch Will & Grace reruns and eat some garbage food out of a bag and pick up your phone to scroll through social media and then think “well shit...it’s Mabon.”
If you, like me, also missed Mabon and have zero shame...come sit by me. We’ll half heartedly text each other “BLESSED SABBAT” and then clink spoons and share a pint of ice cream. It’s one of those new kinds with all the same and guilt trips removed.
Love and Lyte,