There’s been quite a bit of calendar talk on tumblr lately, so I decided to revisit mine and really solidify it into something usable year-round.
The problem is that ancient Egypt used three calendars: one followed the rising of the star Sirius and was seasonal, one was lunar, and the last was civil. Not only that, but there were often a dozen or so festivals per month. I could technically attempt this myself, but that requires far too much effort and math than I’m willing to exercise. I also don’t know most of the cultural contexts in which the festivals were celebrated, so…
It’s time to make my own calendar, incorporating only the most important holidays and the feast days of my gods. Minor holidays will include the thrice-monthly akhu festivals and some secular state holidays, like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
When I think about religious calendars, one thing that I like about the Wheel of the Year is that it’s evenly spread out throughout the year. There’s always a festival to celebrate or anticipate. I want to keep that element in my own calendar, because I feel like bunching up many holidays during only one part of the year leaves me feeling listless during the rest of it.
And, while I’m not very nature-oriented, the seasons are still a very huge part of my life throughout the year, as I’m very sensitive to weather changes. They affect my mood and energy levels tremendously, particularly during the winter. If I can learn to refocus my usual dislike for winter into something positive through a specifically tailored calendar, I think that would benefit me as a whole.
So, I’ve cobbled this together:
- First Dawning — vernal equinox
- Heb Sabu — mid-May, around the 20th
- Blood Feast — summer solstice
- The Epagomenal Days — July 31 – August 4
- Wep Ronpet — August 5
- First Descent — autumnal equinox
- The Mysteries of Wesir — November 22 – December 2
- Bone Feast — winter solstice
To go into detail…
First Dawning is a celebration of new beginnings. I love spring; it’s my favorite season. I feel like everything is renewed and reborn in the springtime. The earth turns green again, trees regrow their leaves, and flowers blossom. Animals emerge from their nests with their young. Most importantly, the weather warms, and so does my mood. My energy levels increase and I want to do everything, everywhere, with everyone.
Heb Sabu, or the Festival of the Jackals, is a new festival I created to honor my two Jackal Lords together. On my previous calendars, Anpu’s feast days were scattered throughout April, June, and early July; instead of continuing to do this with His and Wepwawet’s holidays, I combined them all into one celebration in mid-May.
Blood Feast was the hardest holiday to figure out, but in the end, it will be a celebration of Life. The sun is the life-giver, and it’s at the peak of its power during the summer. There’s a unique sort of bustle during the summer, with students on vacation from school and many people going on vacations. The summer months teem with life.
The Epagomenal Days, or the Days Upon the Year, typically occur before the rising of the star Sirius. However, I observe a fixed-date calendar, so for me, the first Epagomenal Day falls on July 31. These days are the birthdays of the gods Wesir, Heru-wer, Set, Aset, and Nebt-het, in that order. They are considered days “outside” of the normal calendar and are therefore more prone to misfortune, and it’s common to make prayers and offerings to the god Whose birthday it is so one can avoid bad luck.
Wep Ronpet is the day after Nebt-het’s birthday and the first day of the new Kemetic year. For me, it falls on August 5 and heralds my new spiritual year, on which I renew my spiritual promises, end some old ones, and possibly make some new ones.
First Descent is a preparation for the oncoming death of the year, a celebratory time of the harvest and community. I enjoy autumn, but for me, it means I have to get ready for the cold months ahead. Since the secular holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving occur in autumn, I am reminded of the community spirit, of spending time with my family and friends, and being grateful for what I’ve experienced throughout the year and in past years.
The Mysteries of Wesir is an 11-day festival of quiet and reflection. It’s incredibly religious, for if Wesir had not died and become King of the Duat, then humanity would have no way of returning to divinity after death. Wesir is killed and made whole again; He is thanked and praised.
At last, Bone Feast is a celebration of death. The earth is cold and growing colder; the days are dark and the nights are long. On this day and for the rest of the winter, I want to recognize the necessity of death and its vital role in my practice. I will honor my ancestors in the Kemetic style during this holiday as my yearly akhu festival.
These are the reasons and inspirations for each holiday, but I know the information is rather sparse. When the time for each holiday comes around this year, I’ll write a post about it, detailing what each means to me and what I do to celebrate it.