We’re coming up to the biggest holy celebration in the Otherfaith – the week-long Reunion. A lot has changed for the Other People this year. We almost completely fell apart, from what I saw and experienced.
I’ll be posting on Wednesday about the repercussions Reunion is having on my own life, but today I want to focus on explaining this holiday better than before. With each year that passes, I am able to understand it more deeply.
Reunion can be marked by the new year – last year’s Reunion being ‘Reunion 2014’ and this year’s being ‘Reunion 2015’ – though marking it by the current year is acceptable as well. It is a celebration of the end, but even more so our eyes are meant to turn to the new year with its possibilities, new goals, new hopes.
Reunion recognizes the otherworldly West being rejoined with the rest of the worlds, especially Earth. We also honor Arabella and Pallis’ reuniting in their divine forms of the Laetha and Dierne. It is a joyous winter celebration.
Taking place from December 25th to January 1st (more specifically, midnight December 31st), it is a raucous time for the spirits. “All is well,” they say. “Our world is whole.” Of course, our own world is not yet at such a place. Reunion is hope and a reminder of where we must go, a beacon, a light in the dark. It fittingly takes places during the dark of winter – as many other holy days during this time, Reunion acts as a lantern in dark, cold days.
Currently, Reunion is focused on the Laetha and Dierne’s relationship(s). It may celebrate the Clarene and Ophelia, but we will have to wait for any energies of future Reunions to know.
In the form of giant birds (herons or peacocks), the Laetha and Dierne are reunited after their painful separation at the hands of their once-lover Mircea. They reunited after Mircea has been slain and the world made right, after there has been a time of healing. They sit upon a forested mountain and are given gifts by the spirits, and their song helps further restore the West.
Meanwhile, the souls that have been trapped throughout the year in the Black Lion’s mirror are reborn as the Clarene’s foxes, turning them into trickster messenger spirits. Those who were awaiting rebirth in the Ophelia’s River and ponds come rushing forth, often hoofed or horses, unicorns or scaled beasts. Even the Ophelene sets aside her weaponry and kneels at the Laetha and Dierne’s feet, swearing to protect them in the new year.
We also celebrate the ‘smaller’ Laetha and Dierne. Asier and Pallis are reuinted after Asier’s (second, or perhaps more) death for the West. Arabella is restored to herself, no longer bound in tortured godhood or virtual prisons. the Laethas, for a short time, are at peace with themselves. They abandon their roles of Oppressor and Oppressed and take up the mantle of the Singer of the faith (the one who sings to our souls of our dreams and desires).
The spirits of Red and White Court, often in conflict, are joined together in dance and harmony. This is often a time when new spirits as conceived. After Reunion, a fair amount of spirits will be prohibited from seeing each other for a month or two, so this is the last time certain friends and lovers will see each other.
Reunion is also, appropriately, a homecoming. Otherfaith spirits return to the West at this time, even if they reside elsewhere the rest of the year.
Reunion has a variety of functions in the faith. It is a feasting holiday, and it is intended to be very communal. For example, the leader of a group of Other People would have their house open for the week to their group, which in turn could bring over food and provide friendship. The week is associated with peace, hence why fighting and arguing is a taboo. Even hyper violent spirits such as the Laetha Ava and Alynah Blake rest during this time, basking the joy of the gods.
Reunion also cleanses. The fires of the Laetha and Dierne are combined to purify the West and the People. The year may weigh heavily on us, but we have a chance to burn it away. We can reset our patterns or renew ourselves. We can make ourselves in a new image.
It celebrates the union of the Laethas’ House Hark (Song) and Dierne’s House Hope. They sing to us “a song of hope”. All may not yet be well, but all will be well if we work toward a brighter future. The world can be made right with the smallest – and the largest – of steps.
The ‘homecoming’ themes in Reunion should eventually lead to care packages being sent to Other People (or their family), in order to bring some joy during this time. As full of light as we try to make it, it can be a very dark time for many people.
Tomorrow we will have a guest post with prompts and ideas for creative works to be done during Reunion, so look forward to that!
- Carol of the Bells
- Do You Hear What I Hear?
- Hallelujah/Light Has Come
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel
- Panic Angelicus
- Angelic Proclamation – Barlow Girl
- How Many Kings – Downhere
- O My Soul – Audrey Assad
- Sleigh Ride – Relient K
- Star of Wonder – JJ Heller
- You Are My Vision – Rend Collective
There are a few links I want to share. First are two from Jenn, over on Between Ocean and Hills. She has posted about our new syncretic god the Darren.
Which leaves me to wonder if the (potential) eighth god will be a syncretic form of the Laetha and Dierne? It makes sense in a mathematical sort of way to me because then each god will be a part of two syncretic deities and it will be very nice and pretty and logical–but of course, it could be the Laetha and the Clarene, or the Dierne and the Ophelia, or perhaps not a syncretic deity at all but a completely new, unrelated deity? But these are just musings, because who really knows what the future will bring us?
To this, I want to say that I honestly only considered that the last addition to the Four + 4 Gods would be a syncretic form of the Laetha and Dierne. This isn’t because I was divinely told or any such thing, but simply an assumption I went around holding. And there is quite a saying about assumptions. We will see what the eighth god of the Other People turns out to be. I should point out that more spokes can be added to the compass, and the Otherfaith is a religion that has a concept of continuous revelation (essentially, the gods are constantly revealing new information of themselves) – so there may be gods after this, and there should be no rush. These things come as they will.
Jenn also reflects on the myth of Grace. Of course, the myth has a special place in my heart because of my appreciation of Dahlia and my love of Grace, who is a complex spirit.
Faemon, over on The Codex of Poesy, writes about a reading done in with a compass rose spread and Otherfaith deities. For what it’s worth, the Shadowscapes Tarot (which Faemon uses) is my go-to tarot deck for Otherfaith matters, and it was the first one I used to really interact with the deities in this faith. (I also owe Faemon a discussion on mysticism in the Otherfaith, which has been not-forthcoming due to the general business of this season.)
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.