[This post is by our guest contributor Sage. They have been an amazing contributor to many Otherfaith spaces, including our Wiki. If you would like to know more about them, you can read their About page on their blog. We thank them for their excellent post!]
At this point in the Otherfaith’s history, the whys and hows of celebrating holy days is primarily up to the individual. As time goes on it’s likely the Other People will develop traditions, ritual practices, and mythology that flesh out each festival or observance. However, at the time of writing this essay the Otherfaith is only finishing out its fourth year and our community is both small and far-flung; what “must” be done for Reunion is what best fits the pull of our hearts and the whispered requests of our gods.
In this spirit, I suggest approaching Reunion as an opportunity for creativity as well as one of reconciliation and peace. The gods are said to be especially close during this last week of the year and one way to honor our relationship with them is to create works of art and beauty. This is also an opportunity for all members of the Otherfaith community to contribute to the faith in whatever way they find meaningful. We can understand the nature and will of the gods by traveling to the West and speaking with the inhabitants there, yes, but we can also understand them through reading and writing mythology, curating music playlists or Pinterest boards, crafting poetry or essays or songs, or creating works of art like sketches, paintings, sculptures, or collages. Any method by which someone expresses their understanding of or curiosity about the gods and spirits of the Otherfaith is welcome. This includes contributions of organization and planning as well; perhaps someone isn’t particularly artistic but is willing to help grow the Otherfaith Wiki, or has a collection of ritual or meditation resources they can share, or commits to active engagement with the Otherfaith community for the week of Reunion.
Ultimately, Reunion is about disparate parts coming together and the joy found from that new wholeness. Whatever one does to celebrate this holy day, let it be in the spirit of newness and community.
There are so many possibilities for celebrating Reunion it may seem overwhelming at first. Reunion activities should cultivate feelings of pride, joy, inspiration, and community-mindedness. They should also be rooted in pacifism; fighting during Reunion is taboo and even strong debate is frowned upon. Keeping these themes in mind, the following are just a few examples of what can be done to celebrate Reunion.
- Experiment with a new medium or style you haven’t tried before. Try your hand at abstract art, Art Nouveau, or monochromatic work.
- Illustrate one of the myths with sequential art (comics/manga).
- Create color palettes for the gods. ColourLovers has a good palette creator that lets you save and share your creation.
- Create digital or traditional collages. Think about what images appeal to you and how to arrange them on your space.
- Curate Pinterest boards around certain Otherfaith persons or themes. Here are some example boards for the Laetha and the Dierne.
Music and Speech:
- Create chants for the gods. Play around with different sounds and rhythms until you find what works best for each deity.
- Create music playlists or a Pandora station for Reunion.
- Record yourself reading myths or prayers aloud.
- Write a song about Reunion and use a music editing program (like Garage Band) to create instrumental tracks to go with it. Or write the music yourself!
- Talk with family and friends you haven’t seen in awhile. Skype or call other members of the Otherfaith to catch up. Just talk!
- Set a timer and freewrite any and all associations with the gods. Do your best to turn off your inner editor.
- Add to our mythology and don’t be shy! Treat it like fanficton for the Otherfaith. You can read more about canon and headcanon at the Otherfaith Wiki.
- Write your own prayers. There are many different kinds of prayers and ways of praying; Sermon on the Mound has an article on prayer from one Pagan’s perspective.
- Try your hand at poetry. If you haven’t studied or written poetry since grade school English classes, consider browsing Poetry.org’s resources for beginners.
Taste and Smell:
- Light scented candles or incense, or buy flowers to arrange in your room.
- Scroll through perfume sites like Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and choose scents for holiday. Treat this like you would creating a music playlist for the gods.
- Contemplate different perfume or essential oil notes for the gods. Compare lists with others to see if deities evoke similar scents.
- Bake or cook something aromatic, especially using fresh herbs.
- Brew a strong cup of tea or coffee.
- Create a cocktail for the gods.
- Try a new recipe. Experiment with different flavors: something spicy or smoked for the Laetha, something delicate or rich for the Dierne.
- Connect with others through the Otherfaith blog, Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter. Strike up conversations, ask questions, share the experience of Reunion with each other.
- Spend time with loved ones. Express and receive affection in ways that are comfortable to you.
- If possible – and if doing so will cause you no harm – this is a time for building bridges and mending past hurts. [Note: This is not encouraging forgiveness for forgiveness’ sake. Reunion has a taboo against violence and this includes violence to yourself. There is no need for reconciliation if both parties do not consent to such.]
- Contribute to the Otherfaith Wiki. A good place to start to our To Do page, which lists our current projects. Feel free to add your own suggestions to this page as well!
These prompts are meant to give celebrants a focus for the activities listed above. You may use them however you wish. For example, you might write a poem on each of the divine persons and epithets associated with Reunion, create a Pinterest board of Laethic and Diernic symbols, or share a playlist of songs that remind you of love, joy, and coming home.
- bonfire + starfire
- stars + space between stars
- iron heart of stars + iron of human blood
- sacred + profane
- sacrament + sacrilege
- lover + beloved
- defenses + desires
- the Laetha
- the Dierne
- the Reunited
- candles and lanterns
- compass roses
- lock and key
- astral imagery
- fiery imagery
- What does Reunion mean?
- How do the Laetha and the Dierne feel during this time?
- What happens in the West during Reunion?
- What have you been separated from?
- What makes you feel whole?
- Where is home?
- What does it mean to be creative?
- What other gods and spirits are related to Reunion?
- What does it mean to lay down arms?
- What is peace?
- Who is waiting for you?
- Who are you waiting for?
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.