[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!]
Or, How Do I Celebrate This Thing Anyway?
The following are some suggested structures for observing Reunion, which lasts from Thursday, December 25 until mindnight on Wednesday, December 31. Each year Reunion also coincides with Christmas, Kwanzaa, potentially Hanukkah, the secular New Year’s Eve, and the birthday of Alynah Blake in the Otherfaith. How these holidays do or do not affect your own observance of Reunion is completely up to you.
Reunion with Deity
One possible way to structure Reunion is as an opportunity to become reunited with all the Four (+3) Gods. In the “Weekly Devotions” section of the Devotional Life page on the Otherfaith blog each of the first six discovered deities have been attributed to certain days of the week. As Reunion is a week-long observance and as we currently have seven known gods, one could spend each day contemplating a different god. Here is what such a calendar might look like:
- Thursday, 12/25: the Laetha
- Friday, 12/26: the Dierne
- Saturday, 12/27: the Laethelia
- Sunday, 12/28: the Darren
- Monday, 12/29: the Clarene
- Tuesday, 12/30: the Ophelia
- Wednesday, 12/31: the Ophelene
The Darren is still a new entity in the Otherfaith and hasn’t “officially” claimed Sundays as his own; I’m only suggesting his spot there for Reunion to fill a vacancy. And of course, there’s the question of what to do when the last of the main deities makes hirself known; I would personally use January 1st/New Years Day as a contemplation of the Unnamed God or as contemplating my relationship with all the gods as a whole.
Reunion with Myth
Alternatively, this is an opportunity to brush up on the mythic cycles surrounding the Laetha and the Dierne. We could individually meditate on these stories and come together as a community to share our thoughts and inspirations. The following is one possible reading list for the week of Reunion:
- Thursday, 12/25: Reunion 
- Friday, 12/26: A Fall
- Saturday, 12/27: Ava at the Gate
- Sunday, 12/28: Fear Returns
- Monday, 12/29: In June, To December
- Tuesday, 12/30: Jealousy + The River
- Wednesday, 12/31: Touch [Trust]
You may notice that several of these myths also relate to the Apotheosis of the Dierne, the holiday roughly opposite of Reunion (both in their themes and place in the ritual year). At this point in the Otherfaith’s development, we simply don’t have enough published mythology for a full week of readings, hymns, and meditations that relate to Reunion and Reunion only. I don’t think this is necessarily a drawback; given the tightly woven narrative that is the fall of Pallis and Mircea, the death of the Laetha, the Sundering of the West, the deification of the Dierne, and the eventual reunification of the Laetha and the Dierne, there may not be a reason as of yet to completely splinter the focus of the two holidays. However, given the inherently pacifistic nature of Reunion and the inherently violent nature of the events surrounding Dierne’s apotheosis, the two holidays may very well take on more divergent liturgy as the years go on. Only time will tell.
Reunion with Virtue
Finally, I submit a potential list of virtues to contemplate and cultivate over Reunion. Whatever ritual or mundane actions taken each day should, in theory, reflect back on that day’s virtue.
- Thursday, 12/25: Joy: celebration at the Laetha’s return.
- Friday, 12/26: Pacifism: a laying down of arms and insults for Reunion.
- Saturday, 12/27: Reconciliation: mending fences in the name of the Reunited.
- Sunday, 12/28: Community: supporting our friends and chosen family.
- Monday, 12/29: Creativity: finding inspiration in the shared work of the week.
- Tuesday, 12/30: Gratefulness: having a thankful heart for the year’s bounty.
- Wednesday, 12/31: Hope; keeping faith that wholeness will come again.
Though each of these virtues “belongs” to the entirety of Reunion, having one assigned for each day gives us time to consider each one on its own merits. What does it mean to be joyous with the Dierne at the Laetha’s return, yet also share in the hope that the Laetha will return again after she has gone? One of the tensions of Reunion – with religion in general, I’d wager – is the fact mythic time cannot be reckoned with ordinary mortal time. We pause to reflect on homecoming and wholeness, yet we know at this same moment in some ephemeral Elsewhere, the West is still Sundered and the Clarene has not yet escaped from her mother’s dictatorial clutches and there are still people, human and not, who are forced to choose between life and love. We value the relationship of the Reunited Ones because we know they have and perhaps will be again separated. We place a premium on peace and reconciliation because we know how often we spill blood and break hearts despite our best intentions. We bid farewell to one year with joy and sorrow in our hearts while at the same time welcoming in a new year with fear and hope.
The point is, these suggested virtues may be particularly timely for our shared celebration of Reunion but they also have merit at other points in the year. However we choose to pause and reflect on the week, remember that what is cherished now will remain with us even in the midst of violence, suffering, heartbreak, and isolation. This is our reunion with ourselves and our beloved community just as it is the Reunion of the Laetha and the Dierne.
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.