[Wednesday] February Holy Days

As I mentioned earlier, this year will hopefully see a more fully flushed calendar of holy days in the Otherfaith. My main focus on the moment are the births of various spirits, since that is a love of mine. I am also factoring in larger mythic events and trying to place them in the calendar.

As I put together February’s holy days – a similar blend of inspiration and random generated dates – I found myself drawn to a certain type of spirit in the Otherfaith that I haven’t discussed much: Witches.

Witches are also actual human beings, practitioners of witchcraft. And there’s nothing restricting human Witches from being part of the Otherfaith. But we do have spirits that are Witches and sometimes appear in certain stereotypical ways. I understand this may make some people uncomfortable.

Witch spirits in the faith are spirits particularly adept at manipulating energy, both from the landscape and from other spirits. They may partner up with powerful spirits who carry lots of raw energies and make use of those energies for various spells and purposes. In my experience, they seem close to the Ophelia, Dierne, and Laethelia, depending on their specific magical preference. They can also, I would suppose, be patrons of witchcraft and witches on this side of the fence.

The dates that I’ve added to the Otherfaith calendar are:

  • February 7 (random number generator)
  • February 8 (random number generator)
  • February 13
  • February 18
  • February 19 (random number generator)
  • February 23 (random number generator)
  • February 24 (random number generator)

February 7 & 8 mark the births of Claudia and Cordelia. These sisters seem to be the most witchiest of all the Witches. They carry staffs and wands and ride around on brooms. They’re also associated with youth, and a bit of ill-gotten youth at that. They are teachers and compassionate spirits, watching over younger Witch spirits and likely young witches on our own earth.

February 13 marks the birth of Thirteen. Thirteen is associated with outright stealing youth from other spirits, usually hastening them into adulthood. She’s not a negative or baneful spirit so much as she is the bringer of responsibility. Some spirits actively avoid or work against her (such as Ava and Alma, permanently child-spirits), and she can be frightening (as can the other spirits listed later in this post), but she deserves the same respect we give to other spirits in our religion.

February 18 is a possible date – I marked it for the new moon, falling in line with the witchy theme of February. I’m not sure if marking the moon’s phases will be a larger part of the Otherfaith or not. It certainly isn’t a part of my practice, but my practice isn’t the entirety of the People’s practice. I encourage people to post their own thoughts on this, as well as discuss their own practices concerning the moon.

February 19 could mark the birth of Mallory. Mallory is not quite a Witch spirit, but she is a challenger to the West and, as such, to the Otherfaith. She pushes our assumptions, ways of thinking, ways of being. She’s also very magically powerful – her touch causes rot. As a sort of outsider, she can fit with the theme of the month.

February 23 and 24 mark the births of Malaise and Malice. These are both Witches, though less like the bright, silly Witches that Claudia and Cordelia present. Malaise is tied to sickness and Malice to malice – both very obvious connections. Like Claudia and Cordelia, they are sisters. They seem to represent malevolent magic, at least on the surface. They each have their own roles and functions, however. Sickness can teach us in many ways. Our goal as People is not to strip away malice or anger or hurt or guilt or any of the actions that come from those emotions but to understand them and be able to act according to our ethics, rather than striking out. We can’t just shove these spirits to the side for the discomfort they cause. That does not mean we need to open our arms eagerly. We can give offerings and pray to them while asking them to go do their own thing, instead of asking them to come center into our lives.

The other date that is currently marked in the Otherfaith is February 14, or Valentine’s Day. I’m not quite sure how we should celebrate this in our religion, but I look forward to seeing what impulses and ideas I come up with this Saturday.

To finish off, this is the current list of holy days for February:

  • February 7 – Birth of Claudia
  • February 8 – Birth of Cordelia
  • February 13 – Birth of Thirteen
  • February 14 – Valentine’s Day
  • February 18 – New Moon
  • February 19 – Birth of Mallory
  • February 23 – Birth of Malaise
  • February 24 – Birth of Malice

In unrelated events, Faemon posted in the Otherfaith Facebook group on the possible etymology of our gods’ names:

”I like words, and names. From what I’ve figured out so far with a combination of Etymonline and BehindTheName: Clarene (or at least Clare, which is very medieval English via France) stems from Proto Indo-European for “expansive in light and sound” or “to shout”. Ophelia comes from the Greek meaning “help”. Laetha could refer to a lathe or industrial machine, which, despite being a more recent word has a much less certain etymology. Dierne could be related to diurnal, which comes from Proto Indo-European meaning “shining”. In my opinion, all very appropriate!”

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.

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