Ordinary Time

Last night, my husband and I took down our Christmas decorations. All the ornaments packed away, the medieval banners unstrung, and our zvizda and perllan taken back upstairs for storage. Beans, this morning, was confused, asking in his toddler way why there were no more “stars” on the tree. I explained that Christmas is a season, and now that season is over, that these are regular days before Imbolc comes. “More?” he asked.

But we can’t have more. These things come and go, ebb and flow, with the turning of the wheel. And I don’t want more, either. Because if we have more all the time, then what we do have becomes normal, not special. It’s moderation in action, I suppose, and for an introvert like me, I welcome the space between our high holidays.

Is any time really ordinary though, in a religion that celebrates the cycles of the year? Even still, on our plain altar, our carline sits, waiting to receive her offerings at each Full Moon or whenever we are moved to do so. She receives our hospitality throughout the Winter in exchange for her blessings and protection; it is a necessary act for the protection of our family and friends at this time of year.

Following a lunisolar calendar, we are also treated to the interplay of sun and moon, of subtly different tides that move around the year as full moons overlap fire feasts, or Brighidine flametending takes place in darkness. What can be learned in these spaces that come and go? Certainly nothing ordinary.

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