After much struggle to find a worthy name for this cross-quarter holiday, I have borrowed a suggestion from a member of the Atheopagan Facebook group and gone with Dimming, with its corresponding Brightening in February.
“Dimming” says what this holiday is: yes, it’s summer, but the days aren’t so long now. Where I live, a long, wan late summer will persist well past Harvest (the autumnal equinox), though if we’re lucky we will get a rain storm in September or so.
Dimming is filled with meanings, both traditional and in my personal Atheopagan observances. It is the time of the first harvest festival, typically associated with harvests of grain and the various industries that go with grain such as baking and beer-making. So I consider what my “early harvests” are from the hopes and plans I dreamed up ‘way back at Brightening-time. Subsequent harvest festivals will follow at Harvest and Hallows.
Harvesting is a lot of work, and I associate this Sabbath, too, with work and creativity: technology, science, art, engineering. These aspects (mostly) of the modern era are often ignored in mainstream Paganism even though we all benefit by them; a failing I lay at the feet of modern Paganism’s largely unspoken “harkening back to Ye Goode Olde Days” prior to industrialization. I certainly need a time to recognize these critically important aspects of our modern life in my wheel of the year, and this is where I do it.
Finally, as I map my wheel of the year to the arc of a human life, this is the point of middle age: a time when many are achieving longterm goals, sending children out into the world, sitting at prominent positions in their careers. I celebrate the middle-aged members of my community at this time of year.
My first harvest this year is the sale of my book, Round We Dance: Joyous Living Around the Year and Throughout Life, to Llewellyn Worldwide publishers. This feels like an acknowledgement that non-theist Paganism is here to stay and is well represented by Atheopaganism. I’ve now written over 25,000 words with four months left to deliver a manuscript, so I feel I’m in good shape. The book will be a great complement to the first Atheopaganism book and will be chock-full of craft projects, ritual ideas, recipes and themes for celebrating the Sabbaths of the wheel of the year, rites of passage throughout life, and personal ritual practices. It will be a guide to starting or enhancing a thriving naturalistic spirituality.
We are also coming up on the tenth anniversary of the Atheopaganism Facebook group, which is when Atheopaganism first went from being a practice of a handful of us to a community. I’ll be posting a special report on how far we have come on that day, and I’m collecting short statements from Atheopagans on what Atheopaganism means to them for publication as well. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org!
I’m still seeking full-time work (shout out to my Patrons, who are so generously contributing to help Nemea and me stay afloat during the job search!), and have an interview for a wonderful job tomorrow that I am REALLY hoping to land. THAT would be a fantastic Harvest for the fall!
How about you? What are you harvesting and celebrating right now?