Strangely, it seems I haven’t posted about the timing of rites yet.
Earrach* of Pittsburgh has a lovely essay about accuracy of timing on the Sassafras Grove site as well as an essay about correcting calendar drift on the cross-quarters. Timing is useful; a Walpurgisnacht Rite I did as night turned to day May first was a stand-out ritual experience for me.
This year, the vernal equinox is in the early hours of the 20th. We are planning a celebration on the 15th. Why? Why give in to convenience to the point where we’re using the more distant bounding Saturday?
I’d love to give a pat answer like “just as we define our ritual space as being at the sacred center, we define the ritual time as being at the sacred time for the ritual.” (Actually, there’s something to work with there, even though I’m not certain it’s really Indo-European.)
Instead, I’ll give a different answer: it’s about the community. If I’m celebrating ritual at 1:48am on the 20th, I’m likely celebrating alone. Indeed, the convenient times on the 19th and 20th of this month are have other events at the the Unitarian-Universalist fellowship, our preferred space (Beltane will likely be outside). The 22nd, though desirable for reasons of proximity, won’t work as well, at least in part due to the schedule impact of other holidays that weekend.
So just as we stretch ourselves as a people to reach for the sacred day, the day stretches to reach the sacred community. A Protogrove weaves itself together by making that public High Day available and accessible, and sometimes that does mean bending a bit so that the community can come together. I’d love to do perfectly timed rites — but it would mean ignoring the world we live in, and the needs of those whose work isn’t 8-5 M-F with three weeks off a year. I expect a larger turnout by planning for the 15th, and look forward to seeing many of the faces from last month again.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to work on completing those plans; some fool moved the equinox rite up.
*In case you ever meet Earrach, his name is pronounced Eric, not Ear-ache. Thankfully, I figured this out before he figured out I was trying to address him.