Are Dates Important?
In heathenry, as in any faith or religion, there are many holidays, and important dates to observe. In most, if not all of the world's popular religions, dates are very important. Holidays are celebrated on a very specific date, and you do not have very much say about it. But why is this? For example, using the worlds 3 main religions (The Abrahamic Faiths), holidays are commemorations of specific events. In Asatru, we celebrate the harvest, the coming of the new seasons etc. But in those religions, the birth of a specific entity, his death, the raising and falling of a temple etc. For those religions, having very specific dates, not only makes sense, but one can see why it is important.
Now this is where we can come to some confusion. For most of us, we were not born Heathen, Pagan, Asatru etc. Most of us came from a different faith, a different belief system. Chances are, most of us came from one of “The big three”, and have this preconception that dates are important. That the holiday, is not special, sacred, or you missed it if it was not on the correct date. Its all about the date. The specific point in time in which you must hold your celebrations, or you are doing it wrong.
This may work for other religions, but does it work for heathenry? I think not, and here is why.
Heathenry has many, many roots in nature, and the earth. Our mythology, cosmology, and belief system are all very closely linked together. Many of these holidays are based on the seasons, there coming and leaving, their changing. How can we celebrate the harvest, if it is the middle of winter? This would just not work. Our holidays, our special dates must go along with what we are honoring and or celebrating. If they do not, well then they just do not make sense! Holidays in other religions are not about what is going on now, or what will happen, but what has happened. This creates a necessity for a structure rigid in abiding by dates.
While it may be, for example Midsummer where I live, it may not be where you live! So then why would you celebrate Midsummer, if it is not the middle of summer where you live? You wouldn’t! You could be celebrating the winter solstice! June 21st 2015, in the Northern Hemisphere, is Midsummer, but in the Southern Hemisphere, it is Yule! The Winter Solstice! However, December 25th, is Christmas for Christians no matter where they are. They are celebrating the past, not the present.
So I do not think that dates are important at all. What is important is what is happening to you, and the world around YOU. Not what the calendar is. If it is time to honor Frey, thanking him for the fertility of the land, and the land is not very fertile, why would you be thanking him for the fertility of the land? That would be pointless, instead you should be honoring him, and asking him to make the land firtle. Just because the calendar that you may be using says it is the time of harvest, time to honor Frey for the good crop etc. does not mean that it is! Of course this does not mean that you should not use a calendar at all, for they can help a great deal! I personally just like to know when things generally are, but if I cannot celebrate on the "accepted date", well that’s fine by me! Even better in some cases. Dates are not important!
Don’t go by the calendar for holidays and celebrations, go by the earth, the stars, the feeling of the land, and what is actually going on! Who agrees? Do you have other interpretations of calendars and events/ holidays?