Last night, we, the Druids of the Mystic River Gove of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, celebrated yet another turn of the season. In our case, since we are a Grove in Massachusetts, USA, it was the Spring Equinox. From what I can tell on my social media feeds, many other fellow pagans celebrated that all over the world (albeit the Autumn Equinox in the southern hemisphere).
I do realize that the first sentences are loaded. We call ourselves Druids, even when not all in the Grove have actually reached that stage of learning. We call ourselves Druids. We are part of one specific Druid Order, one that isn’t a good fit for every single person out there on the Druid path. Some would even take issue with being part of an Order, any Order. We obviously celebrate the stations of the Wheel of the Year, which may or may not be what Druids, or pagans in general, in antiquity did. And when it comes to celebrating an Equinox, it’s even more unlikely Europeans in ancient times did that.
“So what?” I might cry out. Not in anger, but in (the remnants of the) ecstasy built up from walking through the forest at the liminal time of dusk, from gathering around a hundreds of years old oak, doing some ritual Magic there while the woods produced noises that make your neck hair stand up, from toasting the “Old Lady” — as we call that tree — with a mead-filled horn (four fillings, to be precise), and from sitting down together in a hall later on, feasting, boasting, and laughing. So what if the Druids of old didn’t celebrate the Equinox?
Druidry, paganism today needs to adapt to today. Our upbringing, the focus of our education, our jobs and responsibilities, even what food we are able to buy in chain stores nowadays, all this is very much unhinged from the progression of seasons on either hemisphere. Spring, summer, autumn, and winter have dwindled down to pretty backgrounds to our ever unchanging lives. They do no longer change what we do; and eat. Except what we wear, to a certain degree. But even that only as far as the outside is concerned. Where I live now, where air-conditioning forces me to wear sweaters inside in summer, and take off sweaters in winter, even the type clothes I choose is somewhat disconnected.
So, I totally get that pagans of old may not have needed to celebrate the Equinox (even though the symbolism around Ostara indicates some level of celebration). Their lives were, to a great extent, determined by the change of the seasons.
But by all the Gods old and new, do we need to connect with these stations of the Sun nowadays!