Affairs of the Pagan Heart

November 1st, 2017

Adding a Spindle to the Wheel of the Year

As I wrote this, I was finishing up work for the day to head home to get ready to celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary with a quiet dinner at one of our favourite fancy restaurants. Though my husband is not pagan, we did a handfasting with cords of orange, brown, green, and silver in a beautiful loft space gallery that used to be a piano factory. It was an overcast day that rained on and off, and we didn’t care, as long as we had each other and were surrounded by our friends and family. We bound ourselves to one another, and by the grace of the Gods, the rain paused just after our ceremony so that we could run outside to get some outdoor photos amongst the glorious fall colours of late October.

I didn’t have my parents there to celebrate with me. They both passed away years before, and never even met my husband. It breaks my heart every time I think about how much my husband and my dad would have gotten along, or how easily my mum would have welcomed him into the family. I never dreamed of how my wedding would be, and was not that little girl who walked around in my mother’s shoes and a veil on my head and “played wedding” as easily as “playing doctor” or “playing school” or “playing tea time”. In fact, though I wholeheartedly believe in love and wasn’t opposed to marriage, enough time had passed by that I guess I thought it just wasn’t for me. So I never had those dreams of my dad walking me down the aisle, or getting ready in the morning with my mum.

However, when the time came, their absence was sorely missed. My parents were still married for 46 years when my father died, and were not at our wedding in person to witness their youngest getting married. But I know they were there in spirit, as were my ancestors before them, and I know they come forth when the veil between the spiritual plane and the living is most porous or at its thinnest. Each year, our anniversary has felt like the start of that thinning, the overlap between summer and fall, or Mabon and Samhain and forward to Yule.

And as I think on my ancestors and my immediate family that have passed on, I don’t think of them as lost. I think of them as pillars of love and endurance. They have faced so much in their lives, living through wars and social progress and political strife and so much more than what I have experienced, and if I can get a glimpse of them through the veil at this time of year, or gain a portion of their wisdom or obtain a sliver of their bravery, perhaps I would have even more inspiration to keep my heart strong for my marriage.

We mark and celebrate our anniversary as a reminder of how we fell in love, to look back fondly on the day we were married and celebrated our commitment to one another in front of our family and friends, and to take stock of our relationship. I also take the time to evaluate how my spirituality plays into the marriage, and how I can improve myself for myself mentally, physically, and spiritually.

If we think of the wheel of the year as a ship’s wheel, we see the evenly spaced spindles that indicate each season and sabbat. It’s important to can add to our own wheels with anniversaries and special occasions so that they are actually that – special occasions. They are things that we celebrate specifically for us, separate from what others are marking, so that we can spend energy on why that day is important to us.

This time of year has a lot going on for me. I honour my ancestors, I miss my parents, I celebrate my wedding anniversary, and I acknowledge the turning of the wheel as the year progresses, as sure as my heart beats.

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About the Author:

Rev. Rachel U Young is a pagan based in Toronto, Canada. She is a licensed Wedding Officiant and under the name NamasteFreund she makes handfasting cords and other ceremonial accessories. She is also the Chair of Toronto Pagan Pride Day.


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