This past weekend, White Cat celebrated the Feast of Age, one of the two floating festivals peculiar to the Henge of Keltria. We generally schedule the Feast of Age, which celebrates the immortality of the Gods and the longevity of humankind, in July — an apt month for parties. The Feast of Remembrance, which is more melancholy, is set — at least by us — in November, when mourning seems to waft in with the fallen leaves and falling snow.
We do both feasts as proper rituals, in that we honor the three Kindreds and the Gods of the occasion, as well as make offerings. For the Feast of Age, the deities du jour are Manannan, whose undying pigs provide the food, and Goibhniu the Smith, who is also a brewer on the side. The main ritual is the feast itself — and we can’t stop eating, drinking, making conversation and partying until the omens tell us to.
This may seem an odd “sacrifice” to make, until you consider the meaning of the term is “to make sacred.” It’s the one time of the year I actually cook meat — that’s usually outsourced to my husband — and it is a sacrifice in the old sense, since it goes against my deepest inclinations. I prepare the feast with thought, love and care, and we partake of it in the same way. Our shared conversations are also meant for our spiritual guests to enjoy, along with the beer, food and music. Mindfulness makes feasting sacred.
The act of feasting can be seen as inherently sacred because it is set aside, sometimes for the God(s) but more often for the community. You honor your fellow beings, whether physical or not, through the medium of time, attention and care, all elements of putting together a decent party. It’s fun, yes (and who says religion can’t be fun?), but a little tiring, too — especially for folks like me more accustomed to solitary activities and more mystical expressions of faith, such as journey work.
As usual, the first set of omens told us to suck it up and keep partying. Eventually, the Kindreds thanked us for the show and let us take our leave. Or they took theirs, whichever came first.
May you always have joy and health.