I don’t have any patrons. It’s not a concept I believe in. However, there are gods that have great personal significance for me: Csodaszarvas, Fra Berta, Volos, and Parom. If I did believe in patronage, they would be the ones I’d petition.
In the past I’ve also referred to Grandmother Spider as being a significant deity for me, but lately I’ve been questioning the idea. Spiders themselves are still highly important to me, but I really don’t know if the spider experiences actually have any link to Her. Rather, like the foxes, I’m starting to feel that the spiders are significant beings in their own right, rather than being representative of a deity.
(And I know that I keep referring to “the foxes” without any context. They’ll be day 14 of this list, as they’re a unique aspect of my beliefs and experiences that need their own space to be satisfactorily described).
Ok, this is not going to be the most formal of my posts here but gosh darn it I just need to get it out of my system cause it feels like such a cool piece of UPG right now.
So for the past several years there’s been a snake/winged snake figure that I have been researching and thinking about on-and-off for the past several years, and I’ve been interested in the snake cults of Central Europe. Naturally Veles is the most prominent figure of the snake cult due to him being one of the well-known Slavic gods, but while he’s well-known all around my target area he (or something like him) never really seems to be IN the target area. Yet at the same time I kept feeling like there was something to him that I needed to figure out.
A bit of digging and memory refreshing later I realized there was quite a bit of folklore dealing with snakes that is similar to the Veles associations (including the cattle/milk, magic, protection, and swamp ones) and also a possible corresponding figure by the name of Zomok (although they’re winged snakes, but still cthonic beings). I knew of Zomok before when reading about the Sárkány (Hungarian “dragons” though they’re usually in human form rather than being like the usual lizard-like animal) but never really made the connection between them and Veles, or of the snakes in general, until now. More on this later when I get into the “Snake God” post that’ll go into the specific associations between all these Veles figures.
Going into the UPG aspect, I live near a state natural area called Volo Bog that is a gorgeous quaking bog which shows plant succession all the way back to the last Ice Age.
Think about this for a moment. Veles is also called Volos. Veles is associated with swampy, wet earth areas. Volo Bog is a BOG. HOW DID I NOT SEE THE CONNECTION BEFORE?? Granted the name “Volo” probably isn’t due to the snake god but isn’t that an awesome coincidence??
Once the Spring thaw comes I’m gonna go visit. The last time I went to a quaking bog was Silver Lake Bog and it was absolutely magical (even with a disrespectful and annoying Frat boy in tow due to the visit being a college field trip).
Slowly but surely we’re chugging along with the 30 days of Paganism meme, and this is one of my favorite topics to talk about!!
I love personal calendars, especially when you start seeing how they evolve according to one’s environment and home culture. Mine is no exception, as it’s a blend of Pagan and Catholic traditions from the ancestral lands carried into the US. Due to my currently solitary nature, continuous research, and the fact that changes in life are prone to happening, my calendar is tentative rather than being hard and fast (despite having specific dates listed), and is not entirely religious in nature.
- Feast of the Dead (October 31-November 2)
- A mixture of US Halloween festivities and the more solemn ancestor worship of European All Soul’s Day, where ghosts and spirits are awoken and the ancestors return. The growing season has officially ended.
- Honors: Ancestors
- Harvest Celebrations (Late November)
- These are usually several family-oriented days (including US Thanksgiving) that center around gratitude for the last of the harvest. Usually by this point all the native plant species have gone dormant for the winter, and the migratory birds have past. Deer hunting season traditionally occurs this time as well.
- Honors: Nagy Boldogasszony
- Krampus Night/St. Nick’s Day (December 5-6)
- A fun little Christmas holiday where the kids leave out their clean shoes in anticipation of some goodies from St. Nick. A holdover from family traditions.
- Green Sunday (1st week of December)
- Copper Sunday (2nd week of December)
- Silver Sunday (3rd week of December)
- Gold Sunday (4th week of December)
- These Sundays are a holdover from Advent, as mini-celebrations in anticipation of Karascunt and the Rough Nights. Due to the names I also use the days to reference a corresponding Magyar deity (Copper – Hadúr, Silver – Szélkirály, Gold – Napkirály)
- Karascunt (December 21/22)
- Winter Solstice festival full of fire, drink, and merryment to celebrate Csodaszarvas carrying the Sun over the river to begin the year anew and overcome the darkness. First day of the Rough Nights. Spinning stops by this night.
- Honors: Csodaszarvas
- Bertchten Day (January 5-6)
- This day ends the Rough Nights and the new year begins. The sun finally overcame the darkness and the light continues to grow in strength. Spinning chores resume. Also known as Twelfth Night (evening of Jan. 5)
- Honors: Fra Berta/Lutzl (though she is also associated with all 12 of the Rough Nights)
- Day of the Bear (February 2)
- Midwinter celebration in anticipation of the season’s end. The Bear awakes and bring with it the first hints of life and hope in a time where patience and food stores are wearing thin. “Spring cleaning” and purification processes occurs at this time. Winter expulsion begins.
- Honors: Szélkirály
- Zöldágjárás (usually mid-late March)
- First hints of life appears in the trees and shrubs, and the initial bits of greenery is brought inside to continue the purification process. Boughs of greenery are formed into arches and wreathes for women and children to dance under, and boys splash water on girls (purity and fertility rite, most likely). Birds are migrating back at this time.
- Fruit-grafting day (March 25)
- Fruiting tree branches that are starting to bud are grafted and hopefully successful. Several traditions regarding death and fertility surround this day as it is also the Catholic holiday of Mary’s conception of Jesus.
- Honors: Nagy Boldogasszony
- Walpurgis Night (April 30)
- Winter expulsion ends, compelling the ghosts and ancestors back to sleep. Most migratory birds have returned and begun their breeding season.
- May Day (May 1)
- Summer begins. The fields and markets are readied for the growing season.
- May Crowning (May, usually mid-to-late May)
- Fields are cleared and sown, and seedlings transplanted, as the risk of frost is gone by this time. First harvest occurs around this time (depending on what plants are growing). Leaves have returned to the trees. Flowers are offered to the Queen of May by young girls.
- Honors: Nagy Boldogasszony
- Szentiván-éj (June 24)
- A summer solstice celebration of fire, successful crop growth, and remembering the ancestors. Peak growth and first major harvests are occurring around this time. Apples are served to the fire and to the graves.
- Honors: Csodaszarvas
- Goldenrod Days (late September-early October)
- A completely made-up period surrounding the autumn equinox to mark Summer drawing to a close. The Goldenrod flowers are in their full, yellow bloom, as if they absorbed part of the sun and took away some of its vigor. Apples are harvested at this time, and the birds are undergoing their fall migration.
- Honors: Volos/Zomok
*Deities and their associations here will be discussed further in later posts of this meme. Some associations are traditional, some are not. Those with / between two names refer to the same being.
**The inconsistency of the names is due to some English counterparts being too vague to be a useful label, so the source culture’s holiday words are used instead to refer to their specific traditions that I observe (i.e. “Karascunt” in place of “Winter Solstice”). Exception being Zöldágjárás since there is no English counterpart in existence.