This will be a ‘Reunion Roadmap’ post, similar to Sage’s post last year. For an introductory post on Reunion, click here.
Reunion with Deity
In our devotional practice, Reunion is a time for becoming re-acquainted with the Four+ Gods. This ties into the energetic shifts surrounding this time. Spirits that live or work elsewhere in the many worlds come back to the West. During this time they honor the Four+ Gods, as do we. It is a time of homecoming and forgiveness, joy and compassion.
I propose prayers starting on the 23rd going until the 31st/night of January 1st. The first prayers, on the 23rd and 24th, focus on the Clarene and Ophelia. Story-wise and spiritually, we visit the two gods before entering the rest of the West. We work in the Clarene’s Orchard to prove our dedication and commitment before moving on to the Ophelia’s River where our future actions and consequences are told. This introduction/reintroduction should occur before Reunion proper.
- Wednesday, December 23: Clarene
- Thursday, December 24: Ophelia
- Friday, December 25: Reunion Opening & Birth of Alynah Blake & Creation of the Eighth
- Saturday, December 26: Laetha & Dierne
- Sunday, December 27: Ophelia & Clarene
- Monday, December 28: Laethelia & Ophelene or Laethelia & Liathane
- Tuesday, December 29: Liathane and Darren or Ophelene and Darren
- Wednesday, December 20: All 4/4 Gods
- Thursday, December 31: Farewell
Each prayer can be said whenever one is able or prefers. Morning/waking up and end of day/going to sleep prayers are often effective, as we are shifting from one state of being into another. You can find the prayers here.
A concept for a Reunion shrine is below. An Otherfaith shrine only requires a light source and place for liquid offerings at its most minimalist, though a place for incense and solid (food) offerings can be a bit more versatile.
Reunion with Story
Storytelling is an important part of the Otherfaith. We also need more Reunion-centric stories. I propose prompts for each day of celebration. You do not have to write a full complete story for these. Writing poems or drawing art also works. But more Reunion stories would add to our story canon and fanon. These can be stories or essays as well, if you are more bent toward essay writing. If you are ‘just’ able to come up with seeds for stories, that is okay. Take them with you into the next year! That is what Reunion is about: honoring the current year and hoping for the next.
You may begin writing an essay and find it shifting into a story or vice versa. Don’t feel bound to your original intention; go with where you writing or art takes you.
Friday, December 25 Prompts
- What is home, and how do you return to it?
- Alynah is born on the 25th of December, the start of Reunion. Write about her birth, as she sprouted fully-formed from her mothers (Althea Altair and Lilibell).
Saturday, December 26 Prompts
- What does it mean to accept another person as they are? How do we stay beside each other through our mistakes?
- the Laetha and Dierne are lovers; what does their relationship look like? How do their different aspects interact?
Sunday, December 27 Prompts
- How do we reconcile? Can we love someone yet still be estranged?
- the Clarene and Ophelia found the West as a place for love. The two are often at odds, however. How does this change (or not) during Reunion?
Monday, December 28 Prompt
- What do we hide, and why? How do we open to others compassionately and honestly?
Tuesday, December 29 Prompt
- How do we find peace in busy and stressful times? What do ‘eace’ and ‘chaos’ mean? Which is more present in your life?
Wednesday, December 30 Prompt
- Reunion is about joining together. What brings communities together and what can cause division? What is unity?
Thursday, December 31 Prompt
- As we leave 2015, what change can we expect? What can we let go of? Can we be compassionate to ourselves and others as we plan and enter 2016?
Reunion with Virtues
Further going off of last year’s Reunion post, I want to list virtues and values that the Other People can contemplate and act on during Reunion. All these virtues are part of Reunion in some fashion, some more than others.
- Wednesday, December 23: Piety
- Thursday, December 24: Purity
- Friday, December 25: Joy
- Saturday, December 26: Community
- Sunday, December 27: Reconciliation
- Monday, December 28: Solidarity
- Tuesday, December 29: Stability
- Wednesday, December 30: Support
- Thursday, December 31: Modesty
Below I detail ideas for each virtue. If you interpret them differently, that’s great! There is no reason to keep your contemplation or action based on the virtue strictly to what I’ve written. Diversity is vital.
Piety and purity are both topics I haven’t discussed much within the context of the Otherfaith. Piety is important, no doubt. But the specifics of the Other People’s relationships with their gods is complex. I want people to cultivate those as they will, but there are also specific types of relationships that I want to detail and give structure to. Whether these structures will stick or not is up to the People. If the structure is useful it will stick around, after all.
Piety corresponds to the Clarene’s pre-Reunion day on our calendar. the Clarene is a god of commitment and contracts, so it makes sense that piety would be tied to her. Piety in the Otherfaith is very much about what needs to be done, what our commitments to the gods are, and stripping away the excess so we can fulfill our duties. This is a useful lesson for all of life, though, not just religion. How can we honor, or prepare to honor, our duties and obligations in this and the coming year?
Purity is tied to the Ophelia, and not just on this day. She is a cleansing god, a water god, a god who strips us of shame as well as fear. She strips us of our masks until we are one with the water. Mythically – or ‘spiritually’ – when we enter the West and have served under the Clarene, the Ophelia sees our future. She distills it. She gives it to us in a pure form. We have to choose what to do with it. Rather than trying to rid ourselves of imperfections, we should take this day to recognize who we truly are and who we want to be.
Friday brings us the joy of Reunion. Everyone is back. The gods are in love again, and all the trials they’ve gone through are put to rest for a brief moment. Spirits at odds meet each other in harmony. There’s dancing and singing and happiness all around. A big part of today is reminding ourselves of joy, even during frustrating or sad times, and having (or making) fun for ourselves and those in our lives.
Community is another value. Community is difficult to find and just as difficult to stick with. Trying to honor our connections in a way that respects those in our community and trying to figure out how to navigate complicated interpersonal waters are stressful things. Rather than trying to be perfect, act in ways that respect who you are in relation to others. What can you do to show you care for someone? Sometimes this will be a big show of emotion; for others, just hearing the words is enough. None of us is alone. None of us is self-made. We have people in our history and in our future. Some of those people won’t be good for us. But a lot of those people are going to drift in and out of our lives, and we should do our best to foster fond memories.
The next value is reconciliation, which is either recreating friendly relations or uniting beliefs. Which is most relevant to you? Are parts of you at war, needing to be brought together? Or today might be a day when you put aside small slights or troubles and remember what made you friends with someone. What brings you together with others, and how does it feel to be friendly with another person? Today is a good day for remembering none of us is perfect. We don’t have to reconcile with everyone in our lives. But we should do our best to actively choose who we do (or do not) keep in our lives and to always remember: humans mess up. We also do amazing things together.
Solidarity and stability and support go hand-in-hand. Without cooperation, we can’t have stability, and stability allows for greater cooperation, and through all of that we build support. We do not have to perfectly understand someone else to stand beside them. We don’t have to agree on everything. We can even hold very large disagreements! But we can also stand beside someone and uphold their personhood. We can choose our battles. Stability is all about rootedness, in the Otherfaith. Rootedness in the sense that we know who we are and where we are, not that we are ‘stuck’ there. Stability in the sense that we choose where to step next – an internal sense of balance that even in the wildest storms we keep. Even when our lives are falling apart, we can hold onto the stability. The West, during Reunion, is incredibly energetically stable. We can bring that into our lives. By interacting with the gods and spirits, we support them. By interacting with us, they support us. It is a give-and-take that can be amazingly intimate or very businesslike, depending on how you are. During Reunion, though, emotions tend to run high.
Finally, we reach modesty. This is not ‘modest appearance’. It is, rather, a modest and honest take on our life, our goals, and our reality. The new year is upon us. The gods will be leaving for a time. Resolutions are just around the corner. What can we truly hold ourselves to, and what are goals that are out of our reach but we will still strive toward? Part of this approach is kind honesty. There is no need to bash yourself when planning or deciding what you want the new year to look like. Don’t over- or underestimate yourself. Cheesy as it is, change can start now. Every day. Every moment. We have to look at what we can change, what is out of our hands, what we know of ourselves and the people around us, and go from there. Modesty, in the Otherfaith, may as well be another word for ‘reality’, something that is rarely as horrid or pleasing as we may think.
Modesty is accepting ourselves as we are, no more or less. And entering into 2016 understanding that can make the new year, and our lives, very different.
Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!