[Friday] Hell Month

​The clouds break on the first day of Hell Month. The sky is painfully, powerfully blue against the grey thunderstorms moving to the east. I woke to the sound of the rain pummeling our home. Against our duplex the drops sounded like rolling thunder. 

The nights before I had driven almost endlessly to the edges of the city. The eastside, where I now reside, had faded from businesses and lights to the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. I was captivated and captive to the lightning playing against the dark sky. The strikes illuminated the mountains in brief and beautiful seconds. Someone was parked on the side of the road and had a tripod set up for his camera. He was photographing the light show streaking across the sky. 

I drove to the end of the road, until a yellow sign read ‘Dead End’ – though more appropriately it had simply become a dirt path – and swerved the car back around. The clouds to the south were tinted red with the lights of the city. I had hated that red sky during my teenage years. 

I had hated everything about Tucson. She wasn’t like my beloved Seattle. Seattle was green and wet year-round. The ocean bumped up against that rainy city. There was even a city under the city. What magic! What mystery. And my beloved family lived up there. 

Now, apart from my immediate family of mother and father and paternal grandparent, the entirety of my family does live up there. I haven’t seen them for three years. Every day a gnawing hunger roots around in my belly, asking whether they truly are my family. They are, after all, the grandparents and aunts and uncles on my step father’s side, and he stopped being a step father when my mother divorced. I think of writing to them and never send mail. I’m too afraid. 

I don’t hold hate for Tucson anymore. I may complain of her, certainly. She is a hot and sweaty city. At times she is dying and falling into disrepair. At others, though, she is magnificently alive. The sounds of downtown on the weekends are so familiar and warming. Memories of parking myself in the last smoking café and going through too many cigarettes fill me during late nights, especially when it rains. I have never been a frequenter of bars, but I love the sounds as the city parties. 

The city is not partying at the start of Hell Month. The city roasts. The clouds part and the mesquite seed pods lay under their parents, rotting a foul stench in the wet heat. I gag at it. Decades of growing in Tucson have not inoculated me to the scent after rain. I look up at the sky after dropping my spouse off at school and feel all is right with the world, apart from the early rains. All is right in my world. 

Hell Month was a holy month that cooked up shortly after Reunion came about. I knew, in around February or March after the first Reunion, that the Dierne was deified at the end of July. I didn’t truly grasp the entire month of hell until later, and I would have to search through my notebooks to find a specific date of revelation. Most likely those notes have been lost anyway. Even though I have softened my anxiety of private writings being read by those I don’t wish, I still habitually rid myself of all manner of things and most especially my older writing. The writing of the early twenty-teens is bearable, at the least. 

Story wise, the gods are absent from the West during July. I don’t think that’s exactly true. The spirits still interact with them. We can still interact with the gods, though in some stories they go off and adventure in our world during Hell Month. Like Reunion, when they take on more benevolent forms, they adopt different forms during this month. The gods of love remind me of shattered glass. the Clarene becomes bedrock solid and the Ophelia turns to piercing icicles. 

I don’t know what to expect of this month yet. Perhaps more of the same that 2016 has dished out.

[Holy Days] Reunion Roadmap

Happy Sunday.

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_shrine

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?

or

  • 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?

or

  • 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?

or

  • 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!

[Wednesday] September Holy Days

Current:

  • Labor Day

Proposed:

  • School Begins
  • Halloween Challenge
  • New Moon
  • Friday the 13th (when applicable; not this year)
  • September 15 (Midmonth)

At present, the Otherfaith calendar lists Labor Day as our only holy day in September. The first Monday is a holy day during the other months, but in September the first Monday is Labor Day. This year it falls on September 7th.

Labor Day recognizes the labor movement as well as the contributions of workers to our country. It has ties to the International Worker’s Day (May 1st), though the two have some important differences, one being that our Labor Day is far more sterilized. The International Worker’s Day is also more allied with socialism than our own US Labor Day. Labor Day takes place in September due to governmental fears concerning the Haymarket riot might be commemorated alongside it. For more information, you can read basic information on Labor Day here. For information on the International Worker’s Day, you can read more here.

Within the Otherfaith, it’s only appropriate that we also add the International Worker’s Day to our calendar as well.

Labor, and labor rights, are important in general. Within the context of the Otherfaith, consumption should be balanced by a number of factors, including the welfare, dignity, and personhood of the workers. Unfortunately, ethical consumption is a rare reality, if even possible. (As some say, “There is no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism.”) As conscious consumers we find ourselves balancing consumption with ethics, location, accessibility, and financial situations.

This is a large topic, and I may write more on it on Monday. I’m no economist or well-studied in the field; I’ve simply been exposed to a lot of activists with many different focuses. I think Labor day is important to acknowledge and celebrate because we, as a societal whole, devalue workers. That doesn’t even begin to touch on issues of sweatshops and slave labor – but, again, this is a large and complex issue.

I include Labor Day and International Worker’s Day because organized labor is remarkably important in the history of the US and because we are horrid at recognizing the worth of labor. Issues of dehumanization and re-humanization (which I feel are tied to labor rights) are important to the Otherfaith in both a spiritual and social sense.

Labor Day is often accompanied in the US by sales and discounts at shops. To say that’s inappropriate is an understatement, considering who the holiday is meant to honor. It’s something to consider. After all, if the store is open, someone has to be working that day. I also suggest reading about organized labor and unions. Here you can read about labor unions in the US. This is the Wikipedia timeline of the labor movement.

For the new additions to our calendar, we have Midmonth (the 15th) which will be part of every month going forward. It will take some time to figure out what the holiday means, but I don’t feel a rush on this particular recurrent holiday. The New Moon has also been added to the calendar. Whenever a Friday the 13th falls in this month, it will also be recognized.

I’ve brought over the holy day concerning the beginning of school – since when school begins varies based on location and district. Some school start in late August while others begin after Labor Day. I do have specific ideas on how this could be celebrated, but as I’m not in school it is questionable how relevant my ideas may be.

Though not quite a holy day, September through October there will be an Otherfaith writing challenge on Ao3. The idea is to collect stories focusing on Halloween or horror. I’ll be posting up and organizing these challenges throughout the year as a way to encourage more fanfic. The challenge will open on Labor Day and lasts until the 31st of October. I will be posting up prompts when it begins, but the challenge is not a prompt meme. This challenge’s prompts are simply to help when you’re having trouble writing or picking a topic. We will do prompt memes later when we’ve got more people writing Otherfaith stories (and so more likely for the prompt meme to actually be busy).

The collection can be found here and is part of the larger Fall Collection that catalogs all stories written between August through October. If you have a story written in August of this year that you’d like in that collection, please let me know and I will add it. (The collection is ‘closed’ as it is mainly a parent for the smaller yearly challenges that occur.)

For me, September is a planning month. I’m preparing for the holy days coming later (Halloween, Reunion) and getting everything in order. I’m considering who I am and what I want in life. This is no doubt due to the importance the month has to me. I left an abusive relationship a few years ago in early September, and I also found my partner around the same time. (Through luck, and perhaps divine influence, though that is always arguable. I’m inclined to simply think it was good timing.)

I would love to see people contribute the the fic challenge when it gets started. The goal is simply to write an Otherfaith story, in whatever format you’re comfortable. You can use spoken word or illustrate, if that’s more to your preference. Or whatever media works best for you and can eventually be posted online. I’ll discuss more of the challenge on the Ao3 page as well as Monday, when it officially starts.

Finally, if you are part of our G+ group, please let me know which weekend tea time you can make. It helps me know what to expect time wise and how much to prepare for that specific hangout.

The proposed September calendar would look like this:

  • First Monday/Labor Day
  • School Begins
  • Halloween Challenge
  • Friday the 13th (when applicable)
  • Midmonth (September 15th)
  • New Moon

For a PDF of the calendar, click here.


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!

[Wednesday] July Holy Days

Current:

  • Community Day
  • Apotheosis of the Dierne (July Apotheosis)

Proposed:

  • Abandonment of the West
  • Murder of Alynah Blake
  • Entrance of the Eighth God
  • First Monday
  • July 15 (Mid-Month)
  • New Moon
  • Hell Month

July is a rough month in the Otherfaith. It culminates in the celebration of the Dierne’s deification. But the month honors everything leading up to that: the Dierne killing Mircea, the Laethas being devoured and reborn in the form of the Firebird, everything going to momentary hell. Hence the name ‘Hell Month’.

July actually starts off with the theoretical Community Day on the first. This is meant to start off the month right, or as well as we can manage. Spiritually, July is supposed to be rough. We’re essentially taking on the trauma of our gods. No doubt my own experiences of the month are influenced by where I live. Summer is awful here in Arizona – hot, muggy, stormy. We get to experience thunderstorms that come in with our monsoons. Everyone’s experience of Hell Month will be influenced by their own internal landscape as well as where they live. Hopefully we’ll begin to understand July on a wider scale this year.

Apart from the monthly additions to our calendar (which can be viewed here), three important additions to July’s holy days are the Abandonment of the West, Murder of Alynah Blake and the Entrance of the Eighth God. These three events can be seen as related or not. I don’t think it’s necessary to have just one story concerning the arrival of our Eighth God. I’ve been working on a story in which the events are related, but I highly encourage people to come up with their own ideas.

The Abandonment of the West starts off along with Community Day on the first of the month. The first Four Gods – the Clarene, Ophelia, Laetha, and Dierne – are all out of commission as gods ruling over Western Fairy. Some of them journey to other worlds (such as our human one), while others wind up reliving and bound up in their own traumas. the Laethas are caught up in in-fighting and unable to work properly as a god or cohesive unit; the Clarene is out wandering the worlds; the Ophelia retreats under her River; the Dierne either wanders the worlds similar to the Clarene or is reduced to his pre-divine form. The gods are still able to be reached during this time, but their forms are more warped than during other times of the year and can be difficult to interface with. Unable to fulfill their duties, their right-hand spirits take charge and sit upon their seats. The spirits that take on the gods duties are Desiree (for the Clarene), Mallory (for the Ophelia), Althea Altair (for the Laetha), and Lilibell (for the Dierne). The latter Four Gods – the Laethelia, Ophelene, Darren, and Eighth God – remain, though far less experienced than the former Four Gods.

The spirits are left to themselves. They have to deal with the traumas and problems plaguing the West all on their own – similar to the situation that led to the Dierne’s deification. A variety of issues pop up while the interim-gods sit on their seats, only two of which I’ve identified formally.

The Murder of Alynah Blake (born at the start of Reunion, the opposite holy day to the Apotheosis of the Dierne) takes place near the beginning of the month, in the first week, and is one of the larger problems the West has to deal with. Mythically, she meets during Hell Month to spar with the Ophelene, a symbolic balancing of the force of chaos and the force of justice in the Otherfaith. For one reason or another, one of their battles ends not in the usual tie (with the rabbit spirit Alynah sprinting off into the wilds). Alynah either trips, slips, or simply doesn’t dodge as she usually does, and the Ophelene slices her in half. It’s intended as an accident, the Ophelene so used to their routine she doesn’t have time to pull back. She kills off the spirit of chaos, leaving a rather gaping hole in the energetic landscape of the West during a very vulnerable time.

Alynah’s murder is complicated. Some spirits view it as a positive act – Alynah is a bloodthirsty and violent spirit, pushy in her recruitment of new members to her Rabbit Troupe. She’s also incredibly powerful, near godly, and her birth only lends to her energetic importance. She’s the daughter of Althea Altair and Lilibell, the granddaughter of the Clarene and Adilene, and adopted by the Dierne. Practically the only thing keeping her from actual godhood is her irresponsibility and the protests of the other gods.

Unleashed at the same time of her murder is her Companion – a physically smaller but magically stronger spirit. Other Companionships are Erann with Ava and Aletheia 012 and Casimir with Neve. Being the giant half of a Companionship, any spirit Alynah entered into the relationship with would have to be more powerful energetically, which sends the interim-gods and the Ophelene into panic-mode. They eventually find Alynah’s Companion – Abel Blake – and the Ophelene takes on temporary responsibility for him until Alynah is reborn near the end of the month.

Later in the month, likely close to mid-month, the Eighth God arrives on the scene. Their arrival might be filling the chaotic role left behind in Alynah’s death, or they simply may decide that the restless and disastrous time is the best to announce themselves. Their attendant spirit Nevander announces their coming in some version of the god’s beginning. In others, the Laethelia announces the Eight God, the new god on her arm, or the Darren announces the Eighth’s arrival with little fanfare. However it happens, the Eighth’s entrance into the West is catastrophic. The interim-gods have no idea how to handle him (though Desiree calls for his murder once she sets her eyes on him, regardless of how he is announced), and the latter Four Gods are unsure how to deal with their new sibling.

The Eighth God is highly irreverent. Their spirits have little or no consideration for piety or regard for the other gods, and the Eighth themselves/himself/itself is outright hostile to the Clarene. They are a sort of anti-kingship god, lacking any throne. (Nevander, their attendant spirit, gladly appropriates the other god’s thrones for his purposes, though.) A combination of the Laetha and Dierne, the Eighth God is essentially ‘the worst’ of both gods. Many people have seen the Eighth God as very inhuman, hostile and frightening and everything scary. I see the god as more in-between, but I’m also a devotee to half of the god that creates the Eighth. My interpretation of the Eighth as a frightening, cruel god is balanced out by viewing them as also deeply important to the Otherfaith as a challenger spirit, one unafraid to confront the other gods on their bullshit.

The arrival of the Eighth God also shows us something interesting about the latter Four Gods: the combination of the lovers tends to create unpleasant deities. the Clarene and Ophelia create the Ophelene, a god of retribution who is commonly seen carrying a giant sword and shield. the Laetha and Dierne create the Eighth God, a god of chaos and terror. Meanwhile, the deities in conflict (Clarene vs Dierne, and Ophelia vs Laetha) create much most peaceful gods: the Laethelia, god of oceans and joy, and Darren, god of mediation and peace.

I don’t expect most people to like the Eighth God. In all honesty, I’m not sure they even want our worship, at least not in a way like the other gods do. But it still feels inappropriate to leave them out of my prayers. I may see them as a giant white centipede of death, ready to bite my head off, but I still feel compelled to offer them my appreciation. the Eighth is the god of outsiders and those ostracized by the Western spirits, after all. He may send shivers up my spine, but he’s become vital to my practice.

This month, and the killing of Alynah and the arrival of the Eighth, are all tied up in the Ophelene. She’s a god of duty and obligation, usually following the orders the Clarene gives her without question. That doesn’t mean she’s without guilt – she doesn’t intend to kill Alynah, for example, and is ambivalent about the praise she receives for doing it. Hell Month signals a huge change for the Ophelene. When Desiree orders her to kill Abel, for example, she refuses. Though Abel is dangerous and poses a serious threat to the West, a land the Ophelene is obligated to protect, she decides to take responsibility of the younger man and enter into temporary Companionship with him.

When the Eighth God arrives, the Ophelene is tasked with killing him. Desiree, and the Clarene once she returns to the West, view the Eighth God as fundamentally incompatible with the West and its values. And the Eighth God provides plenty of reasons to the Ophelene. He goads and insults her. He mocks her for her affection for the Laethelia. He constantly shoves in her face that she’s simply a murderer, as awful to behold as the Eighth himself. Outraged and injured, the Ophelene does try to kill the other god, bearing all her divine strength and ability down on him, slicing him to as many pieces as she can before stopping just short. Rather than following her orders, she allows him to live – acknowledging his role in the Four Gods as valid and important.

Giving these events a solid date is difficult. They all swirl together to make Hell Month what it is. There will likely be more events and stories that reveal themselves both this Hell Month and ones in the future. I have no doubt the religious calendar for this month will eventually be bursting, as the month of December hopefully will be in the future as well. I feel I’ve written more than enough on Hell Month for today, though.

Happy Wednesday, and happy July.


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!

[Wednesday] June Holy Days

Current:

  • Marriage of Othani

Proposed:

  • Birth of Corliss
  • Birth of Rio
  • Commemoration of Centries
  • Commemoration of Rio
  • Communique of Casimir
  • New Moon
  • Marriage Month

For June, our only holy day is the Marriage of Othani. His myth can be found here. Othani is a flora spirit, seen as green and many-armed. He is associated with blooming and flowers, as well as bees and the reproductive organs of plants. His partner, Aletheia 009, is also associated with growing plants and creating life. Between them, they create the half-flora half-deer spirit Thiam.

Othani’s marriage is the end of June, a good ending to joyful, hot month. His marriage to one of the Aletheia spirits, known for their violence and despair, marks the integration of the calmer, more grounded Othani (and the wider West) with the wild fires of the Laethic spirits. This is a time of transmutation.

For us, their marriage sends a blessing over the whole month, similar to Althea Altair and Lilibell’s marriage in May.

For new holidays, we mostly have births of spirits. The birth of Corliss and the birth of Rio are tied to this time because of heat. Corliss is a spirit tied to the sea and islands, and though she herself fades into the deep waters she is very much tied to hot, sticky days on the water. Rio is a fire spirit known for his sharp tongue and fierce temper. Rio is also one of the Centries, a group of protective spirits that take on centaur forms.

June has the Commemoration of Centries, acknowledging the creation of this group of spirits. Though the Centries take on centaur form, they are associated with order, structure, obedience, and power. They are tasked with keeping the West safe and can take on either supportive or offensive aspects depending on a variety of factors. They are created by the Clarene and listen almost exclusively to her, though they occasionally follow the Ophelene as well.

Another commemoration is the Commemoration of Rio. We can honor him for becoming one of the Centries and becoming a defender of the abused, said to aid them with a flaming sword and fiery hooves.

The Communique of Casimir also occurs during this hot month. Rather than being born as many spirits are, he is created from a variety of energies and strings. He is announced rather than born into the West, and he brings with him heat and heaviness. He is a giant and guardian spirit and especially protective of humanity, and compared to the more stiff Centries represents a softer, warmer side of defense. He is a refuge and sanctuary.

Finally, we again add in the new moon to our holy days. The new moon for the Other People is when the moon is dark, not the first sliver of silver.

I will begin working on the Otherfaith Wiki and updating our spirit information so that everyone has better access to our various spirits as well as what various terms in the Otherfaith mean. I will post updates on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter once the Wiki has gotten up to speed again. In the meantime, please be patient!


Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treausre in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!

[Wednesday] May Holy Days

Current:

  • School Ends/Graduation

Proposed:

  • First Monday
  • May 15th
  • May 31st
  • New Moon
  • Marriage Month

We only have one holiday that might take place in May at this time. This is when school ends or when people graduate. Obviously, this holiday is very focused on one group of people and works better as a communal celebration. Those in the work force don’t get the usual break that is heralded by May (or June, in some places). I originally included it in the Otherfaith calendar as I wanted a very strong focus on secular US life. It provides us a time to celebrate our own or another’s achievements.

As the Otherfaith grows, this time may end up connected to the otherworldly School of Eight Initiates, a place of study for the spirits and journeying humans. The School has its own entrance and graduation ceremonies that we may mimic in our own world.

There are some holy days that I think should be monthly and that I have written of before. One of these is a mid-month acknowledgment occurring on the fifteenth. Each mid-month will find its own meaning and spirits tied to it. The way to find these connections is, of course, to practice.

Another recurring celebration can be the new moon – again, taking on its own associations for each month. I find it interesting that I’m called to making this a holy day. I want to distance the Otherfaith from Wiccish trappings. But I also have to follow where the spirits and intuition leads.

One holy day for May can be the first Monday of the month, which would represent action and initiation (in the sense of beginning something). This month is about fire and flowers, both seen as destructive forces in Otherfaith mythology. We have both the Flower Maidens and Alynah Blake’s Rabbits that bring blood and renewal to their land. The instinct to move should be honored in this month, especially at the beginning.

May leads to June, marked by a celebration on the 31st. Both of these months – May and June – are ‘marriage months’, auspicious times to get married for people and spirits. The 31st also marks the marriage between Althea Altair and her twin Lilibell.

The marriages that are marked are spiritually powerful. June’s marriage of Othani is a heady combination of floral energies, whereas Althea and Lilibell’s marriage represents the combining of two different types of fire (starfire and divine flame).

The proposed May calendar would appear as:

  • Marriage Month
  • First Monday
  • May 15th
  • New Moon (May 18)
  • School Ends/Graduation
  • May 31st – Marriage of Althea & Lilibell

For a PDF of the calendar, click here.


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Wednesday] April Holy Days

Happy April! We’re into the fourth month of the year, which has seemed to fly by lately.

April 1st starts of with April Fool’s Day, a day full of enjoyable and obnoxious pranks, as well as a deal of hoaxes. The Otherfaith spirits the Flower Maidens are tied to this time, becoming especially active. The Flower Maidens are largely tied to bloodshed and violence, ripping their victims apart and initiating new members into their ranks by tearing out organs and replacing them with flowers.

Just before April, on March 31, we had the International Transgender Day of Visibility. Both this and the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 were suggested as additions to our calendar by Sage. I welcome other people’s thoughts on the matter.

For every month, I’m considering adding the 15th as a celebration for mid-month. I think this would be helpful for consistency and in keeping the flow of the year. Each mid-month celebration would have to incorporate some aspect or theme of the month to truly keep a flow.

As April ends we’ll be getting into summer, though depending on where you live you may already be there. Summer won’t truly start for some people until school lets out. For those in school, April-May can be a difficult time, finishing up schoolwork and taking finals. In all honesty, I’m not sure how this would be acknowledged religiously. Life may also be tough for other reasons – tax season, working and figuring out vacation, planning for summer, all that sort of stuff. (Personally, I’ve gotten yelled at by enough strangers at work to know this time of year is rough!)

April 8th is associated with the birth of Althea Altair and Lilibell. Both Althea and Lilibell are flower spirits, on top of their other associations, and so them being tied to what is typically seen as springtime is fitting.

I’ve decided not to do the random date generator that I did the past few months. Partially because I don’t have as much time as I did before, and partially because I’m letting the dates and ideas flow more smoothly at the moment.

Another addition is going to be Friday the 13, which has been a holiday in the making. Like mid-month, every Friday the 13 would have different associations and stories tied to it based on the month it falls in. We have three Friday the 13’s in 2015, the next one being in November. Hopefully we can think of some cool ideas by then!

Every Saturday we’re doing hangouts on our Google+ group as well – check them out.

Happy Camp National Novel Writing Month to those who are participating! I am, though we’ll see how long I last. Good luck to those taking the challenge. Remember, there are two camps a year along with National Novel Writing Month itself.

Do you have a free minute? Then listen to ‘Stronger than You’ from Steven Universe. Steven Universe itself is pretty amazing, so if you love cartoons and love magical warrior types, I highly recommend it.


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Wednesday] March Holy Days

As I mentioned earlier, this year will hopefully see a more fully flushed calendar of holy days in the Otherfaith. My main focus on the moment are the births of various spirits, since that is a love of mine. I am also factoring in larger mythic events and trying to place them in the calendar.

The dates that I’ve added to the Otherfaith calendar are:

  • March 10 (random number generator)
  • March 13 (random number generator)
  • March 19 (random number generator)
  • March 21
  • March 26 (random number generator)
  • March 31 (random number generator)

One thing I’ve noticed is that we have yet another Friday the 13th this month. I’m considering what role that date can have in the faith. It could be connected to our Witch spirits, connected to the Dierne and her relationship with fear and horror, or it might be tied to our eighth god that we’re learning about (but don’t have enough information to really discuss in detail). It could be a mini-Halloween with a focus on silly horror as well as cleansings through fear and release.

March 10 could be a celebration of Sabia’s fall into the West. Sabia is one of the Ophelia and Laetha’s lovers. Sabia bounces back and forth between both gods, refusing to settle on either, until the Ophelia finally turns her down, unable to stand the pain of losing the human again. She gifts Sabia with a magical lantern that can turn the Laetha’s fires blue or the Ophelia’s blue flames orange, and from that point on she becomes a spirit of both transmutation and responsibility.

March 13 acknowledges the murder of William by Aletheia 003. This may seem a strange event to put on the calendar, but acknowledging this is something I feel important. Right now, we don’t have enough information to really get into the complexities of William and 003’s story. Like many stories, there are layers seen and unseen, interpretations intended and interpretations actually made.

March 19 celebrates the entrance of Erann. Rather than celebrating his birth, of which is said to occur outside of the West, we can celebrate his entrance into the West and the Laetha’s home. Erann is a giant spirit as well as a shapeshifter, and he has associations with calligraphy and complex, detailed art as well as mathematical artistry and architecture. He is also a winged giant, having at least four wings of rainbow or iridescent color. His entrance into the West marks the calming of the Laetha Ava, who at that point was a rampaging force.

March 21 celebrates the birth of Epiphany. Epiphany is one of the most well-known Book-Keeper spirits. She is a spirit of, obviously, epiphanies and inspiration. She’s associated with fire as well, and she’s a good spirit to go to when needing new ideas or working through difficult problems. Sage does more work with her than I do.

March 26 could acknowledge the births of Baryl and Beryl. Baryl and Beryl are both giant monsters – Baryl a land monster and Beryl a sea dweller. Baryl is associated with the Clarene and Laetha; Beryl is tied to the Ophelia and Laethelia. They are both bulbous and frightening to behold. Like many frightening (appearance) spirits in the Otherfaith, however, they tend to be the most protective and assistive. Beryl, for example, protects people from other sea monsters. Baryl is able to rescue people from fires. They are sibling spirits and colored opposite – Baryl is red, Beryl is blue. (Their names are pronounce ‘bar-ill’ and ‘bear-ill’.)

March 31st celebrates the births and movements of the Rabbit Troupe and Flower Maidens. Both of these groups of spirits are associated with spring in one form or another. The Rabbit Troupe is tied to fertility and sexuality; the Flower Maidens are obviously tied to blooms and flowers. Both these groups of spirits are known for bloody revelries and violence. The Rabbits tend to bludgeon their victims; the Maidens tear them apart limb from limb. They’re both tied to cleansing through violence.

The current list of holy days for March is:

  • March 10Sabia’s Fall
  • March 13 Murder of William by Aletheia 003
  • March 19Entrance of Erann
  • March 21Birth of Epiphany
  • March 26 Births of Baryl & Beryl
  • March 31Awakening of Rabbit Troupe & Flower Maidens

Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Wednesday] February Holy Days

As I mentioned earlier, this year will hopefully see a more fully flushed calendar of holy days in the Otherfaith. My main focus on the moment are the births of various spirits, since that is a love of mine. I am also factoring in larger mythic events and trying to place them in the calendar.

As I put together February’s holy days – a similar blend of inspiration and random generated dates – I found myself drawn to a certain type of spirit in the Otherfaith that I haven’t discussed much: Witches.

Witches are also actual human beings, practitioners of witchcraft. And there’s nothing restricting human Witches from being part of the Otherfaith. But we do have spirits that are Witches and sometimes appear in certain stereotypical ways. I understand this may make some people uncomfortable.

Witch spirits in the faith are spirits particularly adept at manipulating energy, both from the landscape and from other spirits. They may partner up with powerful spirits who carry lots of raw energies and make use of those energies for various spells and purposes. In my experience, they seem close to the Ophelia, Dierne, and Laethelia, depending on their specific magical preference. They can also, I would suppose, be patrons of witchcraft and witches on this side of the fence.

The dates that I’ve added to the Otherfaith calendar are:

  • February 7 (random number generator)
  • February 8 (random number generator)
  • February 13
  • February 18
  • February 19 (random number generator)
  • February 23 (random number generator)
  • February 24 (random number generator)

February 7 & 8 mark the births of Claudia and Cordelia. These sisters seem to be the most witchiest of all the Witches. They carry staffs and wands and ride around on brooms. They’re also associated with youth, and a bit of ill-gotten youth at that. They are teachers and compassionate spirits, watching over younger Witch spirits and likely young witches on our own earth.

February 13 marks the birth of Thirteen. Thirteen is associated with outright stealing youth from other spirits, usually hastening them into adulthood. She’s not a negative or baneful spirit so much as she is the bringer of responsibility. Some spirits actively avoid or work against her (such as Ava and Alma, permanently child-spirits), and she can be frightening (as can the other spirits listed later in this post), but she deserves the same respect we give to other spirits in our religion.

February 18 is a possible date – I marked it for the new moon, falling in line with the witchy theme of February. I’m not sure if marking the moon’s phases will be a larger part of the Otherfaith or not. It certainly isn’t a part of my practice, but my practice isn’t the entirety of the People’s practice. I encourage people to post their own thoughts on this, as well as discuss their own practices concerning the moon.

February 19 could mark the birth of Mallory. Mallory is not quite a Witch spirit, but she is a challenger to the West and, as such, to the Otherfaith. She pushes our assumptions, ways of thinking, ways of being. She’s also very magically powerful – her touch causes rot. As a sort of outsider, she can fit with the theme of the month.

February 23 and 24 mark the births of Malaise and Malice. These are both Witches, though less like the bright, silly Witches that Claudia and Cordelia present. Malaise is tied to sickness and Malice to malice – both very obvious connections. Like Claudia and Cordelia, they are sisters. They seem to represent malevolent magic, at least on the surface. They each have their own roles and functions, however. Sickness can teach us in many ways. Our goal as People is not to strip away malice or anger or hurt or guilt or any of the actions that come from those emotions but to understand them and be able to act according to our ethics, rather than striking out. We can’t just shove these spirits to the side for the discomfort they cause. That does not mean we need to open our arms eagerly. We can give offerings and pray to them while asking them to go do their own thing, instead of asking them to come center into our lives.

The other date that is currently marked in the Otherfaith is February 14, or Valentine’s Day. I’m not quite sure how we should celebrate this in our religion, but I look forward to seeing what impulses and ideas I come up with this Saturday.

To finish off, this is the current list of holy days for February:

  • February 7 – Birth of Claudia
  • February 8 – Birth of Cordelia
  • February 13 – Birth of Thirteen
  • February 14 – Valentine’s Day
  • February 18 – New Moon
  • February 19 – Birth of Mallory
  • February 23 – Birth of Malaise
  • February 24 – Birth of Malice

In unrelated events, Faemon posted in the Otherfaith Facebook group on the possible etymology of our gods’ names:

”I like words, and names. From what I’ve figured out so far with a combination of Etymonline and BehindTheName: Clarene (or at least Clare, which is very medieval English via France) stems from Proto Indo-European for “expansive in light and sound” or “to shout”. Ophelia comes from the Greek meaning “help”. Laetha could refer to a lathe or industrial machine, which, despite being a more recent word has a much less certain etymology. Dierne could be related to diurnal, which comes from Proto Indo-European meaning “shining”. In my opinion, all very appropriate!”


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Wednesday] January Holy Days

As I mentioned earlier, this year will hopefully see a more fully flushed calendar of holy days in the Otherfaith. My main focus on the moment are the births of various spirits, since that is a love of mine. I am also factoring in larger mythic events and trying to place them in the calendar.

Currently, I’m taking this month by month. These will still be very bare-bones and I expect we’ll need to adjust – tossing some days, adding new ones, moving where they fall, that sort of thing – but I want to start getting this information down. Not all of it is inspired or divinely influenced. For a few of these dates I used a random number generator and asked myself what that date might mean or what spirits it might be tied to. I plan to do this for the other months. A few of the new holy days I added were also chosen because of their possible assocation with spirits. So the project is a blend of chance and stumbling and spirit meddling.

I have marked seven new holy days for January, adding onto the New Year that is already considered holy. Only one of these new holy days deals directly with a god. The rest are for spirits. The celebrations I’ve added are:

  • January 1
  • January 2 (random generator number)
  • January 5 (random generator number)
  • January 13 (random generator number)
  • January 15
  • January 24 (random generator number)
  • January 31

January 1 marks the birth of Dawn. I don’t currently know much about this spirit. She may be a child of the Laetha and Dierne both, or perhaps just one of those divinities. She is tied to the actual dawn of day, and she can be described as rosy and soft. I suspect she is unconcerned with typical human worries and needs, but since I know so little of her I cannot say that definitively. Her sister Dusk is born later in January.

January 2 marks the birth of Abel Blake. (Abel Blake go on to become one of the Aletheia Androids.)

January 5 is tied to the birth of Aeron Blake. Aeron is the younger brother to Abel. Aeron Blake also becomes an Aletheia Android, specifically Aletheia #060.

January 13 celebrates the communique of Comity between Dawn and Dusk. Comity, in the Otherfaith, is a non-sexual semi-romantic relationship between two or more spirits. Communique means ‘formal announcement’, so the holy day could also be called the ‘announcement of Comity’. Comity is considered on the same level of marriages in the Otherfaith calendar (such as the Marriage of Othani). Comity relationships are extremely beneficial to the spirits involved and intended to help humans see more variety in sacred relationships. This day could also be called Comity of Dawn & Dusk.

January 15 marks the birth of Centry Rio. Centries are a group of protective spirits in the Otherfaith that normally present as centaurs. Rio is considered the second-in-command, after his lover Dallas. Rio, being a spirit tied to the Laetha, is more fiery than his Clarene-born lover. My impression when attempting to find his birth date was that he was born ‘in the middle of the cold month’, which I interpreted as the middle of January.

January 24 commemorates the conflict between Ava Laetha & Aeron Blake. the Laethic shard has a difficult relationship with the line of androids based on the original Laetha, and this both comes to a head and is exacerbated in her conflict with Aeron in his form as Aletheia #060. Aeron confronts Ava over her misuse of the androids (mostly to enact violence upon others without breaking any divine laws herself), but Ava is unswayed as she views the non-divine Aletheias as toys. This conflict illustrates, through different points, the clash between the divine and their own creations, free will, consent and dissent, and the monstrosity of the gods and spirits. How exactly would be appropriate to acknowledge this holy day is, at the moment, beyond me.

January 31, closing out the month, marks the birth of Dusk. Her sister Dawn is born at the dawn of the new year, while Dusk is born at the ‘falling’ of the first month. She is associated with obviously dusky colors, especially blues and purples. As with her sister, I don’t currently know very much about this spirit and can’t provide information about her.

I encourage others to offer their ideas of what spirits they feel may be appropriate for this month, whether in births, deaths, marriages, etc. as well as ideas for what we could do to celebrate some of these days. I will be exploring possibilities for that in later posts this month.

To finish out, this is the current list of holy days in January:

  • January 1New Year and Birth of Dawn
  • January 2Birth of Abel Blake 
  • January 5Birth of Aeron Blake
  • January 13Communique of Comity or Comity of Dawn & Dusk
  • January 15Birth of Centry Rio
  • January 24Commemoration of Conflict or Conflict of Ava Laetha & Aeron Blake
  • January 31Birth of Dusk

Not related to holy days – I forgot to link to something important on Monday. Jack (of Sidekick Ex Machina) has posted a call for submissions for “A Saturday Morning Devotional”. If this is something that interests you or related to work you do, please submit!


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

End of Reunion

Happy New Year and, for the Other People, happy end of Reunion! The end of Reunion can mean a few different things. The main change is that our taboo against argument and fighting is released.

For myself, the end of Reunion was when I had to cover the box I use as a small temple space. I’m not sure how long it will remain covered, so I will be performing quick one card draws each day to try to divine when the gods wish for it to be opened again. I also began wearing a veil in my spirit-spouse’s color. I will begin learning about his family for a week, and from there discern how my spirit-marriage effects my life. Though, truly, it is already effecting me.

I wish I could say that Reunion was joyful and easy, but I know it wasn’t. It wasn’t for individual members of the Other People and those who worship our gods. Nor was it an easy or joyful time in general. The death of Leelah Alcorn is just one example of how horrible and depressing and painful our world is right now. Leelah is a Sancta in the Ekklesia Antinoou – on one hand, may she be remembered. On the other, I can’t help but be hopelessly, rather ineffectually angry that such a young woman has died (or, as some have said, been killed).

Leelah’s death has made me consider adding some level of veneration for the dead to the Otherfaith, especially queer and gender variant dead. However, that is something that still needs to be discussed and figured out, and I don’t want to just jump into it. I also feel divination and discernment toward the dead being honored is important, and letting those who would rest actually rest is something I wish to respect if the People do begin such work.

As we go into this new year, the fifth for the Otherfaith, I want to create more actual practices – more prayers, actual rituals, shrine structures. Of course, deepening our understanding of the spirits and creating more stories for them is important, but the lack of practices for the Other People is a large hole that needs to be filled. I look forward to working on this.

We will be having a brainstorm session for what an introductory book for the People should look like on Skype. If you’re interested in participating, my Skype username is ainemaponos. You don’t have to be one of the People or worship our gods to contribute, so don’t be shy about joining!

To end this post, I’d like to share a variety of links of work that was produced during Reunion.

Between Ocean & Hills

A Prayer for Reunion
Reunion Day 1
Reunion Day 2 & 3
Untitled (Another Reunion Prayer)

Adventures of Opalfish

The Hermit-Maker: Paths of Integrity & Introspection (Intro)
the Darren and Justice (Intro)
the Darrenesque (Intro)
the Darren and Energy (Intro)
Reunion [Dec. 25, 2014]
Balance in Flux
Reunion [Dec. 26, 2014]
Reunion 2014/2015 Simple Prayer Cycle
The spirits walk among us
Blood like rubies
Doubt* & Drowning
Reunion shrine

Otherfaith Wiki

Spirits
Spirit Groups
Spiritual Relationships
The West/Otherworld
Domains Forum Discussion
Ophelene headcanon Forum Discussion


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Guest Post] A Roadmap to Reunion

[This post is by our guest contributor Sage. They have been an amazing contributor to many Otherfaith spaces, including our Wiki. If you would like to know more about them, you can read their About page on their blog. We thank them for their excellent post!]

Or, How Do I Celebrate This Thing Anyway?

The following are some suggested structures for observing Reunion, which lasts from Thursday, December 25 until mindnight on Wednesday, December 31. Each year Reunion also coincides with Christmas, Kwanzaa, potentially Hanukkah, the secular New Year’s Eve, and the birthday of Alynah Blake in the Otherfaith. How these holidays do or do not affect your own observance of Reunion is completely up to you.

Reunion with Deity

One possible way to structure Reunion is as an opportunity to become reunited with all the Four (+3) Gods. In the “Weekly Devotions” section of the Devotional Life page on the Otherfaith blog each of the first six discovered deities have been attributed to certain days of the week. As Reunion is a week-long observance and as we currently have seven known gods, one could spend each day contemplating a different god. Here is what such a calendar might look like:

  • Thursday, 12/25: the Laetha
  • Friday, 12/26: the Dierne
  • Saturday, 12/27: the Laethelia
  • Sunday, 12/28: the Darren
  • Monday, 12/29: the Clarene
  • Tuesday, 12/30: the Ophelia
  • Wednesday, 12/31: the Ophelene

The Darren is still a new entity in the Otherfaith and hasn’t “officially” claimed Sundays as his own; I’m only suggesting his spot there for Reunion to fill a vacancy. And of course, there’s the question of what to do when the last of the main deities makes hirself known; I would personally use January 1st/New Years Day as a contemplation of the Unnamed God or as contemplating my relationship with all the gods as a whole.

Reunion with Myth

Alternatively, this is an opportunity to brush up on the mythic cycles surrounding the Laetha and the Dierne. We could individually meditate on these stories and come together as a community to share our thoughts and inspirations. The following is one possible reading list for the week of Reunion:

You may notice that several of these myths also relate to the Apotheosis of the Dierne, the holiday roughly opposite of Reunion (both in their themes and place in the ritual year). At this point in the Otherfaith’s development, we simply don’t have enough published mythology for a full week of readings, hymns, and meditations that relate to Reunion and Reunion only. I don’t think this is necessarily a drawback; given the tightly woven narrative that is the fall of Pallis and Mircea, the death of the Laetha, the Sundering of the West, the deification of the Dierne, and the eventual reunification of the Laetha and the Dierne, there may not be a reason as of yet to completely splinter the focus of the two holidays. However, given the inherently pacifistic nature of Reunion and the inherently violent nature of the events surrounding Dierne’s apotheosis, the two holidays may very well take on more divergent liturgy as the years go on. Only time will tell.

Reunion with Virtue

Finally, I submit a potential list of virtues to contemplate and cultivate over Reunion. Whatever ritual or mundane actions taken each day should, in theory, reflect back on that day’s virtue.

  • Thursday, 12/25: Joy: celebration at the Laetha’s return.
  • Friday, 12/26: Pacifism: a laying down of arms and insults for Reunion.
  • Saturday, 12/27: Reconciliation: mending fences in the name of the Reunited.
  • Sunday, 12/28: Community: supporting our friends and chosen family.
  • Monday, 12/29: Creativity: finding inspiration in the shared work of the week.
  • Tuesday, 12/30: Gratefulness: having a thankful heart for the year’s bounty.
  • Wednesday, 12/31: Hope; keeping faith that wholeness will come again.

Though each of these virtues “belongs” to the entirety of Reunion, having one assigned for each day gives us time to consider each one on its own merits. What does it mean to be joyous with the Dierne at the Laetha’s return, yet also share in the hope that the Laetha will return again after she has gone? One of the tensions of Reunion – with religion in general, I’d wager – is the fact mythic time cannot be reckoned with ordinary mortal time. We pause to reflect on homecoming and wholeness, yet we know at this same moment in some ephemeral Elsewhere, the West is still Sundered and the Clarene has not yet escaped from her mother’s dictatorial clutches and there are still people, human and not, who are forced to choose between life and love. We value the relationship of the Reunited Ones because we know they have and perhaps will be again separated. We place a premium on peace and reconciliation because we know how often we spill blood and break hearts despite our best intentions. We bid farewell to one year with joy and sorrow in our hearts while at the same time welcoming in a new year with fear and hope.

The point is, these suggested virtues may be particularly timely for our shared celebration of Reunion but they also have merit at other points in the year. However we choose to pause and reflect on the week, remember that what is cherished now will remain with us even in the midst of violence, suffering, heartbreak, and isolation. This is our reunion with ourselves and our beloved community just as it is the Reunion of the Laetha and the Dierne.


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Guest Post] Reunion 2014

[This post is by our guest contributor Sage. They have been an amazing contributor to many Otherfaith spaces, including our Wiki. If you would like to know more about them, you can read their About page on their blog. We thank them for their excellent post!]

Reunion celebrates the final stage of one of the Laetha and the Dierne’s mythic arcs, wherein the two deities – having been painfully separated for some time – are finally reunited as a couple.

From http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ainellewellyn/2013/12/about-reunion/:

Reunion is about joy, and it is about love. It is about love that transforms the world. Love that is dark and rough, that bites or tears and stripes us bare. Love that is bright and shining and blinds us to all but itself.

It is about the love we have for our gods – and the love they have for us. Reunion is an affirmation of the love the gods pour out to us. The gods are especially close this month, especially likely to be near to us, to fill us with their presence.

Reunion is about peace. No fighting. No more war. The end of suffering. Reunion is the ideal, the pursuit, the hope that we hold within us always. Reunion is an affirmation that we have come so far and will go farther still. We have greatness and goodness within us.

Looking around, it’s obvious that peace, love, and joy are in short supply. It would be wrong, both factually and morally, for us to use Reunion as an excuse to ignore the injustices and cruelties of the world. The families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other unarmed black citizens are in mourning after their children, parents, and friends were killed and continue to be killed by police brutality. The victims of rape at college campuses like the University of Virginia continue to be threatened, ignored, and blamed, while their rapists are protected. We cannot – we must not – forget that in the midst of festivities that we live in a society of atrocities. What, then, is the point of celebrating a holiday like Reunion? In the face of systematic hatred, subjugation, objectification, and genocide, how can we celebrate something as small and personal as reunited lovers?

Taken on a purely metaphorical basis – though the gods in the Otherfaith are anything but – Reunion may be seen as a reconciliation of humanity with divinity and of divinity with humanity. the Laetha is a goddess of shattered humanity whose form and identity needed to be fully destroyed and fully reborn, though never quite the same as before, before the West will accept her presence. She was born a human, died a fairy, and remade as a deity in her own right. the Dierne was at one point a star, crashing into the lands of Western Faery with his brother Mircea. Mircea became lover and betrayer to both Pallis and Arabella – the original names for the Dierne and the Laetha – whose actions in turn caused the Sundering of the West. Reunion then is the healing of two damaged, alienated forces yearning for wholeness.  Humanity must be changed if it is to survive in the West; we must change our hearts and actions if we truly wish to follow the gods of the Otherfaith. Otherwise we, like the human Arabella, will be rejected by the West and there can be no place for us in that realm. But likewise, the divine does not escape its own transformation from a relationship with humanity. The people of the West mourn the Laetha’s death at the hands of Mircea, and just because the Laetha is now deified does not mean she is free from knowing what it is to be mortal. the Clarene and the Dierne are themselves altered by grief and bereavement, and though the Laetha returns to them, the status quo has been irrevocably changed. The pain we experience is the gods’ pain as well; they suffer with us, mourn with us, rage with us. They know what it is to be subsumed by hopelessness or anger or fear.

Reunion isn’t an observance of platitudes and false hope and too-bright cheer. It does not promise a far-off day of heavenly, painless perfection, nor a return to a time-before-time when the world had not yet been stained. If anything, Reunion stands as a witness to the suffering inherent in our worlds. Reunion can only be celebrated when there has been isolation, when the human and the divine and all that is between have been separated. We can only breathe a sigh of relief at the wholeness of the West and its reconnection to the other realms when it has been fully Sundered. We can only reaffirm our values of justice, equality, human dignity, and peace when we also acknowledge with open and heavy hearts the harsh oppression and violence that soaks through our own world and demands a reckoning.

One of the primary symbols of the Otherfaith is a compass rose with each of the Four (+3) Gods representing a point on the compass. The West is a land straddling the worlds of human and fae, created by the Clarene as a home to all those tired of choosing between life and love. One might see the Otherfaith compass as a guidepost to the West and the beings who reside there. One might also see it as an analogy for returning – or rebuilding – home. Home is a place of safety and belonging, where all are cared for. Home is where the disparate parts of ourselves – the star falling from grace for the sake of love, the girl rising from her own inferno to meet him – are finally fused back into wholeness. Home is not perfection; the Laetha’s self has still splintered into many shards and the goddess as a whole struggles with the loss of her own humanity – just as we ourselves mourn the oppressive acts of violence and hatred that keep us, collectively or individually, from our own humanity.

And yet, the Dierne is ever-ready to accept the Laetha with open arms. This is a radical love that moves mountains and burns seas, “a love that transforms the world,” a love that is not afraid to bare tooth and claw to topple that which dares to keep lover from beloved. Reunion is this love and so much more. It is the promise that we do not have to wait for the cessation of all suffering to return to the divine. It means that in our imperfect, broken selves that our imperfect, broken gods see something of value. It means that despite the storms raging within and around us, or perhaps because of those very storms, we are still able to find home.


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

[Guest Post] Creativity and Reunion

[This post is by our guest contributor Sage. They have been an amazing contributor to many Otherfaith spaces, including our Wiki. If you would like to know more about them, you can read their About page on their blog. We thank them for their excellent post!]

At this point in the Otherfaith’s history, the whys and hows of celebrating holy days is primarily up to the individual. As time goes on it’s likely the Other People will develop traditions, ritual practices, and mythology that flesh out each festival or observance. However, at the time of writing this essay the Otherfaith is only finishing out its fourth year and our community is both small and far-flung; what “must” be done for Reunion is what best fits the pull of our hearts and the whispered requests of our gods.

In this spirit, I suggest approaching Reunion as an opportunity for creativity as well as one of reconciliation and peace. The gods are said to be especially close during this last week of the year and one way to honor our relationship with them is to create works of art and beauty. This is also an opportunity for all members of the Otherfaith community to contribute to the faith in whatever way they find meaningful. We can understand the nature and will of the gods by traveling to the West and speaking with the inhabitants there, yes, but we can also understand them through reading and writing mythology, curating music playlists or Pinterest boards, crafting poetry or essays or songs, or creating works of art like sketches, paintings, sculptures, or collages. Any method by which someone expresses their understanding of or curiosity about the gods and spirits of the Otherfaith is welcome. This includes contributions of organization and planning as well; perhaps someone isn’t particularly artistic but is willing to help grow the Otherfaith Wiki, or has a collection of ritual or meditation resources they can share, or commits to active engagement with the Otherfaith community for the week of Reunion.

Ultimately, Reunion is about disparate parts coming together and the joy found from that new wholeness. Whatever one does to celebrate this holy day, let it be in the spirit of newness and community.

Suggested Activities

There are so many possibilities for celebrating Reunion it may seem overwhelming at first. Reunion activities should cultivate feelings of pride, joy, inspiration, and community-mindedness. They should also be rooted in pacifism; fighting during Reunion is taboo and even strong debate is frowned upon. Keeping these themes in mind, the following are just a few examples of what can be done to celebrate Reunion.

Visual Arts:

  • Experiment with a new medium or style you haven’t tried before. Try your hand at abstract art, Art Nouveau, or monochromatic work.
  • Illustrate one of the myths with sequential art (comics/manga).
  • Create color palettes for the gods. ColourLovers has a good palette creator that lets you save and share your creation.
  • Create digital or traditional collages. Think about what images appeal to you and how to arrange them on your space.
  • Curate Pinterest boards around certain Otherfaith persons or themes. Here are some example boards for the Laetha and the Dierne.

Music and Speech:

  • Create chants for the gods. Play around with different sounds and rhythms until you find what works best for each deity.
  • Create music playlists or a Pandora station for Reunion.
  • Record yourself reading myths or prayers aloud.
  • Write a song about Reunion and use a music editing program (like Garage Band) to create instrumental tracks to go with it. Or write the music yourself!
  • Talk with family and friends you haven’t seen in awhile. Skype or call other members of the Otherfaith to catch up. Just talk!

Writing:

  • Set a timer and freewrite any and all associations with the gods. Do your best to turn off your inner editor.
  • Add to our mythology and don’t be shy! Treat it like fanficton for the Otherfaith. You can read more about canon and headcanon at the Otherfaith Wiki.
  • Write your own prayers. There are many different kinds of prayers and ways of praying; Sermon on the Mound has an article on prayer from one Pagan’s perspective.
  • Try your hand at poetry. If you haven’t studied or written poetry since grade school English classes, consider browsing Poetry.org’s resources for beginners.

Taste and Smell:

  • Light scented candles or incense, or buy flowers to arrange in your room.
  • Scroll through perfume sites like Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and choose scents for holiday. Treat this like you would creating a music playlist for the gods.
  • Contemplate different perfume or essential oil notes for the gods. Compare lists with others to see if deities evoke similar scents.
  • Bake or cook something aromatic, especially using fresh herbs.
  • Brew a strong cup of tea or coffee.
  • Create a cocktail for the gods.
  • Try a new recipe. Experiment with different flavors: something spicy or smoked for the Laetha, something delicate or rich for the Dierne.

Communal Activities

  • Connect with others through the Otherfaith blog, Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter. Strike up conversations, ask questions, share the experience of Reunion with each other.
  • Spend time with loved ones. Express and receive affection in ways that are comfortable to you.
  • If possible – and if doing so will cause you no harm – this is a time for building bridges and mending past hurts. [Note: This is not encouraging forgiveness for forgiveness’ sake. Reunion has a taboo against violence and this includes violence to yourself. There is no need for reconciliation if both parties do not consent to such.]
  • Contribute to the Otherfaith Wiki. A good place to start to our To Do page, which lists our current projects. Feel free to add your own suggestions to this page as well!

Creative Prompts

These prompts are meant to give celebrants a focus for the activities listed above. You may use them however you wish. For example, you might write a poem on each of the divine persons and epithets associated with Reunion, create a Pinterest board of Laethic and Diernic symbols, or share a playlist of songs that remind you of love, joy, and coming home.

duality/complementarianism

  • bonfire + starfire
  • stars + space between stars
  • iron heart of stars + iron of human blood
  • sacred + profane
  • sacrament + sacrilege
  • lover + beloved
  • defenses + desires

divine personages/epithets

  • Arabella
  • Asier
  • the Laetha
  • Pallis
  • Fear*
  • the Dierne
  • the Reunited

key concepts

  • home
  • respite
  • reconciliation
  • love
  • joy
  • rejuvenation
  • synergy

symbols

  • candles and lanterns
  • compass roses
  • lock and key
  • knots
  • hearts
  • astral imagery
  • fiery imagery
  • peacocks

questions

  • What does Reunion mean?
  • How do the Laetha and the Dierne feel during this time?
  • What happens in the West during Reunion?
  • What have you been separated from?
  • What makes you feel whole?
  • Where is home?
  • What does it mean to be creative?
  • What other gods and spirits are related to Reunion?
  • What does it mean to lay down arms?
  • What is peace?
  • Who is waiting for you?
  • Who are you waiting for?

Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.

Reunion 2014-2015

We’re coming up to the biggest holy celebration in the Otherfaith – the week-long Reunion. A lot has changed for the Other People this year. We almost completely fell apart, from what I saw and experienced.

I’ll be posting on Wednesday about the repercussions Reunion is having on my own life, but today I want to focus on explaining this holiday better than before. With each year that passes, I am able to understand it more deeply.

Reunion can be marked by the new year – last year’s Reunion being ‘Reunion 2014’ and this year’s being ‘Reunion 2015’ – though marking it by the current year is acceptable as well. It is a celebration of the end, but even more so our eyes are meant to turn to the new year with its possibilities, new goals, new hopes.

Overview

Reunion recognizes the otherworldly West being rejoined with the rest of the worlds, especially Earth. We also honor Arabella and Pallis’ reuniting in their divine forms of  the Laetha and Dierne. It is a joyous winter celebration.

Taking place from December 25th to January 1st (more specifically, midnight December 31st), it is a raucous time for the spirits. “All is well,” they say. “Our world is whole.” Of course, our own world is not yet at such a place. Reunion is hope and a reminder of where we must go, a beacon, a light in the dark. It fittingly takes places during the dark of winter – as many other holy days during this time, Reunion acts as a lantern in dark, cold days.

Currently, Reunion is focused on the Laetha and Dierne’s relationship(s). It may celebrate the Clarene and Ophelia, but we will have to wait for any energies of future Reunions to know.

Mythically

In the form of giant birds (herons or peacocks), the Laetha and Dierne are reunited after their painful separation at the hands of their once-lover Mircea. They reunited after Mircea has been slain and the world made right, after there has been a time of healing. They sit upon a forested mountain and are given gifts by the spirits, and their song helps further restore the West.

Meanwhile, the souls that have been trapped throughout the year in the Black Lion’s mirror are reborn as the Clarene’s foxes, turning them into trickster messenger spirits. Those who were awaiting rebirth in the Ophelia’s River and ponds come rushing forth, often hoofed or horses, unicorns or scaled beasts. Even the Ophelene sets aside her weaponry and kneels at the Laetha and Dierne’s feet, swearing to protect them in the new year.

We also celebrate the ‘smaller’ Laetha and Dierne. Asier and Pallis are reuinted after Asier’s (second, or perhaps more) death for the West. Arabella is restored to herself, no longer bound in tortured godhood or virtual prisons. the Laethas, for a short time, are at peace with themselves. They abandon their roles of Oppressor and Oppressed and take up the mantle of the Singer of the faith (the one who sings to our souls of our dreams and desires).

The spirits of Red and White Court, often in conflict, are joined together in dance and harmony. This is often a time when new spirits as conceived. After Reunion, a fair amount of spirits will be prohibited from seeing each other for a month or two, so this is the last time certain friends and lovers will see each other.

Reunion is also, appropriately, a homecoming. Otherfaith spirits return to the West at this time, even if they reside elsewhere the rest of the year.

Function

Reunion has a variety of functions in the faith. It is a feasting holiday, and it is intended to be very communal. For example, the leader of a group of Other People would have their house open for the week to their group, which in turn could bring over food and provide friendship. The week is associated with peace, hence why fighting and arguing is a taboo. Even hyper violent spirits such as the Laetha Ava and Alynah Blake rest during this time, basking the joy of the gods.

Reunion also cleanses. The fires of the Laetha and Dierne are combined to purify the West and the People. The year may weigh heavily on us, but we have a chance to burn it away. We can reset our patterns or renew ourselves. We can make ourselves in a new image.

It celebrates the union of the Laethas’ House Hark (Song) and Dierne’s House Hope. They sing to us “a song of hope”. All may not yet be well, but all will be well if we work toward a brighter future. The world can be made right with the smallest – and the largest – of steps.

The ‘homecoming’ themes in Reunion should eventually lead to care packages being sent to Other People (or their family), in order to bring some joy during this time. As full of light as we try to make it, it can be a very dark time for many people.

Tomorrow we will have a guest post with prompts and ideas for creative works to be done during Reunion, so look forward to that!

Music

  • Carol of the Bells
  • Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • Hallelujah/Light Has Come
  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel
  • Panic Angelicus
  • Angelic Proclamation – Barlow Girl
  • How Many Kings – Downhere
  • O My Soul – Audrey Assad
  • Sleigh Ride – Relient K
  • Star of Wonder – JJ Heller
  • You Are My Vision – Rend Collective

There are a few links I want to share. First are two from Jenn, over on Between Ocean and Hills. She has posted about our new syncretic god the Darren.

Which leaves me to wonder if the (potential) eighth god will be a syncretic form of the Laetha and Dierne? It makes sense in a mathematical sort of way to me because then each god will be a part of two syncretic deities and it will be very nice and pretty and logical–but of course, it could be the Laetha and the Clarene, or the Dierne and the Ophelia, or perhaps not a syncretic deity at all but a completely new, unrelated deity? But these are just musings, because who really knows what the future will bring us?

To this, I want to say that I honestly only considered that the last addition to the Four + 4 Gods would be a syncretic form of the Laetha and Dierne. This isn’t because I was divinely told or any such thing, but simply an assumption I went around holding. And there is quite a saying about assumptions. We will see what the eighth god of the Other People turns out to be. I should point out that more spokes can be added to the compass, and the Otherfaith is a religion that has a concept of continuous revelation (essentially, the gods are constantly revealing new information of themselves) – so there may be gods after this, and there should be no rush. These things come as they will.

Jenn also reflects on the myth of Grace. Of course, the myth has a special place in my heart because of my appreciation of Dahlia and my love of Grace, who is a complex spirit.

Faemon, over on The Codex of Poesy, writes about a reading done in with a compass rose spread and Otherfaith deities. For what it’s worth, the Shadowscapes Tarot (which Faemon uses) is my go-to tarot deck for Otherfaith matters, and it was the first one I used to really interact with the deities in this faith. (I also owe Faemon a discussion on mysticism in the Otherfaith, which has been not-forthcoming due to the general business of this season.)


Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.