Our six-fold calendar is based around two pivotal points in the year within Brythonic tradition: Calan Mai and Nos Galan Gaeaf, the four seasons, and festivals for individual deities. This post provides an outline.
The celebrations listed have been developed by Brython members with a relationship with the named deities over a number of years. We hope to build on this as we celebrate new ones and the membership grows.
As the land awakens to life we acknowledge the first flowers, budding trees and new births of animals and birds. We mark the changes within our localities and honour deities associated with spring.
1st February: Brigantica
Festival of Brigantia ‘High One’ based around hearth, home, forge, crafting and the sacred flame.
20th – 22nd March: Spring Equinox
Festival acknowledging the balance of equal days and nights heading toward summer and seasonal changes.
Calan Mai marks the end of winter and beginning of summer. It is a time of deep magic pivoting around the defeat of otherworldly and wintry forces and the celebration of life, love and fertility.
Rhiannon and Pwyll
Festival celebrating Rhiannon’s return from Annwn* at Gorsedd Arberth into thisworld as a sovereignty goddess who takes Pwyll as her husband.
Gwyn, Gwythyr and Creiddylad
Festival marking Gwyn’s battle with Gwythyr for Creiddylad: a goddess of sovereignty and love. Gwythyr wins and enters a sacred marriage with Creiddylad. Gwyn is defeated and retreats to Annwn.
As crops and fruits ripen beneath the summer sun and the land is at its most fertile we honour the spirits of the land and deities of this season.
May/June: Bel and Belisama
Festival honouring Bel as god of fire and sun and Belisama as goddess of shining waters and high summer.
Festival celebrating the longest day and shortest night and the bounty of summer.
Festival for Maponos, god of youth, music and hunting
As fruits and crops are harvested and the meadows mown we give thanks to their spirits. Leaf fall and decay are acknowledged as signs of the approaching dead season. We listen for the breath of winter
1st August: First Harvest
Festival celebrating harvested crops, first fruits and giving thanks to the abundant land.
Festival acknowledging the balance of equal days and nights heading toward winter and seasonal changes.
29th September: Gwyn’s Feast
Festival celebrating the end of harvest and honouring Gwyn, his horses, hounds and host as his hunt gathers.
Nos Galan Gaeaf is an ysbrydnos (spirit night) and the pivotal point when the powers of darkness and winter return to thisworld with the spirits of the dead. It is a time for honouring our ancestors, particularly those who have passed in the last year. This was traditionally a night when glimpses of the future could be seen hence some of us practice divination.
Rhiannon’s return to Annwn
A festival acknowledging Rhiannon’s return from thisworld to Annwn honouring her as a psychopomp.
Gwyn ap Nudd and the Spirits of Annwn
A festival honouring Gwyn as he rides out with the huntsmen and hounds and Annwn to gather the souls of the dead. On Calan Gaeaf, Creiddylad returns with Gwyn to Annwn in sacred marriage.
In Britain this is the darkest and coldest time of the year. Prior to electric lighting and heating our ancestors gathered to keep warm, feast, hold rites and tell stories. We keep these traditions alive and honour the deities of cold, darkness and death. Central is Epona’s connection with the death and rebirth of the sun and the year.
November: The Dark One
Festival for the Lady of Shadows; a time for contemplating what is absent, what has gone, as we move into the darkness of the Year.
18th December: Eponalia
Festival honouring the horse goddess Epona focusing on her role as psychopomp.
20th – 22nd December: Winter Solstice
Festival celebrating the longest night and shortest day and the stillness and darkness of winter and the rebirth of the sun.
1st January: Dydd Calan
Festival celebrating the birth of the New Year. In Wales this is marked by the custom of the Mari Lwyd.
*The Brythonic Otherworld.