Lughnasadh dawned cool and cloudy here in north Texas. I didn’t feel any raindrops fall, but the leaves on the trees were wet and it smelled like rain nonetheless.
If you read my post from last week, then you know that it was exactly the sort of morning I had wished for. And Lughnasadh, one of the four great festivals in the Celtic calendar, is a day for wishing.
We look forward to these days and we hope for good fortune.
We step out into the morning, look up at the glowering clouds, and sniff the air.
All the signs are there; the rain is coming.
And with the rain, as always, comes change.
Because that’s what these days are about, yes?
Holidays, Holy Days and Festivals of all description, we tell ourselves that we hold to them because they are things of tradition. The regularity with which they come is a comfort to us. We carry these rituals forward from those who came before us. We pass them along to our children and grandchildren, hoping to preserve something of ourselves in the face of a world that changes around us every second.
And we get it wrong.
Because the purpose of these days is not to forestall change, but to highlight it, to mark its passing and celebrate each new beginning. Our ancestors knew this, but we are sometimes very poor students. So many of us become depressed as the holidays approach, and often these feelings are a reaction to change. We want everything to be just as it was in years past, but that sameness was never the intent of these celebrations.
Change is the constant.
The world moves beneath us, rotating, revolving, cooling and warming.
Life evolves over millions of years and culture in the blink of an eye.
We change and grow as individuals, our needs and hopes shifting day by day.
And our relationships with each other are transformed along the way.
The sun rises and sets for all things.
We are not the same people we were yesterday.
And a year ago, or ten, who were we then?
They are ghosts now, those earlier versions of ourselves.
And although we still feel them out there, living their own lives in a time we can no longer touch, we do ourselves no favors by trying to live through them still. We must focus instead on the hear and the now.
We have been living in the past, she and I, holding on to our particular traditions and routines in the hope that we could preserve something precious against a world of change.
But life doesn’t work that way.
Change must come and we must choose to either celebrate it, or fight against it and ultimately lose all that which we worked so hard to protect.
And so we will embrace the changes that have wrought us, changes which bring us to this time and and this place in our lives. We will walk forward as friends, once lovers, always family, and we will never fear what comes with the rain.