Sacred Time (article)

Sacred Time

© 2000 Susan Reed (Rhiannon Fflamgalon)

As I believe that Divinity is present within all space, both inner and outer, and therefore all space is sacred. I also believe that Divinity resides in all time. There are many theories of time within Paganism. A widespread one is that all time exists simultaneously and we pass through these points of time linearly, experiencing time as a continuum. Through journeying to the Otherworlds, one can “escape” the linearity of our experience of time.

Within that linear perception, most Pagans acknowledge that time spirals, having a quasi-cyclical nature. Rather than each experience moment being completely different from the ones before and the ones after, there are these moments form cyclical patterns. Yet, we do not experience exactly the same moments over and over. In nature, these are conceptualized by the cycles of birth, death and rebirth of each life, the yearly cycles of seasons or star-pattern change, the monthly cycles of lunar phases, and the daily cycles of day and night.

We experience temporal cycles in our domestic lives, in our work lives, in our community/environmental relationships, and in our spiritual lives. Our bodies have daily, monthly, yearly, and international rhythms. Our challenge is to be observant of those cycles and learn to live in harmony with these cycles.

One of the ways we can do this is by constructing a personal calendar of our own meaningful dates and daily, monthly, and seasonal indicators. We can do this in two parts:

  1. observation and recording of daily, monthly, and yearly/seasonal cycles in our personal lives and relationships, workplace activities and relationships, community and neighborhood life, and natural environment; and,
  2. recording (and perhaps ritually commemorating) significant and meaningful personal, work-related, spiritually-oriented, and environmental dates or events. The latter may include birthdays, anniversaries, ritual days, days associated with favorite Deities, first days of seasons, the annual company picnic, elections days, etc.

The intent of this calendar project is to attune ourselves with the temporal cycles and events in our lives. This is a long-term project that can last for years, even all of your life if you so choose. The format below consists of suggested observations and activities. You may choose to focus on a particular type of temporal pattern such as workplace patterns or spiritual patterns and/or you may choose to look at all the types of patterns you experience daily… or monthly… or yearly. You may choose to do or observe any, all, or none of the areas. You may have other ideas that may work better to achieve the intended results.


Personal Rhythms

  • How do your moods, emotions, physical condition, spiritual attunement, energy levels, ability to concentrate, intellectual clarity vary:
    • During the day?
    • During the month?
    • During the year?
  • Are there cyclical patterns present in these observations?
  • Are you a day person or a night person?
  • Are you more attuned to certain types of tasks during specific times of day, or month, or year?
  • Do you suffer seasonal depressions (or exhilaration)?
  • How do your personal rhythms mesh with those of your family members or roommates?

Workplace Rhythms

  • Does your company have seasonal, monthly, or daily lulls and/or rushes?
  • Does your company have a structured daily, monthly, or yearly calendar?
  • Does your company have repeating commemorations or events such as an Awards Night, departmental outing, or holiday celebrations?
  • How do you relate to these rhythms?

Community Rhythms

  • What local, state, or national holidays are celebrated? How?
  • When are elections days in your area?
  • Does your apartment complex or neighborhood have yearly or monthly events or get-togethers such as community yard sales, neighborhood or tenant association meetings, block parties?
  • If you belong to clubs/volunteer organizations, what kinds of yearly, seasonal, monthly, daily cycles do they have? How do your rhythms mesh with these?
  • What kinds of daily, monthly, yearly rhythms do your neighbors inhabit? How do your rhythms and theirs mesh?

Natural Rhythms

  • What plants do you associate with each season and/or each month?
  • When do various types of birds fly south or north?
  • When do your pets shed their winter or summer coats?
  • What natural phenomena do you associate with the beginning of each season or month?
  • When are the full and new moons each year?
  • When does each season start “officially”?
  • When does each season start for you?
  • What are the trees doing each month, each season?
  • What are shrubs doing each month, each season?
  • What are any houseplants you have doing each month, each season?
  • What are the local animals (birds, squirrels, household pets, other observable animals) doing each month, each season?
  • What are the daily and yearly cycles of light and dark? Of warmth and cold?
  • How do you seek to live in harmony with the various cycles you encounter?

Recording and Commemorating

Your Domestic Life

  • Record birthdays of yourself, your family and your friends
  • Record anniversaries/dates of significant/meaningful events in your or your family’s/friends’ lives, such as:
    • Weddings
    • First Dates
    • Deaths of loved ones
    • Graduations
    • Initiations, anything at all that is important to you.
  • If you are a woman, record start (and ending days, if you like) of your periods or times of fertility, if desirable
  • Record any emotional, physical, energy cycles you desire
  • How do you commemorate these occasions? Rituals? Dinners? Parties? Sending messages, cards or gifts?

Your Work Life

  • Record any regular meetings and major events at your workplace
  • How do you commemorate these occasions?

Your Community Life

  • Record any significant days and regular meetings from your various communities (physical neighborhood, voting district, communities of interests [hobbies, civic organizations, volunteer groups, etc.])
  • Record volunteer organization events and meetings that are important to you
  • How do you commemorate these occasions?

Your Spiritual Life

  • Record Holy Days according to your traditions and any Holy Days that resonate with you.
  • Record days associated with ancient religious festivals that you would like to commemorate.
  • Record days associated with Deities that you would like to be in attunement with.
  • Mark/commemorate the points of the day with rituals, prayers or affirmations. One person I know of greets Air when she rises (or at sunrise), Fire at noontime or lunchtime, Water at sunset or dinnertime, and Earth before going to bed or at midnight.
  • Mark/commemorate points of the month such as changes of astrological sign or full/dark moons with rituals, etc.
  • Mark/commemorate seasonal changes or cross-quarter days with rituals, etc. Do you associate days of the week, phases of the moon, and/or seasons with particular deities or energies?

How do you make every moment of time you experience sacred?

(Via the now defunct Sisters of the Silver Branch website, saved from that site in 2008)

Disclaimer: Normally I strive to not re-post anything in its entirety without the expressed permission of the author, and I always try to give proper attribution and a link to the source for even the smallest of quotes or paraphrasing when I can (sadly there are some things from early on in my path that I took poor notes on).

In this instance, I am potentially bending that rule because a favorite site of mine (that I often have referred people to) is no longer available and while parts of it are available via Wayback Machine,  I’ve experienced some problems with their site from time to time and thought it would be a loss for some of this work to be lost.  The original website allowed for personal use and sharing of their work, but they required permission from the author to share on a public website…but their site is now defunct, and in the past when I’ve tried to get permission to post from their site, and never gotten a response (the copyright from the site was last renewed in 2006).

Therefore, I am making the decision (and possibly a wrong one, which in advance I will apologize for) to post one of the articles which I think is quite good, and quite pertinent, which I have revisited from time to time over the years.  Reasonable effort was made to reach the author for permission to republish this work via email in November of 2014.  If the author of this piece comes across this, and wishes that I take it down, I will…and in the mean time, I ask that no one else perpetuates my possibly wrong action in hosting this elsewhere.


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