The Silence Festival is coming up quickly on my personal calendar and for once I’m looking forward to it. Between February 21st through February 23rd, I am to be silent. This is more than just not speaking to people. It would have to be to be meaningful in today’s technological world. No posts are to be made, unless they are scheduled or queued. Social media is to be silent. No emails are to be sent, no texts, and to even keep writing to people to a minimum.
I also keep my consumption of directed media to a minimum. No reading of blogs, emails, or letters. Movies or TV (except for documentaries), video games (except for simulation games with no prose driving it), and music (unless educational and requires no speaking on my part) are to be banned as well but I’m allowed to listen to the radio as I don’t have a choice of what that radio plays. I can read books but not novels. Annotated fairy tales are OK, as they’re more scholarly at that point than not but mostly I’ll read scholarly materials.
Additionally, I will cast no spells, do no magic, read no one’s future. I will not astral travel and I will not speak to spirits. Essentially, the same rules as above applies. This is both easier and harder than it seems. It’s easier because that’s three days of spiritual laziness but I’ve been doing magic for so long that simple, everyday tasks are boosted by magic. I use magic to make water boil fast and spells to make my plants grow healthy. For three days, none of this can happen.
There are exceptions to this. There would have to be given how many people rely on me. If someone’s in danger or I need to give information to someone (like a nurse at the emergency room or firefighters) then I have to respond. This isn’t just practicality, this is part of the festival, to speak only when necessary. More than that, I feel that the goal I’ve charged myself with – to help them when asked to do so and to protect as much as I can – supersedes all of my religious festivals and holidays. Spells to protect people or to be done in an emergency is also an exception. Likewise, I cannot help if I’m struck with a vision of someone’s future. That’s out of my hands.
Why would I put myself through this? I rarely do anything that doesn’t have a point to it in some way. This is the best time to take a breath. To simply breathe and focus on myself. To step back and remind myself of that I came from isolation and isolating myself is comforting, basic, natural state for me. I use words so often, I speak, sing, write, and do magic constantly, to fill the silence and loneliness I grew up with. With none of those things to do, I will instead do little crafts to amuse myself, window shop, and sew. Cooking and baking will fill the gaps of boredom eased by scholarly books. I will think and I will write. I have a novel to finish after all and I’m so close I can taste the resolution. Three days of silence will be perfect.
February is the perfect month for this. The coldest, driest, and bitterest of months for many, it it a silent month in and of itself. Often in New England we are encased in snow and ice. There is no where to go and nothing to do. It is a quiet month only broken up by Valentine’s Day and a few other civic holidays. Crocuses are about to bloom and crack through wind-swept icy covering of snow, bright purples against brilliant white. On March 4th, The Awakening begins on my calendar and I saw goodbye to Jack Frost for another winter and welcome the dawning of life again in the coming spring.
The Silence Festival is a time for personal introspection, to plan my final hurrahs for winter and Jack Frost before spring comes again, and to rededicated myself to whatever I need to do. This is a time to remind myself that I am the most important person to impress for myself, that only my opinion matters to me in my life, and no one can or will control my life but me.