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I don’t want to be tone deaf. I know right now some people have to work and feel unsafe (are unsafe). And I know others need to work and can’t. And still others are cooped up at home and may receive pay without working or be struggling with the reality of working from home and all the other distractions that come with that.
A lot of us want to remain productive or on an even keel. I’m making these writing prompts for folks who find a creative project distracting and helpful but might need a suggestion to get started. If writing isn’t healthy for you right now or if you can’t write, it’s ok. Please don’t take this as a condemnation. We’re all coping differently and do what’s best for you. The last 3 prompts incorporates pandemic themes as part of the prompt. If you’re struggling, that may be one to skip.
This series has a simple goal: provide basic history on a holiday/event and use that history to spring board potential writing prompts and themes. For some, the history on its own will be enough. For others, I’ll suggest prompts I thought of.
Happy writing and please share a snippet or link to your inspired works ^_^ I’d love to read them.
Feast of the Charities:
There isn’t a lot of information on the Feast of the Charities. The day of this holiday vary but one suggested date is April 18-19, and the holiday itself is so little known that neither Wikipedia nor Encyclopedia Britanica. I found these dates in Shirley Twofeather’s pagan calendar and she sources Llewellyn… which isn’t encouraging for historic accuracy. The only creditable resource I could find on the day itself is ancient.eu and they write:
“The Graces were the subject of cult worship across the Greek world, but especially southern Greece and Asia Minor. They were particularly important at Orchomenus in Arcadia where they had an annual festival, the Charitesia, held in their honour.”
But ancient.eu doesn’t give any dates or times for the Charitesia. They expound on Charities cult worship and imply that different charities were integrated into local celebrations.
The “charities” also known as “graces” were Aglaica (splendor), Euphrosyne (joy), and Thalia (mirth). They are minor goddesses or nymphs descended from Zeus and the Oceanid, Eurynome (nymph of water ways and clouds). They attended Aphrodite and Hera. Their major relationship with mortals was to inspire attraction to wisdom, love, culture and social interaction. The three are most often depicted dancing naked. They have associations with spring flowers and are the youthful embodiment of beauty from physical to intellectual, artistic, and moral.
It’s worth noting the Feast of Charities seems to celebrate these three charities, but there are at least nine different Graces/Charities.
Llewellyn suggests orange as a predominate color and sage as the preferred incense. Given what I could discover about the charities, I’d think offering any spring flowers/scents would be more appropriate. A drawing or free write dedicated to the charities ideas could also be a fun way to pass the day.
Llewellyn writes, "Get some friends together and dress up. Arrange each other’s hair. Dance and sing, or perform some sacred theatre. Visit an art gallery or walk through a street fair. Alternatively, do something nice for the less fortunate. Bundle up old clothes you never wear anymore to recycle for the less fortunate, or hold a food drive and donate the results to a local charity."
Other days for The Feast of the Charities include: January 17-18, January 30-31, May 26, July 9-10, or October 13.
I like a holiday which inspires creativity and kindness. Its floating date is a positive because you or your character could celebrate/honor/acknowledge the Charities multiple times a year or whenever it’s relevant.
1. What are some Spring blooms in your area? Do they have any associations? Mash up those local correspondences with The Graces. How would splendor, joy, and mirth impact these flowers, are they inherent with blooms?
2. Write a scene with your characters embodying one of these three characteristics (splendor, joy and mirth).—Can I suggest the villain interact with these elements?
3. Have one of your characters meet one or all three Graces.
4. Depict your characters performing an act of kindness or charity.
5. Create a scene where an early act of kindness/charity is rewarded.
6. Create a scene where an early act of kindness/charity is punished. How does your character react? Does this diminish their desire to do good?
7. Create a scene where your main character (or villain) receives charity from a stranger.
8. It seems like the Feast of the Charities was a time to bring people together for a meal and performance. We’re in a time of social isolation where we can’t get together in sizeable groups. How else could one honor the ideals of the Charities (using a video chat or virtual Meetup/play is cheating, come up with something wacky or wild for you or your characters!).
9. What in our current world embodies the Charities’ virtues? What doesn’t?
10. During this pandemic, many of us are being asked to act not for our own health but to safeguard the health of others. How does this play into the virtues of the Charities? Are these themes you could bring into your writing?