Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Honoring the Solstice, YULE

Image by RachelleB
In the barren cold of the winter months it is the sightings of earth's evergreen decor that remind us of the new life waiting just around the corner.  And as we carry ourselves through the day of longest night, we honor the rebirth of the light and cherish the bit of green that remains, despite the frigid darkness.  Deck your halls and deck your doors!

Since pre-Christian days of Saturnalia for the Romans, Winter Soltice for Celtic Druids and Festivals of Balder for the Scandinavian Vikings, people have decorated homes and hearths with the boughs of these stoic evergreen symbols.  Along with their candles and fires, they have, through the ages, welcomed firs, pines, spruces, holly, mistletoe and laurel into their homes.  And now this secularized tradition, [which places so many wreaths of green on so many doors in so many neighborhoods], pays quiet homage to the steadfast greenery of our winter months.

As our Yule logs calm to soft glowing embers, the strength of our Sol Invictus ["Invincible Sun"] begins to grow.  May your Solstice be blessed with warmth and light!

"On this day of longest night
await sun's birth at morning light. 
Tend your log to keep aspark
the warmth that shall combat the dark.
Boughs of evergreen to share
scents of life and sights of cheer."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I have been noticing quite a bit of what I have deemed "holiday uncheer" via social networking and blogging mediums as of late.  Complaint-filled and loaded phrases like "Put Christ Back in Christmas" and "It's Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays".  It would be easy for Non-Christians to grow bitter and frustrated over such displays of close-minded arrogance were it not for the fact that many of "their" Christmas celebrations are rampant with Pagan roots.  So rather than fueling the fire with anger of our own, let us smile knowingly at the irony of things like "their" Tree, "their" Santa, "their" Yuletide.

To piggy-bank a bit off of a wonderfully amusing post by fellow Pagan blogger, ljwitch [of Through Witch-Colored Glasses], the phrase "happy holidays" was coined not to steal Christmas from the Christian followers in America, but to encompass the celebrations of the many faiths who celebrate as well in our diverse country this time of the year.  Taking offense to this phrase only proves to show you as a bigoted individual who is incapable of coexisting with those who differ.  And in a country founded by deist leaders like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin no less!  These founding men of America believed in the promise of a land where one lived with a personal connection to the "Supreme Architect" and appreciated just such a freedom.

I had the good fortune of chatting about this topic with my relative -- lets call her "Auntie K" for all intents and purposes.  It's always good to get a different perspective to keep oneself honest.  Auntie K was able to provide insight from the mind of a Catholic.  She felt that the recent increase in a push to reclaim the holiday season in the name of all things Christian is in response to the push by Atheists to ban God from every nook and cranny of the American community.  

Valid point.  

I disagree with the Atheist actions as of late as well.  In my opinion, your choice not to believe does not give you the right to keep me from believing and displaying such belief in and around my place of living.  I don't have a problem at all with Court houses having Christmas Trees in their entrances or even Nativity Scenes on their lawns, so long as their is an open invitation to include the symbols from other faiths.  Being a tolerant society doesn't mean wiping away any evidence of our diversity of religion -- it means welcoming them all.  And if your choice is to believe in none, then you walk right by the displays of others and pay them no mind, for they do not pertain to you.  Carry onward.  

All in all, the main motive for this post is not to deprave Christians of their Christ.  I merely wish to stress the visible ignorance in assuming that yours is the lone religion with ties to the winter season.  It is not.  Accept this.  Most especially considering that there is much in terms of evidence that declares many of your claimed symbols and traditions to be of Pagan origin -- including The Tree, Santa Claus, Yuletide, Wreaths, the date of December 25th... and I could go on.  

Unless you are willing to give up such symbols, as ljwitch suggested in her post, you cannot press the issue of putting Christ back into such a secularized version of Christmas without appearing completely ignorant of truth and history.  Take a hint from your Christ this holiday season and give love to ALL, even those that differ from you.

"For Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." [Mark 8:34-38]

Do not shame Jesus with your petty attempts to claim December as your own.  Do not let him be ashamed of you because you do not love thy neighbor as you love thy self.  Accept that this is a secular time of year and embrace the portion of it that you share with your God.  Others can then do the same, and all will be merry.  

And bright. 

 Happy Holidays & Merry Everything, including Christmas!
Em Graves