Sunday, December 20, 2009

From examiner.com

Ygraine on examiner.com


The Holidays for non-Christians or How I Keep From Shoving a Bell up the Salvation Army Dudes A.....



Deaf yet from walking in and out of Wal-Mart and being confronted by a seeming epileptic bell ringer over the little red pot?
Buns of steel from walking from the back forty to the door of the grocery store?
Feeling the guilt of knowing the odds of you being flush enough to buy little Susie what she wants, unless they sell it at Dollar Tree, are nil? Zip. Zilch. Nada.
Yes, it is that time of year. And as bad as it can get for the average American it gets truly awful for those in non-traditional religions.
The Neopagans have determined that Christmas was ripped off from the earlier celebrations like Yule based on the Winter Solstice., In scientific terms a solstice is "an astronomical event that happens twice each year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is most inclined toward or away from the Sun, causing the Sun's apparent position in the sky to reach its northernmost or southernmost extreme." *1
In religious terms the Western and Northern European traditions view Winter Solstice as the death of the Holly King and the rebirth of the Oak King. This dualistic aspect of a singular god form should be viewed much like the Christian trinity---two separate, but ultimately the same entity who displays different traits depending on the season.The Holly King is often pictured as Santa Claus, complete with beard and scarlet cloak,, and yet he predates the St. Nicholas myth by a thousand years or more.
Many Wiccan sects feel strongly that all secular Christmas traditions are based in Pagan religious ones. In fact I recall being taught by Priestesses of Wicca that :
When Nicene Christianity became the religion of the land (meaning Europe,) the rulers were forced to convert the people from their Pagan practices. It became easier to simply maintain the practice, alter it slightly, and modify/embellish/castrate or clitorectomize the cast of characters entirely to fit in with the new faith.
So, since the Pagan folk already celebrated Winter Solstice as the rebirth of the "Son of Light" it surely made sense to put Jesus' birthday right during the solstice celebrations. Today many Christians warn "to keep the Christ in Christmas," but it would seem that Jesus was about the 15th deity to use winter solstice as a birthday but keeping the Mithra in Solstice just doesn't have the same ring.
Yet throughout America, Canada, and Europe Pagans of all stripes will be holding sacred circles to celebrate Yule, Saturnalia, Longest Night, Midwinter or sometimes Christmas--a Pagan adaptation using the birth of Christ to represent the re-birth of the Oak King upon the death of the Holly king.
Satanists, believe it or not, often identify with the indulgence of the season. "Indulgence" is practically a Satanic sacrament and the 7 Deadly Sins are seen as examples of all the thing that lead to joy, happiness, passion and success. The secular aspects of Christmas are practically a Satanic free for all. From Gluttony to Pride (what, all that dressing up and keeping up with the Joneses in presents isn't pride? Really?) the Satanist can embrace his indulgent self and wrap it all up with a big red bow...which leads to the perennial question.......
How come you never see Satan and Santa in the same place?
Whoops. Digression.
So, yet again, we see that people may have more in common than they like to believe. It is so much easier to screech about the lack of Jesus in the holiday than, instead, to keep the religious based concepts at home and in church while allowing an excess of the secular demonstrations to bind people together in the spirit of friendship and general kindness. It is easier to stand on one's high horse than to hook it up to a wagon and let others come for the ride.
in my recent post about Halloween I wrote about the necessity to separate the secular from the religious when it comes to Holiday celebrations. I mention this because it becomes even more true for Christmas. When we watch children in awe of the lights and the colors, the music and the sweets, it is difficult to understand why anyone would use this season to force feed religion down the throats of the masses.
The Salvation Army bell, on the other hand, is the seasonal equivalent to Chinese Water Torture--but what do you want from an organization that used to demand the poor endure a full mass before being granted the privilege of turkey loaf and green bean casserole?
My Satanic nature is calling for me to visit Downtown Disney revel in the last minute shopping. Then I will drag my kids, all too old for it, to Celebration for the singers and the artificial snow. The songs about the three kings, the silent night, and the little town of Bethlehem will not turn this witch into stone, now will it create an epiphany of conversion. It will do the ultimate in "good will toward man." It will make me find common ground with the same people I flip the bird to in traffic on any other day.
Joy, wonder, magic and love are not values help by monopoly of any specific religion. Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Solstice, Saturnalia................whatever makes you regard family and friends with renewed affection can only be good for all.