Tag Archive | Paganism

Litha~Summer Solstice

“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.” Francis Thompson

Many have varying views on summer and it’s significance to them. Take a moment to think about what summer means to you. Perhaps it’s warmth, tank tops and flip-flops, fireworks, road trips, BBQs, and bonfires. There’s excitement, energy, a joy for life, wanting to go-go-go! This type of energy present is very masculine, very active, and very bursting with fruition! There’s still a potentiality in the air though we are beginning to witness intentions set at the new year blossom and grow into manifestation. Amazing, huh?

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4th of July Celebration @ Fairview Park | Centralia | Illinois | United States

Well, the very first day of summer (the summer solstice) marks the celebration of all of this and more. Also known as Litha, this sabbat is overflowing with light, passion, creativity, and oh so much more. It’s when the Sun God is at His height of power and this is evident by this being the longest day of the year. He is basking and shining radiantly upon all His children. The Goddess is pregnant with (1) the harvest we’ll reap in the fall and (2) the Sun God who’ll be reborn at Yule. While it’s most certainly a festival of celebration and enjoyment, it is also tinged with a underlying sadness as we understand that after this the God will be in decline as we enter the dark half of the year. Night begins growing once more as we head towards Mabon (the autumn equinox) where day and night are equal. After that, the nights are longer than the days.

No reason not to celebrate what we have presently though which is definitely a beautiful lesson in being present, gratitude, and making the best of any situation.

“The great gift of the energy of the Summer Solstice is that it’s designed to move you from one phase to the next on your terms.” Deborah King

Litha occurs anywhere from the 20th to the 23rd of June (I just use a farmer’s almanac to 3dcb427f44466b32c9a293a04021e247find the Summer Solstice) though traditionally it happened when the sun was in 1 degree of Cancer. Wait, what? Yeah, I was confused as well. A solar festival—like the BIGGEST solar festival—is during a water sign?! However, I soon realized that was the beauty of it! It’s when the Sun God is at his pinnacle point in the year and alongside Him, equal, is His consort, His wife, the Goddess. Neither one is pushed aside for the other. They both stand together in harmony and brilliance.

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.” Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty

This is the classic time for magick! One example would be how the morning dew of this day was supposed to be powerful for glamour so young ladies would venture out to bathe in this dew for a youthful appearance. Herbs collected at Midday (when the Sun is at His height of the day) today are incredibly potent. It is also on this day the fairies are 2196a0ced2774b8a0929007a3679ce3dout as they too revel in delight. Invoke their aid and do not forget to thank them—not so much with words but perhaps a bowl of milk or butter! You do not want to offend the Good Folk. Any spells for protection are great for today.

On this day the Oak and Holly Kings dual again with the Holly King winning. This also marks the transition of the Sun God into the Grain God who will be sacrificed during the harvest. The Goddess is mostly seen as Gaia who nourishes and sustains us daily. However, all solar deities are appropriate  as well as Father Gods, Mother Goddesses, and Pregnant Deities.

Local flowers—especially sunflowers, bright colors, and all things that symbolize summer are welcomed on the altar as well as décor around the home. Think of colors you naturally turn to during this time of year and more than likely most of them can be found in nature during this time which means go for them when decorating. Yellow, Orange, Red, Gold, ad Green are traditional with blue being great for Cancer. However, brown and/or tan is also permissible. I like to use many reds and yellows alongside greens for this particular sabbat.

Quick Correspondence List:

  • Symbols: Fire, The Sun, Blades, Oak Trees, Bonfires, Sun Wheels, and Fairies.
  • Animals: Horses, Cattles, and Summer Birds
  • Crystals/Stones: Emerald, Tiger’s Eye, Lapis Lazuli, and Ruby
  • Herbs: Frankincense, Lemon, Sandalwood, Copal, Saffron, Cinnamon, Laurel, and Orange

This is a sabbat of duality. Not only are we celebrating and honoring the Sun God in all His glory but also preparing for the harvest we know is coming. We honor the Pregnant Goddess and the beginning of the waning year. We delight in the light while acknowledging the beginning of the dark half of the year.

 

Some Activities:

  • Watch the Sun Rise and Set
  • Bask in the Summer Heat. Get outside!
  • Give Offerings to the Fairies.—Make Some Fairy Butter!
  • Bless Fathers                                          download
  • Tie Cinnamon Bundles for Protection
  • Create Protective Herbal Blends
  • Communicate with the Fairies
  • Create Smudge Bundles
  • Have a Bonfire
  • Take a Walk
  • Have a Picnic
  • Make Sun Tea (this is a favorite of mine!)

Some Resources:

These are where I got loads of my information. Check them out! 😊

  • Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways by Edain McCoy
  • Solitary Witch: The Ultimate Book of Shadows by Silver Ravenwolf
  • Wicca by Scott Cunningham
  • Wicca by D.J. Conway
  • The Simple Sabbat: A Family-Friendly Approach to the Eight Pagan Holidays by M. Flora Peterson
  • Litha-The Witch’s Zodiac with Laura Daligan and Zoe Hind
  • CharmingPixieFlora’s videos (I don’t think they are still available)

A song that I found on youtube that really reasonates with this Sabbat and connects me to it is: Celtic Woman-Tir Na Nog

I had class on Litha last summer and I listened to this song on repeat on my drive there and back (no joking lol I LOVE it) and it helped keep the vibe going. 😊

 

The Brightest of Summer Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

 

AW Litha

 

 

 

Blessed Beltane!

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Bonfires scattered throughout countryside,
flames flickering and dancing in rhythm,
to an ancient tune only heard by a few.
Flowers and plants bud and bloom,
in celebration and joy,
as the spirits of nature revel in such magick.
What then could be the cause
of such delight and merriment?
Only the union of our Lord and Lady,
two lovers now forever connected,
whole and complete now together.
Abundance as nature now thrives
is ours to enjoy–if we know the way
in which to partake of this sacred day.
Our spirits become fertile alongside our Lady,
whether that be physically or creatively,
so that we too may share in such rites.
On this Beltane day, we celebrate the
Sun God and Earth Goddess.
King and Queen of May,
from whom all life springs forth.
So, come dance the Maypole
while the Fae sing enchanting tunes,
so that once the day is done,
masculine and feminine are as one.

–The Autumn Witch

May your Beltane be abundant with love, light, joy and celebration. ❤

My Beltane Aha! Moment–Beltane 2015

So this past weekend has been full of me trying to really rediscover myself as well as understand some issues that keep cropping up in my life. Mix that in with family drama, the mess that life can be, being sick, and some major changes of self–well I was in a right mess. I knew it had something to do with my perception and felt that I already knew the answer. I later logged onto my Facebook account and was sort of spring cleaning it–unliking no longer relevant pages, groups, and the like before realizing I had some notes on my personal page. One was a schedule from my senior year in high school back in 2009/2010–WOAH! Then I happened upon a note from Beltane 2015 that I’d completely forgotten about and within it was the lesson I was in need of hearing once more. I’ve felt compelled to share it with ya’ll in case you too may be in the same mindset. 🙂

My Beltane Aha! Moment–Beltane ’15

Hope everyone had a wonderful Beltane and if you’re celebrating the entire weekend, then I wish your celebration is full of beauty and love. My Beltane definitely didn’t go as I had planned. Yesterday, 1 May, was also my mother’s birthday and I had a job interview so talk about busy! The night before I’d grown quite restless and perhaps only managed four hours of sleep which only made me very grumpy in the morning. It didn’t help that the grumpy bug had bitten everyone else in the house either. I’d decided because I wasn’t in the mindset for ritual to skip that and instead celebrate in small ways throughout the day which will carry on into today as well. Long story short, it seemed as if everything I had planned yesterday just wasn’t working. Even just watching the sunrise didn’t happen as it was rainy and very dreary–which definitely didn’t help my mood! In fact, my mood didn’t even improve until later that afternoon after my interview. It wasn’t the prospects of perhaps acquiring this job after searching for a while that had made me smile. No, it was something so small that normally is taken for granted. 

On my drive back home, I had turned the radio from the usual country station I always have it on to the hip-hop/rap station that I hadn’t really listened to since leaving college. I just wanted to listen to something much more upbeat which would definitely be keeping with the energy of Beltane–even though I didn’t give it a thought at the time! Actually I didn’t even think about it until I realized I was still listening to said station at this very moment! Funny how it works like that at times! However, I digress. As I continued my drive home, I paid attention to the passing fields and yards that, though damp, were lush and green! BAM! In my head popped the four and five of Chalices! The Four of Chalices came to my mind first but as I stopped and thought about it the Five really stood out so I’m going to start with that card and what it taught me yesterday.

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To me, the five of chalices typically represents not being fully present in the moment, being detached and unaware, and even oblivious. It’s about not being attentive to a situation (or life in this case) and that around you. As can be seen in the card, the man is only paying attention to the spilled chalices, therefore completely oblivious to the two good ones. He’s instead only choosing to put his focus and energy towards that which 1) is on the more negative side, 2) that which he cannot control, 3) the depressing smaller picture instead of the bigger picture that everything’s alright, and 4) not letting go that which no longer serves him. This really hit me because instead of paying attention to the beauty around me, the joy of it all, I was only choosing to focus on a small part of the big picture. I was choosing to instead focus on the negative side of things–the rain, the attitudes, the lack of sleep, etc. I was completely missing the BIG picture! For one, we really need the rain as without rain nothing can grow. Two, everyone has bad days but it’s how you decide to handle them that counts. Instead of grumbling and feeding that grumpy, moody energy I needed to take a few deep breaths and just say a few things I was grateful for as that is an instant mood lifter in my opinion. It really makes you thankful for every day you’ve been blessed with. Going back to the rain, looking at the green earth I realized just how much it contrasted with the dark, gray sky which in turn made everything seem greener and beautiful. On sunny days, though I am aware of the green surrounding me, I definitely don’t appreciate it as much as I should. This allowed me to focus instead on that appreciation and wonder that comes from nature. This card really reminded me of choosing where I focus my attention and energy.

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The other card was the Four of Chalices. This card was the first that floated–not floated, more like bolted!–into my mind. This card is sort of similar to me as the one above in that it’s about not paying attention. It’s about missing out on an opportunity because you are solely focused on the situation or even the future. Paying attention will allow you to be aware of the opportunities and blessings surrounding you. Instead of worrying about what’s to come (as the Chalices are in front of and not next to the person), look around, be fully present, and open yourself to the Universe who will provide what you need. This card stuck out to me as I’d been very much worried about the future with my bills, going back to school, and the long term accomplishments I’d be able to achieve with this job if I get it. Of course it’s always a good idea to make some sort of goals and a list of what you want to accomplish but sometimes we get so wrapped up in that worry and anxiety that we don’t pay attention to the now. This is the only moment guaranteed. How are you spending it? I was constantly in the mindset of the future that I wasn’t paying any attention to the here and now. This reminded me to slow down, take a deep breath, and just enjoy the moment now. I’d even become stressed and frustrated with how I wanted to celebrate Beltane throughout the day instead of simply sitting with the energy of the day, with the God and Goddess, and just enjoying life! I was so angry that my day wasn’t going according to plan that I wasn’t allowing the day to unfold as it should. I was to focused ahead that I was almost rushing through those small moments of celebration that I did do because to me they weren’t what I thought of as celebration.

This was my little aha moments for the day and remembering that I’ve got to stop and smell the roses which even goes with the energy of Taurus. Everything is connected and works together, we just have to stop and allow the present to penetrate our spirit and by doing that, we are in constant celebration.

 

I hope this lesson I learned may be helpful to some of you as I feel we can have the horrible tendency to allow the little things to ruin our perception of the day when there is so much to be joyous of–so much to celebrate! We also need to remember that we need to be fully present in each moment–allowing ourselves to pause and really enjoy life. ❤

Blessed Beltane and Brightest of Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

 

Beltane

Good Morning, Beautiful Spirits! Today I would like to share some information regarding Beltane which is the 1st of May. It is officially less than a week away–it’s this coming Monday!!!! Mark your calendars!

Beltane was traditionally celebrated when the hawthorn trees bloomed, however now it is instead celebrated on the first of May or whenever the sun is in 15 degrees of Taurus. I typically celebrate it either on the 30th or the 2nd because my mother’s birthday is on the 1st. This has always made it easier for me, however this year I will be celebrating it on the 1st along with my mother’s birthday as I’ve learned how to efficiently multitask–well, sort of ;). This festival is also known as May Day, Bealtinne, Rudemas, and Walpurgisnacht alongside other names. As this sabbat occurs during the midpoint of Taurus, the ruling planet is Venus which will be of no surprise in just a moment! You may already know then where I am headed. For the ancient Celts, this marked the beginning of summer while Samhain would’ve marked the beginning of winter.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what does it celebrate?! Beltane celebrates love, lust, sexuality, sensuality, and the burgeoning of life force and is a time for love and union. This is when the young God marries and fertilizes the young Goddess with the upcoming harvest as well as himself which will be reborn at Yule. It’s not as weird as you think! This is the time when everything is growing green, plants are budding, and our seedlings begin to sprout (they’ll come to full harvest in the fall) but for this to happen the sun (the God) must fertilize the land (the Goddess). In addition, following the solar festivals, since this is the time in which the God is fertilizing the land, he also impregnates her with the Divine Child which will be born at Yule. Remember, the sun god sacrifices himself as the harvest so that we may survive the winter (the sun’s power and warmth dwindles during this time as we turn towards the colder months). Therefore, the sun must be reborn somehow, right?

Hence this is a fertility festival which is also evident in some of the symbols of this sabbat. You’ve probably already seem pictures of the Maypole. This is a symbol that represents the unification of the masculine and feminine with the traditional color of the ribbons being red (menstrual blood) and white (semen) which is necessary in order to produce life. By the dancing and weaving of the ribbons, the two are united and the land is fertilized.

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There is also the Great Rite which is an enactment of this Divine Union–don’t worry! No one is saying you must great freaky with someone else! Instead, one can simply perform the Rite by lowering an athame (ritual knife) into a chalice, with a few words of course.

Okay. So far, so good. Which Gods then are appropriate for this Sabbat? Well, Gods and Goddesses whom are either married or have a sexual union are appropriate such as Isis and Osiris, Hathor and Horus, Zeus and Hera…you get my drift. Bel would be a good choice since this festival was named after Him. Also, a God most appropriate, in fact this is when he emerges, is the GreenMan who is by far one of my favorites. He’s the spirit of vegetation and I highly recommend you do a bit of research on him.
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This is a great time to get in touch with fairies as the veil between the worlds grows thin, just like at Samhain. For me, this means also giving an offering to my ancestors but it’s not necessarily as solemn an event as the October festivities. Due to this thinning, divination is great for this time so pull out your divination tools–runes, tarot, pendulums, etc.

Let me give a list of some basics now before telling you some of the things I do to celebrate this beautiful and sacred sabbat as well as some other activities you may wish to include.

  • Colors: Red and white are traditional, however blue, lavender, warm pink, white, green and lemon yellow may also be used.
  • Traditionally dairy dishes were served–though I’m certain green leafy vegetables were just as good!
  • Beltane can be used for magick concerning relationships, love, prosperity, healing, success, career advancement, and changing jobs.
  • Incense–either floral or woodsy. I’ve gone both ways and this year will be using Patchouli which is just a very earthy scent and one I do connect with Taurus. Don’t ask why, I just do. 🙂
  • Stones: Moss Agate, Citrine, Emerald, Green Aventurine, Rose Quartz, and Carnelian
  • Mythological Creatures: Fairies and Satyrs
  • Animals: Cows, Goats, Cats, Swans, and Honey Bees
  • Symbols: Maypoles, Baskets, Flowers, Candles, Eggs, Cauldrons, Mortar and Pestles. Decorate your altar and sacred space for the day!
  • Herbs/Flowers: Marigold, Daisy, Bluebells, Hawthorne, Primrose, Rose, and Wildflowers. Decorate that space! Be careful and ensure anything poisonous or toxic won’t accidentally be consumed by children, adults, or pets!

 

Some ways in which to celebrate this sabbat :

  • Watch the sunrise and set. I always try to do this as it really grounds and connects me into the day.
  • Perform The Great Rite–remember you do NOT have to do this so please don’t allow anyone to pressure or force you into this. Though this is a fertility festival based around sexuality, consent is still a HUGE MUST!
  • Jump over a balefire or candle for luck and fertility
  • Create and dance the Maypole. I created a small Maypole centerpiece for my altar but one day I will dance around one!
  • Go on a nature walk. Get out and see what’s happening in nature!
  • Pleasure yourself-bubble bath, do your nails, etc.
  • Set out crystals for the fairies in your yard.
  • Make a dairy dish–cheesecake is my plan 😉
  • Enjoy life!

Some resources that I used and that you may choose to check out yourself–and I HIGHLY recommend you do as I’ve only touched upon this sabbat. I just wanted to give you a starting point for your own learning and research. Remember: knowledge is power! 🙂

I will try to include links where ever I possibly can.

YouTube Videos:

Books:

*Links go to the Amazon Book sales page*

 

I wish you all the most blessed Beltane, abundant with love and light!

The Autumn Witch

 

**Just a side note, because I forgot it above, fertility doesn’t have to relate solely to physical fertility but creative as well. 😉

Yule

Yule is celebrated when the sun is in 1 degree of Capricorn which is between 21-23 December, which this year will be 21st December 2016. Other names for this Sabbat are the Winter Solstice, Yuletide, Feill Fionnain, Alban Arthan, and the Festival of the Dark God. It’s a minor Sabbat and a quarter. This is the shortest day and longest night of the year. For some, this is the New Year while there are others whose New Year was at Samhain–I personally am one of these people. 🙂Image result for Sun

Yule is the time of Divine Births with rebirth being its primary theme. It celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, renewing cycles of life, rejuvenation, and growth. It is about the bringing of light into a time of darkness. This is also a time to honor the Triple Goddess and  celebrate the return of the sun and waxing year. Gift giving (which dates back to Saturnalia), Yule trees, and Yule logs are part of this celebration. This is one of the most celebrated times in history.

Colors for this Sabbat are gold, yellow, red, green, and purple. Sun representations, lots of candles and Evergreens, which symbolize the Goddess, are great to incorporate onto the altar. Drinks for the “ale” of ritual can be wassail, lambswool, hibiscus, ginger tea or orange juice (with vodka). “Cakes” can be solstice cakes or gingerbread cookies. Foods for this Sabbat are apples, poultry, dried fruit, eggnog, beans pears, fruit, nuts, cakes of caraway soaked in cider, and pork.  In ritual, have a fire in the cauldron if unable to have a bonfire. Herbs to decorate the altar, circle, and house are holly, mistletoe, ivy, cedar, bay, juniper, rosemary, and pine. Place offerings of apples, oranges, nutmeg, lemons, and cinnamon sticks on the Yule tree.

Image result for Christmas treeSymbols of this Sabbat are evergreen trees, the yule log, wreaths, spinning wheels, holly and an eight-spoked wheel. Taboos are extinguishing fires and traveling. Animals for this season are stags (which represent the horned God), squirrels, and wrens/robins. Stones for this time are bloodstone, ruby and garnets. Plants for this Sabbat are holly, mistletoe, evergreens, poinsettias, bougainvillaea, tropical flowers, bay, pine, cloves, ginger, valerian, frankincense and myyrh. Attunement teas could be made of cinnamon, mullein, willow bark, and yarrow. Ritual oils can be made from rosemary, myrrh, nutmeg, saffron, cedar/pine, wintergreen, and ginger.  Mythical creatures are Phoenix, Trolls, and Mermecolion. Key actions are meditation and introspection.

The Goddess at this time is the Mother and the God is a baby. The Oak King and Holly King battle and the Oak King wins at this time. Some Deities for this Sabbat are Gaia, Befana, Heket, Lilith, Eve, Kefa, Lucina, Ma’at, Thea, Shekinah, Tiamat, Demeter, Inanna, Ishtar, Pachamama, Acliti, Isis, Nuit, Frigg, Freya, Neith, Pallas Athena, Rhea, Ra, Horus, Helios, Apollo, Bel, Shamash, Oak King, Sol Invictus, Cronos, Dionysus, Hercules, Horned One, Osiris, Thor, Zeus, Perseus, St. Nicholas, Mithra, Lugh and Balder.

By burning the Yule log, which is either Oak or Evergreen, we usher in the power of the sun. For Witches, the light of the log represents the Child of Promise. Save a piece to light next year’s and to bring prosperity throughout the year. Dried holly was placed under the log to help rekindle the fire. So while burning, toss a sprig of holly in to symbolize the troubles of the past year. If burning a log isn’t appropriate, holes may be drilled into the log to fit candles. Place three candles and light then before saying a chant. Also, a tree cleansing ritual can be done before decorating the tree in order to cleanse it. Ornaments and decorations can be used as charms.Image result for Spell ornament

This is a great time to spend with family and friends. Some Witches celebrate Yule either alone or with their coven and instead celebrate Xmas with their families. Some other Yule activities are:

  • Watch the Sun rise and Set
  • Make New Year’s Resolutions
  • Have a Feast
  • Give Gifts
  • Sing Yule Carols
  • Make Spell Ornaments or Spell Bags
  • Feed the Birds
  • Burn a Yule Log
  • Have a Tree Blessing Ritual
  • Have an all-night vigil for The Goddess as She prepares to give birth
  • Drum up the Sun
  • Make Cookies
  • Have a Bonfire
  • Make Incense and Oils
  • Have a Winter Solstice Party
  • Ring Bells

 

I hope ya’ll have a Yule that is full of joy, love, health, and prosperity. May we shine in the light during this season of darkness.

 

Brightest of Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

 

Sources:

  • Yule by Dorothy Morrison
  • Sabbats by Edain McCoy
  • Her Winter Solstice Videos by CharmingPixieFlora (no longer available)
  • The Witches Zodiac–Yule by Laura Daligan and Zoe Hind
    • A wonderful video as are their other Wheel of the Year ones so I highly recommend you check them out!

Outside Looking In

Good Afternoon, everyone!

Have you noticed the glittering and blinking Christmas trees placed meticulously before windows to illuminate and shine outside, brightening up the earlier darkening nights? The icicles draped from people’s gutters as they do their best to bring light into the coming winter? Most Christmas traditions do in fact have Pagan roots–and according to my Rabbi, some of the Chanukah ones 😉 (don’t tell anybody)–and it always gladdens my heart to see them. The warm colors of red, green, gold, blue, and silver bedeck everything people can get their hands on and Christmas carols jollily play as we rush to make any remaining purchases for the upcoming Holy Days. Unless you’re like me and completely behind! I don’t think I’ve bought a single present yet! Yikes!!

Just from my description above, I bet there are a couple of you who cringed or immediately felt overwhelmed–or perhaps worse, left out. Of all the other holidays that are celebrated, I do find Christmas to be the one that makes any non-Christian feel like an outsider. We can feel left out in the cold while everyone else celebrates this merry festival and I feel this especially true for the new Pagan and Witch. It’s okay. Most of us have felt this way and understand. I personally have celebrated both Yule and Christmas the past five years without conflict–for the most part. When I first started upon my path, I did feel very isolated and grew angry.

It felt as if everyone was shoving their holiday down my throat and their religion and for that I grew resentful and furious. However, after a while I remembered the similarities between mine and their holiday which helped ease some of that animosity. I don’t think it would’ve felt so intense had Christmas not been my favorite cherished celebration growing up. It never was about Jesus in my family. Christmas was strictly Santa’s visit and Easter was only regarded as the day upon which the Easter Bunny decided to visit. This made it easy when I was converting to Judaism and far easier when I awakened to my Pagan path and Witchy self.

Since this was a topic I’d resonated with deeply as it does sting, I felt compelled to write about some of my thoughts and experiences in the hopes they may be of service to you. In these times of hate, resentment, and separation I remain a firm believer in peace and love. That doesn’t mean we must always agree but we are all connected. I digress, however and would like to continue with my list. 🙂 I’ve given some reasons we feel left out or angry as well as offered solutions to Christmas as well as bringing our Pagan traditions into it.

  1. Treasured Childhood. A point of anger is the feeling you must give up a treasured holiday because it isn’t part of your path any longer. I believe this to be complete hogwash. If you still wish to celebrate it then I say go for it! Don’t feel like you must abandon your family and not partake with them as they celebrate. If you find anyone who tells you must, turn around and walk away. There is no one, true, right way to being Pagan and I know plenty who do celebrate Christmas with their families and by themselves. It’s a tradition that they always wanted to share with their own children one day.
    1. My childhood growing up was not the best and my parents fought all the time but Christmas was the only day of the year they refused to argue which is one reason I cherish it like so. Think of your reasons why you enjoy it so much.
  2. Santa. A solution if you’re still having problems is to think of it strictly as a day in which Santa Claus visits–like my family always has done and they are Christian! This makes it simpler with children as well, especially if you wish to raise them as Pagans. This was the hardest of for me because I’d always dreamed of being able to leave cookies out for Santa with my children, see their joy as they discovered he’d visited during the night, and watch Christmas movies with them. I still would like to.
    1. There are a lot of similarities between Father Christmas and Odin so if you follow Asatru or just a Norse flavored path, you could look into that.  Taking a quick glance at the birth of Jesus, we also find that Mithras, Horus, Ra, Tammuz, as well as many others were born around the Winter Solstice. Yule is the birth of the Sun, instead of the Son. 😉
  3. Yule. Don’t forget that we too have our own beautifully sacred holy day that encompasses loads of the same imagery so if you still feel as if you shouldn’t because it isn’t your religion then research and delve into the roots of Christmas and it’s symbolism. You will find that most of the things you love about the holiday don’t have to be forgotten and thrown away. Actually I find this grounds this immense holy day that has become so immersed in consumerism.
    1. If your a newcomer to this path, I do recommend celebrating Yule (even if you decide to celebrate Christmas too) because you may find that you prefer Yule over Christmas. It took me five years but as I’ve grown in my path and really allowed myself to be authentically me, I’ve noticed that I don’t really have a desire to celebrate the other holidays. You may find that eventually you connect more to the Pagan sabbats and then it won’t matter if others are or aren’t celebrating the same festival. 🙂
  4. Tips. Try calling your Christmas tree a Yule tree instead. In the beginning, if you have to slowly edge into the waters, then do so. Understand the lights on the tree reflect our desire to welcome and draw the sun back as we await His rebirth. Try incorporating traditions from both until you find what works for you. Also, remember that Christmas encompasses hope, love, charity, kindness, and goodwill towards all. People aren’t necessarily meaning to force their beliefs down your throat but instead wish to embody what the season is about.
  5. Consumerism. It’s of importance to note that there are some Christians who feel betrayed (if that’s the word for it) as the holiday has become completely commercialized that the true meaning of their religious day is becoming lost. This doesn’t make it any easier for us as at least they still have their holy day advertised everywhere but it takes the sting away a bit to realize there are those who feel just as much an outsider to certain parts.

Focusing on our own holy day–Yule, The Winter Solstice, or any of the numerous names for this season–is always the easiest way in which to rid yourself of feeling like an outsider. You become so immersed in what your doing, what your celebrating, and creating new traditions for you and your family that you sort of are able to block out and no longer care about Christmas. Incorporate Christmas traditions into your Pagan path as they most likely already have Pagan roots which not only grounds them but also gives you a reason for doing what your doing. Before I came to Paganism, I just strung lights around my tree because we always did and they were pretty. Now I understand it’s just another way to draw the sun’s warmth back–the same when we’re lighting candles on our altar. However, if you feel you must continue celebrating Christmas, maybe it’s the only time you get to see relatives who live out-of-town, then go for it. Just stay mindful that this time of year is a very cherished season for many–Christmas for Christians, Chanukkah for Jews, Yule/Winter Solstice for Pagans, Milad un Nabi (or the Prophet’s Birthday) in Islam.

I may have somehow gotten off topic but there were so many ideas swarming my mind that I needed to get them down before they drove me mad!  I think the most important thing you could do is journal. Discover what it precisely about the holiday that draws you–like my childhood story above–and what traditions resonate with you. Why? Always look for the why. I don’t think you should have to give it up if you don’t want to but do take a look at our own holy day which is full of so much wonder, joy, and beauty. 🙂

Please comment if you celebrate Christmas as a Pagan and what it means for you in that context. Also, if you don’t, what are some tips you have for those who are struggling with leaving it behind.

 

I wish you all the Brighest of Blessings this season, regardless of what you celebrate, and hope this month is full of love, cheer, joy, and health!

 

Brightest of Blessings,

The Autumn Witch

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