Popular Pagan Holidays
Autumn: The Croning Time
Daily Goddess Awareness
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri... Yuletide!
Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism
The Dark Half of the Year
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
The Beltaine Storm
Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik
Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
The Tale of the Holly King and the Oak King
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
Ostara: Enter the Light!
A Celtic View of Samhain
Supermoms’ and Superdads’ Defense Against “Holiday Kryptonite”
A Story For Autumn
A Summer Solstice Primer
Witches Lost in Halloween
The Best Thing About Death
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
The Babylonian Ghost Festival
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
Dealing with the Darkness, Post-Samhain
The Samhain Experience
First Thanksgiving... in China
Solstice of the Soul
A White Christmas in Fuyang
Love Lives On: A Samhain Reflection on Death, Rebirth, and the Afterlife
A Samhain Dance
Yule and the New Year
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
The Story of Ostara
The First Yule
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
Unity During Samhain
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death
Ghosts, Omens, and Fact-Finding: Wandering In Today's Eco-Interface
The Blood is in the Land
The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
When The Crone Pays A Visit, You'd Better Pay Attention
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
The Promise of the Harvest
Samhain is Ablaze with Reflections of My Father
At Samhain, Meet Bilé, God of the Dead of Ireland and the Danu, the All -Mother
"The Horn of Plenty": A Pathworking for Lammas
Mabon - The Flash of the Setting Sun
The Call of the Crone
Parting the Veils and Opening to Ancestral Wisdom
Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest
Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox
The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice
The Serpent's Kiss: Beltane's Fire
Symbology of Altar Decorations
Lascivious Lupercalia: Why Valentine's is a Vital Pagan Holy Day for the Modern World
A Heathen's Approach to the Holidays
Ode to Ostara
Anthesteria, the Hellenic "Samhain"
From Samhain to Yule: Light in the Darkness
Sonoran Desert Wheel of the Year (Square Peg, Round Hole)
Gaia's Mantle:The Greening of the Earth
Samhain: the Sunbeam in the Twilight
Like Bread for Lughnasa: A Letter
Beltane and Samhain: Reflections of Life and Death
The Gift of Yule: An Illuminated Wheel
Flashbrewing: Traditional Yule Ginger Beer/Ale
The Maiden's Breath: The Vernal Equinox
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Article ID: 12981
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,049
Times Read: 8,243
RSS Views: 39,822
Posted: December 21st. 2008
Times Viewed: 8,243
As I wander down my local high street window-shopping and people watching I am aware of the festive lights twinkling above – attached to the various shops and lampposts. The shops themselves - windows brimful of packages covered with tinsel and wrapped up to look like seasonal gifts. Seemingly unaware of the financial crunch we keep hearing about, they beckon the harried Christmas shopper in to increase the amount on the credit cards. At my daughter’s school, they are rehearsing for the school Christmas concerts and busy collecting unwanted toiletries to sell at the seasonal fayre.
And today I was amused to be accosted by the normally friendly parents of her school chums. They spoke to me with undisguised pity in their voices as they asked the usual questions at this time of year. ‘Oh yes that’s right – you’re a pagan aren’t you? Bet you feel a bit left out this time of year? Well what do you do at Christmas then?’ ‘Such a shame isn’t it – doesn’t she get upset at not getting any presents?’. And a number of various similar questions that added up to the accusation of my obvious scrooge like behavior because I don’t do Xmas!!
Of course once I explain that actually, I don’t celebrate the 25th December, but the Solstice a few days before. That yes, we do have a decorated tree, celebrations, sing songs, have presents and do many of the same kinds of things with a different emphasis there is almost a sigh of relief. Then its off to accost the other strange people who don’t ‘do Christmas’ – with the majority of pity levied on the family who’s children are Jehovah’s witnesses and ‘don’t have any Christmas or even birthdays!!!’
It amuses me because of the way people become almost concerned and worried that my child isn’t going to be part of the celebrations with their own kids. Whereas for the rest of the year they seem to have no problem at all that we are a pagan family! It amuses me because I feel that I actually have far more fun and joy throughout the whole year celebrating all the festivals and giving them equal attention and making sure my youngest daughter enjoys herself as well as learning about the reasons why we celebrate them and what they mean.
This year I decided to be pro-active and gave the school and my daughter’s current teacher copies of a book I wrote on celebrating the seasons in a pagan family. It included our family activities and beliefs for the complete yearly festivals as well as the solstice and it was very well received. The school head was very positive and let me know they will be including activities and information in it for inclusion in the assemblies along with the other cultural activities they now include, such as Devali and Hanukkah.
As a family we do enjoy all the seasonal cycles but I do have a sneaky extra love for this time of year. It’s the whole of autumn through to winter that I love the most. Beginning with harvest time – when we have outings foraging in the countryside. Then Samhain – when we have a family circle for friends and children with a party that culminates in the local trick or treat activities. Finally with the many craft activities and preparations we put into our Yuletide feasting; I relish the planning and organizing of the Solstice season. I see no reason why I shouldn’t enjoy this season as much, if not more that the Christians do – whether secular or practicing. And of course as Christmas did actually kidnap our festival, I make no apologies at any of my anticipation and enjoyment of this time of year.
We have been active since the harvests, gathering blackberries, elderberries and other various hedgerow goodies. Making jams, cordials and jellies. Sloes have been steeped in sugar and brandy, and chillies stripped of their skins and submerged in olive oil for several weeks. Ingredients have been collected to make fudge, cinnamon candies, sugared chestnuts and candied peel. Wines brewed and fruits submerged in jars with a variety of alcoholic beverages and each one newly stickered and tied with a ribbon ready for stockings.
Next week we are making the handmade Solstice cards and last night we hand printed the large rolls of wall lining paper for our own wrapping paper. And the 21 matchboxes I have found over the last few months will be decorated and filled with a small chocolate for my daughters Solstice advent style calendar. We still have a pudding and a cake- with the same ritual stirring and wish making – wonderful spell opportunities. And the gingerbread is being cut and decorated into biscuits to hang in star, moon and Goddess shapes on the Solstice tree.
We will go into the local woodlands and find berried holly, ivy and search out the elusive mistletoe to hang around the mantelpiece. Cutting strips of paper we make paper chains and paper decorations for the living room. A ring of willow I made in the summer has dried out and will be decorated with the pinecones we dipped in glitter, with ribbons and more holly to hang on the front door.
My daughter will enjoy the Christmas parties and concerts at school – even at 5 she knows that the Christian festival is their version of celebrating the light returning at the darkest point of winter. She accepts it and doesn’t seem to have any of the problems of understanding it that her friend’s parents do. We will go to the local Panto when the school holidays begin and this year our festivities begin the day before with my coven’s family getting together for a circle. We sing pagan solstice carols, light the Yule candle (I don’t have a fireplace any more!) and hand out clove oranges to represent the Sun returning. On the day itself, my older grown up children return with their families to have presents under the tree, sit round the table and eat roast goose and toast the Solstice with some of the potent wine made from our foraging trips.
And on the 25th December? My daughter and I will take a flask of soup, a bag of birdseed and stale bread and have a hearty walk in the woods and by the river to feed the ducks. When we get home we will sit together watching DVDs and videos after a light lunch and the satisfied feeling that we have celebrated the real meaning of this season – the cycles of life and the balance of light and darkness.
May your solstice or whatever you celebrate be whatever you wish it to be.
further details for celebrating ideas from Natures Children - celebrating the seasons in a pagan family by Rachel Mayatt (capall bann 2007)
Copyright: copyright Rachel Mayatt
Location: kent, England
Author's Profile: To learn more about raewytch - Click HERE
Bio: Im an initiated witch and author. Pagan parent and circle leader in kent.
Other Articles: raewytch has posted 2 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email raewytch... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).