Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Popular Pagan Holidays

[Show all]

Views: 7,801,918

Holiday: ...

Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...

Autumn: The Croning Time

Daily Goddess Awareness

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chri... Yuletide!

Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time

Samhain: A Time for Introspection---and Activism

Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever

The Dark Half of the Year

The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire

Ah...To Be A Witch...

Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year

Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead

Winter Solstice By Any Other Name

Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik

The Beltaine Storm

Spiritual Aspects of Yule

La Befana

Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)

Yule and the New Year

Lughnasadh: The Deeper Meaning

A Celtic View of Samhain

The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story

Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story

Ostara: Enter the Light!

Witches Lost in Halloween

Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season

A Summer Solstice Primer

The Best Thing About Death

Imbolc...or As The Wheel Turns

A Story For Autumn

Solstice of the Soul

Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch

Samhain and the 'Witch Questions'

The Samhain Experience

Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change

The Holiday Season, The Constitution and What's REALLY Important

Unity During Samhain

A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~

The Sacredness of Halloween

Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In

The Summer Solstice: A Time for Awakening

Yuletide Thoughts, Life and Death

Mabon..Balance and Reflection

Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc

At Samhain, Meet Bilé, God of the Dead of Ireland and the Danu, the All -Mother

Mabon - The Flash of the Setting Sun

Parting the Veils and Opening to Ancestral Wisdom

Yules Lessons from Days of Yore: Perfect Love, Perfect Trust

Lascivious Lupercalia: Why Valentine's is a Vital Pagan Holy Day for the Modern World

The Promise of the Harvest

"The Horn of Plenty": A Pathworking for Lammas

Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest

The Call of the Crone

Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox


The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice

Symbology of Altar Decorations

The Serpent's Kiss: Beltane's Fire

The Wheel of the Year: A Journey of Eight Sabbats

Back to Basics: Imbolc

Fuarag and Faerie Plates: New Scotland's Traditions of Samhain

The Lover's Flame-Beltane

Samhain: the Sunbeam in the Twilight

Ode to Ostara

Gaia's Mantle:The Greening of the Earth

Beltane and Samhain: Reflections of Life and Death

The Maiden's Breath: The Vernal Equinox

Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American

Beltane and Sex Magic

Flashbrewing: Traditional Yule Ginger Beer/Ale

Like Bread for Lughnasa: A Letter

The Light of the Harvest: Lammas

Ole Old-As-The-Hills (A Yule Story)

The Hermit's Light: Celebrating the Autumnal Equinox

The Gift of Yule: An Illuminated Wheel

The Quickening Wheel: Imbolc

Yule-Tide Reflections

Observations for a MidSummer's Eve

Parting the Veils of Beltane's Quickening

Mother's Flowering-The Summer Solstice

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 2238

VoxAcct: 286445

Section: holidays

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 7,440

Times Read: 14,188

Sharing Traditions

Author: Diana Rajchel [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: December 12th. 1998
Times Viewed: 14,188

When time comes to celebrate Sabbats, I freeze. I can handle Esbats with an ease borne of the Muses; I can write spells and rituals for the odd needs of life with wit and fun and joy. But when the sun turns a spoke in the Wheel of Life, I find myself firmly stuck in a rut that doesn't leave room for inspiration to fit in the rut with me.

So this year, I tried to plan ahead and work out my observances around the usual interruptions and objections during my family's celebration. I had simply planned not to travel eight hours to visit my parents over the winter holidays. Instead, I chose to go on a cruise with my husband rather than resort to a secretive rite after my parents were abed, feeling hopelessly like the teenager I once was.

The first monkeywrench came in our finances: after several events in the summer that led to my unemployment and my partner's hospitalization, we simply could not afford the cruise. The next monkeywrench came in a positive reaction. After much meditation and prayer, my mother has decided to accept my religion. She told me that she realized that there are several roads to salvation, and that I "always was one to do things the hard way."

I know my mother and her way of thinking. In every other aspect of our lives except religion, she raised my sister and I to appreciate diversity and nature. When one of us ventured into an area unfamiliar to the rest of the family, we were expected to SHARE and whatever we shared was then adopted into our familial practice.

Holidays are one of her favorite areas to incorporate these ideas; because of this, I can't remember the last time we had a traditional meal at Thanksgiving. Since my father is Polish, even though our family was never Catholic, she somehow obtained a wafer blessed by a priest with the nativity printed on it that we share for good wishes. When my sister returned from living a year in Japan, I could not identify several of the items on the dinner table the following Christmas. Since my mother has now decided to accept differing religious practice outside of straightforward monotheism, eventually she will likely ask that I contribute to the eclectic atmosphere of our family gatherings. Me, the same person who feels wobbly every time I pick up my athame to conduct a Sabbat ritual, may be asked to incorporate some of my own shaky Sabbat practices into the smooth running if somewhat weird traditions of my family.

With the exception of religion, my family is usually very eclectic in its practices. However, because religion is so diverse even in extended family, I feel that ritual of my kind does not fit into the family holiday atmosphere. My sister dabbles from day to day in Shinto and Druid paths (don't ask), my father and my mate both raise their glasses in case there IS a god or gods and my mother attends church as though it were a vitamin.

So for the time being, in case I am asked this year, I offer for your use as well as my own something simple that satisfies the need to observe simply that the solstice is sacred and that all the practices within my family have value.

My ritual that crosses the borders of Yule and Christmas to give my relatives a liason between Christian and Wiccan practice: time honored story telling, with visual aids. I can even use the old trick of adopting a practice from another religion:

The youngest person in the family has the job every year of setting the nativity underneath the tree. Until my niece was born, this was my job. Now it's my niece's job, although she is still a little young to resist the impulse to play with the camels and the wisemen. Setting the nativity inevitably becomes a group activity because she does need supervision.

When time comes to assemble the nativity, I plan to sit down with my niece and my mother under the tree and take the baby Jesus in my hand and the Mary figure in the other hand, and tell about how the Goddess loved her partner so much that she followed him into a dark place but could only spend a little time with him before she had to return to the world, ...and how she was sad and lonely during the winter because she faced life without her beloved.

On the day the sun was at its lowest point, she discovered her pregnancy and had the greatest joy she had known because she knew this was her beloved's way of coming back to her. I will then hand the figures to my mother, and have her tell the story of the angels coming to Mary and announcing that she would give birth to Jesus. We can while away the hours passing the figures of the nativity back and forth, telling stories about them until we have no more tales to tell.

In so many of the dominant traditions and lore, I see so much of the pagan tradition still hiding. To me, Mary is one more Goddess, and Jesus one more sun god -- although those names never reach my private pantheon. When I hear the tales of Santa Clause, I think of a Christmas tradition in Germany where St. Nicholas was accompanied by the rather mean Schwartze Peter - who had horns, much like a deity I know and love. The rest of the year, tales of elves and fairies belong to Pagans and children, but during December, they go to advertisers and pagan and non-pagan parents who thrill at their childrens' excitement.

I would like to, in this private family affair, awaken the deeper meanings of the winter season with a pagan flavor. Stories are the way to do it. We are a religion that calls our sacred stories myths and can acknowledge that there is likely mythology in all religions, whether it is perceived as truth or as a simply story to explain the universe. A myth earns its label for the purpose behind it, and keeps its label depending on how well it fills its purpose: myths are meant to describe and explain the phenomena in the world around us. At the same time, a good myth fills the deeper need of the human mind to develop a symbolic system that connects all of us by bearing a subtext that crosses all human experience.

Both the story of Jesus and his birth and the Sun God in his many forms and his own birth fill that story. The final message, no matter the religion, is about hope. I could trot out candles, invoke the gods and have a huge affair for my family. However, the candles and the prayers have no meaning to my family members -- my experience in ritual is internal, something that took a great deal of training and a great deal more belief to conceive of and appreciate. But stories and myths -- even if the story has no objects or names, a good one will always have emotion.

Emotion is something we all understand and can communicate to each other, whether or not we relate to the symbols used to communicate it. This way, I can tell the joy I feel at Yule, and the peace I find in knowing that the wheel turns, and my mother can relate her own joy and peace in her own beloved Lord. Perhaps my niece and any other participants will even notice the subtext: that in the long run, the lessons of the stories are the same: there is hope, there is joy, and even though to world is dark, a light can shine within.

I think I rather like the idea of my recommended new "tradition". When my niece grows up, she can tell us tales of her own. If I have children, they too can eventually add to the family lore that takes root underneath the plastic evergreen. Now if only I could come up with something to say to the God and Goddess during the time beyond "Congratulations. I hear you're expecting!" I keep thinking that my private Yule ritual will involve a bubble-gum cigar. But perhaps I should save that for the season when my Lord is born.

Bio: Diana Rajchel Olsen is a human. She also serves on the High Court in a cybercoven and edits "Shadowzine", the ezine from the covenstead. She currently resides in southern Minnesota, where she acts as an occult advisor to a student/community pagan organization. She is attempting to finish her degree in mass communications this year and is trying to break into the hard copy publishing field. Articles by her can be found on the web at The Megalith, Gaea's Navel and at her own website at


Diana Rajchel

Location: San Francisco, California

Author's Profile: To learn more about Diana Rajchel - Click HERE

Other Articles: Diana Rajchel has posted 5 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Diana Rajchel... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)

To send a private message to Diana Rajchel ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2019 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.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections
(including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.)
are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc.
TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

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.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

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).