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
Anti-Witch Bigotry: Still As Popular and Deadly As Ever
The Halloween Witch: Sense of Humor or Sense of Ire
Ah...To Be A Witch...
Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
Spiritual Aspects of Yule
Autumn Equinox: A Point of Balance on the Wheel of the Year
The Beltaine Storm
Winter Holiday Intentions and Food Magik
The Tale of the Holly King and the Oak King
Imbolc: Traditional Celebrations for a Modern Time
A Meditation on Samhain: How Lucky You Are.
Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
Traditional Yule: Make your Own Homebrewed Mead
The Solstice Flame: A Yule Story
Lughnasadh, The Ritual
Samhain: The Ritual
A Celtic View of Samhain
Ostara: Enter the Light!
Supermoms’ and Superdads’ Defense Against “Holiday Kryptonite”
A Summer Solstice Primer
A Story For Autumn
Witches Lost in Halloween
The Best Thing About Death
Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
Lughnasa: Festival of the Harvest (A Druid's Perspective)
The Babylonian Ghost Festival
The Celtic Origins of Samhain
The Ostara Transformation
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
Dealing with the Darkness, Post-Samhain
The Samhain Experience
The Theme of Mabon
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
Yule and the New Year
Mabon Equinox. Circa September 21st
A Samhain Dance
Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
The Story of Ostara
A Yule Story for Children ~ The Tiniest Fairy ~
The First Yule
Unity During Samhain
Bealtine: Blessing the Summer In
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
Brighid's Healing Sword: Imbolc
Sandy Was The Name Of the Dark Goddess This Samhain
When The Crone Pays A Visit, You'd Better Pay Attention
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
Mabon - The Flash of the Setting Sun
"The Horn of Plenty": A Pathworking for Lammas
Parting the Veils and Opening to Ancestral Wisdom
The Call of the Crone
Lammas: The Sacrificial Harvest
Opening to the Anima Mundi – The Gift of the Equinox
The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice
Lascivious Lupercalia: Why Valentine's is a Vital Pagan Holy Day for the Modern World
Symbology of Altar Decorations
The Serpent's Kiss: Beltane's Fire
A Heathen's Approach to the Holidays
Anthesteria, the Hellenic "Samhain"
Ode to Ostara
Sonoran Desert Wheel of the Year (Square Peg, Round Hole)
From Samhain to Yule: Light in the Darkness
The Lover's Flame-Beltane
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
We Want them Back! (A Pagan View of the Holidays)
Article ID: 10378
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,288
Times Read: 25,018
RSS Views: 61,117
Author: Bluehawk [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: December 18th. 2005
Times Viewed: 25,018
We Want Them Back!
(A Pagan View of the Holidays)
Delivered at the Vespers Service, 12/7/05
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta
My friends, I have recently been musing about how all the old Pagan holidays have been taken over, and how good it would be to reclaim them. So I want to tell all of you why Pagans should to ask for our holidays back.
The good old Celtic holiday of Samhain had just passed when I first started thinking about this a few weeks ago. For all you non-Pagans, Samhain celebrates the physical agrarian-oriented event of the culling of livestock as preparation for the coming of winter in parallel with the spiritual acknowledgement of and reverence towards our deceased ancestors. It’s also a farewell to those who have passed on during the preceding year – along with those things you hope to lose in the coming year, like those ten extra pounds or your ex-mother-in-law. And Samhain is the Pagan New Year – celebrating change and death as being necessary for new life to appear.
It pairs the contemplation of the death of summer with, well, Death. Though, being Pagan, we make sure we have a good time somewhere along the way celebrating the holiday. We know that as the year turns around spring and summer will once more come again… So that’s why, even when contemplating and honoring fearful things like Change and Death and the dark of Winter, Pagans choose to CELEBRATE! Doesn’t it make sense, when you look at it that way?
But instead, contemporary American society serves up some vulgar mish-mash of spooks, monsters, costume parties, and cheesy old horror movies replayed over and over on television; along with extorted massive chocolate and sugar overdoses for young blackmailers-in-training – all aimed at turning a profit. It can be fun, but the spiritual value is fairly limited. And PLEASE don’t get me started on those terribly tacky fundamentalist Christian Halloween hell-and-brimstone Houses of Horrors designed to terrify poor innocent children into joining their church!
So, once I got started reflecting on how Pagan holidays had been kidnapped, I then thought of the old Pagan holiday Eoster, where the return of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eoster from the Land of the Dead bringing Spring in Her wake was celebrated. For centuries this Pagan celebration’s rituals included things like Eoster eggs, the Eoster hare (or bunny for us Americans) , and decorating our houses with Eoster lilies and other beautiful flowers in celebration. I won’t beat you over the head with all the other Pagan death and resurrection stories and their related holidays and celebrations mostly linked with the return of Spring, like the story of Persephone, or Inanna, or Xipe Totec, or Adon, or Osiris, or…well, I guess I AM beating you over the head, but you get my point, don’t you?
I think it’s only fair to talk about how we Pagans were there first, and how we’d like to get some credit for all the Pagan contributions involved when other folks celebrate the return of their own particular Redeemer from Death with our borrowed trappings when springtime comes around. So please keep in mind when you bite the head off that chocolate rabbit - you are actually re-enacting an ancient Pagan ritual! Well, sort of, anyway…
But of course, now it’s time for the big one – Yule. You know, celebrating with Yule logs, and holly, and mistletoe (not to mention the stolen kisses!) . Singing those old Yule time carols. Putting up the evergreen Yule tree and decorating it. Drinking a lot of mead - or these days, spiced cider or spiked eggnog. Giving presents. Lots of presents. The Sun [pause] of God being born with the New Year. Gathering together and celebrating with family and friends…did I mention drinking a lot? Yule’s a GREAT Pagan holiday! Yes, my friends, the Puritans were right – Yule (by any other name smelling as sweet) is definitely NOT a Christian holiday.
Well, then came those other guys. You know who I mean, don’t you? Those followers of the Son of God Who was born to a Virgin on December 25th with the animals gathered ‘round watching worshipfully. His coming announced to the shepherds on nearby hillsides by angels, and with wise men traveling from afar to give precious gifts in order to celebrate the birth of a Savior here to allow our sins to be washed clean in the blood of His sacrifice. How dare they steal our holiday!
But since those pesky followers of Mithras have been pretty much out of the picture for such a long time, I suppose modern Pagans shouldn’t hold a grudge.
Oh, you thought I meant that OTHER guy?
Hey, as a Pagan I don’t have anything against Jesus, or celebrating His birth. If you remember the story of the wedding at Cana, the dude must have really been a lot of fun to have at a party. So He can’t be all that bad! And unlike one of the Founding Fathers that the Religious Right erroneously likes to hold up to justify their theories of American theocracy, Thomas Jefferson, I’m willing to grant Jesus the same ration of miracles as all the other gods and sons of gods that ancient legends tell of. It’s only fair, don’t you think?
It’s just that some of his followers sometimes forget what He said about loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek, doing unto others, and whatever that was about a camel and the eye of a needle. But I can’t blame Him if some of His followers are a bit thick. So I’m always glad to celebrate His birthday this time of year too, even if it is an appropriation of our holiday. Just like in the Cracker Jack commercial, I learned to share in kindergarten – didn’t you? So I don’t want to take Yule back from the Christians.
No, what I’m really talking about is the soulless over-commercialization of all these holidays. My holidays. Your holidays. All of our holidays. I think it’s time for all of us - Christians, Pagans, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and even Humanists - to say loud and clear “We want them back!”
I believe that each and every one of us should make a greater effort to stop and honor the true spirit of the many holidays that we all celebrate, each in our differing way. Honor death and sacrifice. Embrace change. Welcome birth. Love your neighbor. Celebrate life and all its possibilities. Peace on earth, and good will to all.
Now if you will please repeat after me the ancient Pagan Egyptian invocation at the end of a prayer, more than thirty-five hundred years old, which seals and sends it to the God…AMEN!
Lay Minister for Pastoral Care, UUC Atlanta
Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Bluehawk - Click HERE
Bio: Larry, a disability rights advocate by profession, has been a trained lay minister doing pastoral care and the occasional service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta for around two years and serves as a delegate to the Atlanta Interfaith Disability Network, as well as having held several offices in Eclectic Wiccan and Pagan interdenominational groups. Long active in the Atlanta Pagan community as an organizer, he's also a songwriter, musician, producer and live performer with work familiar to many in the national Pagan music scene (having worked with Moonstruck, Spiral Rhythm, Skyypilot, Heather Jinmaku, etc.) .
Other Articles: Bluehawk has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Bluehawk... (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).