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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
For A Religion So Opposed to Paganism, You Sure Stole a Lot of Our Stuff!
Article ID: 13307
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,378
Times Read: 9,897
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Author: Heather Belt
Posted: August 16th. 2009
Times Viewed: 9,897
Ah, yes Christians. Fascinating creatures they are.
I grew up Christian; I guess you could say, as is the case with the majority of the booming Pagan population today, and yet I always found myself questioning the message. As I deepened my journey into the craft, I soon discovered that most Christian Holidays coincide with Pagan ones. Christmas and Yule, All Saints day and Halloween and Ostara with Easter, just to name a few. Further research tells us that the Roman Catholic Church did this to easily assimilate our ancestors into the church and the ways of Jesus Christ.
As a newbie Pagan, my first gut instinct was to denounce everything vaguely Christian. I mean, isn’t that what I was trying to escape in the first place? But as I studied more and talked to people of all beliefs, I began to understand how all of us our bound together through history, I began to appreciate the fact that the Christians and Pagans found some common ground in our religions through the celebration of the seasons.
True, we do not always practice them the same way or even acknowledge where the traditions come from, but you have to realize there is something more powerful that holds these ideas together. With a sly smile and just a hint of sarcasm I can’t help ask of Christians “How’s that whole assimilation thing working out for ya?”
It looks as if celebrations, or once Pagan holidays, have been an infectious tool, and yet we have not utilized it to the full extent yet!
Be comforted Pagan Sisters and Brothers that today, in 2009 we are still celebrating our ancestors Sabbats. The face may have changed, but the message remains the same. Instead of fruits and nuts hand picked from trees in mass quantities, candy manufacturers, greeting card companies and retailers report record sales of their products during the holidays. Pumpkins are still being carved, Easter egg hunts commence and millions of greeting cards are mailed.
And even though the packaging is different, I smile as I reminisce on what our forefathers would have thought about some of the basic traditions that still stand today. Those little things such as dying Easter Eggs or lighting a Yule log that all of us who acknowledge the holidays do no matter the religious preference.
It’s a beautiful thing.
I think our ancestors would be proud that our Pagan traditions still so heavily influence the ways all who acknowledge the holidays celebrate. I think as enlightened individuals we should congratulate ourselves for being able to see what most cannot or refuse. No matter how any of us arrived at our chosen religious destinations we all have one thing in common. Bringing joy to those we love, smiles to children’s faces and blessings during our respected holidays.
For example, even when Christian Christmas is shoved down my throat whenever I walk into a store in December. After a few moments the buzz of the holiday, energy of my fellow shoppers and nostalgic Christmas tunes blaring in the air this Witch turns into a sucker for the season.
Most Pagans lean towards the tendency of denouncing our Christian DNA when we should be embracing it. Not only does this make us well-rounded and grounded individuals, but also it allows us to truly do the one thing we so whole-heartily believe in. Embrace each other’s differences in a tolerant and respectful manner. I myself, take pride in the fact that I can say “I love you my Christian counter-parts. I accept your choice and I’m happy to celebrate my Sabbats with you”.
I can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t the design from the beginning and something that has been vastly overlooked. The Roman Catholic Church did not have to keep the holidays or have them so closely bound to Pagan ones. They could have very easily erased them with everything else and instilled totally different traditions. What is Divine intervention or just the innate human ability to appreciate times of joyous community celebration? No matter the answer the redeeming fact should be we still enjoy them!
Even within our own religion we often find strife on what day the Sabbat is or what is the proper Goddess or God should be acknowledged. I say we take the time to appreciate all as one during these times and not let “rules” dictate the affairs of our seasons. Go with the flow and how the season makes you feel. I guess the real point I am trying to make apparent here is no matter what religion, inside or out, we have our celebrations in common and for once let us bind together for a common cause.
And may I just say thank you Goddess for the magical celebrations that continue every year within every religion! Thank you for helping all religious practitioners, no matter the faith, find some common ground just when we thought all hope was lost.
I no longer believe it is about who did it first or for what religion did it better. All that matters is that for one day, at different times of the year, we all share mutual happiness and love for the continuing cycle that binds us all to our mother earth through the seasons of change. The circle of life is a fascinating journey and I don’t mind sharing it.
Do not let this idea take you into a spiral of dismay and shock. We tend to still live in a world that is short on acceptance and thrives on picking out the differences that make us unique. Holidays are a wondrous time where we can all celebrate a common purpose of thankfulness for our lives. If admittance is the first step to recovery we can all, myself included, use a healthy dose of tolerance.
So the next time you celebrate a Sabbat, take the time to appreciate those who have celebrated before us and rejoice in the spirit of the season! Blessed Be.
Copyright: This Article is the sole property and work of Heather S. Douglas 2009.
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
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