With the winter season finally taking hold, the effects of Storm Desmond has thankfully not affected where I live. The River Ouse holding steady for the time being anyway. With so many losing so much, it makes you feel grateful for every blessing you can. Something that is becoming abundantly obvious is that every one of us should be grateful every day for waking up warm, alive and safe, because so many don’t or can’t.
Religion has played high on the media’s topic and at this time of year there are many religious festivals. From Christmas to the Winter Solstice. Our household is a dual faith one, my daughter being a catholic and myself a pagan. We celebrate both festivities and acknowledge the message that all the festivals bring, which is unity, family and love.
For me as a pagan, it’s a time where all my harvest has been gathered and now I rest and wait for the return of the Sun God who is borne from the Goddess. I decorate my house with tinsel and lights to encourage the Sun’s return and have a Christmas tree. I don’t care that it’s called a Christmas tree, because it is what it is. When it’s time for the tree topper, my daughter and I hold it in our hands together and say a prayer, asking the old and new Gods to bless the house and to welcome the Christmas Spirit in with its joyous energy.
When it comes to the tree, many people are OCD about colours, themes and what’s modern etc. I’m not, I like to use my tree as a place to hang memories. I hang decorations that were once my gran’s and my mum’s. Ones that my daughter made and my ex mother in law made. As well as those that I’ve just liked. My tree is a mis mash of colours and sizes with both coloured and white lights. It’s far from perfect, but it has meaning.
I also dress my altar with gold and red candles, a bowl of orange cloves, rosemary, holly and cinnamon. This is my acknowledgement to the pagan Gods.
So when people ask me what I do at Christmas as Pagan, it’s easy, I do pretty much what everyone else does. There’s a lot traditions that have pagan foundations, but one of the key messages we must take forward into the next year is about respect. No matter what we believe or don’t we must respect one another.
Someone once told me that in days of old the truth was held in a large mirror. When it was smashed the pieces spread far and wide and each one of us has only a piece of that mirror, but if we all put our pieces together then the truth would be revealed and I think that’s a strong story to think about. No one has the right answers, but we all have a little piece. Work together and show respect and the world may just be a better place.