Monday, December 20, 2004

Happy Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is tomorrow. Now, most of you probably know that I am not Christian. Nor have I ever been Christian. However, for a good part of my life I have celebrated Christmas. Not participating in any of the Christian traditions of this time like going to church and paying respects to Jesus and the lot. No, most of my Christmas traditions I remember were full of running around trying to buy gifts for everybody and anyone I could even think may need something. Why? Well, because thats what people do on this holiday yes? Buy things for others. But why? When I was a youngster, it never occurred to me why we did this. I was just so excited to get a heeping pile o' presents on the 25th each year I didn't give it much thought. However, the older I have gotten the more Pagan I seem to be. Although I have never put myself into a catagory of religion, if you were to put me in a slot it would fall between the Pagan/Wiccan area.

Anyhow, for those of you that wonder what the whole Winter Solstice thing is about here is some info for you I have gathered from one of my many books. This one is from Life Magic by Susan Bowes. So to my fellow Pagans and Wiccans out there, Happy Winter Solstice:

In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice falls on Dec. 21 or 22, the beginning of Capricorn. This is the shortest day of the year, after which the daylight hours grow longer. Therefore, the winter solstice is known as the "birth of light". The Anglo-Saxon word for this solstice is yule, which is derived from the Nordic iul, meaning "wheel" as in the sacred circle, or wheel, of nature. This was the day when the chief Druid cut the sacred mistletoe from the oak, allowing it to fall upon a cloak. This tradition is still upheld today when people include mistletoe in their Christmas decorations.

Great fires were lit to celebrate the return of the sun: the "yule" log is the last vestige of this custom. So potent was this Yule festivale that the Christian Church adopted Dec. 25 for their own birth celebrations. This was also the date for festivities in honor of the sun god Sol.

The tradition of bringing evergreen holly and ivy into the home during the winter months pays homage to the masculine and feminine elements. The male is the prickly holly with it sexually potent red berries, the female is the entwining, yeilding ivy. Together they act as a reminder that nature never dies, but is waiting to be reborn again in the spring.

8 comments:

mangey cur said...

Yay! Happy Solstice man! Planning on some Holly and Ivy action later hahahaha....bonfire tomarrow night and stuff. Wish you were here...I'll tell the coyotes you said hi..!

Jennifer said...

I think I've heard that alot of christian values came from the Pegan culture/relgion which is one of the oldest, I believe (could totally be talking out of my ass though - bad memory). Also I think we give presents to represent bringing presents to baby jesus... now where Santa Claus came in, I forget... need to go watch Rudolph again!! (I've only seen it about 80 times, probably) :)

Happy Winter Solstice!!

Garrison Steelle said...

Nearly everything in the Christian tradition, including the full Christmas celebration, is adapted from other cultures and sects. It would actually take some original substance to come up with something of their own.

That being said, I'm celebrating the Solstice with what I hope will be a very unique and interesting shoot tomorrow. We'll see. ;)

-G

Ms Bees Knees said...

*Flashback to msbeesknees Christmas morning when she was little... surrounded by hippies,celebrating the Winter Solstice,listening to John Lennon's Give Peace A Chance, her stocking full of granola bars and fig newtons... msbeesknees runs from the room screaming, "I just want a NORMAL Christmas like the other kids with Santa and the Baby Jesus!!!*

This is what happens when you're raised in the Bay Area. Haha. Happy WS!!!!

Edgar said...

Could you explain to me what "Wiccan" means?

bunny said...

Yah Jen, you're mind's not gone. Easter is an uberpagan holiday, as is Christmas. Okay, I'm blanking on other Christian holidays outside of those two. Anyhow, it's all connected to the Catholic Church's lovely tendency to assimilate aspects of every indigenous religion it encountered. See Santeria and voodoo for Latin American versions of this.

Pisser said...

Dude, I have a cousin who practices Santeria - he is freaky esp. as he is supposed to have been a vegetarian. I think personally he's just trying to be special 'cuz he's not. He's rich :P

I loves me some Pagans, though. I think if we were all more observant of Nature, people in general would be less inclined to sh*t on it and pollute. It's the Christian "value" of exploitation and going forth and multiplying that's causing so many problems. Yeah, that and telling everyone else they have to assimilate. Plus, it doesn't work.

Also hating on the fact that everyone just assumes and tells me "Merry Christmas", like I'm not a big 'ol Jew. Grrrr.

Happy Solstice!

eLr said...

Hey, I'm a Christian, but I hope you don't mind me posting on your blog. I liked what you said about Christmas traditions asimilating other cultural traditions of the areas Christianity came into. It's absolutley true (about Christmas and Easter; and esp ab the Roman Catholics). Personally, of course, I don't think that is all we did, but that's just my opinion.
Santa Clause comes from the German St Nicholas who was at the council of Nicea in 325. The story goes that he heard that some girls from a family in his church (he was a bishop) were going to be forcefully taken and sold into slavery, so he snuck gold into their house (stockings) so that the family could pay off their debtors and not be forced to give up the girls.
Since then he was hailed as someone who gave gifts to needy people to save them from bad circumstances.
Now, granted, this image has changed a little.... haha! ok, a lot! But that is why we do presents in stockings. The presents under the tree are typically based on the three wise men (literaly magicians if you look at the origional Greek texts) who visited baby Jesus when he was ab 2.
Hope you don't mind my adding my two sense. And just a side note: Jews don't celebrate Christmas, as they don't recongize Jesus as the Messiah/Christ. Typically people greet me with Happy Holidays. And so to you all, Happy Holidays!