PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.
Here’s a cool yule idea for you: get outside! Winter Solstice hikes are all the rage, and there are many to choose from; sponsored by area state parks, conservatories, and small businesses. Have your troop meet you at your destination site for the scheduled walk. Revel in the crisp winter air, and observe the magical changes Mother Nature has woven around you. I cannot stress this enough – layers, layers, layers. You can never have too many, and you can always wrap something around your waist, shoulders, or neck if you need to make a temperature adjustment. Don’t worry about hat hair. This really isn’t a time of year for the overly fashion-conscious. By partaking in this healthy ritual, you are embracing the colder season, not fighting it. Chances are good that you will also work up a deserved thirst and appetite.
If your band of merry travelers wish to continue celebrating with an after-party, invite them over to your place for hot cocoa, cider, and mulled wine. Keep it easy and informal. Have a cookie exchange, where people can bring over some of their excess baked treats to share. (There are always an excess of goodies in folks’ homes this time of year!) Be sure to supply plenty of candles on hand, so that everyone has one to light....
This time of year, I always lead my tarot groups in tarot magick gift giving exercises. If you are part of a tarot group, this is an easy and fun seasonal exercise.
Simply ask each person to silently pick another group member to whom they would like to give a gift. Then have them look through their tarot decks and find a card that represents the energy they want to manifest for this person....
We all know that the holiday season can be incredibly stressful, no matter which holidays one celebrates this time of year. This season has always been hard on me, but this year it’s a lot worse. So when I found myself crying in my boss’ office for practically no reason at all, I knew I needed to start practicing what social workers and other healthcare professionals refer to as “self-care.”"...
In Wisconsin, we’ve turned cold, had a snow storm (or several) and had our first real slow down for the winter. I’ve heard nothing but complaints about how we haven’t had cold weather like this since the 1800s. I work with several people who are from the south and they are questioning why they moved to Wisconsin.
It is easy to get wrapped up in the complaining and the whining about how bad it is. With arthritis in every joint in my body, the cold is hard to deal with as it makes me ache. The slippery sidewalks and roads can be treacherous. It isn’t fun to drive down the road following someone who can’t drive in the snow or worse to skid around the road rather than driving down it....
"Thanksgiving is celebrated as a family harvest celebration, and its origins are swept under the rug. Public schools of my era put up decorations of cutesy Pilgrims and Indians and indoctrinated children in the propaganda that Thanksgiving was a continuous celebration from the First Thanksgiving and had been celebrated the same way ever since, and that the First Thanksgiving was when the settlers had a great harvest and invited the happy, friendly natives to the feast."
That's a quote from my latest book, American Celebration. I decided to write this book for several reasons. One was because I decided to go in a more modernist direction in my personal path. I reached the point where I felt that heathenry had gotten enough reconstruction to have a firm foundation and it was time to build the rest of the house. Becoming a viable religion in modern times means we have to think about how we fit into modern culture. I wanted to spend more of my holidays with my family and friends who are part of my real life, and American secular holiday culture provides a framework for celebrating with friends and family of different faiths.
Another reason I wrote this book is because I've heard all my life that the United States doesn't have a real culture like other countries do. It's not true. There are American folkways. I discovered things I never knew about my own country's customs while researching this book, which is new this year.
Another reason I wrote the book is because while I was running for office, one day a woman from another country who happened to be at a political event with her fellow asked me why Americans are always worshipping our flag. That got me to thinking, and I also wrote this book for foreigners who want to understand peculiar customs in the United States.
I'll return to the story of my personal journey on my path in my next blog post.
Here's another quote from the entry on Thanksgiving in American Celebration:
"Thanksgiving as we know it today was created by Abraham Lincoln for the purpose of uniting the bitterly divided American people in the shadow of the Civil War. He created the mythology of Pilgrims and Indians feasting together as a model of how the North and the South ought to come together after the massive bloodshed which had just happened. In reaching back for a foundation myth that reflected a happier and shinier view of the real history of the colonization of America, he hoped to perpetuate a happier and shinier America in his present and the future."
Links to American Celebration:
Amazon (print edition): http://www.amazon.com/American-Celebration-Erin-Lale/dp/1304916138/ref=la_B004GLACQQ_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416415380&sr=1-2
Smashwords (ebook): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/400543
Barnes & Noble (ebook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/american-celebration-erin-lale/1118328548?ean=2940045599979
American Celebration would make a great Yule gift.
One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. It's always been one of my favorite holidays because of the gathering of community and the sharing of food, as well as the playing of board games after the food has been eaten. Then again, I just like social gatherings in general, where people come together to share food and connect with each other. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving holds a special place in my heart. Perhaps one of the reasons I like this holiday so much is that it isn't overtly associated with any given religion. Rather it is a profane holiday, which nonetheless can become sacred.
Actually I think that's true with any given moment you have. There is no moment that is strictly profane or sacred that isn't made that way by the people in that moment. What makes something sacred or profane is our own interpretation of it, and how we choose to embody it. So when it comes to Thanksgiving, the experience of the food, friends, and activities becomes sacred because of how I choose to approach those moments. The making of the food is significant because of the meaning I associate with it. The point I'm making is this: What makes something significant ultimately is your choice to make it important. For many people, Thanksgiving will be a day off, or a day celebrating gluttony or commercialism or any other number of things. For me, Thanksgiving is a holy day. That's my perception of the day, but its also how I approach the various activities of the day. I'm aware of the various other meanings that people have for the day. But those aren't my meanings....