Tis the Season

I am a Pagan who celebrates Christmas.

Yeah, I know, I get that look a lot.

I could give you a whole dissertation on Christmas being solidly based in Paganism, the origin of the Christmas Tree and the majority of the mythologies surrounding Christmas. I could tell you that Yule and Christmas are almost the same thing.

Let me get even weirder. I am a Pagan in the Southern Hemisphere who celebrates Christmas.

Confused?

It’s the Summer Solstice now, not the Winter one. It’s not Yule, it’s Litha.

Better?

Yeah, you can stop looking at me funny now.

Christmas is a very important holiday in my family. My dad, who wasn’t even Christian, absolutely loved Christmas time. He was like a little kid. He fed my belief in Santa until I was 13 years old, even though I stopped believing at 8. But he was Santa. He put gifts under the tree “from Santa”, he filled stockings “from Santa”. He loved it.

Every year, my mom would make mince pies and the Christmas pudding (we make an ice cream cake, because it’s the middle of summer). It was my proudest moment when I was finally allowed to help, and it was bittersweet when the only reason I took over entirely was because her illness no longer allowed her to continue.

On Christmas morning we gather under the tree and have coffee and mince pies and open presents. Then we head over to one or another aunt for the big family celebration.

I am very close to my family. They are everything to me. I adore my aunts and uncle and all my cousins. They are special to me. They make me happy.

Christmas, for me, has little to do with religion and mythology (though I know it’s important to a great many people). It is a time of happiness and family and joy. When everyone is just a little bit nicer to each other, even strangers. When we reconnect and remember the important things in life.

The first Christmas without my dad was very, very hard. This first Christmas without my mom is even harder. Christmas spirit is a little bit lacking, without her saying how lovely the tree looks every five minutes until it drives us to distraction. It’s funny the things you miss.

If it wasn’t for my 6-and-a-half-year-old nephew Xavier, we probably would even be giving it a miss this year.

But that would dishonour my parents.

So. I’m going Christmas shopping today. I’m baking mince pies and making the pudding. I’m going to make sure there are presents “from Santa” under the tree.

Because I am a Pagan who celebrates Christmas.

Why Witchy?

I am Pagan. I am a Witch. I practice Witchcraft and work spells under the full moon and at the Solstices and Equinoxes and other times of power and Magick.

Yeah, I get that look a lot.

Say “Witch” and people picture one of the following:

The Wicked Witch of the West: Evil, conniving (though, really, all she really wanted was her dead sister’s shoes which were, technically, rightfully her’s and should not have become the property of her sister’s murderer), and an animal hater. Green skinned, dry-clean only.

The Cast of Harry Potter: Running around with wands and broomsticks muttering quasi-latin spells under their breath and saving the world. Which is cool anyway.

A Halloween Hag: warty, eats kids for breakfast, has high-pitched cackle.

I am none of these things.

Pictured: Pentacle. Not pictured: warts

I have been a Pagan for ten years. I was first introduced to Wicca when I was 15, and in early 2002 I decided that it was the path for me. I didn’t understand it well, but I liked what I was hearing. I then spent several more years reading about it and studying it, finally completing a course in it in 2008 and undergoing a dedication ritual where I pledged myself to the God and Goddess. I have since become a full Initiated member of my coven.

Being Pagan is not only about Magick and spells. For me, it’s about the total atunement with nature that I gain and further appreciate with each passing day. I feel the changing of the seasons in my blood, breathe in the power of the full moon and have a stronger connection to the Divine than I ever had before.

Many people don’t understand that. They can’t understand why I don’t believe in Jesus or the concept of God as the Bible understands it…

I have no answer, except that my feet are taking me down a different Path. And I am happy. And I don’t wish to be “saved” or converted. If I can respect that others believe what they believe, then I hope that others can understand that I believe what I believe.

I am religious. I pray. I see my God and Goddess in everything that surrounds me. I feel Their hands guiding me.

Religion is personal. Everyone is entitled to believe what they believe. Everyone is entitled to a deep bond with their concept of the Creator and the Universe.

It is a beautiful thing, in all its forms.