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When family and societal traditions no longer resonate…

So Christmas has just passed and as usual I felt the (now mild) annoyance and inconvenience I always feel at this time of year. Everything is so much busier, there’s pressure to attend more events, people spend money they can’t afford, prices on things go up, we are bombarded by Xmas themed crap everywhere we go and worst of all – people put expectations on us and we can be judged harshly if we don’t comply.

For some it might be great to get some public holidays and others might get a thrill out of decorating their houses, but generally Xmas and other such holidays are a giant multi billion dollar commercial venture. For me it begs the question – What does it all really mean? There is so little in society that seems sacred anymore.

I think by now that it’s pretty well known (and if it isn’t for you, read on) that Xmas as with all Christian celebrations and holidays, are based on ancient Pagan practices.
The pagan celebration of Litha – is between December 21st-22nd to mark the Summer Solstice and honour the Sun. It’s the longest day of the year and a time of celebrating the abundant harvest, a time to be thankful for all the abundance in our lives. At Litha we celebrate fertility, growth, success, power/energy, creativity, prosperity and Mother Nature.

I confess I don’t know much about the Christian celebration of Christmas as it has never in my whole life interested me but I suspect many others don’t know the real meaning of it either. So where is the sacredness?

Time off, presents and time hanging with family sounds pretty awesome but how do you actually FEEL when you indulge in these activities? Are you thinking about Jesus? Or are you just thinking about having some time off? The fact is that in this day and age I think Australia being described as a ‘Christian Country’ is way outdated and in reality, most people just want to spend a day hanging with their loved ones.

So my next question is….If you don’t actually believe in the institution of Christmas – why are you still observing it? Is it because that is how you were brought up? Is it because you are buying into societal beliefs? Is it because you feel like an asshole if you don’t buy your kids presents knowing that they have been working on their Xmas wish list? Or is it that you just love it for reasons you don’t need to explain?

For me it is familiar traditions and an expectation from my children. I was brought up celebrating Xmas. There was no religion whatsoever but there was visitors and celebrating all day – as well as lot’s of presents which is all we cared about as children. Other then a piss up for the adults and seeing family there was no meaning to the day. As I got older and became more embedded in my own faith I started to resent the commercialism and expectations placed on me. I wanted to celebrate what I believed in and create my own traditions for my family.

So about 20 years ago I started to do both – I followed the beliefs of my Pagan faith celebrating this time of fertility and the harvest with an abundant feast with friends and family. Then on Xmas day I’d hang with my family doing what we’ve always done – eat, drink and be merry.

About 5 years ago I informed the family that I wouldn’t be even doing a tree or decorations anymore on Xmas day (even though my tree was black!), or chocolate and presents at Easter, or any other kind of Christian celebration – and the reaction I got from my grown children was pretty incredible. To this day they call me the ‘wrecker of Xmas’ 😂

To compensate I make us a beautiful Summer Solstice/Xmas altar each year with everything I wish for my family on it, and they all secretly love it.

At the end of the day, there are always reasons as to why people celebrate the way they do and we must not judge them, but understand them.
And in understanding others we can better understand ourselves. I celebrated Xmas and Easter for most of my life because that’s what I was brought up with, and I loved it – until I didn’t because it just didn’t feel right anymore.

These days I am more interested in daily acts of love (instead of making 2 times a year special) and connection as well as honouring the Wheel of the Year with the Sabbats as they remind us to stay in tune with the Earth and her cycles.

I understand first hand how hard it can be to separate yourself from traditions you have been following from childhood, but if they do not resonate with your soul then is it time to let go?

Love Bella x

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