Friday, December 25, 2015

Celebrating Christmas as a Pagan

Christmas is here! I hope you have a very merry one.

I have been asked by a few if I celebrate Christmas since I am Pagan. Yes, I do but not the religious version.
Christmas, as I see it, has 2 different versions. There is the religious celebration in which the Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Then there is the secular, or non-religious, version in which we celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus, Rudolph the red-nose reindeer, Frost the Snowman, etc. This is the one I celebrate.
Every Christmas season, Rit and I will go see Santa. We drive around the parks and neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights. Spartan and I put up and decorate a Christmas/Yule tree every year. Rit and I get our pictures done each year so that I can send out Christmas cards. On Christmas Eve, Rit and I will track Santa on the NORAD tracker as he crosses the globe. And Christmas morning we wake up and open the gifts Santa left us, followed my a trip to my parents' house for breakfast and more gifts.
For years after I had converted to Paganism, I continued to help out at my parents' church with organizing a giving tree drive to help families have a Christmas. We collected gifts, gift cards, donations to the food pantry, and more. Now, I have plans to work on knitting scarves and, once I learn how, hats and donate them to shelters.
This is how I, as a Pagan, celebrate Christmas. I spend it with the people I love and by trying to make the world a better place.

My religious celebration is Yule, which is celebrated on the Winter Solstice.  We celebrate the rebirth of the sun, the lengthening of days. It is considered a fire and feast celebration (ever wonder where the term Yule Log came from?). Hearths are set ablaze to warm the home. Feasts are served as the meat from the slaughtered cattle is considered fresh. One last feast to last until Ostara when the Spring Season returns. It is a time of celebration, a time for family.

Whether someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or just Happy Holidays, please take it in the spirit intended and wish them a wonderful season.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed Yule everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

2015 Year in Review

It's hard to believe that 2015 is almost over and 2016 is nearly here. As I look back on 2015, I am amazed at all that happened this year.

My son, Rit, started preschool at the beginning of the year. Getting him on an IEP and into school has helped so much. While his speech does have a long way to go, it is better than it is. He has matured so much this year. I also feel like he is not as delayed developmentally as he was. He loves school. He was also diagnosed with ADHD this year. We already knew, but having the official paperwork allows us to get him the extra help he will need. 

Back in April, I started dating an amazing man, Thespian (from his love of theater). It's hard to believe that it has been 8 months so far. I feel very lucky to have him in my life. He has shown me what is to truly love and trust someone. Rit loves him too and that means so much to me. Whenever I'm on the phone with him, Rit will tell me "I want to talk to him!" and Thespian adores him too. I am looking forward to what the new year will bring for us. 
I was able to introduce him to OHRF this year which I enjoyed.  Thanks to him, I did karaoke for the first time this year too. Attending the Dickens Festival was so much fun. I was so glad that I was able to stay the entire day, and spend it with him. We are already discussing plans for next year, such as additional renfaires and perhaps getting to (finally) go to Mammoth Caves. 

Things my ex-husband continue to go well. With all of Rit's issues going on this year (IEP, ADHD, pre-school, etc) we have had to work together a lot to do what is best for Rit. People continue to be amazed that we are able to work together so well. For me, it all about putting Rit first. We are planning on co-hosting Rit's 5th birthday party next year actually. It does make me happy that we are able to do that. Now to figure out what to do for it! 

Another thing I did this year was learn to knit. This was a big deal for me because of my paralyzed hand. I have learned the basic knit and purl stitch, and with those the garter, stockinette, rib, and seed stitch. I have been making scarves for people as gifts this winter (5 done already, 6 to go!). Next I need to learn how to add and drop stitches so I can make things like shawls. After that it will be things like knitting on the round to make hats and mitts. I am really enjoying it. I have found it rather calming for those times my anxiety starts up, which studies show is not unusual for crochet and knitting. Focusing on counting stitches and rows can help interrupt the negative thoughts The rythmic actions of the hook or needles can help calm down a rapid mind. So it's actually great for people with bipolar! 

I think 2015 has been a great year overall for me. It makes me smile. And I look at the people in my life right now, those I consider my good friends, my best friends, my boyfriend, my son..... I am a very lucky wench.