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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

Blessed Yule!
The wheel spins, sends us down and back up again. The shortest day, the death and rebirth of the year, the liminal feel of the days around this time of year... it's something to both love and fear. It has been for humanity outside of the tropics, ever since we noticed that the slow swing of the sun was entrained with the cycle of the seasons.

I call this time of year "Christmas" almost as much as "the Holidays" or "Yule". Some of this is upbringing, cultural programming- even after more than twenty years of being a Pagan, and thirty or so of not being Christian, it's still in the back of the mind. I'm a lot more at peace with that, than I used to be, and with Christianity the way it's practiced by many of my friends. There is much to admire in Jesus, no matter what has been done in his name.

Also, let's be blunt- the Western celebration of Christmas isn't really very Christian in origin. Some of it is yet another consumerist feeding frenzy, to be true. But its core, its true meaning (to me at least)- that thrill of conviviality and genial license, the emphasis on generosity, family bonds, light against the darkness- that is far older still. Some of it dates back to the Roman Saturnalia, and to the Winter Solstice customs of much of Northern Europe.

But how much does that matter? This is a numinous time- it's big enough for everyone. No one faith or creed owns it, and that's the way it should be. There's plenty of room for all. Room enough for joyful celebration and peaceful prayer, room enough for family gatherings and grand pilgrimages, room enough to give and to receive. Take that from this time; light a flame with it- whether a bonfire on the hill or a candle in the window. Take peace, take joy.

And whatever the name you call this season by, let its light fill your heart.

"In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus."