Celebrating the Seasons


eclectic Wiccan
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Novelty OH USA
In Wicca, there are eight seasonal holidays (or sabbats) pretty evenly spread through the year. Some of them, like Yule, coincide pretty closely with mainstream Christian holiday timing and symbolism.

I'm wondering if people could share their thoughts about how they celebrate the holidays, whether they are Pagan or not. Do you incorporate elements that are not necessarily part of your own religious philosophy into the celebrations? For instance, as a Christian do you have a problem with putting up a tree, talking about Santa and the elves, etc? As a Pagan, do you embrace much of the mainstream winter solstice or other seasonal celebrations into your festivities?

I'm a Wiccan myself, and I don't have any problem personally with honouring other deities alongside my very Pagan ones. As a polytheist I don't have a problem with honouring the symbolic birthday of a sacred infant at the winter solstice, for instance (also because I know other Pagan religions also revered the birth of other deities at that same time of year.)

With Samhain just around the corner as I write this, as a Wiccan I personally have no problem with the mainstream ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, the trick-or-treating, the spookiness and mystery of Hallowe'en. And I know that there are Wiccans who get mad at this time of year over the portrayal of witches, but I personally don't have a problem with the green-faced hag image as I see the crone aspect as just as important as the maiden and mother aspects. Baba Yaga is due Her honour and respect, in my humble opinion, and I think having kids dress up in stereotypical costumes and scaring each other, with the sweet treats as well, is a wonderful way to do this. Not the only way, of course, but one way which does keep the balance of dark and light in mind.

Thoughts? Personal experiences to share? What do holidays like Samhain or Yule or Beltane or any of the others mean to you? How do you celebrate these turns of the wheel of the year?

; )

Ben Gruagach
For some reason, the collective human spiritual experince seems to be without words in essence. The moment we put words to it, it seems to divide us as a species.

I don't feel as if I celebrate any holidays for their religious connotations - there are societal traditions and I partake of them because it is fun.

But, just sometimes, I am reminded of them by some brief contact with the collective spiritual experience of the moment. And in that moment, the actual form of the tradition seems somewhat irrelevant.