Yuletide Fever — Down Under!
by Lee Pike
Adapted and Reprinted with her permission from her blog “Antipodean Witch” at PaganSquare.com
I think I am a little ill.
I've noticed my ailment when I have been visiting the local shopping mall. Rather than sneer or glare at the usual proliferation of Christmas decorations that are decking the halls and the delicious treats (Pfeffernüsse! Get in me!) that are sitting on shelves I've been smiling to myself. Smiling! Carols are playing over the speakers and I don't mind at all. In fact, I'm trilling the yuletide carols. Where did the Grinch go of Christmas past?
I've got the fever. Yuletide fever!
Christmas/Yuletide is an awkward celebration when you live south of the equator. For starters, those snowglobes become a little irrelevant and more than a few items from traditional Yuletide iconography is rendered obsolete in the Australian context. I'll allow my dear readers to connect the dots and refer you to some of my previous blogs about the Summer Solstice and how it collides with Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere. Most Aussies grin and bear it. We throw a few prawns in the barbie, sit in the 40°C heat and whinge a little and carry on with the commercial abomination of Western Christmas over-indulgence. Many of us, including me usually, absolutely hate it. It's crass, it's inconvenient, and it's often overrated. The expectations culminate in a hangover of overeating, exhaustion, and familial resentment.
This year, I'm really enjoying it, and I'm really looking forward to Christmas. I can't pin down exactly why. After a year of largely stepping away from the Wheel of the Year, I'm ready to launch myself straight back into it, and I'm ready for a little bit of anarchy while I'm at it.
This is going to take the form of indulging a 'flipped' Wheel but spreading it thick with a little applesauce that only a Discordian can bring. Some demons are coming to the party and I am going to embrace all environmental aspects of the season. This includes the natural environment: the Summer Solstice, and the fey energies that are embedded within. An acknowledgement of the polar opposition within the Winter Solstice, and the time of turning inward and contemplation that this time of year brings. We live on one planet and I am beginning to look at things from a more global perspective. The cultural environment, too, will play a significant role: my black Christmas tree will receive a heap of trimmings this year that are going to be a little unexpected but a whole lot of fun. (Beginning with Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas.)
My plan is to both observe and celebrate the opportunity for revelry and retreat that this time of year brings for me. Summer Solstice celebrations will be held at my home with my coven, and I am really looking forward to some dastardly plans that will be enjoyed with much merriment, a lot of the color red, and maybe a little bit of sun, sand and surf.
Wish me luck as I move on from my self diagnosis and jump into the treatment that holiday fever demands!
Lee Pike is an artist and witch hailing from Western Australia. Her practice is one woven from both an intiatory eclectic Wiccan circle and a rigorous solitary practice that is heavily coloured with chaos magic and probably too many unicorns. Sarcasm, dry wit and Happy Squirrels are par for the course. Catch up with her at www.chaoswitch.com .
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Why should the Christians (and secular culture) have all the fun at the holidays? Discover the Pagan roots of the Winter Solstice holidays in this special issue.
Look beneath the surface: Santa Claus, whose red, fur-trimmed suit and rolling laughter is found everywhere in December, is more than the patron saint of consumerism. Diana Paxson leads us "In Search of Father Yuletide" in which the Heathen roots of this most popular secular deity are revealed.
But Santa isn't the only Wintertime gift-bringer: St Lucia and the Holly King are also an integral part of European traditions of Winter Solstice. Joanna Powell Colbert celebrates the myth and magick of these two lesser-known Yuletide figures.
And then, there's Jesus. Although this time of year ostensibly celebrates his birthday, our article "Jesus Christ: Pagan Superstar?" explores how the myth of Christ connects into the deep roots of the dying/rising god and questions whether Pagans can re(claim) the ubiquitous folk hero of Western civilization for their own.
And we haven't left out the more popular stories: in "Humbug or Hope?" we explore the deeper meaning of the naysayers of the "shopping season" -- Scrooge and the Grinch.
Plus M Macha Nightmare on the magic of vocal spellcasting; an underworld meditation from R J Stewart, Denny Sargent on the Gnostic path, Patricia Telesco on how to make a stone oracle; and even Pagan reviews of classic holiday films. 80 pages, originally published in the winter of 2000.
From Eve's apple to Persephone's pomegranate, from the golden honey of Oshun to the creamy milk of Brigid, food is the body of the Goddess, Her abundant love made manifest. In these pages, women's voices harmonize in a chorus of joyful grace before the blessing of food. Food is sacred!
Food is also fun, and so this is a cookbook like no other. Goddess-loving SageWoman readers and writers share their recipes, wisdom and stories filled with the joy of yummy. It's about the delights of the Mother's bounteous table — creamy, crunchy, gooey, chewy, cool and fresh, hot and spicy. And, most of all, it's about the connection between the food you take into your mouth and the nourishment you take into your spirit. It's about food as Goddess, and eating as prayer.
Each chapter celebrates the food, rituals, and magick of one of the four seasons, and Renée Christine Yates's black and white illustrations pay tribute to each of them. We encourage you to add your own energy to these pages by printing out the pages and coloring the artwork!
From the Forward, by editor Lunaea Weatherstone.
More than just a cookbook, this is a celebration of the Goddess in the most intimate aspects of our daily life.198 pages of luscious, mouth-watering goodness with over 140 recipes, spells, meditations, poems, and stories. (Includes a full table of contents, and index of all recipes.)
Originally published in 1999, "Soul Stirrings" sold out in two original paper editions. The digital e-book in PDF format is readable on all desktops, laptops, and major e-readers; it is also print-enabled so you can print out your favorite recipe for stove-top reference or to color the pictures and display on your altar!
This issue journeys into the darkness of the Winter Season with a full complement of articles that focus on going boldly where angels (and many Pagans) fear to tread. On our cover is the Prince of Goth Shadow Magick: shadow magick adept Raven Digitalis. Raven talks to Kohinoor Setora about his path, penning the books "Goth Craft" and "Shadow Magick Compendium" and what he believes shadow magick is all about. Next up is an interview with musician and gypsy extraordinaire Scott Helland -- frontman of bands ranging from punk to neo-acoustic and now frontman of neo-goth-gypsy band Frenchy and the Punk.
Next up is a bold splash of water in the face of anyone of "organized" religion of any kind: Corin White's "The Only Authority You'll Ever Need." In a similar radical (even anarchistic) vein is Natalie Zaman's "Everyone's A Psychic (Yes, even you) and Lupa's in-you-face manifesto "Playing with Fire: Why Magic Isn't Safe — But We Do It Anyway.) Finally, in a slightly more genteel version of this theme of self-empowerment is Shanti Fader's article "Be Your Own Fairy Godmother."
Plus: "Lapdancing for the Goddess," Phallic tools for your altar; Isaac Bonewits on the magic of masculinity; magickal role-playing and Pagan culture; a spotlight on the band Dragon Ritual Drummers; loads of reviews and, of course, the inimitable duo of Good Witch/Bad Witch.
80 pages, originally published in Winter of 2008.
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