Where the Wild Things Are: I Believe in Santa Claus

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, December, 25, 2003.

I believe in Santa Claus. Maybe I just choose to believe. But I think there’s more to it. In part it’s the Christmas spirit generated in this season, sharing good cheer and love, friendship. Maybe it’s the atmosphere of giving and not just taking. Maybe it’s the strength of all those children who also believe in Santa Claus. All those things combine and make strong magickal forces. You may scoff all you like. But the fact is this is a powerful time of year. Each person wandering around with their own part in the whole of the Christmas spirit contributes to the power. Each good deed, each gift shared and each friend greeted is part of a huge ritual taking place.

Children traditionally set out offerings for Santa: milk and cookies, something for the reindeer and a tidbit for the elves. We send him notes asking for blessings. Santa also has ritual music and poetry, widely known and frequently chanted at this time of year. The rituals are passed on to each new child, carried along and given new life for each generation.

All those people, no matter what path they follow, know about Santa Claus. He’s the focus of the spirit of giving and good will. For children he’s the figure of authority, he who must be pleased. Cultural icon, old wives tale or commercial legend, Santa has been given power and there doesn’t need to be an actual human being for that power to exist. We don’t need to see a man in a red suit driving an air borne sleigh, packing a bottomless bag of toys to believe in Santa Claus. It’s all around us, every moment of every day in this season.

So, scoff if you choose. But, I believe in Santa Claus. I like it that way.

Merry Yule, Seasons Greetings and leave Santa a little something tonight.

Where the Wild Things Are: Yule or Christmas

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, November, 23, 2003.

Christmas, by that name, is a Christian holiday, Christ’s Mass is how it started as far as I remember. Also, if you want to get technical, holiday is also a Christian word, coming from holy day, the long, extended version before the remix.

I was thinking tonight, do you call it Christmas or always religiously, in a semi-fanatical way, call it Yule? To me, I don’t think the small things are worth fighting against the tide over. I don’t mind calling it Christmas or a holiday. I know what it means to me. I know where it comes from, historically and spiritually.

I also know how I celebrate it. I don’t go to a church, not one recognized by the average Yellow Pages phone book. I live in my ‘church’ it’s always with me and all around me. Mostly, I just like being outside. That’s when I feel closest to everything that matters and makes me feel good.

So, for me Yule or Christmas, is about time outside as well as our family traditions. The Christmas tree, singing carols, the exchange of new pajamas on Christmas Eve, the big dinner, making bread together, driving around admiring the fancy coloured lights, and so on. My favourite things are fresh, new snow on Christmas day and admiring the tree all lit up and decorated with ornaments we’ve made and kept from year to year and relatives past.

However you feel about Yule, remember the spirit of the season. Don’t insist people recognize you as Pagan, call it Yule whenever you might be listening and don’t make someone feel their Christmas is less than your Yule. Play nice. Religious tolerance works both ways.

Where the Wild Things Are: Can you Be Yourself and Be Pagan?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, August, 24, 2003.

Being Pagan isn’t about putting on a show. It’s really a very personal thing, a choice you might keep to yourself forever or reveal to your family or friends. They call it coming out of the broom closet cause that’s kind of cute. But, you were never in a closet. Being Pagan is about being free, living with the Earth and respecting our history/ traditions. How can those be bad? Why would you have to keep that under wraps?

I think people think they have to prove a point or show off when they yabble on about how Pagan they are. In the case of craft names especially, those were meant to be secret, from everyone! But here and there you can find Pagans using their craft names more than the name on their birth certificate. Some rationalize it and say that’s their public craft name and they keep a secret one, privately. So, why the show?

Can you be yourself and be Pagan too? I think that’s what it really comes down to.

If you have to dress a certain way, display certain objects around you and change your name to fit in, where do you really fit in? Being Pagan should be comfortable, part of who you already were. It should add to you, not reprogram you.

Think about your own Pagan or Wiccan lifestyle. Are you putting on a show or are you just being Pagan cause that’s part of who you are? If you have all the toys and gadgets chances are you’re really missing something. If you’ve copied tons of spells from the web but never written any of your own, chances are you’re missing the point. Reorganize, rethink and stop to breathe, find out what part of yourself is Pagan and relearn. Get back to the essentials, rediscover being Wiccan and have fun again. You can’t be having fun if you’re always trying to catch up to some ideal of what being Pagan should be. You are Pagan, you made that choice, so just go ahead and be Pagan. No song and dance required.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Celebration

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 22, 2003.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox. I should be doing something, celebrating the changing seasons. But I’m not. I’ll be at work from 9:00am till 8:30 at night. By the time I’m done I will be too tired to drive myself home. But, I have to do that so I’ll manage somehow. Times like that I’m so glad it’s the car that does all the work!

Anyway, real life does interfere with how Wiccan or Pagan we would like to be. That’s ok, it’s reality. If I was to skip work and the big meeting after work, that would be living in some unreal imaginary world of my own creation. I have to work to make money to pay for my car, my rent and the clothes I wear while I do all those other things. Now and then I even treat myself to a new book, a fancy coffee or a day of window shopping.

It’s ok to live in the real world. It’s ok to miss a Pagan celebration. It would be nicer to not miss it. But, really as long as I’m alive and still on this planet I’m not missing a thing. As I drive I’ll be looking at the darkened forest I drive through on the way home. I’ll be watching for deer and foxes who sometimes show up along the roadside in the evenings. I’ll be listening to the sounds of the night as I drive with the windows down to let in all that cool night air and the scent of crisp Autumn leaves.

You may not light candles, perform rituals or chant pretty rhymes but that doesn’t mean you’re not celebrating along with the rest of the world. It’s what you have in your heart, mind and soul that matters, even if you only express it to yourself. You don’t have to prove how Pagan you are to anyone but you.

Where the Wild Things Are: Are you Superstitious?

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, October, 22, 2003.

Are you superstitous? Don’t deny it too quickly. There are sorts of little things we do without even considering them to be a superstition. Do you read horoscopes? How much credit do you give to them? Would you consider your day not as great if you have a poor horoscope? Kind of superstitious aren’t you?

Wicca and Witchcraft are full of superstition though we might deny it. I think, Pagans in general, try to distance themselves from the occult and the superstitions which have all gotten a bad reputation.

It’s funny cause the very stuff they deny is partly what their beliefs are based on. Occult was a word long before Wicca. Meanwhile, I expect superstitions have been around right from the first people on the planet.

Most people think about superstitions around weddings, births and deaths, the major life events. I think those are the times when we are most off balance, in need of some extra sign or guidance that everything will be ok. That’s really what a superstition is. Just that extra assurance that you’re going to be all right.

Of course, some superstitions are safety precautions. You should avoid walking under ladders, breaking mirrors and squishing spiders. Not because you fear having a run of bad luck but because it’s less likely ladders will fall on your head, glass will cut your hand and spiders are needed for eating other bugs. It’s all logical and reasonable.

So go ahead and avoid stepping on cracks, tossing salt over your shoulder and so on, guilt free. Superstitions might be soffed but they have their own purpose and history. As long as they harm none what’s the harm in humouring your own superstitions?

Where the Wild Things Are: Magick versus Magic

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 11, 2003.

Magic versus magick. Where do you stand on the word?

Magick isn’t in the dictionary, so far. But I think it’s a good addition to the language. It shows a difference in magic as done by a magician versus magick as done by a Witch, Wiccan or Pagan type person. We aren’t doing card tricks to amuse kids at a birthday party. Our magick is not entertainment. As much as I appreciate and enjoy magic, I don’t want to see magick called magic.

Confused? Then let’s add to your confusion. What is a Witch compared to a Wiccan or a Traditional Witch?

In my opinion (notice the qualifier) a Wiccan is someone who follows the ideals set out by Gardener and friends in the last century. Traditional Witches are those who come from a family of Witches, thus they inherited the traditions. Meanwhile Witches are those who base their witchery on herbalists, wise women and men from ages ago and whatever else they can discover from the long ago past.

Does that help or do you want even more confusion to add to your confusion? Let’s just add the words eclectic and solitary to the mix. Can you be a solitary eclectic? Of course. Solitary just means you choose to be alone, not a member of a coven or some such group. Can you be solitary and a coven member? No, that kind of defeats the whole solitary thing. Anyone can be eclectic. There are so many ideals, traditions and so much history that it’s really hard to find someone who agrees with another person about everything. So, most of us could call ourselves eclectic. Does that mean you should? No, it’s too confusing. Find something to describe your style of Wicca or Witchery and stick with it. You don’t have to be a carbon copy of everyone else but you can make everything simpler to understand. Besides, in the end we are all part of the group of Pagans.

Confused?

Go find some answers. Don’t be shy.

Where the Wild Things Are: Pagans and Writing

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, November, 7, 2003.

What have you written or published lately? Not that every Witch or Pagan needs to be a writer or share their writing with others. But, we do tend to be journal keepers of some sort. Most like writing in their Book of Shadows; thoughts, ideas and experiences. Some choose to go farther and share those same ideas and experiences with others. Of course, each of us chooses where and how large our audience is. Also, how personally connected they are to yourself.

Anyway, I’ve found a lot of Pagans in the arts: writing, crafting and so on. We’re a pretty artsy bunch.

If you do want to dip your toes in the water and share your Pagan writings you can find plenty of online groups. Some are geared to specific areas of Paganism and some are geared to those who are Pagan and writers. It’s not trading one craft for another, it’s growing yourself and your craft.

Of course, you are taking a chance. You can count on finding someone to disagree with whatever you write about. Sometimes they disagree in the form of an attack against you personally. You can choose to ignore this immature stuff, though it’s not easy to stop yourself from feeling defensive. This is all very personal stuff after all. But, if you’re lucky enough to stumble into a group of like-minded people you will have so many new ideas, new angles and slants on old ideas and access to so many experiences. It’s like finding a vast treasure vault without having the expense of hiring a boat, getting seasick and risking pirate attacks, well something like that. You get the idea.

Anyway, this newsletter is one of the things I have written to share with other Pagans. Before this I write a few articles for a print zine and assorted other odd bits here and there. Some newsgroup postings too but that was quite a long time ago before the newsgroups got so snit picky.

I wouldn’t count myself as some grand high authority on everything Pagan. But, I do think I have some ideas and a sense of what I believe to be right and good that I can share. You, the reader, can decide how you feel about what I write. I’m always glad to hear from you, even if you don’t think everything I write is glorious and completely right. We all see things differently and what feels right to me could seem completely crack-brained to you. I don’t mind. I’ll listen to you and make up my own mind. Just as I expect you do with the blatherings I type in here.

If you do post/ publish your Pagan writings online let me know. I’ll be glad to give you a link in the newsletter. Although I believe in reading things I don’t agree with, in order to get more perspective, I won’t link to or promote something I believe is completely harmful.

Seasons Greetings (cause it’s always some season).

Where the Wild Things Are: Karma, Goodness and Light

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, August, 12, 2003.

Witches don’t believe in hell, or devils or satan, none of that Christian stuff of nightmares. (Note: I’m sure there is someone who is thinking even now… “that’s not true, I believe in devils, imps and the like”. In my opinion, that’s your choice but most Witches wouldn’t agree).

Anyway, if Witches don’t believe in Christian baddies, is there anything evil that we do belive in? Or is everything all light and good and pure with the world?

No, we do believe there are consequences to your actions and choices. There is the three fold law, there is karma and there is the Wiccan Rede. But, that doesn’t really answer the question, does it?

I do believe there are bad things out there. I don’t trust that everything around us is goodness and light. But, I tend to seldom think about anything negative in that way. It’s not a focus in my day to day doings. If you don’t dwell on evil (whatever word you would call it) it won’t notice you either.

To me even talking about evil sounds a bit looney toon. In the end, people make choices and that is what brings consequences to themselves and the rest of the planet/ people. The evil comes from ourselves, not so much from an outside source. Yes, I think there is an outside source but it’s only as strong as we ourselves make it.

Each day is a new day and you have to choose who you will be, what you will believe in and what you will do.