It’s that time of year again, and as I mentioned in my post about cozy paranormal romances, one of the cool things about magick is that it still works even if you aren’t doing it the same way as other people, and there way works too.
I am old enough to have fond thoughts of the comic strip Pogo, and every Christmas it seems that Beauregard and Albert would get into a knock down drag out fight over how the words to Deck the Halls went.
It doesn’t matter that their version was Deck us all with Boston Charlie, or maybe Bark us all Bow wows of folly, it was sure important to them. It’s Tradition! And Tradition must not be violated!
Does that remind you of anyone? At this time of year we argue over what sorts of ornaments go on the tree, what we NEED to eat at dinner, and how to negotiate how we handle gifts. So much of it is based on our longing for the familiar, the memories of holidays past. And it’s not just in midwinter.
I’m also old enough to remember people carefully tracing their lineage back to Gerald Gardener and Alex Sanders. People who learned their Craft from books, or from family members who’d done something similar were often accused of being ‘wanna-be’s, or making their lineage up. (To be honest, probably some were.) But unless you accept the premise that what the 1950’s and 1960’s rituals had been passed down from pre-Christian times, the authenticity of the ritual is less important than whether it works as it’s intended. Decades passed. Now we have countless varieties of Wicca, as well as non-Wiccan witches whose backgrounds may include grannies who worked conjur or hoodoo, or were brujas, or wise women. There are Asatru, and Khemetic, Hellenic, Celtic, and other sorts of pagans. December 15th is Cat Herders Day, and that may be a day of celebration for anyone who wants to try to get neo-Pagans to work together, or even acknowledge how much we have in common. But we really do. We all acknowledge the reality of magick, the sacred nature of the Earth, and generally share an aversion to being told how to worship the gods we revere. That’s a really, personal intimate relationship, and we recognise that.
Given what we know about the folk process, it’s pretty clear that when things are passed along by word of mouth, they change. Especially when they are kept secret. I find that in the 21st century we’ve gotten a lot more relaxed about trying to combine both the benefits of tradition, and of creative expression and experimentation. I look forward to a time in the future when our children and grandchildren can share (and argue about) lyrics of songs or traditional Yule or Midsummer recipes while embracing the diversity of our faiths.
Whatever holidays you are celebrating, I hope you get the emotional and spiritual benefit from them that you are seeking.
And BTW, this old witch believes in Santa Claus!