Every November rolls around and the plastic Santas come out of hiding. The streets are lined with Red and Green and you can smell the anticipation towards the holiday season in the air. We all know and feel the cycle of the holiday season approaching like a freight train, and if you're anything like me, you've spent a large portion of your adult life filled with dread at the approaching season. I'm a festive woman, I enjoy celebration and spirituality. I just have a huge issue with consumerism and identification with things and festivities I don't believe in.
I love to support causes I believe in and can stand behind, but I have a challenging time lining up to spend all of my money on items that are going to cost to be wrapped under a tree and torn apart and hope that the recipient views them as an offering of love and not money. I have been thinking about Christmas over the last fews years, and as someone who doesn't personally identify with Christianity, I feel sacrilegious celebrating a holiday that cannot resonate with my intentions. Exploring many forms of spirituality I have come to ask myself how can I find something worldwide that can tie together my heritage and upbringing with my own spiritual beliefs? How can I tie the strings of the holidays together to bring meaning and depth into my own practice and share this meaning with my family?
I like to turn to older forms of religion to understand the origins of other holidays to gain more perspective of the original intentions of celebrating at this time of the year. I find myself fundamentally pagan and am always looking for a way to bring my celebration back to nature. The Pagans celebrate something called the Winter Solstice. I can understand rationally and scientifically that this holiday is celebrated because of the transition of the length of day becoming longer once more. Solstice is the shortest day of the year and has the longest night. We can count on this because we rely on the understanding of our planet's rotation around the Sun. In Christianity we are celebrating the "return of light" by honoring the Son (Sun) being born into the world of darkness. In Hanukkah we are also using the menorah to celebrate the miracle of light shining upon the darkness.
If these holidays are placed on top of each other for rational consideration, it seems to me that the one message that remains the same is the celebration of light overcoming darkness. This is a theme that I can jump on board with. If we can celebrate or honor something in life, I think that light prevailing is a profound sentiment and one that can bridge the gap in all religious celebration and in my own spiritual understanding. I like to use traditional colors from the christmas season to keep the energy of the holiday spirit while tying in my intentions with my own spiritual practices. I remind myself that we use the color green in alignment with the heart chakra, evergreen leaves that do not falter in the depths of winter, which bring us strength to get through the winter months.
I decorate with white candles to be symbolic of the light moving into the darkness, and our own inherent connection with spirit.Red is traditionally used in Christmas decorations to connect us to the energy of vitality, blood, circulation, and passion. By utilizing this color in our decorations we are invoking strength, movement, and warming our hearts by reminding ourselves of the things we were passionate about in the year that has brought us to this season. We can use these colors in our decorations without throwing in any nativity scenes or Santa ornaments. (We can add those too if they bring our hearts joy!)
This holiday season, see what sort of creations you can come up with that help connect you to the joy inside of your heart and give you inspiration through the darker portion of the year. I invite you to express yourself fully in the season of giving by giving yourself power to elaborate on your vision of what the holidays mean to you. We are entitled to creating our own traditions and maintaining the amount of joy and love in our life's expression. Sending many blessings to you and yours over this winter season, may your days be merry, May your nights be warm and your heart still and at peace.
©Teketa Shine 2014