Candlemas

Why, what’s the matter, That you have such a February face, So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness? – William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing (V,iv) Tomorrow is the ancient festival of Imbolc, celebrated by the Celts as the beginning of spring and the day sacred to Brigit, the goddess of fire and healing.

Continue reading »

Yule 2014

Here comes the sun, Here comes the sun And I say it’s all right.  –  George Harrison Some people wonder why I, a pagan, celebrate Christmas.  Certainly many pagans don’t, and the same could be said of many atheists and many others of non-Christian faiths.  At the same time, many other non-Christians do indeed celebrate

Continue reading »

Even This Shall Pass Away

Lady fairest ever seen Was the bride he crowned his queen. Pillowed on the marriage-bed, Whispering to his soul, he said, “Though a bridegroom never pressed Dearer bosom to his breast, Mortal flesh must come to clay: Even this shall pass away.”  –  Theodore Tilton, “The King’s Ring” Every year on the Day of the

Continue reading »

Valentine’s Day

Most Christian holidays are based on older pagan ones, and Valentine’s Day is no exception; like Christmas, the modern celebration of love has much darker origins in a very ancient Greek festival which involved human sacrifice and cannibalism.  The original reason for the festival of Lykaia is unknown, but it was held in Arcadia sometime

Continue reading »

6000 Years of Christmas

Holidays are protean things; not only do the rituals by which we celebrate them change, but also their rationales and even their names.  Over the course of millennia a celebration may eventually change so much that it no longer appears to be anything like it was to start with, yet there are always similarities and

Continue reading »

Cleansing Fire

I personally call the type of government which can be removed without violence “democracy”, and the other, “tyranny”.  –  Karl Popper The casual reader can be forgiven for arriving at the erroneous conclusion that I become dreadfully morbid in autumn.  It starts subtly with my meditation on the dying year every autumnal equinox, increases through

Continue reading »