Thursday, 25 December 2008

Yule tide

Busy day yesterday. I managed to go into town, meet some people, do some shopping and then get home, walk the dog, prepare tea (ok! heat up what Caz had prepared) and by the end of the night i was shattered. It's nice to have the energy again.

This morning woke up late. We walked the dog and now Caz has gone to work until 6pm. I'll get a taxi to get Perry up here and we can eat and relax later on. Heather came around bearing gifts of freshly baked pastries which look divine!

Whilst today, most people have families around and kids have a multitude of gifts. I feel it important to remember those alone, those in hospital, those without homes and those children at risk. If this is a time of reflection then its a good time to take stock of what is around us.

I was raised Church of England, was confirmed but to me it was uncomfortable. I'm a deeply religious man but not in the orthodox way, i have read deeply into the Buddha and the Bible. i have touched the religions of others and to me, its like the martial arts. Amongst the flowery individuality each has to create its uniqueness, at the core of it all is the truth. That empty circle in the middle is where all meet and yet none are.

Whether you read भगवद् गीता Bhagavad Gita, القرآنThe Qur'an, Siddhārtha Gautama , the New or Old testament, they are all about looking for truth. Yet truth is around us all the time but we are blinded to it because we are trying to fit it into our beliefs. That is conflict and if we want rid of that dis-ease then we must simply be observant of what is around us. At this time of year the season is one of sleep, where things die to be be reborn in the soon to be coming Spring.

So today i think of those who are scared of the fact they have cancer, some of which simply will give in. I see their families who wish they would stay in the fight and the professional healers who care for all the patients they come across, the pets who have lost their masters. But i also see those who wont give in, who turn it around and see their illness through different eyes and use their gift of life to heal themselves.

TheThe Armegeddon Days

Have a great day! Rejoice in what you have around you because that is the true wealth.

Yule was the traditional name for the celebrations around the 25th; the festival lasted for twelve days, which are now the twelve days of Christmas. The origin of the word Yule seems originate from the Anglo Saxon word for sun and light. Most likely regarding the rebirth of the sun from the shortest day. In many places fires or candles were kindled to burn through the twelve days that marked the festivities. Another fire tradition was that of the Yule log, lit from the remains of last years log at sunset on the 25th of December. The Yule log was often of Oak or Ash, and the burned remains of it were thought to guard a home against fire and lightning. The ashes were also sprinkled on the surrounding fields to ensure good luck for the coming years harvest. The largest remaining part of the log was kept safe to kindle next years fire. Fraser in his book 'The Golden Bough' suggests that Midwinter was a major fire festival in ancient times, and it is highly probable that the Yule Log was a remnant of that tradition.

Many of the symbols of Christmas echo its aspect of rebirth and hope in darkness. Holly was thought to be important because it retains its greenery right through the winter months, and as such is a symbol of summer life in the winter starkness. Holly was the male symbol of this greenery, and Ivy was the feminine, the two often placed together as a symbol of fecundity at the dark end of the year. There was also a belief that evergreen plants and trees were refuges for the woodland spirits through the winter months.

The Christmas tree may have also been a symbol of the above aspects, although Whistler in his 'English Festivals' suggests that the tree is a carry over from the Roman festival of Saturnalia, when pine trees were decorated with images of Bacchus. The tradition of setting up a Christmas tree within the home is generally traced back to Prince Albert who started the practice in 1841. Mistletoe is another plant associated with Christmas; sacred to the druids, its importance can be traced back to Celtic times, although the original reason for their significance is now largely forgotten.

The 25th of December was also reputed to be the birthday of the Roman god Mithras and the Greek hero Dionysus. Mithras was known as the unconquered sun, hence his association with the solstice time. Early Christianity adopted the 25th as Christ's birthday around the 3rd or 4th century BC, as the early scriptures do not record the day of Christ's birth. This is generally accepted to have been a way of amalgamating Christmas with the older festival of the sun, which was still being observed by the Pagan community.

Today Christmas has many other associations and traditions dating back through the centuries, and stemming from different cultures and influences. It has always been a time for celebration and merry making at the dark end of the year.

Father Christmas or Santa Claus is based on St Nicholas who is the patron saint of children, canonised after resurrecting three boys after they had been murdered. He was associated with the giving of gifts to the poor and needy, and was widely famed for his generosity. Over the centuries his image became amalgamated with other archetypes to become Father Christmas. The red colour was branded by Coca Cola.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas!!!


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