It started out as a winter solstice fertility ritual. On the shortest day of the year – December 21st. There would be rituals to the sun to celebrate it’s return with its warmth and light giving life.
There was much singing, dancing, playing, poetry, drinking, eating, partying and lovemaking as befits a fertility ritual.
We even had the Nordic shaman Santa in his magic mushroom costume (Amanita Muscaria) flying through the sky delivering gifts.
Then the Christians took it over and cleaned it up. Can’t have any of this frolicking, drinking and wenching. They replaced our pagan fertility rite/celebration with a sombre tale of the birth of a different kind.
We got some imaginary fairy tales about stables, mangers, stars, magi, shepherds and hosts of angels. All very far-fetched and distant from drinking, cavorting with the girls and playing music. No orgies in that stable. This was the puritan, hypocrisy of Christmas. The priests could abuse the little boys and girls but sex was nasty.
Then religion and fertility took a backseat to consumerism and it all became a shopping opportunity for mass consumerism to a backdrop of slushy Christmas songs and twee Christmas shows. The result was tacky, gaudy and superficial.
So now we have a holiday (far removed from a Holy Day), in which we indulge ourselves in rich food and drink and put together a mishmash of rubbish from all different sources as if there is any significance to any of it.
We have Santa Claus – the Nordic Shaman.
We have gifts – no longer of knowledge but now usually of tacky consumables that have a shelf-life measured in minutes and end up in the dustbin.
We have a tree – from the days of the worship of nature and trees – the Green Man. (an import from Germany courtesy of Queen Victories husband Albert)
We have tinsel from India.
We have Turkeys from the USA.
We have nativity scenes from Christianity.
We have stars, angels and Jesus – all remnants from Christianity and pagan sources.
We have mistletoe – a pagan fertility symbol.
We have yule logs – Pagan again.
We have cards – courtesy of Germany and Albert
We have advocaat snowballs from Holland.
We have snow and snowmen courtesy of the season.
We meet up, spend lots of money, eat loads, drink loads, exchange lots of gifts and watch a pile of rubbish on the TV.
That’s what Christmas has become – a quite stressful consumer opportunity!!