Dec 13, 2015

Posted by in Gods and Godesses, Holidays, Mythological Characters, Mythological Creatures, Paganism, Yule | 0 Comments

I’ll Call It A Yule Tree

A Christmas tree farm in Iowa, United States.

A Christmas tree farm in Iowa, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, my family and I took our annual trip down the road to the nearest Christmas tree farm. Picking out the tree took a bit of time, as always, because we needed a tree that wasn’t too tall, but that had strong enough branches for heavy ornaments. My 9-year-old spotted the perfect specimen this year. Being the earthy-crunchy pagan sort, we knocked three times on its trunk before cutting it down, in order to release the tree spirit within. Then we strapped our tree carefully to the top of the car and drove the short way home. Soon, our tree will be adorned with lights and ornaments, none of which are the least bit Christian. And yet, any Christian seeing that tree won’t think it odd at all.

It never ceases to amuse me how “normal” it is to be a witch at this time of year. People say, “Merry Christmas” to me and I say, “Joyous Yule” right back. Everywhere I look, there are evergreens being brought inside. These days, I see a whole lot of Santa figurines that bear an awfully strong resemblance to Odin.

One of our children’s books, written originally in Swedish, makes reference to “The Christmas Goat”, which turns out to be the last remnants of the worship of Thor, crossing the sky in a goat-drawn chariot. That benign caprine becomes much more sinister in the Alps as Krampus, the demon shadow of Saint Nicholas, who promises far worse than coal for naughty children. Unfortunately, Krampus looks entirely too much like a grotesque version of the Horned God to my taste, but I suppose one can’t have everything.

As I write, both the sun and the new moon are in Sagittarius. Though Chiron is the figure of mythology identified with Sagittarius, I’m thinking of another archer – his teacher, the wilderness goddess Artemis. The fir tree and the cypress are sacred to Artemis. Indeed, evergreens of all types have been treasured at this time of year for thousands of years, and in cultures from Ancient Egypt to the Celtic lands. Perhaps it’s gratitude for greenery when so many growing things have died or gone dormant. Or maybe we want to bring in something fragrant from outdoors when the cold coops us up. Maybe it’s a way to remind ourselves that this too shall pass; life does continue. Whatever our reason for the season, we have a lot more in common than we might realize, and that’s something to celebrate!

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