Christmas Eve, 2009: Though no one in my family is stoutly Christian in any way, we still gather each year on December 24th and 25th to spend the time together as a group. It's a joyous time, filled with celebratory drinks, a vast variety of traditional Irish and non-traditional foods, and plenty of reflection on the year and years past.
The family gathers in the living room around the real wood fire, surrounding the celebration that is the burning of a Yule log. We remember those things that have come to pass, but we also talk about experiences and things that are up coming in our lives. Often, too, there is an exchange of gifts; it's traditional in our household to open one gift each on the night of Christmas Eve. Yes, my family is usually pretty right on-the-button when it comes to tradition at the festive time of the year.
This year, though, was a little different. Not only was 2009 my first year as an "out of the broom closet" Pagan with my family, but it is also a year in which I have grown up immensely. Moving to university in a city three hours away not only forced me to gain more independence from my family, but it also saw me maturing greatly in the four or so months I have thus far not lived at home. I am responsible for feeding myself; I live in a house with my landlady, who is rarely home because of her work schedule. This leaves me to fend for myself. I cook, I clean, I do the laundry, I pay the bills; it has made me older internally as well as wiser.
Still, though, it doesn't stop me from giving my mother a phone call to see how her day is going. Or a call to my grandmother to check up on her in her little bungalow. Though I am far apart from my closest family members, my mom and my grandma, I feel that our bond is strengthened. Through my growing up and through my realizations that have come from living life as a Pagan, I have discovered and became knowledgeable about some wonderful things, and have also become that much closer with my mother and grandmother.
I feel that the Goddess is alive within the three of us; we are the embodiment of the maiden, the mother, and the crone. Never was this more apparent to me than on Christmas Eve, when my mom, my grandmother, and I were in the kitchen fussing over dinner. The male half of the family had been gracefully kicked out to leave us ladies to the food preparation. Hearing us speak, sharing wisdom between each other from our various view points, I was reminded that the Goddess truly does live through us in her various aspects.
I am reminiscent of the Maiden. Like this aspect of the Lady, I am going through beginnings and changes; I am beginning to experience independence for what it really is. Still, though, at the end of the day, I am an adolescent; even at 19 years old I still turn to my mother for guidance and compassion. At the same time though, I embody the spirit of courage that the Maiden exemplifies. As I step up to take on the challenges that my life presents head on, I meet them with more than mere enthusiasm; I'm tackling life with a renewed view since becoming a Pagan five years ago. Within the next few years, I will be able to complete my phase as the Maiden and move on to the Mother. I will have matured and blossomed, and be ready to move on to the next stage of the Goddess's life and mine.
My mother echoes the same sentiment of the Goddess; she is a maternal being, first and foremost. My mom has always said that she puts my brother and I first -- that we are her life, and she would do anything to protect her children and her family. With my father, she has built an incredibly tight-knit family who will last through thick and thin. She is understanding, compassionate, and loving, just as the Goddess is throughout her life yet particularly so within the Mother phase. My mom is nearing the end of her years as the Mother aspect of the Goddess; soon, she will take on the role of the Crone and will move into the wisest aspect of feminine life.
Finally, my grandmother embodies the Crone. Her many years have left her wise in life and love. She has undergone the transition from being a dedicated housewife and mother to being a strong, independent individual. The Crone aspect of the Goddess is one that is full of wisdom. My grandmother is not short of this. She is a sharp older woman, quick to share the experiences of the past or give her opinion when called upon. My grandmother is teaching us the traditions of our family, something important to her; and to this, we are receptive. While her physical body isn't as strong as it once was, her mind is as strong as ever; she has been through Hell and high-water, experienced death and change firsthand when my grandfather passed away two years ago, and has become an independent older woman who is more than able to take care of herself and also keep our family strong.