Occupy "The Holiday Season"!

I don't mean in any way to imply that having "more holidays is better"—not by a long shot. Am I able to celebrate every single holy day of the year on my calendar in a big and extravagant manner? No, of course not—it's impossible, at least by my current resources of time and finances. I can always do more, and am constantly vigilant for ways I can improve my practices and their quality, but I also realize that sometimes things just don't work out and admitting an honest failure to meet an obligation is the best I can do. However, I am able to mark these occasions, usually, in some manner or other, no matter how small it may be, that makes them a departure from my daily practices and the rest of my quotidian routines.

And while I know this is perhaps a controversial suggestion, I think that having a multiplicity of regular holy days that are different and divergent might be a good method to adopt for people who are averse to having a daily practice, because it keeps things interesting and different and can easily alleviate any possibility of boredom or inertia. I don't necessarily think that everyone needs or should have a daily practice in modern Paganism and polytheism, for a variety of reasons, though I personally don't know how one could avoid confronting the reality of the gods and the desire to pay them cultus on a daily basis, but, that's my own difficulty!

The celebration of holy days in Paganism and modern (as well as ancient) polytheism presents all sorts of opportunities, and is infused with various significances. Some holy days mark turning points of the cycles of nature, or of the planet's yearly journey around our local star. Some memorialize particular mythic events, while others memorialize historic events. The point of all of them, though, is to put one into harmony with those larger cycles, and into contact with those events of the past (whether historical or mythic), in the hopes of making connections to the "eternal now" in which the gods are present for us in both the natural world and its cycles and in the actions of our everyday lives, whether at particularly significant annual cruxes or on the anniversaries of important events. These are timeless junctures in which we enter into contexts of larger meaning, where every action and word assumes a quality that is numinous and expansive.

These holy days feed our spirits greatly, and sustain us in between such occasions despite whatever difficulties and trials we face in our non-religious-specific existences. The more such occasions there are to stop and reflect, and to stop and (re-) connect, the greater the likelihood that our daily lives will take on some of that divine energy, presence, and significance—and, with time and patience, it becomes possible that every day may be a holy day.

So, by taking a step back and understanding that phrase "The Holiday Season," I think we can critique it from a Pagan and polytheist perspective as inadequate, if not entirely moot. But, don't dismiss it—re-take it, inhabit it, occupy it fully. Do whatever it is that makes you come into contact with what is holy as much as you possibly can, and don't let the boundaries of retailer's prime sales periods dictate what is and isn't a holy day, or a whole season of holy days. Of course this is a "holiday season"—just like every other season.

11/25/2011 5:00:00 AM