Happy Thor’s Day
Every once in a while I make the statement that I am a Pagan or have Pagan tendencies. I have to confess the main reasons for this are spirituality and holidays. I suppose this post is more for educational purposes than it is expression of any beliefs I might have; but I do embrace the idea that a truer understanding in the realm of spirituality might be our hearts reaching out to the world around us, and paganism has that in abundance.
By the next Odin’s Eye we will be past Halloween and so I want to talk about the holiday before it happens. I must freely confess now that my favorite holiday of the year is actually Halloween. I never could say that because I was a Christian and minister, but now I can. I love the whole thing. The dressing up in costumes, the carving pumpkins, trick or treat, the whole darkness and death of it. It reminds us all things die and when it comes to the seasons this is particularly true. In a sense Halloween is the celebration of the end of the harvest season and the end of the year for pagans.
Now Christians tend to make anything Satanic if it doesn’t line up with their beliefs but Halloween and Samhain are hardly Satanic. The real problem is that Christians also steal a lot from pagans and the fact that All Saints Day is November 1 is no accident because Halloween is the big day for pagans. It’s about countering it with a Christian holiday. But Christians steal a lot more than that and holidays for Christianity tend to be near to pagan ones and even use pagan symbols but Christianize them.
That said, I like the basic concepts of paganism’s spirituality because it creates a very individualized belief system to the person while at the same time allows community spirit. At the same time, it has aspects of religion that I pretty much as a deist reject.
No I don’t really have faith in what is commonly called Wicca or Paganism on that side of the aisle. When I say I have pagan tendencies, I mean I draw my spirituality from looking at the world around me and my inward self. This means paganism has many schools of thought and most of them have the same religious nature as the monotheistic faiths. I have faith in my abilities to advance myself and be in tune with the world around me. That’s about it, but it lines up with paganism’s basic foundational tenets.
Halloween for the Pagan marks the end of the year and starts the new year with the season of Samhain. The beginning of the long dark period before rebirth and renewal in the spring. Different pagan groups view this differently but Halloween was a celebration originally and Christians are probably the most guilty of trying to add sinister qualities to it to discredit it. Mostly though it is a time and day to honor the past and past people. To honor what has gone on before.
Theologically speaking as a deist who believes in something; but as an agnostic I don’t know what it is, I think paganism is more honest about looking at what we know for sure and honoring it. What can we know for sure? The people who have gone before us that have blazed the path so we are where we are today. Honoring the dead and their work and sacrifices is something we can truly honor and know we are honoring something that is indeed real.
I suppose my most spiritual moment this last summer came while standing at the graveside of my father. Given all that I was going through, I was wondering what he would have said or done at that moment. I have to admit that it was there at his graveside I began to realize some sense of reality of what I was doing and perhaps honoring my commitments. Mostly to my wife. I still struggled after that but that moment left me pondering my life and in the end became the seed of the motivation that caused me to consider reconciliation with my wife. Perhaps there is far more spiritual truth to the honoring those who have gone before. All religions seem to have elements of this and perhaps it is one of the more valuable contributions of religion in general.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.