The Lady Speaks

The Day After – Cleanup

Well, what a day. The presents were opened, the kiddies happy with what they got or else wisely keeping their mouths shut. And I’m happy – I guessed all their sizes correctly for the first time in ages.  No reason for standing in the miles-long return lines! Now that’s a reason to celebrate!

Now the late-December rituals are nearly complete. All that remains is to take down the tree – which I’m stuck with till January 1st, by order of the children – and to make the New Year’s resolutions – which will last only slightly longer than the lovely box of chocolates I received.

What are my resolutions? Hmmmm. Well, I could try quitting smoking again….

Truthfully, I have no idea what to resolve for 2007.

Ideas? Suggestions?

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December 26, 2006 Posted by | America, Christmas, New Year, Solstice | 2 Comments

Solstice – Pray for Peace

From the Wiccan belief:

Lady of Peace who hears the cries of the world
Extend your power through me and with me;
Bless those in harms way.
Bless those who are suffering.
Bless those who are dying.
Bless the lost unknowing dead.
Bless those who love.
Bless those who are helping.
Bless those who are scared.
Bless those who can do nothing but wait.
Bless those who are falsely suspected.
Bless those of limited understanding.
Bless those upholding civil liberties.
Bless those who, though well intentioned, do wrong.
Bless the Ancestors
who love and hold us dear;
may we feel their comfort, too.
Bless those who work and pray for peace
throughout the good, green Mother Earth.
Bless us ALL and hold us safe within your embrace.
So Mote It Be!

Today’s prayer from CelticCross.

December 22, 2006 Posted by | America, Children, Family, Prayer, Religion, Solstice, War, World Peace | Leave a comment

Friday Anti-War Song

Truly, what other song could be posted today?

This is Christmas
— John Lennon

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

 

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

 

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

War is over over
If you want it
War is over
Now…

December 22, 2006 Posted by | America, Bush, Children, Christmas, Family, Government, Iraq, Music, Politics, Protest, Solstice, US Military, War, White House, World Peace | Leave a comment

Winter Solstice Tonight

Tonight we welcome the return of the Sun. The winter solstice, the longest period of darkness, officially begins at 7:22pm Eastern.

Here’s a meditation for Winter Solstice, found at BellaOnline:

During lengthening days of light
May our actions be lighthearted
Upon right and noble impulses.

During quiet hours beyond dusk, before dawn
May we take time to think over events from the day
Plan for good in the morrow.

In light of day
May we extend our personal borders
Caring and sharing expansively.

So the world glows bright from our presence
May we blaze as beacons of harmony
Lighting the path ahead.

To nurture efforts toward lasting peace
May we with act with kindness toward all
Embracing our family and friends wholeheartedly
Ever gracing our world-wide family lightheartedly

December 21, 2006 Posted by | Religion, Solstice | Leave a comment

Pray for Peace

From the Hindu belief:

May the Lord of day grant us peace.
May the Lord of night grant us peace.
May the Lord of sight grant us peace.
May the Lord of might grant us peace.
May the Lord of speech grant us peace.
May the Lord of space grant us peace.
I bow down to Brahman, source of all power.
I will speak the truth and follow the law.
Guard me and my teacher against all harm.
Guard me and my teacher against all harm.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

This prayer comes from Prayers for Peace.

December 20, 2006 Posted by | America, Children, Prayer, Religion, Solstice, War, World Peace | Leave a comment

Pray for Peace

Today’s prayer for peace comes from the Jewish belief:

Let the day come when we turn to the Lord of peace,
when all are a single family doing His will with a perfect heart.
O source of peace, lead us to peace, a peace profound and true;
lead us to a healing, to mastery of all that drives us to war within ourselves
and with others.
Lord of peace, bless us with peace.

— Rabbi Herman Schaalman

December 18, 2006 Posted by | America, Children, Family, Prayer, Religion, Solstice, War, World Peace | Leave a comment

Jenn’s Sunday Sermon

Counting today, there are 14 days left in the year. Today’s sermon isn’t a sermon really. Just a call to everyone to pray or meditate on peace each day until we reach the New Year. Each day, I’ll be posting a peace prayer from one of the various religions/belief systems around the world. Feel free to use them, or one of your own.

Today’s prayer is from the Taoist belief:

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

— Lao Tse

This prayer comes from Prayers for Peace.

December 17, 2006 Posted by | America, Children, Family, New Year, Prayer, Religion, Solstice, War, World Peace | Leave a comment

Tis the Season

The War on Christmas? Apparently it’s on again, at least in this county. I made the mistake of wishing someone a “Happy Holiday”. With great indignity she replied, “I celebrate Christmas.” Well then. I then said “oh” and said I hoped it was joyful.

The second mistake was in not moving on immediately.

She informed me that this is a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, and that she was sick of liberals who wanted to destroy ‘their’ holiday.

When I replied that if their holiday was about shopping until one was deeply in debt, wasting money and time buying expensive gadgets for overly-spoiled children, and shoving their religion in other people’s faces while simultaneously failing to live by the principles of that religion, then maybe it ought to be destroyed – well it wasn’t pretty. Much pearl-clutching and a sort of gasping fish face.

I’m probably off her Christmas card list. Darn. I probably won’t get the newsletter either. You know – “the newsletter”:

Bill is retired now and spends most of his time working on various projects [he’s seeing a 22yo stripper and just bought a cherry-red Corvette] including a new business: refurbishing old properties and reselling them! [He saw an infomercial; we’re going to lose our shirts.]
I’m busy with my charities [drinking heavily] and have started taking some gardening and self-defense classes. [Because if that bastard tries to divorce me, no one’ll ever find the body.] I help out with the new business occasionally as well. [Mostly bitching about how much money we’re losing.] It’s very interesting, working with your spouse. [I never knew how much I hated him until now.]

DarlingSon decided to take a year off college [was kicked out] and had some dealings in the chemistry and legal fields. [cooking meth in the basement; sentenced to 2yrs and probation]. He’s currently working with less-fortunate young men [has been assigned to a half-way house].

DarlingDaughter, you’ll be surprised to know, was recently married [hush-hush JP wedding] to her long-time [2 months together – a record for her] beau, and is currently spending time working in graphic arts [doing spit-and-India tattoos in the senior high lunch room] .

We’re very proud to announce that our first grandchild [not counting DD’s 6 illegitimate ones] will be making his/her appearance in early spring! I’m sure you share our joy with DD and her new hubby, William. [Spike]

The fact is, Christmas as it is celebrated now is a fairly recent amalgamation of various beliefs and rituals the ancient Church stole in order to bring in more converts. Besides which, money is king this time of year, not an ancient newborn.

I’m not Christian, though I was raised in the Protestant faith – three of them, in fact. I used to be “MethoBaptiTerian”. When we would move, Mom always took us to the closest Protestant Church.

Nowadays, I call myself a Zen-Humanist-Pagan, which is really just a name I made up to recognize that I have taken various teachings and rituals from a variety of beliefs, and combined them in a way that makes my life more meaningful. I celebrate the Solstice, but, because I have children, I choose to do some of the ‘traditional’ Christmas stuff, like putting up a tree, as well following some non-Christian traditions. (Want to scare your neighbors? Have your kids run around the backyard with (tiki) torches to ‘wake’ the sun! Let’s just say we won’t be doing that again!)

I don’t have anything against Christians, or anyone who chooses to celebrate Christmas, except when they want to force their holidays to be the only recognized holidays. The problem comes when their holidays are shoved down my throat by people who can’t even follow the precepts of their espoused religion.

I don’t want Christian symbols on government properties or in public schools or anywhere else where religion and state are traditionally separated. Not unless all religions are allowed to put their winter holiday symbols up as well.

I don’t think it’s disrespectful to say, “Happy Holidays” because it’s simply a shorter version of “I want to wish you well as you celebrate whatever holiday of whatever belief system you hold – if you hold one. Since I can’t tell what holiday you celebrate just by looking at you, I will simply express the hope your holiday season – however you celebrate it, if you celebrate it – is a joyful one.”

Let’s take on the first part of the myth: Jesus’ Holy birth – the Immaculate Conception, etc. While I’m of the belief that the man known as Jesus was a wise teacher, and that his teachings are important, his birth story is just another version of the same tale that existed long before his birth.

Mithras is the most likely source for the Virgin Birth myth, having existed at least 5 centuries prior to the birth of Christ.

From http://www.taivaansusi.net/historia/mithraism.html:

Roman Mithras was perhaps the greatest rival to early Christianity for many reasons. As well as being a popular pagan religion practised by the Roman Army, Mithraism had many similarities to Christianity. Mithras was born of a virgin, remained celibate, his worship involving baptism, the partaking of bread marked with a cross and wine as sacrificial blood, held Sundays sacred and Mithras was born on 25th of December. Mithraist called themselves ‘brother’ and were led by a priest called ‘father’ (Pater).

[snip]

These similarities frightened the early Christian leaders – that almost 500 years before arrival of Christ all of the Christian mysteries were already known. To combat this, Christian witters [sic] said that the Devil knew of the coming of Christ in advance and had imitated them before they existed in order to denigrate them. As Christianity gained strength and became the formal religion of the Roman Empire, the ‘Cult of Mithras’ was one of the first pagan cults to come under attack in the fifth century; Temples of Mithras, like most other pagan Temples, were destroyed and Churches build on them.

[snip]

According to Persian traditions, the god Mithras was actually incarnated into the human form of the Saviour expected by Zarathustra. Mithras was born of Anahita, an immaculate virgin mother once worshipped as a fertility goddess before the hierarchical reformation. Anahita was said to have conceived the Saviour from the seed of Zarathustra preserved in the waters of Lake Hamun in the Persian province of Sistan. Mithra’s ascension to heaven was said to have occurred in 208 B.C., 64 years after his birth. This birth took place in a cave or grotto, where shepherds attended him and regaled him with gifts, at the winter solstice. [all emphasis mine]

Sound familiar? As with nearly every other facet of the modern-day Christmas celebration, even the birth of Christ was appropriated from another religion.

Personally, I think all those who want to force Christmas on the rest of us should be forced to celebrate as the earliest citizens of our country did.

From Pagan Claus:

Christmas even started out controversially in North America. Reverend Rel Davis writes:

The festival of Christmas has always been a controversial one in Christianity. The Puritans banned Christmas altogether and during the Cromwellian period in England, anyone celebrating Christmas was jailed for heresy. Probably the most hated of all Puritan laws was the one abolishing Christmas and probably led to popular acceptance of royalty (nb: the Restoration) — at least the King allowed the masses to celebrate Yule!

In America, Christmas was generally outlawed until the end of the last century. In Boston, up to 1870, anyone missing work on Christmas Day would be fired. Factory owners customarily required employees to come to work at 5 a.m. on Christmas — to insure they wouldn’t have time to go to church that day. And any student who failed to go to school on December 25 would be expelled. Only the arrival of large numbers of Irish and northern European immigrants brought acceptance of Christmas in this country. [emphasis mine]

Christmas did not even begin to be a legal holiday anywhere in the United States until very late in the nineteenth century CE, with Alabama being the first state to make it so.

So, all you who want Christmas hailed all over the land…I expect you to be at work or in school on Dec. 25th. After all, that’s what the founders of our country apparently wanted.

December 10, 2006 Posted by | America, Christianity, Christmas, Family, Religion, Solstice | 2 Comments