The Green Egg Forum is a lively hotbed of thoughtful discourse, moderated by Cat Gina Cole. In this column, Cat shares some of the most interesting and interactive posts and threads from the forum. Want to get in on the conversation? We would love to have you! Go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1069823176940972/ to join.
This week in the Green Egg Forum Group on Facebook, the point was raised that Christmas has Pagan roots. In that post, some historical facts came up to prove the point and the question was raised:
“Should we, as Witches and Pagans, stop telling people that Christmas was originally Pagan?”
Here are some of the comments that followed that question:
“So the question is what is it you want to happen instead?”
“I think we sometimes ignore that things change and Christmas has undoubtedly changed over time, even seemingly becoming a largely secular celebration in the US. But I feel like failing to make the distinction that modern Christmas itself isn’t a pagan holiday is disrespectful to those Christians who do observe it religiously.”
“We had some short-lived conflict in the house yesterday. There are 5 of us here, each with our own ‘Thanksgiving Traditions’ and ways things have always been done in our respective families over the years. This was our first “big holiday” together as this specific mix of people. We run the gamut as far as spiritual and other beliefs and traditions go. Age ranges from 47 to 61, Christian, Pagan, Jewish, Navy, Army, never enlisted, male, female, staunchly not gay, could go either way, and I could go on and on with the differences between us. Thanksgiving for some of us was the day the tree and Christmas decorations go up. For some of us, it was not. The traditional dishes prepared were different for all of us and were made in many different ways in our histories.
“What was on TV was different for all of us. For some it was football, for others, there was no TV on at all. We settled on Christmas-themed horror movies and everyone was happy. There were compromises made for the sake of there not being any arguing and unnecessary tension in the house on the holiday. That, and a good feast, were all any of us really wanted. It wasn’t spoken, but somehow, it was clear that it was what was wanted. So, things happened that made that possible. The tree went up, but it was decorated and lit up today, for instance. Not really customary in any household probably, but this year, it worked in ours. People walked away to prevent arguments and tension, rather than stay and fight a battle that wasn’t going to matter today.
“People conceded that their way was not the only way to do something and let someone else handle it without being outwardly mad about it. They made conscious efforts to make the day pleasant for everyone, whether it was how things were done in their history/traditions/beliefs or not. Why can’t members of our ‘Pagan’ family do this? Why can’t we metaphorically put up the tree, but maybe decorate it tomorrow, even if it goes against our own personal traditions, so we can live together and engage with each other pleasantly?”
“I just continue to teach every chance I get to put correct information into the world. I can only be the witch I want to be and I try to remember I may be the only example of a witch someone ever meets, so I answer questions when asked and I don’t spend time debating my truth.”
Another question that was asked in the forum this week was:
“We know Witches can be Christian, but can Christians be Pagan?”
Here are some of the replies:
“Evangelical Christians are too exclusivist in their monotheistic fervor to be Pagan; they often condemn even their fellow Christian sects/denominations. But many more liberal Christians, like the Unitarian Universalists can span the gap. My wife was such a Christo-Pagan. The Christ was her deity of choice, but she accepted the deities that others chose as well. The Bible is not kind to Pagan belief; its Old Testament God is jealous and frankly mad. But the New Testament God offers a new covenant–I like that word, coven – ant. He says only love each other; that is all. Crowley quotes this God when he says “Love is the Law, Love under Will.” Indeed, Love must be an act of Will, it must be intentional and deliberate, not an obligatory act. Love is the Law, but you must choose Love, and not just submit to it.”
“Of course not. Christians by definition are monotheists or Trinitarians; Pagans are polytheists. Christians’ own written laws forbid the worship of other gods.”
“When we think about paganism it is easy to get caught up with polytheism as the basis for practicing paganism in the modern era however there are many ancient beliefs such as early Judaism (1600 BCE) and many aspects of what pagan mystics practice today like hermeticism which originates somewhere in the medieval era. It is absolutely possible for a Christian to practice paganism and follow a monotheistic belief”
“I have always said that being a Christian Pagan is sort of like being a Vegan Carnivore. I just don’t think you can walk on both sides of that fence.”
“People can be whatever they want to be. I’m a Wiccan Jew”
“In witchcraft, which is a practice, no deities or many may be included. It is not a religion, based on the current definitions of religion. One could follow these practices regardless of religious beliefs.”
“Everything is possible outside of fundamentalism. It’s the fundamentalists (or “fundies” as one of my teachers used to label them) who gatekeep and ruin everything. Once we push aside the people who feel that theirs is the one and only way, I find there is very little difference between “all things are divine, divinity is right here within us,” Vs “The Divine is everywhere in all things, even in us.”
“Fundamentalists from all religions and philosophies agree on 1 thing: everyone is wrong and doing it wrong and all are deserving of punishment on that account.”
“Mystics & spiritualists from all religions and philosophies agree: all is sacred, existence is divine, and your path might not be my path but we all have something to learn from each other.”
There was much more that was commented on for each of these posts, but for that, you will have to join us in the group at https://www.facebook.com/