With the ‘holidays’ coming up I feel I am about to be swallowed up in the ‘traditional’ frenzy that begins soon and feel the desire to set some boundaries for myself.
I have heard enough complaining from Christians about losing their privilege to celebrate their customs and I am not saying they can’t say Merry Christmas, or have their kids act out plays from their chosen mythologies, but they could do this in the privacy of their homes and churches and not expect the whole community to have to participate in their rituals.
It’s time they learned to share this reality with others.
I do understand that many people believe that because they were raised in a certain way and their parents and grandparents were, that they have the right to expect everyone else to conform to their customs because they happen to live near them. I have never embraced that belief and have often felt insulted by it, but I have tried to understand it.
I understand how much our unconscious mind dictates our perception of reality and therefore what we collectively make together, and understand that when you are raised in one culture, you believe that that is the right way, even if you suffer for generations. Many who are recovering from dysfunctional family systems, or war or genocide experiences know what I mean there.
During our circumnavigation of Newfoundland we really noticed a huge difference in the culture that evolved on the shores of Newfoundland and the culture that evolved in St. Pierre et Miquelon, which is under France’s dominion. I am not saying one is better than the other, I just noticed totally different cultural evolution’s based upon the personal beliefs, experiences and expectations of the ancestors of the inhabitants living there today.
The communities, ways of life, architecture and social and cultural influences manifested as very different realities even though they all had the same landscape to breed in. One could really see how ancestral patterns contribute to the current way of being as expressed by the cultures that evolved in these contrasting island communities.
I understand the concepts of ‘soul archetype’. I have had access to some profound teachers, and I can apply those understandings to my perceptions and reach greater awareness because of that. I also, from these teachers, understand that my awareness is taken from the collective understandings of generations of human and spiritual concepts and are not ‘mine’ except as I utilize them. I believe this is the same for all of us.
I understand Christians are drawing from their source book and even though I find most of what is written there, especially the condoning of rape and murder appalling, I try to respect their right to believe the stuff written there, as I try to respect everyone’s books, histories and beliefs. But it does not mean I believe it, or choose to live by those precepts.
I understand that most people around me live the results of colonization; when one reality imposes itself on another reality rather than co-existing as most creatures on this earth do. Colonialism has oppression, victimization and entitlement as a byproduct and I get that.
I get that most of our experiences are a product of colonialism and most of our belief systems came out of coping with that kind of horror. We want to believe that our suffering and our ancestor’s suffering was for a good reason, kind of makes us think it was worth it somehow, that it was all for the betterment of ‘mankind’.
I get that we self soothe by making up stories of how it was ‘all for the best’ or some ‘God wanted it that way’ or it was ‘meant to be’.
I get that we hang on to irrational beliefs because it makes us feel in control or empowered.
I get why many are still trying to justify their beliefs, that a story from a desert culture thousand of years ago is a reason to go to war, or force everyone to say a particular prayer or go home for the holidays, or participate in the yearly rituals of Christmas and Easter. I get that they believe these stories somehow make people better.
Thing is, I don’t see that we have become better. We are killing each other in many more horrific ways and have actually invented whole new ways of torturing and killing each other. I don’t see that religion is working.
There are Buddhist death squads killing Muslims, Muslim death squads killing Christians, and Hindi death squads killing Muslims, Christians killing Hindi’s and on and on! This religion thing is not creating peace on earth! I believe it is being used to instigate war for profit, as it has in all our collective histories.
I noticed that what a culture holds as it’s icon becomes the way it evolves, and a young man nailed to a cross is a pretty brutal icon.
The belief that because this guy died through human inflicted torture, (which may or may not have any factual basis, but that is another tangent..) people are somehow entitled to impose their beliefs on the whole world, seems kinda crazy to me.
The idea that if you make as many people follow this religion as you can, you will get a special life after you die also seems crazy to me. ‘Save souls, help them to become Christian, go to your church, increase your membership, evangelize, spread the word… heck I even know churches that encourage their young members to ‘have lots of kids’ ,’breed more Christians!’ is really nuts to me.
From where I stand looking at Christianity and their customs, it seems insane. But I try to be tolerant.
My kids did not grow up in a Christian household. It was hard around this time of year. I told them about religions and some of them wanted to attend church with their friends, so they did. Some years we went to the Christmas mass services so they could see what went on there. I wanted them to find their own spiritual path.
I shared what I was learning on my journey, but expected them to learn from all that was available in our multi-cultural world.
We did this type of exploration with food, stories and festivals too. My kids spent time with people from many different religious and cultural systems, and were exposed to a variety of cuisines as well as customs and religious beliefs. Christianity was but one exploration of current reality.
They were not ever told the Santa Clause lie, the Easter Bunny lie or the Tooth Fairy lie. I explained it that some parents wanted to play this game of ‘let’s pretend’ with their kids and were very attached to that, so would get really mad if they told the other kids that it was not true. We played too.
We hung the stockings up, and waited until the morning, we had presents to give each other and they still play ‘secret Santa’ amongst themselves.
We had all the play of hiding chocolate at Easter too, but they knew it was just a fun game, and that they should probably keep that to themselves.
If their friends wanted to believe in magic people and magic rabbits they could do that and we should not spoil their fun. That’s how I put it to them. I know it was not easy for them to be raised like this, but see, I believe they chose me for their Mom, and would have known what to expect. i have been pretty consistent this life.
We had a tree, and we called it our wish tree and hung all our wishes for the new year. I still do this. I like that old Germanic custom of bringing the green into the home in the dead of winter.
We celebrated Solstice, as that seemed something all could participate in. It was an earth thing, an experience we all actually had in common, even the animals and birds shared these holidays! The shortest day, longest day and days of equal balance are shared experiences and to me, excellent times to hold a celebration and feast.
When they were in school, and when we are in the workaday environment, we could not get those days off, just the Christian depicted holidays. I also believe these dates of Christian celebration were chosen to conflict with what our ancestors were celebrating back when Christianity was used to colonize them.
I am sure it was hard for my kids to sit on the sidelines as it was for many non Christians each year at this time, as kids around them went into a frenzy of ‘waiting for Santa Clause’, or the adult version of “Christ was born today to save us all’ so everyone should celebrate attitude.
Everyone had the day off at Christmas, except if the Christians needed your services, so fire and ambulance services, hospitals, police, gas stations and convenience stores had to be available. It’s like the whole society agreed to hold the backdrop for this religion to celebrate itself, not to mention a lot of people making money selling useless stuff and the whole Santa Clause lie that society pulls on the poor kids.
My children also suffered kids telling them they would burn in Hell because they were not Christian, or that they should be killed because they thought I, their Mother was a witch, and other utter nonsense that their parents and religious leaders told them.
We live in a small town, and I don’t hide my work in the world, but that ministers in this community spoke like this about me and my work is hugely insulting and arrogant.
I do not blame the kids for their cruelty, they are a product of their upbringing, but I can speak my mind to the adults responsible here, especially the ministers, and I have spoken up.
No one got their religious holidays off except Christians, so we all had to work around their schedule. Plays were put on in every public school, prayers were said, tax dollars went out to pay for decorations and nativity scenes in every community, Christianity took over and we were all expected to say Merry Christmas or Happy Easter. I am glad that is changing.
Even the week is scheduled around their holy day of Sunday in our society here in Canada and USA. Can you imagine each business and institute making their own schedules according to the actual people that work there, based on the services each community actually requests?
It really irks me when people tell me that this is a Canadian custom and everyone should respect that.
Like I said, I understand that many people believe that because they were raised that way, everyone else should be, but many of your fellow humans do not believe this.
Earth living is about change. Everything changes all the time, customs, ways of life, beliefs, everything changes and we change too. Maybe it is time to let go of thinking theirs is the most important religion, has the most important holidays, the most important way of life, and allow themselves to be part of an ecosystem that is working itself out.
Allowing Christianity to be part of the diversity of earth and stop trying to control it and make it all about one way seems much healthier to me. Do not expect me to say Merry Christmas to you.
I may, or I may not, depending on my mood.
Do not expect me to participate in your pageant of virgin birth and Santa Clause, I don’t really respect it, but will co-exist with it because I can respect that that is where you are at for the moment.
My true feelings are that Christians are caught up in an illusion dictated to their consciousness for generations and do not know how to perceive of their experiences in any other way right now, it gives them a framework that is comfortable because it is familiar.
…or they have chosen to believe these things because they help make sense of their experiences, make them feel better about themselves and the brutality of the world, make them feel they can control events by behaviours…
…or maybe they are afraid to think anything different because they won’t ‘belong’ if they do, that is a powerful terror imprint in primates!
I even understand that some of them are afraid that some bearded white guy on a throne in the sky may smite them, punish them or cast them into hell if they don’t praise him.
I get that some of them were terrorized with these images as small children and I understand the effects of such terrors. I see many people coming out of wars and deprivation suffering even more acute post traumatic stress symptoms than that, and I know they are hard to shift and heal.
I get all that, but I don’t participate in those beliefs or suffer from those fears and I wish they would not just assume that we all do, or should!
Please, celebrate what you believe how you wish, but stop imposing it on the rest of us.
Enjoy your holiday season, everyone, however you choose to spend that time.