Paganism? What is the Maypole

Paganism? What is the Maypole

Yesterday was “May Day” a throwback to our ancestor’s celebration of spring and the Maypole. Most of us have heard of this, and it’s likely if you haven’t heard of the Maypole specifically somewhere in your culture you have a spring festival that celebrates the season and hopes for (and prays for) a fruitful spring and growing season.

Is it Pagan though? Well yes and know. Like many holidays now, they are derived from rituals in the past which, were for all intent in purposes continuations of customs from our pagan ancestors. Prior to monotheistic religious beliefs there were several gods and goddesses the world over. I know it sounds silly now doesn’t it? Thousands of years from now maybe our religions will be silly to, as a wise man once said, todays religion is tomorrows myth….

Link to Specifics “The origin of May Pole dancing dates back to the Pagan times, and the Maypole was basically a phallic symbol. Trees have always been the symbol of the great vitality and fertility of nature.  May Pole dancing was therefore strongly associated with fertility. Traditionally May Pole Dancing was performed by the young girls from the Medieval villages as part of the May time celebrations. The History of the Maypole and May Pole dancing was connected with both the Druids, Wiccans and the Romans. May 1 was an important date for the Druids as this was when the festival of Beltane held. Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season and was celebrated by lighting fires. Wiccans celebrated by dancing round a Maypole and choosing a May Queen. Then the Romans came to occupy the British Isles. The beginning of May was also an important feast time for the Romans which was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers when the Festival of Floralia was held. Over time the traditions and rituals of the Floralia were added to those of the Beltane culminating in May Pole dancing, which is still carried out to this day.”

They were more then “cool” symbols to your ancestors, most likely.

Maypole dancing of course requires a maypole so they are directly correlated in that regard. So we have druids, wiccans and romans tied to it, all of which are pagans. Of course “may day” historically is a celebration of a season, and as we do today people decorated, danced, sang, drank, met with friends and celebrated life. Many of the celebrations and rituals we have today harken back to our pagan ancestors. Did you have a Maypole in your area? Did you visit it? Did you dance around it and say a prayer?

Maybe next year it would be a cool unique think to do. IT doesn’t mean you are anti religion or a bad person, you are just celebrating a symbol that has been celebrated for thousands of years. Fertility, spring, rebirth, new life, trees waking up, flowers blooming, the sun is higher, the temperature is warmer, why not celebrate that?

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

What is Yule ?

Many of my readers know I am a pagan. Now like most people who practice religion I am not devout. Many of you go to church regularly, or the mosque but pagans like me not so much. Most of my beliefs are remnants of the past. Specifically, the ways in which our ancestors lived before monotheism religions. The fact is, peoples of all races and times have had gods. Its only recently that we have devoted ourselves to ONE god.

So, what is Yule? Yule is a period of time around the winter solstice. The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning ‘wheel,’ to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again.

During this time the “Yule tide” is observed and celebrated which is where we get the “12 days of Christmas”. Christians when they spread their religion to northern Europe adopted several pagan customs to help ingratiate the populations into the new religion.

There is a great reference here This illustrates many of the similarities between yule and the Christmas season. From the site:

“Most of the symbols associated with the modern holiday of ”Christmas (such as the Yule log, Santa Claus & his Elves, Christmas trees, the Wreath, the eating of ham, holly, mistletoe, the star…) are derived from traditional northern European Heathen Yule celebrations. When the first Christian missionaries began trying to force the Germanic peoples to Christianity, they found it easier to invent a Christian version for popular feasts such as Yule and allow the celebrations to go on largely unchanged, rather than trying to suppress them. Halloween and Easter have been likewise assimilated from northern European Heathen religious festivals.”

There is so much more to expand on when it comes to Yule and ancient pagan practices. The Wreath, the Holy Tree, the Yule Log… on and on. Maybe this Christmas when you’re thinking about the season, harken back to your ancestors. I’m betting at least one of them, somewhere was celebrating Yule, dancing with their family and community, waiting for the long winter nights to slowly bring spring.

I hope you all enjoy this time of year and have some form of celebration in your life. No matter where you are from, your race, your gender, your sexual preference, your political affiliation I am glad you are here. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and a joyful Yuletide.

Karac

A Norse God House Found.

As we enter the winter season in the northern hemisphere I was reminded recently that Yule is right around the corner. This blog isn’t a pagan blog I don’t do a lot of pieces on paganism and the ancient ways but I am admittedly a pagan. Like so many other people out there I do not adhere to a strict doctrine of a religion. I am more spiritual and I find that “God” or “Gods” are usually manifestations of the mind to explain the unexplained and the human condition.

To be blunt, I don’t know if there is a god or not, or several. I believe in higher powers but the notion of some old guy sitting in the clouds watching my every move and recording it seems as far-fetched as a god riding on an 8 legged horse and hanging from a tree of wisdom.

In my –pagan- travels around the web I found a great article here, a temple to Thor and Odin has been unearthed.

From the article: “This is the first time we’ve found one of these very special, very beautiful buildings,” Diinhoff told Live Science. “We know them from Sweden and we know them from Denmark. … This shows that they also existed in Norway.”

The Norse began building these large “god houses”, as they’re called, in the sixth century. The god houses were much more complex than the simple sites, often outdoors, that the people previously used to worship the Old Norse gods.” It is a stronger expression of belief than all the small cult places,” he said. “This is probably something to do with a certain class of the society, who built these as a real ideological show.”

This is a great find and it may serve to do a bit more back work on softening the stigma of Norse culture. Of course we have all heard of Vikings, ruthless pagan raiders who terrorized the west after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Yes that’s part of their story, and a big part. They were also very spiritual people, as were most in antiquity. While we can haggle over whose god is the only god, like most civilizations the Norse had representation in their god hierarchy similar to the roman, Greeks, Egyptians and other ancient cultures.

Come from the land of Ice and Snow?

As others who have studied Norse mythology and the dark ages will tell you, they valued home, they valued family, and they strove for measures of equality. They celebrated the harvest, feared the winter and relished the spring and fall. Its great news when we find glimpses into our ancient past. Regardless of what you chose to believe or where your particular ancestors come from, it’s always interesting to see what our distant cousin’s lives through.

This find is great for archeologists and for pagans a like. It’s important for us to understand the reverence that was paid to the gods at the time. This was, for lack of a better term, how they understood they were supposed to worship god(s). They weren’t so unlike our modern interpretations of faith now really, perhaps even more devout. Yes they were Vikings, they were brutal but so were most people and most religions at one time or another.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog! Want to another post like this one? Click here.

FALLFEAST – Pagan’s Rejoice !

It’s fall in the west. It’s likely that in a non covid year you would have some sort of festival near you happening. Oktoberfest’s are usually the most popular those combine to ancient festivals, the harvest and the feast of harvest.

As many of you know I am a pagan, no I don’t sacrifice animals, I am not a witch, lol. I simply try and celebrate the old ways, respecting nature, respecting the seasons.

Below is a page pull from http://odinsvolk.ca/ It illustrates what the Fall Feast is, and why or Viking ancestors celebrated it and how some of the old ways built community.

“Fallfest of is another joyous festival in the Asatru holy calendar, and falls on the Autumn Equinox, and is the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere: the moment when the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, heading southward; the equinox occurs around September 22 – 24, varying slightly each year according to the 400-year cycle of leap years in the Gregorian Calendar. Fallfest represents the second harvest of the season.

Celebrate your Ancestors, they are watching.

Bonfires, feasting and dancing played a large part in the festivities. Even into Christian times, villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames, cattle having a prominent place in the pre-Christian Germanic world. (Though folk etymology derives the English word “bonfire” from these “bone fires,”) With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit their hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together.

Materially speaking it marked the beginning of the gathering of food for the long winter months ahead, bringing people and their livestock in to their winter quarters. To be alone and missing at this dangerous time was to expose yourself and your spirit to the perils of imminent winter. In present times the importance of this part of the festival has diminished for most people. From the point of view of an agricultural people, for whom a bad season meant facing a long winter of famine in which many would not survive to the spring, it was paramount.

At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. In the northern hemisphere, before the autumnal equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterwards, it rises and sets more and more to the south.

In ancient times, our European ancestors celebrated their Harvest Feast, where they have found many reasons to be thankful and to celebrate. Our people have done this for as long as we can trace our history. Although what our people have felt thankful for has certainly changed over the many years, remember you sit down this year with your family, you’re participating in an ancient tradition. And it’s a great time to figure out what you’re thankful for.”

So many of our current traditions are based on our distant past. This isn’t a religious post, it’s actually an illustration of how close we really are. Have a great fall and a bountiful harvest. May you and your family be prosperous and may you come out of the dark days of winter in good health, and good spirits.

Thank you for supporting my Blog, please leave a comment or a like and let me know you were here. Did you like this post and want to see another? Click here.

What is Yule ?

Many of my readers know I am a pagan. Now like most people who practice religion I am not devout. Many of you go to church regularly, or the mosque but pagans like me not so much. Most of my beliefs are remnants of the past. Specifically, the ways in which our ancestors lived before monotheism religions. The fact is, peoples of all races and times have had gods. Its only recently that we have devoted ourselves to ONE god.

So, what is Yule? Yule is a period of time around the winter solstice. The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning ‘wheel,’ to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again.

During this time the “Yule tide” is observed and celebrated which is where we get the “12 days of Christmas”. Christians when they spread their religion to northern Europe adopted several pagan customs to help ingratiate the populations into the new religion.

There is a great reference here This illustrates many of the similarities between yule and the Christmas season. From the site:

“Most of the symbols associated with the modern holiday of ”Christmas (such as the Yule log, Santa Claus & his Elves, Christmas trees, the Wreath, the eating of ham, holly, mistletoe, the star…) are derived from traditional northern European Heathen Yule celebrations. When the first Christian missionaries began trying to force the Germanic peoples to Christianity, they found it easier to invent a Christian version for popular feasts such as Yule and allow the celebrations to go on largely unchanged, rather than trying to suppress them. Halloween and Easter have been likewise assimilated from northern European Heathen religious festivals.”

There is so much more to expand on when it comes to Yule and ancient pagan practices. The Wreath, the Holy Tree, the Yule Log… on and on. Maybe this Christmas when you’re thinking about the season, harken back to your ancestors. I’m betting at least one of them, somewhere was celebrating Yule, dancing with their family and community, waiting for the long winter nights to slowly bring spring.

I hope you all enjoy this time of year and have some form of celebration in your life. No matter where you are from, your race, your gender, your sexual preference, your political affiliation I am glad you are here. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and a joyful Yuletide.

Karac

Time = WYRD, WYRD = TIME

Which do you prescribe too? “Well what does Wyrd mean?” Wyrd is roughly translated to old English as fate. The word in of itself is specific but the concept behind the word is a bit more vast. The theory of fate, in relation to time is that all things that happen in the course of your life is fate. Fate is an interesting concept. It is the belief that occurrences happen via the will of a super natural being.

Therefore, many pagan’s have odd relationships with time. Its not easy to explain but if you are someone who has given over to fate, you realize that events that occur today are intertwined with things that have happened in the past and WILL happen in the future. This leads to a lot of anxiety because you truly are cognizant of the moment. You know that what is happening now is part of a larger predetermined series of events.

You begin to extrapolate out what each event means and what it could mean going forward, or, even worse, you look back to see if you did something prior to lead to this outcome. It is a maddening cycle because as time goes on, the more you subscribe to this belief system it becomes a black hole of anxiety. I envy people of faith, whatever the discipline, because it requires a portion of yourself and mind to “give yourself over” to outcomes beyond your control.

So, is time even real? Is it all a predetermined series of events that you are just a participant in? Your will is irrelevant, you’re desire an aside, I don’t know…. Here is a link for you to look at If you are interested in more

From the link: “The procession of events in the world, and in any person’s life, could only be understood with reference to fate, but fate itself could not be understood. Those who practiced the magical art of seidr could sometimes see what fate had in store, but there was no particular rhyme or reason in why some particular outcome was fated when an alternative outcome was not. Fate had no moral significance, and there were no caring or cruel motives behind it.”

Is this all folly? Have I wasted all my time worrying about things I can’t control? Or is my fate to worry about it?