The Season: a southern hemisphere pagan considers Christmas

Today you get my ponderings…

One of the odd things about being a southern hemisphere pagan is how traditional Christian festivities no longer line up with the seasons that inspired them. While I am celebrating Alban Hefin (the Summer Solstice), my society is celebrating Christmas. Easter is here is a time of quiet repose before the coming winter, rather than celebration of Spring’s renewal. We have to wait till after 9 pm to let off our Guy Fawke’s fireworks – the daylight lasts so long. And Hallowe’en at Beltane time is just weird – trick or treating in broad daylight doesn’t have the same effect!  Maybe that’s why it hasn’t really caught on here…

I grew up here in New Zealand, so the Christmas-at-Summer-time thing doesn’t bother me too much – even if it does make some carols seem a little odd (White Christmases only come in nightmares here!) I associate Christmas with heat and warmth, long days and pohutukawa blooms. Like this:

Since becoming a pagan almost two decades ago, I’ve noticed the Christmas trappings fit less and less easily the more in tune I get with the wheel of the seasons.

Christmas as a sun festival is fine – that fits well.

Gathering with family and friends for laughter and presents and food works, too.

It’s the Yuletide traditions that don’t fit so well: heavy meals and hot ovens, evergreen trees, putting up lights (that can’t be really appreciated till well into the night), singing songs about welcoming the newborn light. None of this really makes sense for the weather or the turn of the earth’s cycles.

But, you know something? I do much of it anyway! Not the hot ovens (that’s why the gods made barbecues and cold ham!), but decorating trees, singing traditional (northern hemisphere) carols, enjoying the lights even if my kids have to stay up late, and the fat guy in a rather heavy suit for the weather still delivers presents 🙂

I have yet to work out more seasonally appropriate traditions to replace the old magic – even if my Christmas tree decorations do include sun faces…

I would like to build on the magic of this season and make it even more seasonal. Working out how and what is definitely a work in progress (ideas and suggestions welcome!), even if I know the why.

Anyway, it’s Christmas Eve, and you’ve probably got much better things to do than read my ponderings 😉

I hope this season is a wonderful time for you and yours; filled with love, joy, laughter and wonder.

Happy Christmas!



Author: verdant1

belly dancer, mother, student, public servant, shaman, knitter, sister, feminist, gardener and a lot more...

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