Yule Vs Litha – A Pagan view of an Australian Christmas

The Witch’s year is different from the calendar year.
The Witch’s year doesn’t follow the dates on the calendar, a chart on the wall.
A Witch’s year is marked by the seasons, the turning of the Great Wheel, the magic of nature.

The difference between the time of the muggle and the time of the Witch is especially apparent in the Southern Hemisphere, during the holiday season.
In Australia, according to the calendar, we are about to enter the Christmas season.
Yule, right in the midst of summer.
Shops are filled to the brim with decorations celebrating winter, snow and warming fires, Santa Claus decked out in heavy winter gear.
Christmas carols play, singing of a winter in far away lands.
In the midst of summer, the Sabbat of fire, they celebrate that of the earth element, snow and plummeting temperatures.
The Christian meanings of Christmas are all but lost, the birth of Christ replaced with the extravagance of consumerism.
Credit cards are overdrawn buying ridiculously expensive gifts, shoppers rack up debts they will struggle to pay off over the coming year.

To the Witch, this make no sense.
For us, it is the Midsummer Solstice, Litha.
It is the time of fire, the Sun, honoring the Solar Gods.
Fire is especially apparent during an Australian Summer.
The sun is dangerously hot, temperatures in excess of forty degrees celsius are the norm.
The earth wilts and browns under the relentless heat of the all-powerful sun.
Fire ravages us in the form of bushfire, wild and completely out of control, leaving nothing but ash and destruction behind.
Fire also brings renewal and cleansing, the Australian bush is uniquely adapted to the ravages of fire.
In the blackened aftermath, seeds sprout from the ashes, trees flourish with new growth and drop their seeds into the ash fertilized earth.
This is also the storm season.
Electrical storms being very common at this time of the year, an awe-inspiring reminder of the power of the natural world.

Yet, this awesome display of power and strength is ignored by the Southern Hemisphere.
Shunning the dominant element of fire for snow, sleigh rides and extravagant gift buying.

An Aussie Christmas consists of barbecues, family gatherings, retreating from the heat to the beaches, lakes and dams.
Some still cling to the idea of the ‘traditional’ Christmas, hot oven-roasted lunches, steaming Christmas puddings.
Mothers everywhere slaving over hot stoves, to cook hot lunches on a forty degree day.
Christmas has become an entrenched celebration that has lost all meaning,  it has become a day of families getting together and spending way too much money.
Christmas has become so very directionless, clinging to a celebration of winter by our ancestors.
Christianity superimposed the birth of Jesus onto the holiday, but with a minority that identify as Christian, none of this has any meaning to the average Aussie.

I have given up the trappings of our ridiculous backwards Christmas, a day that to me, only seems to celebrate consumerism at its very worst.
Instead I will celebrate the Summer Solstice, the life-giving power of the sun, the energy of fire.

sun_and_white_clouds_in_the_sky-t2

This year the solstice falls on the 22nd of December.
The Summer Solstice marks the day that the sun reaches its closest position to the earth.
On this day the sun stops it’s journey for a short time, before beginning its path back out toward winter.

During the hottest time of the year, we mark the beginning of the descent of the sun.
The Sun God reaches the peak of his power, the prime of his life, yet soon he knows he must give his life in the spirit of renewal.
The sacrificial death of the God allows the cycle of the seasons to continue.
To Witches and Pagans, the Summer Solstice is a celebration of the strength of the sun, the power of the God, the magic of the element of fire.
It is also a time when we consider death, knowing that the dark half of the year will soon be upon us.
This aspect of Litha is quite welcome down here, a promise of relief from the relentless heat.

To Witches, Litha is the height of the year, the time to give our yearly goals all we have, so that they may flourish and bring abundance at the close of the year, the harvest Sabbats.
It is a time of recognition, of acknowledging how far we have come since Yule, the height of Winter and the rebirth of the sun.
Litha is living in the light.
It is giving thanks to the Element of Fire and the Gods.
It is harnessing the strength, energy and heat of the sun, to achieve our goals and be the best we can be.

I can only wish that Australians could embrace just some of the Pagan spirit and acknowledge the cycles of our own land, our home.
This could only add to our holiday celebrations and make them uniquely Australian, make it ours.
Celebrating Midsummer instead of Christmas would give this day some meaning again, and maybe even draw us back from the pit of insane consumerism that Christmas has become.
And lets not get me started on Australia celebrating Easter, the Pagan Ostara, as winter draws in around us!
I’ll leave that for another post.

A bright and cheerful Midsummer to all.

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Categories: Pagan Blog Project, The Sabbats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Yule Vs Litha – A Pagan view of an Australian Christmas

  1. Katie

    What an eloquent post just the kind of information I was looking for.
    I love europes Xmas traditions and don’t want to let them go but I agree it denigrates the cycles we are going through.

  2. Tania

    I still love the stupid hot food and well toys and good things to me are apart of the giving that our sun dose.
    Not to diminish any of what is natural to me as roast lunch was tradition in a much cooler NZ! Still the fires do burn here and the season rules the holidays as fruity as it is in all its double meanings it can have its place as a pagan holiday… because having one day that my children have things they can’t usually, does feel magic! Dancing naked arround the fire comes later when there in bed lol

    • It if works for you, then keep doing it. I would do it all when my daughter was younger. But now she’s grown and I don’t have much in the way of family, I don’t have to bother with it anymore. Christmas has never really meant much to me anyhow.

  3. Pingback: Litha – The Midsummer Solstice | Spinning Webbs

  4. Natalie

    Thank you!! I so needed to read this right now! As a pagan surrounded by Christians (who need to do the whole traditional hot roast dinner on Christmas day in 40deg heat), I have really struggled with Christmas this year.

    I am a newish Pagan, having rediscovered Paganism a couple of years ago. This year I am struggling with people seemingly shoving Christmas down my throat and wanting to “save” me by trying to instill some Christmas spirit into me. Sorry not going to work on this Pagan Witch! I have young children so they do expect the christmas tree and santa to come etc. It goes against the grain to be putting a tree up in the middle of summer. I have friends that tell me to just celebrate Yule…. but it is not Winter Solstice!!

    I also struggle with the stress that this time of year puts people under, especially women. It seems that not only do women do majority of the work this time of year (organising & buying presents, organising social events, organising and cooking the food) we are meant to do it with a moronic smile on our faces and gush about how much we LOVE christmas!

    I have taken a stand this year and started telling it how it is. I run two businesses, am studying three courses and I have three children to a husband that travels overseas on a very regular basis. My life ground to a halt as soon as December 1st hit because I was expected to do all of the above, without complaint, for a holiday that I don’t believe in (celebrating the birth of Christ). I barely have time to think about my own beliefs and how I want to celebrate Litha.

    My kids are a little young to say, “hey I’m cancelling Christmas” but maybe next year I can start telling them about my Pagan beliefs and we can start incorporating my celebrations and rituals in line with the Australian seasons.

    Thank you again for posting this. It is nice to know that someone else feels the same way I do. Someone else gets it!!!

    • May I suggest your children get a visit from the Solstice Fairy this year. She is a nice alternative to the Santa Claus of the Winter Solstice. A good way to begin introducing the kids to Mum’s Pagan ways.

      I have flat out refused to go through the ridiculous charade this year, and it is so liberating!
      While everyone else struggles through the busy shops, spending money they don’t have on materialistic extravagance, I bought some meat and a carton of beer for my Solstice barbecue.
      So much less stress!

      Now that my Daughter is older, she had taken to Sabbat celebrations in lieu of the silly Christian ones that have no meaning for us.
      Even my Husband enjoys the festivities. (Though I think he just likes the many feasts throughout the year.)

      I wish you luck in bringing your family around to your ways, ways that just make so much more sense!

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