Reason for the Season?

December 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm (In So Many Words, The Whim) (, , , , , )

I’m not a big fan of Christmas.  I hate the consumerism, I hate the blow up creepy Santa Clause’s in people’s yards.  Oh, also, I’m a Christian. That being said,

Nothing chaps my hide more than hearing fellow Christians tell me: “Remember the reason for the season!”

The reason for the season, if they looked a bit closer into history was to help aid in the conversion of pagans who already celebrated December 25th, Yule, Mother’s Night, Winter Solstice (whatever you wish to call it) with carnivals, gifts, food, and lots of hooplala.  The theory was to keep the month of partying and give the holiday Christian symbolism  so that they would not feel such a loss of fun when they converted.

For instance, mistletoe was a plant collected by Druids to ward off witch craft and protect the carrier, pretty much an all around healer.  Now, we use it as an excuse to kiss people in doorways.  Either way, it has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with “Christmas” or Winter Solstice Celebrations.

Now, with all that being said, I don’t mind that Christians today use it to celebrate the birth of Christ.  I think the birth of Christ should be celebrated.  But don’t tell me to remember the reason for the season when the season existed long before this particular reason.  If you want to celebrate the birth of Christ without the consumerism and drunken partying – don’t overlap it on a holiday that was created thousands of years ago for that exact purpose.  Pick a different day and celebrate it with all your reasons in tact and no distractions.

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Rosalind Miles’ Guenevere

April 21, 2010 at 12:23 am (JARS, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country:
The First of the Guenevere Novels by Rosalind Miles

Though racier than I would have liked, Rosalind Miles portrays the Arthurian Romance of Guenevere, Arthur, and Lancelot exactly how I should think someone going for historical and religious accuracy should. Miles captures the thoughts and rituals of the pagans well and interweaves the young Christian societies the way they must have seemed to the Druids of the time. This first chapter of Guenevere’s life shows the gradual change from pagan feminism to the changing views of the times that brought women to more submissive roles, as she is caught between a husband trying to be a Christian King and an upbringing where royalty was passed down through the female line with sexual freedoms to boot. Can’t wait to read the second and third parts.

Click Here to Purchase

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All this Easter business

April 8, 2010 at 10:16 pm (The Whim) (, , , , )

This is an ode to Interested, as this post is actually a comment I made on her blog. I wanted to share it with my personal readers.

As a Christian who some people would call “religious” I have to say: I don’t think Easter should be the most celebrated Christian holiday.

Celebrating the Resurrection is quite different (in my book) from celebrating Easter. Easter, by name, is a celebration of the Spring Equinox.

The ancient Saxons in Northern Europe worshiped the Goddess Oestre at the time of the Spring Equinox. The Goddess Easter represents the sunrise, spring-time and fertility, the renewal of life. Pagan Anglo-Saxons made offerings of colored eggs to her at the Vernal Equinox, putting them at graves. Some people believe that the Egyptians and Greeks did this as well.

“Christians” used the name later and morphed their religion onto a pagan celebration so that new converts wouldn’t find the transition intimidating… and/or new “converts” kept celebrating their old traditions because rather than actually converting they added Jesus to one of the many gods they already worshiped. (I’ve seen the history written both ways, and both is equally believable.)

I would never prohibit a child from attending an Easter Egg hunt, because its now a fun tradition that many people participate in – but I also will never tell my kid that its an important Christian holiday or make up any kind of “Christian” symbolism about the eggs. In my book, the Resurrection celebration and the Easter celebration should be considered separate holidays, but they have been merged for so long people can’t remember the difference

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What’s Up With Those Templars?

February 15, 2010 at 9:41 pm (Reviews, The Whim) (, , , , , , , , , )

So in Fall of 2009 I started a discussion thread in my book club about The Templars and Freemasons, and all those other secret societies that seem to have become lumped into one cohesive thought over that last few hundred years. I thought it would be fun and interesting (not unlike the Darwin study I’ve been doing lately). No one joined me.

My Book List was to Include:

Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco (fiction)

The Holy Bible – I am still using the Archaeological Study Bible put out by Zondervan (religion) as well as another version called ESV.

The Masonic Ritual or Guide to the Three Symbolic Degrees of the Ancient York Rite – Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons at San Antonio, Texas (religion/secret societies/ Freemasons/ occult)

Adoptive Rite Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star together with the Queen of the South – arranged by Robert Macoy (religion/secret societies/Freemasons/ occult)

The Amaranth – Robert Macoy (religion/secret societies/ Freemasons/ occult)

The Templars – Piers Paul Read (history/religion/secret societies/ Freemasons/ occult)

The Meaning of Masonry – W. L. Wilmshurst (religion/ secret societies/ Freemasons/ occult)

Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott – (fiction / literature)

also for fun…
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown (fiction/ mystery)
The Pickwick Papers – Charles Dickens (fiction/ literature)

Out of those, I read Foucault’s Pendulum (which was brilliant, as are all things Umberto Eco) and I just finished the book by Piers Paul Read.

Why did it take so long?

Piers Paul Read has an extensive history that spans three or so centuries – parts are fascinating and I couldn’t put the book down, and other parts were dull and I couldn’t wait to put the book down. What I discovered upon completion of the book, though, is that I was just being made more and more aware of how many interesting people there are in history that I should be reading biographies on! Eleanor of Aquitaine is mentioned a bit right around page 140 or so… There’s a picture of Richard the Lionheart in battle featured in the ‘centerfold’ pictures. I should know more about these people who are so well known among historians that every day people recognize their names too. Its not enough for me to recognize them – I want to KNOW them.

I noticed too that I tended to plod slowly through this book (and this topic in general) because it seems to create more questions than it answers. There is so much documentation of so many conflicting ideas. Were the knights actually crusaders for Christ? Were their actions even remotely compatible with the teachings of Jesus? Or, were they really devil worshipers like so many throughout history convicted them of being? Can the documented confessions be trusted? Or was it all just a a little too similar to events such as the Salem Witch Hunts?

The discussion thread for the book club is still open – join and add your thoughts there: http://www.shelfari.com/groups/32350/discussions/136727/Knights-Templar-Books-

Or, just tell me your opinion below. Also, if you’ve read something interesting on the Templars or the Freemasons, share the book and your review of it as a comment. I plan to continue my studies on the topic.

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Oh Dear, Another Vonnegut…

February 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

A Review of Cat’s Cradle (kind of)

My problem with Vonnegut is that his novels are too short.  I was just finally becoming fascinated by the Bokonons and their rituals and the book ends.  I want his tales Dickens style – with two or three hundred pages on Bokonon establishing his religion and living in the jungle, then I want another hundred pages on Newt, Angela, and Frank.  Instead, I get a sentence here, a paragraph there, and finish the book unsatisfied.  On top of that, I feel like a jerk for not appreciating Vonnegut the way the rest of society seems to.  I have the appropriate shelf of my library dedicated to all his work, but I just can’t muster up the love.  Like Salinger, he’s good, he’s even really good, but he’s not the best thing ever (though I am repeatedly told that he is).  Perhaps the hype has ruined him for me.

Buy a copy here: http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=anakawhims-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=038533348X

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