Political Hiatus

I’m currently saturated to the gills with the political nonsense in DC and elsewhere and therefore I do not care to engage in much political rhetoric for the next few weeks.  What does it matter, anyway, when the GOP has essentially slit its throat with its lineup of burlesque comics dressed up in presidential clothes. Obama will celebrate his 2nd inauguration in January 2013.

What else is going on as I close the door on politics for a while?  Lock it, actually.

Religion is always an easy target and, as this is ‘the season’ for all types of mirth, magic and myth, perhaps I should dive into that fetid pool for a short swim. I was reminded recently of the idiocy over there on the far-right edge of the religious spectrum, in the Land of the Fundamentalists, when I received a comment stuck in my spam folder from Toledo’s premiere [c]hristian homophobe. It was her brainless, cruel homophobic letter to the Toledo Blade some years ago that led me to explore that daffy world of [c]hristian fundamentalism. I choose to spell ‘Christian’ with the [c] when I attach that adjective to the word, fundamentalist,  because the word cannot  modify the word Christian. They are mutually exclusive concepts.

The nasty comment [they always are] from the oh-so righteous homophobe bragged that the entire homophobic family was tending to one of those red Salvation Army kettles at a supermarket last Saturday, entertaining the shoppers with religious Christmas songs. The imagery contained in that scene  is fantastically evocative- Rockwellian,  albeit truly fanciful.

She noted my “continual spewing of cynicism, downright loathing for conservatives, Fox-news, and Christians.” Downright loathing? Is that stronger than mere loathing?  Are there degrees of loathing, perhaps loathing, loathing-er, loathing-est?

Yet, she continued, “I never hear the song about the Grinch without thinking of you.”

Then she added, “Check out the Kroger store at Spring Meadows tomorrow noon–family will be singing carols and ringing the Salvation Army bell. I’m sure you’ll make that effort. I shouldn’t tell you probably because you’d like to do us in, no doubt!”

You know what? I’ve had suppressed homicidal tendencies all throughout my life, serial killer actually and recently, I’ve had the urge  to ‘do someone in’ perhaps with a well-sharpened axe, Lizzie Borden style!

Wow!  What can you say to that? I’m quite fond of the hymn, They will know we are Christians by our Love. But then, they actually aren’t Christians at all, merely CINO’s- Christians in name only. Old Testament Christians. That was the answer I received from a right-wing blogger.  I asked him what type of Christian he was, as he had used the name a few times in his comments. “I’m an Old Testament Christian,” he replied.

That’s quite the statement, yet I think he was on to something in his blatant ignorance. Perhaps he was confusing Calvinism and Puritanism with Judaism because all three religious expressions have little to do with the spirit of the man named Jesus of Nazareth.

It was the Calvinist/Puritans who forbade the celebration of Christmas here in America.  Imagine that. The original Grinches were the Calvinists and Puritan Protestants who saw no joy in celebrations at that ‘pagan’ time of the year. Scrooge was modeled after these cold, heartless, holier-than-thou Protestants. Bah, humbug! It was a difficult struggle here in the states to get Christmas to be celebrated as a day of joy, merriment and family get-togethers because of these righteous Calvinists. Did I mention that the homophobe in question is a Calvinist?

I’m contemplating a post or two that will pop the mythical balloon about this entire scenario that plays out at this time of the year. Oh, don’t think I’ll be a Calvinist scrooge or anything like that.  I do enjoy this end-of-year holiday- the one that was snatched from the jaws of the pagans. We have a lovely pagan pine tree nicely decorated lighting up the darkness of our home.  And a nice pagan yule log in the fireplace. And pagan holly, too.

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14 thoughts on “Political Hiatus

    1. – Another pagan (and proud of it)

      We’re born to be pagans! There is no gene or meme for religiosity in our DNA, but rather the primeval force to revere Nature as the source of all that is good to human beings. My Germanic memes have always connected me to the forests, especially pine forests, as special, perhaps sacred places. It was the Natural world, not the mythical, which sustained these people, gave them food and shelter, and brought them through the changing seasons.

      That yule log in the drawing above, for example, provided both heat and light to the people for many days and nights during this dark and cold season of the year. Some baby born 4000 miles away in a subtropical climate doesn’t keep people warm and give them light [although the carols seem to suggest that the distant baby did both]. The log was pine because the Germanic people were especially reverent towards the evergreen and its ability to endure during the long winter season.

      Feasting, song and dance were part of the rituals of Yuletide, no doubt instigated by the wise elders to ameliorate the depression [SAD] caused by lack of light during this time of the year, yet the idiotic Calvinists forbade such practices because, well, because they thought them unholy. Unholy, whatever that means, but clearly these practices were ‘wholly,’ as in enriching the spirit of the people.

      Bah. Humbug!

  1. OH Muddy,
    You forgot the pagan MISTLETOE!! Yes that Currier & Ives, warm and fuzzy feeling that has been absorbed into the Christmas Season, and the segway of allowing a “Make Out Fest” for those who stand under its magical spells.

    The word “mistletoe” derived from the old German “mist,” for dung, and “tang,” for branch. That’s right, the shit stick. As in, “let’s go kiss under the shit stick, baby.”

    So how did people ever make the connection between the shit stick plant and romance? It goes back to the pagan belief that the white, sticky goo, from the berries was the “Semen of the Gods.”

    This was the contributions to Christmas from my Viking / Celtic ancestors…..a rowdy bunch are they not?

    There was a Norse tradition that if two warriors should meet under some mistletoe in the forest that they would lay down their arms and declare peace for the day.

    Mistletoe Sacred to Celtic Druids:
    Both the Celts and the Druids used the plant as in ceremonial rituals, and as antidotes to poison, which was unfortunate, since mistletoe is, in fact, poisonous. The plant was considered to have the qualities including the power of healing, rendering poisons harmless, good luck, great blessings, bestowing fertility on humans and animals, protection from witchcraft and banishing evil spirits. Just like with the Norsemen, enemies who met Druids under the forest mistletoe laid down their weapons, exchanged friendly greetings and kept a truce until the next day. The Celts suspended mistletoe over doorways or in rooms as a symbol of good will and peace to all who visited.

    The Druid Mistletoe Ceremony, the plant is a fertility symbol and the soul of the oak tree. Belief was that the mistletoe could come to the oak tree during a lightning flash. Mistletoe was gathered at mid-summer and winter solstices. The plant, when it grew on the venerated oak tree, was especially sacred to the Celts. On the sixth night of the full moon after Yule, white robed Druid priests gathered oak mistletoe by cutting the plant with golden sickles. Two white bulls were sacrificed with prayers that the recipients of mistletoe would prosper.

    Mistletoe Sacred to Goddess Frigga:
    The Germanic/Norse deity is the Goddess of Love and the mother of Balder, God of the Summer Sun. Frigga (See how close this is to the verb “Friggin?”) was distressed when Balder dreamt of his death because all life on earth would die with him. She went to air, fire, water, earth and all animals and plants seeking their promise that no harm would come to her son. They gave her their promise. Balder couldn’t be hurt by anything on or under the earth.

    He had one enemy, Loki, God of Evil who knew there was one plant Frigga overlooked. It grew on apple and oak trees, not on or under the earth. It was the mistletoe. He made an arrow tip from the plant and gave to Hoder, the blind God of Winter, who shot it, killing Balder. The sky turned pale and all on earth and in heaven wept. Each element tried to bring Balder back to life for three days to no avail. Frigga finally succeeded. Tears she shed for her son turned into pearly berries on the mistletoe. Joyously, Frigga kissed everyone who passed under the tree on which it grew. From that time on, a kiss, not harm, will come to those who stand under the mistletoe.

    Saturnalia and the Mistletoe:
    Kissing under the mistletoe was associated with the Roman festival of Saturnalia and ancient marriage ceremonies. The plant was believed to bestow fertility and have life giving power.

    Mistletoe and the English:
    But, it was the English who finally made mistletoe part of the holiday tradition. The English used mistletoe as a Christmas decoration for their homes. They used to cut a sprig of it from the previous year’s holiday greens, and then hang it in the house in some sort of voodoo attempt to ward off lightning and evil spirits. In Medieval times, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings and put over houses and barn doors to repel evil spirits. People believed the plant could extinguish flames. Although much of the Pagan symbolism was forgotten, the plant represented good will, happiness, good fortune and friendship.

    Mistletoe and the Americans:
    Somehow all of that ridiculousness combined to create the “girl has to kiss you” tradition as it exists today. The invaluable American addition to the tradition is, of course, the drunken male placing the mistletoe over his crotch. Now we have come full circle back to the begining with the orginal belief of “Semen of the Gods.” Give it another couple centuries and that’ll be a Christmas Traditional standard.

    Now imagine the Blog Beast performing that act by upholding the Religious Birth of Little Baby Jesus and Christmas Traditions…… Merry Christmas Muddy ;-)

  2. I just know, with the current male lingerie fetish that is all too evident when ever you go into a store that caters to masculine pop fashion, that I could make a mint if I did the graphics and marketed a line of Festive Noel Mistletoe Themed Boxer shorts….anyone want to invest?

  3. I read you comment after spending the morning in the town of Objat in the profound Correze…I had to buy some Christmas lights for our skrawny little juniper tree and I had to get purple…it’s my wife’s esthetics that rule here. While we were buying our lights and other purchases at a kind of junk of the world emporium, I noticed the wall of wild graphic graffitti punk inspired boxer shorts and we started to joke about them. My wife insisted on buying me a few pairs….then I read your post and now, I think I am on to something quite lucrative here….

  4. While talking with a “CINO” friend of mine recently, I pointed out that the “Christmas” season was so much more than about somebody’s date of birth (an incorrect date I might add). She said it couldn’t be because the word “Christ” is part of the word. OMG! It dawned on me that she didn’t know anything about the history of this holiday season. I was going to post some of the history here, but I see it has been well covered.

    I want to add a video too. It is kind of political, but more about religion. It’s probably NSFW:

    (I love pines also. I’m getting 20 more five footers today to plant in some of the forest bald spots around my house.)

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