Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas, Ganymede!

And what a wonderful Christmas it was.  Okay, yes, so I didn’t have time to post on the actual date- once again, I was far too busy partying and enjoying myself to crack open my computer and write.  And Lord, the cleaning required!   I have been attending parties almost every day, and with cleaning and yoga there has been time for little else.  But I want to write now, so here it is.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

You know, speaking of this being a wonderful holiday season, I will say that there have been times when I have not enjoyed Christmas so much.  Yet this year, the air itself is full of more good cheer, or so it seems to me.  Really I think there might be those with some bah humbug left in them- I heard a few comments here and there.  I suppose that just because I feel wonderful does not mean that everyone does.  And I am not sure what is so different.  It may just be that I opened myself to the feeling of Christmas cheer and allowed it to move through me.  It’s nice to open oneself to that feeling, I think. It is nice to proclaim it in song.

With joyful ring
All caroling
One seems to hear
Words of good cheer
From ev’rywhere
Filling the air

Oh how they pound,
Raising the sound,
O’er hill and dale,
Telling their tale,
Gaily they ring
While people sing
Songs of good cheer
Christmas is here
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!
Merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas!

One of my earliest human memories took place on Christmas Eve.  My mother was tucking me into bed in an attic, next to a window, next to a little Christmas tree on my nightstand.  I asked her about Christmas. I asked her why we celebrate it. So she told me the story of the first Christmas. She did not get very far, however, before tiny little me became horrified that Herod would kill babies.  Well, not really afraid, but perplexed. Why, I asked, why would anyone do such a thing?  I do not remember anything that happened after that.  Now, I know that there is no record of Herod killing babies in Beyt Leḥem, but I suppose it would be a trivial matter to him anyway, and quite possibly not worthy of recording, being that they were not very many children, to him, after all.  He had far more high-profile murders- for instance, his own children.  Augustus joked that he would rather be Herod’s ὖς than his υἱός, being that Jews don’t eat pigs, but Herod would kill his sons.  Hah.  Well, I guess Christmas can only go up from there.

I already mentioned that I went to some holiday parties.  Most everyone I spoke to was joyous.  But let me note a conversation.  Luken and I were standing in the kitchen at a party with our closest, cozy yet extended theatre family.  A man came into the kitchen who is a friend of ours.  We may not be terribly close, but we have worked together often and feel comfortable around one another.  He struck up a conversation.  He wondered why people get so offended at holiday greetings, and he was fed up with attempting to well-wish them.  At first, he would say “Happy Holidays” because one never knows what holy day the other person may celebrate.  After all, we live in the most diverse neighborhood in America.

So it would make sense that during this time of brotherhood we would want to be as inclusive of everyone’s holy days as possible.  So, as my friend said to us in the kitchen that he would say “Happy Holidays”.  And then someone would say “Merry Christmas”, which is fine.  I use both- Happy Holidays is more general, but, since I personally celebrate Christmas, I have a tendency to favor it when I am full of spirit.  But apparently someone told my friend “Merry Christmas! >[ ” like they were offended that Happy Holidays should be used.

Why are people afraid of… what Stewart and Colbert call the “War on Christmas”?  Why are they afraid? There is nothing to be afraid of.

καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ἄγγελος, Μὴ φοβεῖσθε, ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαρὰν μεγάλην ἥτις ἔσται παντὶ τῷ λαῷ, ὅτι ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σήμερον σωτὴρ ὅς ἐστιν Χριστὸς κύριος ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ

“And the Angel of the Lord presented himself to them, and the glorious excellence of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified with great fear.  And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you the good news, which will be a great joy for the collective people, that a savior has been born to you on this day, who is the anointed Messiah, Son of God- Christ the Lord, in the city of David’”

Joy to the world! So, after having heard others be offended that he was using Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, my friend began to say “Merry Christmas”.  And then someone would become offended that he had not used “Happy Holidays”.

And what are these people afraid of? There is nothing to be afraid of. We only want to wish you a happy holy day. Why take it as an attack?  Do the people who think there is a “War on Christmas” and the people who are offended at “Merry Christmas” think that we are not all celebrating the same exact thing?  Why should anything threaten them?  Why should a mere word or two offend?  Everyone.  Everyone.  Should know.  That these are just words.  These are just words.  These are just labels.  These are just vibrations that we make in our throats.  These are just inkblots that we put on a paper, or pixels that we put on a screen.  It is all.  The.  Same.  Thing.  And there is no reason to become offended, no reason to be afraid, no reason to argue that “your” label is better than someone else’s label.  There is no reason to insist that some other person should change their label, or their rituals, on their holy day.  All labels are equally good.

As I mentioned last time, the theatre party was set up for Christmas with a traditional German evergreen tree, lights strung up everywhere, and stockings on the fireplace.  Yet there were also masks on the fireplace because of, you know, actors.  And since this is Los Angeles, if one goes for a bit of a walk, one is as likely to see in that one walk a Korean businessman skateboarding down a business district, as street thugs of all races tagging, as Indian women in saris, as Hispanics selling bootlegs or herbal medicines, as Saudi Arabian princesses dressing either traditionally or like tomboys, as a gaggle of orthodox Jews walking down Third in their black tasseled gender-specific clothing, as Bangladesh youths smoking and gossiping, as an Imam stopping to meditate briefly in front of someone’s outdoor garden shrine to Mary.   I have Christian friends of many denominations, non-specific spiritual friends, wizard friends of all sorts, friends who worship Norse or Greek or whatever gods, atheist friends, Hindu friends, Sikh friends, and so on.

So of course I thought nothing of it that we should have a German tree and Indian food and that I should have a menorah at home, and Scandinavian tradition, etc.  And you know what? I think… that if one were to throw a party, and if one were to be a stick-up-the-butt about what label one used, and one only wanted ONE sort of label, and was exclusive, and didn’t allow those who might use other labels… welllll… if I were not a nice person, I would say that Jesus and Dionysos and all the rest would MUCH rather go to MY parties than your boring-ass shit.  But, I try to be a nice person, and I know that Jesus and Dionysos go to ALL parties, no matter how boring, because they are One with us.  ;)

Linzer cookies

Linzer cookies, by kupenska. These are Austrian.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy.

So, anyway, I told my friend that at the last holiday party I had been to, I had wished someone a Merry Christmas because I was so excited for Christmas.  I was even dressed as a red and green present.  She said rather despondently, “I don’t celebrate Christmas.”  Well, okay, personal choice, isn’t it?  Even if, no matter the ritual, everyone is celebrating the same thing. So, because I was interested, I asked, “Oh, are you Jewish?” because she looked it.  She said yes.  I said, “Oh, okay.  Well, it’s a little late to wish you a happy Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights… how about Happy Saturnalia instead!  The days of gift-giving, orgies, naked caroling, role-reversal, and human sacrifice in honor of our Lord Saturn, the Never-ending Wheel of Time!”  And then I burst into a fit of giggles thinking about Saturnalia as I walked away to go watch a show.   I told my friend about Saturnalia and that he might as well wish these bah-humbugers a happy Saturnalia, because really, it’s all the same thing. No matter what labels one uses, no matter what throat vibrations, it is all the same thing.  He scoffed and raised his mead (or was it mulled wine?) to our burbon-ed eggnog, as we said, “Happy rebirth of light!”

Light painting 1, by 3mml

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

Really, that’s all it is. The rebirth of light. It isn’t some weird mystical thing, it’s reality.  Well, I guess reality is still weird and mystical.  But when I say that Christ is the light, I am not saying that to be poetic.  It is literally true.

Of course, it is not as though Christ can ever die.  He is eternal.  We all are.   It is merely an illusion that he should die to be reborn.  It is merely an illusion that the sun should set to rise again, that the sun should lower in the sky to rise again after the solstice.   It is just a trick of the circles following gravity through space.  Life and death are cyclical, but we are still eternal.

Now, here let me say that though I call myself a wizard, and though I often speak on Aleister Crowley, do not think that makes me entirely beholden to Crowley- nor would he want me to be.  I do not hold him in idolatrous regard.  Yet I am also a far cry from those who thought he was awful.  He was a human being, and therefore, I forgive him his trespasses, so that we might move on to good times.  Sometimes, he says something that seems a little anti-Christian or anti-whatever.  I think, a good amount of the time, he is being satirical.  Still,  sometimes one never can tell.  There are, at least, emos who like to use his words to be anti-Christian, though Crowley may not have been serious. I think Crowley may, may have been minorly anti-Christian in a few writings because he was still butthurt that his mom thought he was The Beast, and because of other silly things some Christians do.  I can understand that, since my mother thought I was the antichrist, and I have seen Christians do some awful things.  But oh well:  I think we both still know that Christ is light incarnate, and with the truth, it is much easier to pay attention to the law, that is, love, according to the will of the soul.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.

So let me mention something Crowley said once:  He said that we need not rely upon Christ, or Dionysos, or Osiris, or any other death/rebirth god (though he mentioned only death and not rebirth), but rather, that we must recognize the new age of Horus, the child king.  Now, I can understand this too.  The deaths of Christ, Dionysos, and Osiris are illusory.  We are truly eternal children.  Yet… I will always love to celebrate Christmas, even if it is necessary no longer.

There is a primal part of our being which fears the dark and death.  There is a primal part of our being which became afraid over and over again as the sun would dip low into the sky to disappear.  Of course, I don’t think we were so stupid as to believe that the sun actually died and would not come back after we evolved into sentient, rational beings.  We realized these fears were silly, since the sun always comes back, because we are eternal.  In the Talmud, Adam (Adam is man is mankind is Earth) meditates for eight days when he thinks the world is punishing him for his sins as the days get shorter.  When they begin to get longer again, he decides to declare a celebration for these days- the Saturna.  Yet we were still collectively afraid of the dark.  And why not?   It is a scary time, even today.  I wouldn’t walk around at night alone.

So this is why I love Christmas… when the world has just become dark, I light the candles.  This is the rebirth.  I look at the evergreen tree, the symbol of eternal life.   It is covered in jewels of abundance, and lights of rebirth.  Underneath are the gifts of abundance and plenty.  Nearby with the fire roaring and holiday treats (from MANY cultures) to delight, who could not help but be comforted?  There is no need to fear want, when we celebrate abundance.  Giving is like sex. Giving activates the chemicals that make you feel good, because it’s good for you.  Like the old saying, “See a penny, pick it up.  All day long you’ll have good luck.  If a friend you chance to see, give to them for luck times three.”  Whenever one gives, one receives more in return.  Whenever one gives nothing, one is not able to receive more in return, because nothing was given.  So I celebrate abundance, and share with my fellowman.  I am not saying that I am a consumerist who gets into marketing, I guess, because I rather don’t like marketing, but I do like giving. One doesn’t need to buy to give. The universe will help me however I need it to help me give and receive.  Yes, truly I celebrate abundance.


Aurora, by gobbledyguk

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all ye citizens of Heav’n above.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Venite adoremus,
Christ the Lord.

I gave to Luken clothes, both for the stage and for the bedroom.  ;) I gave him The Book of the Dead, an Army survival kit, and an astrological calendar.  Still on its way is a book series.  Luken gave to me Scrooged, an iPod, The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the complete works of Lewis Carroll, paints, and most importantly, a magical item depicting one of my animal totems, my wyakin.  That he remembered that last one touched me.

I opened Lewis Carroll’s works in bed later, and I read the first poem, which I remember having memorized as a child.  It recounts the boating trip with the Liddell girls in which he creates the story of Wonderland.  Next is a Christmas poem, and I remembered that, yes, originally, this book was written down as a Christmas gift for Alice. A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer Day:  Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. How lovely.  Here is the poem.



Lady dear, if Fairies may
For a moment lay aside
Cunning tricks and elfish play,
‘Tis at happy Christmas-tide.

We have heard the children say-
Gentle children, whom we love-
Long ago, on Christmas Day,
Came a message from above.

Still, as Christmas-tide comes round,
They remember it again-
Echo still the joyful sound
“Peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Yet the hearts must childlike be
Where such heavenly guests abide:
Unto children, in their glee,
All the year is Christmas-tide!

Thus, forgetting tricks and play
For a moment, Lady dear,
We would wish you, if we may,
Merry Christmas, glad New Year!

Christmas, 1867.

Luken and I attended the mass that begins at midnight, just as Christmas Eve turns to Christmas.  I told him that could be one of his Christmas presents to me.  He was raised Catholic, but he no longer calls himself Catholic more than he would call himself Taoist, and he doesn’t really like going to church at ALL.  I myself only go on holidays.  But I did not want to go to midnight mass alone, and he was so kind as to come with me.

The light everywhere was brilliant.  Candles upon so many candelabra, lights strung everywhere, decorated trees, and the spotlight Christmas star graced the spacious house of God.  Luken and I arrived only just in time, so, after the holy water, we went upstairs and stood upon the stairs of the balcony to watch.  It was too full to do otherwise, though I often like to sit next to the Pietà.  We could not help but judge the service negatively at times- and always, it is the music!  Especially the song I didn’t even recognize.  Hello, we’re all here because it’s Christmas, play some carols so we can sing along!  I didn’t even have a songbook.  And morrrrrre drums!  You have to give the Catholic church a little credit… they’ve been trying to put more drums in their music, but it’s kind of slow going.

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light.

Glorious now, behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav’n replies.

Yet the chanting was fine, and the carols were fine.  There is something certainly pleasing in chanting something so powerful with so many other souls.  The homily was excellent.

Some weeks ago, the last time I was at church, this same priest asked of the congregation, as priests are occasionally wont to do, “What is God?”   And he called upon a woman who answered as anyone ever has answered that question:  “God is love.”  And she is correct… God is love, God is gravity, God is light, God is omnipresent, omnipotent, et cetera… all the same thing.

During this Christmas Eve midnight homily, the priest said that he used to think of God as someone… removed and far away and GOD, you know?  The faraway GOD some Hebrews were afraid of because this angry-emo-teen!God might smite them for losing their kingdom for the twelfth time or for breaking one of the zillion Mosaic laws.  But God can’t be GOD because love can’t be LOVE.  Love is… something far more personal, far more light.  Love, and God, are eternally one with us.   Jesus, our Immanuel.  Jesus, our reminder that God is with us.

Jesus is God made flesh, the divine light incarnate, in the form of a poor baby boy born in the slums.   The priest spoke of the slums he had been to around the world, how he wondered at the poor children there, how lucky and blessed he considers himself and all of us in the congregation.  God found himself as human- God found himself an infant, incomplete, incredibly vulnerable.  Growing and changing and being an example for us all that we are with God, we are with love, we need not fear, we are eternal. God is all, and God invites us to be one with him. We are born of God, and God made flesh was born of us. God born of humans. Because we are one. And so we prayed for all children born in the slums.

Luken and I looked upon the depiction of the king in his manger, and wondered to ourselves that our collective consciousness would create the nativity scene.

Carroll Window

A window in memory of Lewis Carrol, that is, Charles Dodgson, in All Saints’ Church, Daresbury. His father, Reverend Charles Dodgson, was a curate, and Lewis Carrol was an Anglican deacon as a result of his residency at Christ Church, which owns this church. His Christmas poem is featured in the centre three panels, and many characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are depicted. I have linked to a site with a picture one may explore more closely.

Sometimes I ask Ganymede to tell me about who I am. He is rather fond of playing hard to get in those moments, and why should he not be?  It’s a silly thing to ask of him.  Why, if I ask him point blank, “who am I” he responds, “God”, and I shake my head at my attempts at identification and at his response, because I already knew that.  One of the things I like about Eckhart Tolle is that he has the balls to say that we are God, we are Christ, and the second coming is the transformation of our consciousness.  He says, “If only your master is an incarnation of God, then who are you?  Any kind of exclusivity is identification with form, and identification with form means ego, no matter how well disguised.”  Aleister Crowley says that every woman and man are equal to one another and that each is a star, because every man and woman is God. During the homily, the priest said he was going to tell us all a “secret”. It was not a secret to me, really; I have known it a long time. I think it may have been arcane to others, though, and it is good to hear the reminder:

Jesus, as God incarnate, born into infant flesh, reminds us with his birth that we are forevermore children of Heaven, and that we too are born in him, in the Body of Christ.  (The Body of Christ is the Universe; this is why the bread and wine are so easily transubstantiated by proper holy ritual.)  Thusly, Jesus reminds us that, as beings one with God, we too are reborn as God. Therefore… the priest told us that, this Christmas, all of us in the congregation, if we so chose to accept the responsibility, would go forth to be reborn as Christ this Christmas, and to experience every day thereafter as Christ, reflecting the love of the heavens.  So there you have it. I am Christ. And so are you.

Our Lord welcomes us to him, though He does not force it. He welcomes everyone. He welcomes us into brotherhood, into family, into the eternal feast, the eternal party of the Heavens.  He invites us to love.

Precious moments
Special People
Happy faces
I can see.

Somewhere in my memory
Christmas joys all around me
Living in my memory
All of the music
All of the magic
All of the family home here with me.

There is a Swedish tradition I performed this Christmas. Before dawn, around four in the morning, a girl in the household- me, since I am the only girl- dresses in white and wakes all those in the household with candles and breakfast.  She wears a wreath crown of grapevines and candles, too, so she illuminates all and brings them hope.  She is acting the part of St. Lucia for St. Lucia’s Day.  St. Lucy, Saint Light, welcomes you to breakfast!

St. Lucia and Star Boys

St. Lucia and Star Boys

The priest also mentioned, by the way, that he believes the ego and Satan to be one and the same.  I thought that was interesting.  DIABOLUSEGO!  I wonder how brain seizures involving heavy left temporal lobe activity, the kind that tend to bring out the devil talking to people, affect one’s perception of the ego.  Well, the study of the mind, the science, would reveal nothing new, but it is still interesting.

Queen of the party

Queen of the party, by josemanchado

The time for celebration is nearly over (and yet never over).  Now that we are reborn as Christ, every day is Christmas.  Still, the New Year is imminent.  Luken says it is the day to get our shit back into gear.  Again, I feel my task is monumental, but if I take each moment as it comes, and realize that Saturn’s tricks are illusions, we will be fine, and even happy, Ganymede.

Frank Cross (Cross [n.] – a thing you nail people to) says, after seeing his life in a new light in Scrooged, “And if you give, then it can happen, the miracle can happen to you. Not just the poor and hungry; everybody’s gotta have this miracle! It can happen tonight for you all! If you believe in this pure thing, the miracle will happen and you’ll want it again tomorrow! You won’t say, ‘Christmas is once a year and it’s a fraud.’ It’s not! It can happen every day! You’ve just got to want that feeling! You’ll want it every day! It can happen to you! I believe in it now. I believe it’s gonna happen to me, now. I’m ready for it! And it’s great. It’s a good feeling. It’s better than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m ready. Have a Merry Christmas. everybody. …Did I forget something, big man?”

“God bless us, every one.”

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~ by korakaos on January 1, 2011.

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