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Posts Tagged ‘Atheism’

Christmas has been problematic for me for most of my teenage/adult life. First I was most definitely NOT Christian. I reconciled that with the obligatory celebrations of the silly season by simply “celebrating winter.” Then I discovered Paganism. That was great. I celebrated Yule, all the trappings of Yule fit nicely with the mainstream trappings of Christmas only we celebrated by calling a circle outside in fancy dress on a slightly different day.  Then I moved to Australia where the seasons are reversed. Suddenly things got complicated. Oh, and throw in the fact that I finally became comfortable with my atheism (something that was always there but I kept trying to deny) and you have a bloody confusing & generally annoying time of year.

The Nondemoninational Solstice Related Holiday Season (or NSRHS) is just odd to me here. It highlights my total disconnection with the land/seasons even after nearly 9 years. It just feels wrong to be sitting around a fake pine tree decorated with symbols of winter, wearing shorts, sitting in front of the air conditioning vent and eating summer fruits and cold turkey. I can’t get into it. I feel … disjointed, wrong. This strikes me as odd since I’ve been here nearly 9 years and really ought to be used to it by now. I also cannot fathom why they persist in using the traditional Northern Hemisphere symbols of winter. It just seems so ludicrous in the middle of summer when people are going to the beach and eating mangoes, cherries and watermelon. It would be ludicrous even in the winter down here as winter here is nothing like the Northern Hemisphere winters that the traditional Christmas symbols depict. Australia, being a part of the Commonwealth yet in the Southern Hemisphere with a completely unique landscape and set of seasons seems to be a land with multiple personality disorder at times.

Aside from my personal issues with being a Nothern Hemisphere native in the Southern Hemisphere,  there is the usual family dischord for this time of year. The Geek’s paternal family is mostly north of the river and his maternal family is mostly south. We live south. We have to trek all the way up to his very Christian aunt’s place for the NSRHS lunch first. That is always the worst. His cousins have kids and parent very differently from us. The kids are hyped with sugar and junk food and are positively smothered with copious amounts of gifts which we consider to be junk. This year Bug is old enough to see this and want more presents. He’s not old enough, however, to appreciate the anticonsumerist lessons we are attempting to teach him or why a lot of the presents the kids are given do not fit within our family value system. There are also the comments (ie “R wants the blue cup because he is a BOY” or poorly disguised negative comments regarding my dreadlocks). They all mean well and I love them … but I just really would prefer to visit outside of the NSRHS. The SOR family is not quite as bad because ours are the only kids and we don’t have the consumerist issue. However, its still uncomfortable.  We don’t drink (well, not around the kids anyway), we have different values again, etc. We are always on the perifery of the group struggling to find something we can talk about.

The light amongst all this was the solstice celebration my group of friends had the weekend before the big day. It was lovely. We all went out to S’s house on a huge block of land (it used to be a working farm but is no longer) about 40 minutes from the city. We lounged, ate and watched the kids play. The kids made sun lamps for their solstice craft project and it was a glorious day. I want to do more. I may be atheist but I’m atheist with a Pagan slant and celebrating the seasons makes sense to me. It might help me feel more connected to this great southern land as well. I can’t wait for Lammas or the beginning of Autumn in the first week of February. I hope that we will all be able to keep to our intentions and organise another gathering. It was good for the soul.

But what to do about the mainstream NSRHS next year? We’ve decided to go away next year. That would be nice. Of course, if it doesn’t eventuate, then I can always fall back on my original plan which was to fake my own death. 🙂

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