one of the best things I’ve done to simplify my life was to replace faith with logic and reason.
i was a member of a much less restrictive religion than Catholicism or born-again Christianity or Islam, though… i was an earth-loving, Goddess-worshiping, spell-casting Wiccan.
it was a lot of fun and everything i did was infused with a feeling of whimsy, awe and magic. but even so, over time and the more i learned about the world and how it operates, the more my curiosity and love of learning grew and the harder it became for me to true-believe in the un-testable, unsupported concept of deities and the supernatural.
let me just say…
it’s been so freeing not having to worry about following religious dogma, customs and rules! and i always felt silly praying anyway. i don’t miss it.
but here’s what i DO miss…
i miss holidays. what i loved about pagan holidays is that, rather than focusing on gift giving, they focused more on the home and community/family connections, the seasons, planting, harvests, honoring the end of life and the memory of loved ones and celebrating the creation of new life.
the drawback is that pagan holidays are steeped in ancient beliefs and traditions, or what we know about them anyway, and arbitrary ceremonies that were made up in the 1960’s & 70’s by people who believe in literal magical powers.
no religion necessary.
it would be easy to divest these holidays from the magical thinking and mythology and just simply celebrate the natural, measurable, verifiable, real world. things you can see and touch. these holidays would be an awesome excuse to have parties, without religious context, and indulge in the fruits of the season and get a little toasty with friends and family – especially if that family brings home-brewed strawberry wine!
i bring this up because my favorite holiday is coming shortly and i think I’m ready to dive back in to the holiday spirit, sans religiosity, honor the historical and cultural aspects of them as well as the actual season itself.
plus i love the seasonal decorations! i can’t decorate for shit but i love looking at everybody else’s!
simple, secular celebrations
so what events are worth celebrating as a simple, secular person?
my idea is to simply take the pagan wheel of the year and strip the mysticysm away, since these holidays are based in natural and cosmic happenings anyway, and were then assigned mystical meanings. i want to look at what these days are, why they’re significant and maybe what context they can hold for us in a secular manner.
im not going to worry about including christian holidays because most of them were modeled after pagan holidays anyway (easter, all saints day, christmas, etc.).
- the foundation holidays – these would be the solstices and equinoxes because they’re clear and easy to understand – the earth is in a certain position around the sun. these positions tell us what season we’re entering and what to expect.
- the secondary holidays – focus on life cycles and sustenance. in spring and early summer the trees are budding and crop planting happens: new life. in the fall is harvest and things start to die out: end of life. I’m not sure what to call these holidays just yet.
- tertiary holidays – would be the cultural holidays of wherever you happen to be from. ex; in the U.S. we celebrate New Years Day, Presidents day or MLK Jr. day… kind of.
- and lastly – things like birthdays and anniversaries – celebrations of personal significance.
i plan to write about each holiday as it comes up, from a secular pov, with ideas on significance, meaning and celebration ideas!