My dear readers, as you have noticed my posts have been dwindling as of late, and I must apologize for that fact. However, this month has simply been out of control! We first suffered the lost of my young cousin in a terrible accident. We then welcomed my wonderful new daughter in to the world. Between the two I simply haven't had the time or energy to write. Going in to the new year however, I feel a new energy and promise to do my best to reestablish a steady writing pace. Please look for new posts over the coming days and weeks and please understand that with a newborn I may not be as active as I would like to be, but I will do my best!
As always thanks for reading!
I would also like to take this moment to introduce my new baby girl!
Recently there was a question posed in one of the Pagan Online Forums which I frequent about Dark Magick and Dark Deities. The woman posing the question had some very good and what I would think are common questions. Now, I don't know how "new" this woman is, but I found her questions to be quite the inspiration for a new post here.
Initially her point was balance. The vast majority of Pagans believe that life needs and should be balanced. But if we shy away from the "Dark" aspects, how can we truly achieve balance because both light and dark are needed for there to be true balance.
I for one, have never been one to shy away from the darker aspects of life, faith or magick. Although I grew up in a strict Christian home, my mother was, and is, a HUGE E.A.Poe & early Horror fan... So I kinda grew up loving the "darker" aspects of life and seeing them as "normal." Maybe I grew up a little twisted, but I love all that stuff. So when it came to things like Dark Deities or Dark Magick, I was always able to see both sides of the argument (if you will). But I think many see Dark as pure negative or as a "taboo." I've also found that many Pagan Paths tend to push the idea that "Dark" Magick or Deities are "off limits" because they breed negativity. However, that then begs the question - Where's the balance?
What is important to understand and remember is that everything IS balanced, and even those aspects of life or Magick which may seem to be "Dark" have a "Light" aspect to them. Without Death, we can not have Rebirth, without an End, we can not have a New Beginning... Every Dark Deity has "Light" aspects to them, just as every "Light" Deity has aspects which can be used for "Dark" means.
I don't want to get in to telling you what you should or shouldn't do. However, my general rule is "Think, Consider, Act, Reflect." Think about what you are going to do. Consider how it is going to affect YOU and OTHERS. Carry through your Actions. And don't forget to Reflect on the outcome. Learn from every action you take, no matter the outcome.
Magick itself has NO color, the color of magick comes purely from intent. I make this point because there are lots of books out there, lots of lectures out there and lots of witches out there that will make statements like "Real Witches don't do Dark or Black Magick." But the truth is Witches do Magick - Period! There is no "this is black" and "this is white" - No clear line in the sand. What this means is what is or isn't Dark to one of us, isn't to another.
If you consider what actions you are going to take and you determine they are the best actions to take in order to get the outcome you want, there is NO ONE that can tell you different. Magick is no different from life. IF you wouldn't do it physically, don't do it magickally. Beyond that, there is no hard and fast law of what you should or shouldn't do...
What all this really means is that contrary to popular belief, the "Dark" does not need to be avoided. In fact, it's nearly impossible to do so because even those aspects of life which we see as a positive have to be balanced with the negative. Light and Dark, Yin & Yang... There is no purity, no perfection, it's impossible. If you are taking actions you feel are proper, that's all that matters, regardless of how someone else may label those actions.
For most American's Santa Claus is and always will be THE symbol of Christmas and Childhood Joy. Most people don't assign him any real religious significance, just a traditional one. But the truth is Santa is full of religious AND traditional significance!
Santa Clause as we know him today is largely based on the story of St. Nicholas, a 4th century Christian Bishop from what is now Turkey. He was known for his habit of giving gifts to the poor. One memorable story has him meeting a pious but very poor man who had three daughters. In order to save the girls from a life of prostitution he presented the father with dowries. In most European countries he is still portrayed as a white haired bearded bishop in his clerical robes. Later he became the patron saint of a great many groups including children, the impoverished and prostitutes...
In addition to his European influences he also has a history among early Germanic Tribes. One of their major Gods was Odin, the ruler of Asgard. Odin is usually shown as an old man with a long white beard (not unlike St. Nicholas). Odin was often depicted as leading a hunting party through the skies where he rode his eight legged horse named Sleipnir. Portions of the Poetic Eddas, Sleipnir is described as being able to leap great distances, which has been compared to Santa's reindeer by some modern scholars.
During winter months children would place their boots near the chimney and fill them with straw and carrots as gifts for Sleipnir. As a reward for this, Odin would leave gifts in their boots when he flew over head. As these Germanic countries adopted the new religion of Christianity, this practice not only survived but evolved in an effort to fit the new beliefs. It was this evolution which forced Odin out and ushered in the days of "Good ol' St. Nick. Today the practice of hanging stockings by the chimney has replaced boots by the fire, but it's easy to see how closely related the practices are.
Santa Claus as we know him today was not introduced until around 1825 in the form of a narrative poem by a man named Clement C. Moore. However, the ideas which would become Santa were originally introduced to the Americas by Dutch settlers who arrived in New Amsterdam as they brought with them the practice of leaving their shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill with gifts. They also brought with them the name Sinterklaas, the name which eventually because Santa Claus.
Clement C. Moore's poem, which introduced Santa Claus to the world was originally titled "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Today, it's better known as "Twas the Night Before Christmas." This is also the original source of the names for Santa's reindeer as well as the "jolly old elf" description...