Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bringing Yule & Christmas Together

This year my sons are 9 and 11 and while they believe in the Spirit of the Season, their views of Santa Claus are more along the lines of a fond memory. So it comes to me to bring the spirit of faith and magic and mystery back to the season, however I can. And also whenever I can, blend the pagan with the mainstream. Thankfully, my mentor Lunaea Weatherstone presented me with the perfect material: the glorious, generous and joyful Holly King who represents peace and the Consort or Companion of the Goddess in his Green Man guise.

I described to my boys the image of the Holly King: barrel chested, wearing a cloak of red or green lined in white fur, barefooted with a crown of holly and icicles, and how he is depicted as the Ghost of Christmas Present in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol: "Its dark brown curls were long and free; free as its genial face, its sparkling eye, its open hand, its cheery voice, its unconstrained demeanour, and its joyful air. Girded round its middle was an antique scabbard; but no sword was in it, and the ancient sheath was eaten up with rust."

I told them the story ancient peoples have shared with their children for hundreds of years: The Holly King rules during the months of the waning sun, lending his protection and jolly spirit as the days grow cold. At Yule the Holly King gives up his rule to the Oak King, who will reign during the days of growing Light. The Holly King gives up his post and his empty scabbard is akin to the Horn of Cornucopia, representing the abundance and generosity of Santa Claus.

I wrapped up my sharing by reading the 1897 original editorial letter in response to Virgina O'Hanolan's question, "Is there a Santa Claus?" Here is a wonderful excerpt.

"He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy... there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding."

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