James Governor's Monkchips

Have a great Pagan Solstice Festival

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Overlain with your appropriate cultural beliefs…
I don’t think it would hurt us to spend some time thinking about the real meaning of this end of year festival, which is far older than any of the world’s major religions. It’s about celebrating the cycle of life, the passing of the seasons, and the hope for good harvest next year. Its about remembering lost loved ones and giving thanks for all our blessings and the new lifes that have joined us these last 12 months. Its about getting fat to cope with the bitter cold of winter…
Sadly-the life we live, so isolated from the elements, as we sit in our cars with the exhaust on even when we’re not moving, as we move from centrally heated apartment to centrally heated office, makes us forget about the seasons and the true lessons of life.
We are lucky, and resources are often scarce. Tomorrow won’t necessarily be better than yesterday, but hopefully it will be. Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, and so I toasted it.
Its time to get drunk on joy and hug our loved ones, and love them more and tell them so. Don’t worry about presents, its presence that really counts. Be in the moment and love your family and friends. Forget about next year’s work for a while because it will come round soon enough.
Take stock though of the year and ask yourself did I make a contribution? If the answer is yes, then sleep easy. You can rest assured that the guy with a big beard, that force of nature, who dresses like a fly agaric and travels through space and time by holding onto a bunch of reindeers, will surely come to visit. He can help you count your blessings.


  1. James,
    I echo your sentiments and wish you and your family a very happy holiday.

  2. I contributed 300+ blogs this year. Enough charity? No seriously, great post. Happy holidays…

  3. cheers vinnie – i think the fly agaric will work on you like a charm… 🙂 you have certainly made a contribution this year.

    cheers teressa – as ever, its a pleasure to hear from you.

  4. Hey James, just dropping in to wish you and yours happy holidays and all the best for 06 !!

    Cheers !!

  5. You are slightly off on the meaning of this festival and joining several festivals together (feel free to email me if you would like to go through that) but I echo your overall sentiment. It was great meeting you last night and I hope that it will be the first toast of many.

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with your (growing) family.

  7. go ahead aaron but just respond here. thanks. i was quite aware when i wrote this that I was collapsing festivals together to some extent. on the other hand the end of the year blow out was, i am fairly sure, one in which thoughts did indeed turn to life, death renewal and the seasons.

    by all means put your knowledge forward, but don’t just say i am “off on the meaning”.

    have a good one.

  8. Great post. It echoed a feeling I’ve had for years: The fact that at this time of year I celebrate the year past, and toast the year ahead, but don’t celebrate any religious occasion. It felt good to read your post.

  9. Hey James – remember me from COLT ?
    i can’t post what i was going to because it says there’s ‘questionable content’ – what ?

  10. Just what constitutes a “major” religion? If you are conflating the Jewish Hanukah with the Solistice I’m afraid you are making two mistakes.
    The first is that Hanukah isn’t related to the solistice; the Jewish calendar is a modified Lunar calendar, and the celebration ranges from November to various parts of December. There are religious Jewish events that are Solar based, but this isn’t one of them.
    The second is that it’s some sort of celebration of the “cycle of life” (there are such Jewish festivals, but none in this season). Hanukah is the celebration of the ancient victory (spritual and military) of the Maccabean revolt against pagan oppressors (not that all pagans were, or are oppressors; but the Syrian aggressors were).

    In any event, I hope you enjoyed your Solistice festivals — whatever form they took … and any other religious or social events of the same timeframe.


  11. thanks for the feedback keith. you have evidently done your belief overlays 🙂

    Solstice celebrations are likely older than Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, or Christianity. Is that the point you’re arguing with?

    you are possibly using “Pagan” in a slightly different sense… meaning non-abramic. somewhat like “barbarian”, “infidel”. ie those different from us. I was using “pagan” more in the Stonehenge/Germanic sense… words like “wassailing” and “yule” are the ones to point to.

    As I understand it Hanukah was origally a relatively minor celebration in the Jewish calendar. But it is increasingly conflated with Christmas, in terms of how it is celebrated, which was originally conflated with Solstice. Not my doing… Feld points to some humour in that regard.


    the Romans had Saturnalia

  12. I think people need reasons to celebrate – it helps with the rhythm of life: Anticipate, release, recover, repeat.

    Solstices, Christmas, New Year, birthdays, anniversaries, project completion, end of the school year, whatever – these things bring people together and help keep us sane.

    Thanks for the post, James – and Happy New Year. (And why don’t they make Vernal Equinox puddings, any way?)

  13. Nice, I agree 100% with what you said. We are so dis-connected these days… its quite sad really.

    I think schools should help kids appreciate the wonders of nature more – Parents 2!


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