Yesterday was Advent, the beginning of the Christian liturgical year. If you are like me, this is a good thing and a good opportunity to renew your practice and set a pace for your practice.
Specifically the season of advent is about preparing a place for the Lord, which internally speaks of Kenosis, the process of self-emptying so that you can be filled with the Logos.
My favorite prayer to use before meditation for setting up Kenosis is the prayer of St Joseph the Visionary:
PRAYER OF ST JOSEPH THE VISIONARY
Cleanse my hidden mind with the hyssop of your grace
For I draw near to the holy of holies of your mysteries
Wash me from all my understanding of the flesh
and may an understanding of the spirit be mingled with my soul
Cause to reside in me a faith that percieves your mysteries,
so that I may percieve you as you are, and not as I am.
Create in me eyes that I may see with your eyes,
what I cannot see with my own
My every bodily image be wiped from my minds eye
and may you alone be recognised before the eye of the mind.
As each year goes by I am more and more a Christian in thinking, devotion, meditation, and even the magic that I do. I am less and less anything else. This autumn in particular has led me to a much deeper understanding of the Holy Mystery of Christianity and its implications for magic and mysticism. Hint: you need to understand the figure of Melchizedek and the particulars of the Jewish scapegoat ritual to really get what the crucifixion was about.
Eventually I will be starting a new blog to explore my own Christian Mystical experiences, Contemplative Prayer, Emerging Church, and the occasional diatribe against the herp-de-derp Christianity that, while still a minority in numbers, seems loudest by volume.
I will of course keep up Strategic Sorcery (it is my career after all) but until I come up with a clever name for such a blog you will just have to suffer through the odd Christian related post here. In the meantime, I did have a message to ALL my readers about the Seasons Greetings, or actually the greetings that we use during this season.
My message to all is: Fucking Get Over Yourselves!
Specifically I will break my message up into two camps:
TO CHRISTIANS: There is no “War on Christmas”. It may be the case that your town or state had been very forceful with Christmas messages in public areas and now are forced not to be. Get over it. You still have a church on every goddamned corner, and most houses sporting gaudy lights proclaiming the birth of Christ. All shopping centers have been decorated swathed in pine and ribbon since Halloween and your living room probably looks like Currier and Ives have been crashing on your sofa. In other words: you have more than enough Christmas to go around.
If, god forbid, someone wishes you Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas please for fucks sake exercise some actual Christian behavior and accept it with grace. They are wishing you well and exercising respect by not assuming that you are Christian . You and I both know that by January 6th, if not Dec 25th, you will be so sick of Christmas that will feel like punching an elf repeatedly in the nose.
BTW, the SONG Happy Holidays goes back to 1942 and if the phrase is good enough for Bing Crosby, its good enough for you!
TO NON-CHRISTIANS: 93% of Americans Celebrate Christmas. That means that like it or not, it is going to leak into the culture (see above). It also means that unless you are well known as a Jew or Pagan or Hindu or Muslim chances are someone, somewhere will wish you a Merry Christmas. To rail against this as if it is religious persecution is just the height if silliness.
The funniest thing is that when Pagans travel to countries where religion plays an even larger role in public life than it does here, its always viewed as an exciting opportunity for cultural awareness. Yet here, it is just expected that not just government, but all life, will be secular or that all religions will be given equal weight.
Upset that there is not a menorah next to the Christmas Tree at the bank? Get over it. Jews make up 2.1% of America. Even in New York, which has the highest percentage, it is 8.3%. Pagans, make up such a small number that I can’t even find statistics. Basically, its a minority religion, why would you EXPECT it to be presented in equal volume in the culture? If someone forces you to actually celebrate Christmas, that is a whole other deal. But just being exposed to it? Deal with it – we are the 93%.
As is – you should be about as upset about people mistakenly wishing you a Merry Christmas in America as you would be about someone wishing you a Happy Dewali in India. When I identified as Pagan my response was simply “Just to let you know, I am a Pagan and don’t celebrate Christmas, but thank you, and a very Merry Christmas to you.” By all means if they inquire further take the opportunity to talk a bit about your religion, and as long as they remain respectful you may have a good conversation on your hands. You may even make someone aware of a spiritual path that they never considered, thus being a Pagan evangelist.
So please, everyone just exercise a little decorum, a little politeness, and a little grace. Maybe, just maybe we can together create a little peace on earth and goodwill towards man.