Harvest time

Living in the United States, I am subjected to a constant barrage of advertising anytime a holiday approaches. Currently, it is Thanksgiving, the odd American holiday which has become their harvest festival/OctoberFest autumn celebration.

Thanksgiving was originally created to give thanks to the Christian deity (in the guise of Native Americans) for saving the Pilgrim forefathers of this great land from starving to death.  It was entirely separate from any harvest festival. Thanksgiving does not celebrate working together to bring in the harvest, nor the sharing of that harvest with each other.  Nor does this Thanksgiving celebration recognize Death the way that the old ones used to. Death is essential to life, which is recognized in most cultures somehow, but the Christian-Judean heritage of America has made death a thing of mystery and fear, and it is no longer celebrated at all in American culture.

This is the time of year in the Northern Hemisphere when the LifeForce retreats from the land, ebbing away swiftly as the days grow short. A time of hibernation, of conserving for the long winter, a time when new life seems impossible, almost. The gaiety and festivities are out of sync with our past, and the juxtaposition of a holiday which is about Death, really, kicking off the celebration of a holiday about rebirth grates at my soul. Christmas, YuleTide used to be celebrated into January, and did not start until Christmas Eve, at the earliest. People did not party when the days were rapidly getting shorter.

Right now, early to mid-November, is when the pagans celebrate Death, with quiet remembrance of those who have gone before us, funny stories, the sharing of handwork done by the person.  Belief in a spirit realm was widespread, and people felt that this was a time when the veil between this world and the next was pulled back somewhat, easing communication between the two.  This is a time of great spirituality, of introspection, of prayer, of meditation.  I am convinced that there is a reason why so many people feel stressed out at this time of year, and that reason is that this holiday is unnatural, and contrary to our nature.


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