Joia Wood, Stratton Salidis, and Mariana Bell

Local songwriters Joia Wood, Stratton Salidis, and Mariana Bell band together for a benefit aimed at preserving McIntire Park, and your $5 entry fee goes right into the legal coffers.

Mariana Bell - Book
Joia Wood - To Do [featuring Trees On Fire]


Hey, awesome idea-What time is the event?We gotta save this cool parkland.

8pm -- look in the upper left

What's good for the Christmas goose is good for the Pagan gander! When Albemarle County in its wisdom decided to allow religious events to be publicized by backpack mail, they clearly decided to be open to all religions. While I personally prefer a separation between religion and government supported organizations, the NatureSpirit event is a great place for kids to learn that there's more than one religion out there. And high time for it, IMHO.

Christams celebrates the birth of the Savior. I can't believe that this group would try to subvert the original meaning of this holy day.

Winter Solstice was for Pagans the celebraion of the birth of the SUN God. While Christmas is the birth of the Son of God.

Pagan or Christian I wish you all a great Holiday season.

I am amazed that there are still people out in the world that don't realize that Christmas was "borrowed" from pagan holidays in order to convert more non-believers into Christians. (My understanding is that Jesus was most likely born in the Spring, which would make Easter more appropriate for a birthday celebration). I can imagine that Jesus is shaking his head at all the things people have done in His name... all the hatefulness, the killings, the fear, encouraging prejudice in all forms, the lies and hypocrisy. He spent so much time trying to teach the path to true spiritual growth.

NOW fresh for Christmas 2006, we have a newly released video game from the Left Behind series that has players KILL non-believers who won't become Christian at gunpoint. I hope I'm wrong but it seems that this game is going to get passed out at churches.....

I know that there are people that TRULY follow the teachings of Jesus, especially the lessons of tolerance, compassion and love for their fellow brothers/sisters and this beautiful planet. Not all Christians are evangelical nor fundemental types. Most are passionate about their faith and do good things within the communities for the benefit of ALL. I don't recall Mother Theresa needing a camera crew highlighting all her work in a reality tv show... there is room at the table for all faiths, plenty of cakes and sparkling cider to go around. We ALL have holy days within December; we should honour that Love/Light within ourselves and others.

Many people underestimate the power of Satan to fool those who are not careful and let themselves be led astray. Satan would sow doubt about the Lord and would have you to believe that the birth of God's son was actually a celebration of pagan rituals. We must be careful not to let him pull the wool over eyes.

And I don't think its fair to bring that video game into the discussion. No true Christian would kill non-believers. Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. We have a duty to save as many souls as we can, but killing those we can't save wouldn't be right.

The true Winter celibration was Yule! NOT Xmas.
What don't Christians get?
I hope their children do not grow up as bigoted as their parents.
Open you bible someday. You will see some horrifying stuff.

I think (hope) that David Baker is kidding.

And Wanda...well, there's no explaining some things.

Thank you for your words Ms. Phillips... I know that many of us agree that this video game is not a true representation of the teachings of the Christ but yet many will continue to push that this IS the way for Jesus. That is what I have a problem with, ideologies aside.

Again, there is enough room for Christians, Jews, Wiccans, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu, Sufis, Bahais, Unitarian Universalists, Quakers, Amish, LDS, Druids (and so many others that I haven't named) at the table. There is so much diversity in each community even if that is not openly known. We should honour everyone's right to celebrate their holy days during this beautiful season and pass along the love. Our amazing counry has so many cultures and beliefs that show every single day what a blessing it truly is to be a part of this great melting pot. This is supposed to be our strength not a weakness.

Merry Yule/Christmas! Happy Hanukkah/Kwanza/Solstice/Holidays! Feliz Navidad! to everyone. Peace and good will towards all. :-)

You know, when I was growing up, we didn't have to worry about all this. Most everyone was a Christian and we said a prayer everyday before class. We had a Jewish girl in our class, but everyone respected her right to a different faith. I believe that those prayers did us a lot of good, or at least didn't do us any harm. We didn't have have gangs or drugs and whatever else kids have to deal with today. Nowadays you can't do anything without offending someone. I have gone to war so that people will have the right to worship as they choose, but for the life of me, I can't see anything wrong with a prayer before studies. It seems to me that the majority of folks are Christians, so why do we have to act like there are just as many Pagans as Christians out there? I'm not saying things were perfect back then, but they were a lot better than we have today.

Wanda: It's "sew" a sow is a pig. Your argument has so many catch 22s that it hurts worse to think about it than to try and comprehend star trek's version of time travel.

Lynne: Way to be a bigoted extremeist on the other side. I hope you're a troll.

Grampy: If the majority wanted to turn your house into a clubhouse and kick you out of it, would that be okay? Since you're the only one against it? Prayer before studies is wrong just like women not being allowed to show their skin is wrong. Besides, up where I am Christians are in the minority.

I am a legal, credentialed Minster in Covenant of the Goddess. As such, I would demand the same request that any other member of the Clergy would receive.
Anyone who can and will take the time to study History knows that December 25 was originally the celebration of the "Birthday" of Mithra, the Sun God, who's worship almost eclipsed that of Jesus in the Roman era. The church picked the date for Jesus's birthday because, as others have correctly mentioned, it was a good way to convert the non-Christians.
Many, many of the trappings of our modern Western world's celebration of Christmas were lifted wholly from the previous religious paradigm, the Pagan faiths that existed, and mostly peacefully I might add, for thousands of years before Jesus.
Evergreen trees decorated with lights and ornaments, mistletoe sprigs, songs sung by fireplaces... - - even, to some degree the non religious figure of Santa Claus - - all come from Pagan sources.

And yes we are reclaiming this holiday for ourselves, but don't worry. Our religious traditions do not charge us to convert or prostelize. We would be happy to CO-EXIST in your world, if you would only let us.
Rev. "Obie"

Personally, I am opposed to the church/state combination. However, if conservative Christians wanted the back-pack policy, hey, they got it!

I hope that Left Behind thing is incorrect. That is definitely not a good example of WWJD!

Autumn, in the case Wanda uses, "sow" is actually the correct word. It means "to plant."

Grampy, I don't know WHEN you grew up but gangs have been in America since the Civil War era and were actually quite profilic in the 1890s. Also, remember the *gang*sters of the 1930s? Ditto drugs. Perhaps WHERE you grew up had more to do with it. If Christians want prayer before their studies, they have every right to begin a Christian school. Hey, lots of folks have so it can't be that difficult or that controlled.

Rev. Wayne and Lynn Heath, to you I say "Amen, sisters, amen."

Wanda and David, well, you two sound like you tow the party line. Hope Satan isn't in disguise and spewing out what you're buyin'. Personally, I don't believe in the guy, but if you do I'm glad something is keeping your sins in check. Oh, and of course you are entitled to your beliefs, just as long as you don't try to force them on others and/or society. This IS a democracy, after all. Supposedly.

oh i LOVE this! this'll get the religiously insane fundies all worked up!

KAT: I first heard about the video game in an email from (campaign to defend the constitution) I kept on reading on several websites. Here is the first link:

Normally, I don't worry too much about boycotting WalMart. But no matter which side one is on about violent video games, I DO have a problem with organizations like Focus on the Family and Family Research Council denouncing the sale of violent video games and ripping into people for playing fantasy role playing games. Then they endorse a video game that has players converting people into Christians AT GUNPOINT or else they DIE. But because the game doesn't have blood and it's A CHRISTIAN theme, then it's all ok.

I can guarantee you that real Christians are NOT going to like it. But groups like Focus on the Family constantly tell us that there is a war against Christianity, that they have the pulse of America to tell them that this is a Christian nation. They encourage fear and intolerance to everyone that doesn't agree with them and do it all with a smile. WE live in a multi-cultural society, with many different beliefs and practices. There are far more similarities than differences if one was only to look. It's not my job to proselytize nor convert, only to open eyes and enlighten minds.

GRAMPY: We don't live in a world like that anymore... in the time you grew up, the majority in your community were probably Christian folk and most everyone, no matter where they worshipped, had MANNERS. That is not the way it is anymore. The brand/flavor of Christianity being practiced by those that scream the loudest from the pulpit these days about how the Devil is down in Georgia/strolling down Grand Avenue/surfing in Santa Cruz/shopping at Ace Hardware/sitting next to you on the bus, is most likely not the faith that you practice.

I am hoping that there will be more open dialogue everywhere on religious/spiritual diversity this holiday season, that it will continue on far into the new year. In fact I hope this will be like the song that never ends :-). One can only hope.

Thank you Rev. Obie

Peace and blessings to all

This whole "War on Christmas" is getting a little ridiculous. I think people of all faiths should declare war on the media and retailers. Those are the people who really hijacked the holidays.

Just about every religion and culture on the face of the earth celebrates the winter soltice as a time of hope, light and gathering in community. In our culture, it has degenerated into people killing each other over Tickle-me Elmo dolls.

I have been a Practicing Pagan for over 10 years, and to me... Yule is the embodiment of all that is good about Christmas.

Whatever happened to this being the season of peace? Of love? Of sharing our blessings, regardless of their source, with each other?

Take a step back. Try to just accept for a little while that we are different, we all have our own paths to take, and not each and every one of us is right.

Deity is all around us. A part of us. Deity does not judge us. We judge each other for there is no harsher critic than our peers.

Try to see the joy in the season and not the conflict of interests.

Careful what you wish for. So conservative christians won the right to send home invitations in kids backpacks for religious events and now they aren't happy that a different religion gets to do the same. How many of them had a sudden urge to call the ACLU and sue the school for promoting religion after the Pagan flier popped out of little Jimmy or Susy's back back? Perhaps now they understand how all non-christians in the country have felt every time they have tried to use the schools as a recruiting ground targeting kids who aren't their own offspring.

Personally I want to ask any parent that wants to put religion in the public school just 2 questions. 1) How did you get to be so lazy that you can't manage to take your own child to church? and 2) Why would you trust an institution which you don't trust to even teach Reading Writing and Arithmetic to teach your religion?

Ironically you hear a lot from conservatives about how they stand for personal responsibility and stand against relying on government to do for you what you can do for yourself. Then you get to the subject of the "culture wars" and suddenly they want to turn Uncle Sam into Preacher Sam.

In my family we practice Yulemas. I grew up in a Christian household. Not quite C&E Christian but not Every Sunday either, so 'average' Christian house, I guess.

I remember my mom mentioning how it was the birth-day of Jesus sometime each year, and then I remember the year I came home with info on how christmas trees were Pagan and from Germany. I also had information about what some of our favorite decorations were symbols for. Mom looked at the info, went "hmmm."

And then she reached for a bright gold ball and hung it on the tree. The tree was gold, silver, and white that year. And it looked amazing.

I am now a practicing Pagan and have been for several years, and I married another Pagan. We decorate a tree,give each other presents, and sing christian christmas songs, jewish songs, the occasional pagan holiday song, mixed in with insturmental pieces and the odd pagan band.

When we do have kids? They will learn that the season is multi-religious and we will teach them a few things about each religion and also about the histories of each.

So, everyone have a safe and happy holiday, no matter what holiday it is.

I dislike seeing controversy like this, but I actually hope it makes some people take a step back and realize how non-Christians feel when they have Christian teachings, fliers, etc. put up on them. I am a Pagan and do not tell people for fear of their reactions. I respect everyone’s beliefs and just wish they could return the courtesy. I agree with the comment on manners, I do not think that concept is around much anymore. Sad.

My greatest wish is that everyone could respect each other’s differences and live in peace; at least many of the comments here give me hope for people getting along.

I really do hope that video game does not come out. I am already worried about the amount of violence in video games and the reality of the graphics, that the industry is trying to make more realistic. I do play video games, but dislike the realistic and violent ones.

I am so confused myself with the whole war on Christmas issue. I simply say happy holidays because there are so many holidays out there and I do not know which holiday people practice, and I am including New Year in the wish. I am not offended is someone wishes me a Merry Christmas and I do not understand someone being offended if I say happy holidays. We chose what offends us, and if I have to choose something that is offensive at Christmas it is watching the news with people waiting in lines or fighting with other people over an ITEM; that seems to be the real problem with the season. Capitalism crept in and took over while so many other people are fighting over what to say to each other.
No offense to anyone: Have a happy and safe holiday!!

I like the old-fashioned idea of peace on earth and goodwill towards man.

It's curious that for the first few hundred years it was considered blasphemous to celebrate the birth of Jesus, as if he were an emperor. It was his death and ressurection that were important.

It is also worth noting again that all the major symbols of the holiday have pagan origins, though the meanings have changed in some cases. This even includes the most Christian of symbols, the manger scene. Although the event it represents comes strait from the gospels, the way it is invariably depicted is a common motif in pre-christian art. The baby Jesus in the center with the parents on either side and surrounded by animals symetrically aranged with a star shining down. Gods were often depicted this way in pagan art. The motif is known as the axis mundi (axis/center of the world) and with the animals, indicated rulership of nature.

Like a spoiled brat, we all claim the 'toy', in this case the holiday season, to be exclusively 'mine'.
Different people, with different backgrounds, celebrate differently.
Religion has been around almost as long as humans have, and yes, that is a lot longer than 6000 years. Religion has evolved and changed with the powers to be; from nature based religions to organized religions. We all need to get along and accept each other. There is enough room for all.

As far as 'true Christians would never' - anyone remember the crusades, the persecution or burning times, what the settlers did to the natives right here, various escapades into various other countries and the outcomes, etc.?

Did Jesus not reach out to everyone, including especially the politically incorrect?
Does Wicca not teach to 'harm none'?

The NatureSpirit group is absolutely correct -- Christmas was a pagan holiday adapted by Christians to help spread the faith. Ironically, it works in reverse now, and in our society Christmas celebrates excessive decadence that distracts people from spiritual matters. This is why a growing number of Christians (including myself) do not celebrate Christmas anymore. As daecon points out, Jesus suffered and died for our sins, and that is the important part of the Story. I challenge every Christian to set aside these pagan symbols and the God-less consumerism of the season and to return to a life of reflection, prayer, and sacrifice.

Gli antichi romani il 25 Dicembre celebravano il gioioso dies Natalis, cioè giorno NATALE di Bacco, del Sole Invincibile, di Mithras e di altri dei solari.
I cristiani dei primi 4 secoli, invece, celebravano la nascita di Gesù (successivamente trasformato in loro Dio), il 6 di Gennaio.
Solo svariati secoli dopo ( fra il 337 ed il 450 dopo Cristo), per soppiantare le feste di questi dei solari, i cristiani spostarono al 25 Dicembre anche il natale del loro Dio per appropriarsi del significato del ben più antico NATALE dei POLITEISTI che era il Natale del solstizio e del ritorno della luce del 25 Dicembre, il natale di Dionisio-Bacco, del Sole invincibile, di Helios, di Mithras.
Chi non si riconosce nella tradizione cristiana, dunque non si senta fuori posto durante le festività natalizie, ma festeggi pure, con parenti ed amici e con la intera comunità italiana ed occidentale le feste del ritorno della luce, riconoscendole come proprie, come laiche o come pagane con tutti i diritti di priorità rispetto all’appropriazione cristana. Rivendichiamo come festa laica il ritorno di giornate di luce più lunghe, ottimo motivo per festeggiare.
E di fronte ai cristiani che alzano la bandiera del tradizionalismo, rivendichiamo le autentiche tradizioni autoctone romane precedenti alla loro e da loro snaturate.
Ed anche l’albero di Natale non ha niente di originariamente cristiano! La tradizione di festeggiare alberi era tipicamente pagana ed aspramente condannata già dalla Bibbia. L’abete poi (con precedenti romani), è di tradizione nordica, al solito tardivamente fatta propria dai cristiani eppoi più recentemente “laicizzatasi” quasi completamente nel sentire comune.
I laici reagiscano alla retorica religiosa ma NON estraniandosi dalla propria comunita’, bensì rivendicando orgogliosamente le proprie radici nella tolleranza e nella libertà di pensiero dei tempi “pagani”.
Se consideriamo (come fanno perfino i neopagani) che il paganesimo non è stato una religione, bensì un atteggiamento tollerante verso tutti i modi di pensare e tutte le tradizioni, non avremo difficoltà a mantenere intatto il nostro laicismo pur recuperando pienamente il folclore gioioso delle nostre radici più profonde.
25 Dicembre NATALE : il giorno della rinascita della luce : è una data sicuramente importante, visto che sembra abbia dato il NATALE a molti Dei !
1. Dionisio o Bacco o Libero, dio del vino della gioia e delle orgie di Grecia e Roma. Moltissime sono le similitudini fra i misteri di Dionisio (conosciuto da 13 secoli prima di Cristo) ed il "mito cristiano": Dioniso (uomo che divenne dio), era venerato come "dio liberatore" (dalla morte) perchéuna volta defunto discese agli inferi ma dopo alcuni giorni tornò sulla terra. Proprio questa sua capacità di resurrezione offriva ai suoi adepti la speranza di una vita ultraterrena tramite il suo divino intervento. Anche per essere ammessi al culto dionisiaco era necessario essere battezzati, introdotti al tempio e sottoposti ad un rigido digiuno. Altra somiglianza fra il culto di Dionisio e quello ben più tardo di Gesù è nel rituale che prevedeva l' omofagia (consumazione della carne e del sangue di un animale, identificato con Dioniso stesso), come segno di unione mistica con il suo corpo ed il suo sangue. Dioniso inoltre era strettamente connesso con i cicli vitali della natura alla quale venivano legati il concetto di resurrezione (primavera) e morte (autunno) proprio come manifestazione della morte e la resurrezione del dio. Anche i simboli di Dioniso: la vite, il melograno l'ariete corrispondono perfettamente (vite e melograno) o approssimativamente (ariete - agnello) ai simboli attribuiti dai cristiani a Gesu’. Robert Graves in Greek Myths ha scritto: "... Dioniso, anche detto «colui che è nato due volte» una volta affermato il suo culto in tutto il mondo, ascese al cielo e ora siede alla destra di Zeus come uno dei Dodici Grandi "

Oltre a Dionisio fra i nati verso il solstizio d’inverno ci sono anche;
2. Ercole ( Eracles nato il 21/12 per i greci, ma il 1/2 per i Romani)

3. Sol Invictus dio indigete cioè fra le divinità delle origini romane piu’ antiche, ricevuto da ancor più lontani cicli di civiltà cioe’ dalla tradizione indoeuropea, identificato poi con Mithra ed anche col dio solare siriano Elio Gabalo
4. Elio Gabalo (o El Gabal) di cui un gran sacerdote omonimo divenne (pessimo) imperatore per breve tempo.
5. Mithras, nato in una grotta (da una roccia), sotto gli occhi di pastori che lo adorarono, culto dei militari di Roma e quindi diffuso in tutti gli angoli dell’impero dalle legioni, (e diverso dal numero 6 Mithra di Persia)
6. Mithra di Persia, nato da una vergine morto e risorto (sembra dopo tre giorni) , e diverso ancora dal num. 7
7. Mitra indiano, dio della luce e del giorno.
Poi, sempre nati insieme all’allungarsi delle ore di luce ci sono ancora :
8. Adone (o Adonis) di Siria, e forse anche il suo corrispondente di Frigia,
9. Attys (nato da una vergine, morto a titolo di sacrificio, e che inoltre risorge il 25/3 in corrispondenza anche di data, oltre che di significato di rinascita della vegetazione, col periodo della pasqua) eppoi
10. Atargatis di Siria, grande dea madre, dea della natura e sua rinascita, chiamata dai romani anche Derketo e dea Syria (la sua festa risulta al 25 Dicembre, quasi con certezza come data di nascita).
11. Kybele (o Cibele) dea della Frigia amata da Adone (il 25 Dicembre era festeggiata insieme ad Adone: ma che tale data fosse considerata la nascita in questo caso non è certo, è solo presunto).
12. Astarte (o Asteroth) della Fenicia, dea suprema, nonché dea della fecondità e dell’amore. Venerata anche dal re Salomone a Gerusalemme (la sua festa risulta al 25 Dicembre, quasi con certezza come data di nascita). Anche essa scese agli inferi e risorse.
13. Shamash il dio solare babilonese e Shamash del Vicino Oriente, e
14. Dumuzi (detto Tammuz a Babilonia) il dio sumero Dumuzi (detto Tammuz a Babilonia) la cui morte periodica rituale (corrispondente a quella di Adonis) era pianta anche alle donne ebree (Ezechiele VIII,14).
15. Baal – Marduk, dio supremo del pantheon Babilonese.
16. Osiride dio supremo egizio della morte e rinascita della vegetazione, e per estensione della rinascita dell’uomo. La resurrezione è il tema centrale del mito trinitario egizio di Osiride, Isis ed Horus dal quale pare proprio che sia stata presa l’ispirazione per una successiva famosa resurrezione in ambito ebraico. Anche Osiride muore con l’inverno e rinasce di primavera.
17. Horus, dio falcone solare, figlio di Osiride ed Iside con cui costituiva una popolarissima triade che (insieme alle tante altre triadi di dei popolarissime in tutto il mediterraneo) è stata d’ispirazione alla triade cristiana non ufficiale di Dio padre, Madonna e Bambino Gesu’, nonché al raggruppamento ufficiale della trinita’, che esclude l’elemento femminile. La sua nascita era celebrata il 26/12
18. Ra, il dio Sole egizio corrispondente ad Helios, la cui nascita era celebrata il 29/12 nella città -tempio di Heliopolis a lui dedicata nella zona dell’attuale Cairo.
19. Krishna, (attualmente il dio più importante dell’India) che inizialmente appare nel testo sacro Mahabarata come reincarnato dal dio padre Visnù come un uomo eroico o semidio, ed infine si rivela come dio. Era venuto al mondo per riconquistarlo dai demoni. ( Avete notato qualche parallelismo?). Infine Krisna muore ucciso (da una freccia, non sulla croce), ma, tranquilli, rinascerà anche lui. Fra l’altro anche lui come babbo natale porta doni nel cuore della notte!
20. Joshua Ben Josef (detto Gesu’, Gesu’ bambino, Nazareno [o Nazireo], Galileo, Cristo = unto, Messia e il Salvatore) che arriva buon ultimo nella serie di dei di ambito mediterraneo orientale ed indoiranico .
(alcuni aggiungono alla lista dei nati intorno al solstizio d’inverno anche Zaratustra in Media e Buddha India;
In ambito Nord Europeo vi sono 2 dei:
21. Freyr dio solare Scandinavo, patrono di pace e della fecondita’ della natura (n. solstizio d’estate, m. inverno)
22. Baldur (o Baldr, o Palatar il padrone) dio Scandinavo della primavera e della bellezza figlio di Odino
23 Scing-Shin in Cina
In ambito Centro Americano Messicano pre Colombiano troviamo 3 dei:
24. Bacab (Balam Acab giaguaro della notte) dio dei Maya dello Yucatan (Guatemala e Messico Sud Est), eppoi
25. Huitzilopochtli dio azteco solare signore del mondo e della guerra e simbolo del Sud del sole e del cielo
26. Quetzocatl (Quetzalcoatl) dio serpente piumato azteco (di origine Tolteca), simbolo dell’Oriente e del Mais.
Non solo Gesù ma molti altri eroi semidei e dei discesero agli inferi e da lì’ fecero ritorno: (in totale sono sei fra quelli elencati come nati verso il solstizio d’inverno Dioniso, Adone, Attis, Tammuz, Baal-Marduk, Osiride.
(Poi separatamente ne contiamo almeno altri 10 fra quelli nati in altri periodi o di cui non si conosce la data:
Teseo, Orfeo, Enea, Zagreo, Sabazio, Apollonio di Tiana, Chuchulain, Gwydion, Amathaon, Ogier danese, ma la lista è certo incompleta di molti altri personaggi antecedenti o contemporanei a Gesù Cristo).

Alcuni di questi 26 dei sono morti attorno all’equinozio di primavera (che è il periodo della Pasqua) e risorti dopo qualche giorno, a volte proprio dopo 3 giorni, come per Gesù (ma il dio Baldur, forse più pigro, è risorto dopo quaranta giorni).
Ad alcuni di questi dei, (sembra una mezza dozzina, la maggior parte di quelli orientali dal 6. al 15.) è stata attribuita dai seguaci la nascita da una vergine (così come è attribuita una nascita da una vergine anche il non dio Buddha.
Anche Buddha, come Gesù, è stato deificato da parte dei seguaci in aperto contrasto col suo insegnamento che non giustificava niente di simile.
Nel mito di Gesu’ si possono poi riscontrare talune attinenze col mito di Asklepio o Esculapio figlio di dio (Apollo) guaritore e resuscitatore di morti ed altre attinenze col mito di Ercole figlio di dio (Zeus) soccorritore di uomini, e che raggiunge l’immortalita’ ed ascende al cielo tramite la sofferenza (morte sul rogo).

"Yulemiss" the whole point if it's not about love. Amen, Blessed Be and Shalom Riona Twilight!

Personally, I think that religion should be kept out of schools entirely. It causes too many problems and I don't think that people, especially school children, should have to conform to a religion just because it is considered the norm.

RE: "Grampy" and other of like minds:

You might be a "gramps" but you are not THAT old. Prior to the 40's/50's there was NOT prayer in schools typically. I would dare say that it did NOT hurt our parents/grandparents in the least.

It is only when religion attempts to be foisted upon the masses, regardless of their choice, that the problem arises.

Was everyone a christian back then? NO!! It was simply the arrogance of the masses to disregard the beliefs of those not in the majority. The minority religions might just have not been as open about it due to discrimination. Typical of oppression.

If you wish to have your religion - GO TO YOUR CHURCH/SYNAGOGUE. Leave religion out of the schools, and in the homes where it belongs.

You want to pray in school (if you are a student)? Fine, do it silently - don't impose on/disturb others. They might actually be doing school work or studying!

No drugs in school back then? Yeah, right! You just didn't see what was going around. The drug of choice might have been alcohol/tobacco, though.

You've been to war? Great, so have I. Now leave me alone with your religion! Can't see the harm in a prayer before things? What about when it is forced on others? Want an example? Look at the Middle East, Iraq/Iran etc. Oh, and you have to love that town in Somalia then....don't pray 5 times a day and they cut your head off. Yeah, right, it isn't offensive to have a different religion shoved down your throat.

Remember the Constitution is for EVERYONE, not just the majority (be it religion, race, etc...)

Give me a break from the idiocracy!

I think the ACPS should revisit this issue and allow only items directly related to school to go home with children. Non-profits, including religious groups can advertise in other local media and everyone can calm down. Apparently, some people are so insecure in their own beliefs that they are threatened by the fact that other people are free to believe differently.

Grampy- Perhaps if you had been that one Jewish student in your class when you were a child, you would have a different perspective on the issue of school prayer. Students are still free to pray silently,and the school day starts with a moment of silence during which both staff and students are free to start the school day with devotions or other thoughts of their choice.

Ya know, I wish I could read Italian. I bet that long comment was full of interesting stuff.

Someone else said...
"No drugs in school back then? Yeah, right! You just didn't see what was going around. The drug of choice might have been alcohol/tobacco, though."

...well it wasn't just alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana wasn't outlawed until after the early 20th century. George Washington used it, not just for hemp rope but as Washington's papers put it, "personal use". Then of course there was opium and cocaine in it's various concoctions like Coca-Cola. The goverment hadn't decided they were illegal yet. Give it a few more years and tobacco will also be illegal, that's where it's headed.

All this only shows us all, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I guess it's in the human gene. We all want to be right about where we go when we die. We try to maintain some composure when someone else tells us we are full of shinola. They are all matters of faith, and no matter how hard you force Jesus or Mithras for that matter down my throat, the more I'm gonna be convinced that my way is the right way and my god of the moment is testing me.

The Christian reaction is typical, they can dish it out, but they can't take it. The old religion's gods become the new religion's devils.

Jamey: you won that bet. You can read an approximation at
With a little imagination and a dictionary you can get to the interesting stuff.

As for using the schools to turn kids into proselytizers, even equal-opportunity proselytizers, it's a form of mild child abuse they'll quickly tire of. Meanwhile we get silly spectacles like these partisan arguments. Schools could be pretty scary as indoctrinating tools, but the various religions don't scare me as much as overpopulation and overconsumption and failure to understand the biology of our food. Biological resources like fish, vegetables, and meat do not follow economic theories; they are dependent upon the health of ecosystems. Like machines, systems operate best with all their parts intact, including the parts we call "endangered species".

Our schools are just being silly until they are preparing us to face this.

Be careful what you wish for,,, You may get it.

Somewhere I think we lost sight of something pretty important: the NatureSpirit folks *invited* children who are interested to come and learn something. They are not proselytizing, they are not pushing their religion on anyone. They are also not leaving Christianity out of the program. It's one of the many faith traditions featured.

There IS room for everyone at the table. What one group believes does not have to demean, or negate, or trump another's belief. Usually, there are more similarities than differences. And examining one's own beliefs with an open mind, including looking at the history, need not be threatening. There are plenty of Biblical scholars who are questioning authorship and dating of texts. I don't know of anyone who is holding on to everything the Bible says--are we still into stoning people, for example?

The schools have traveled far down a slippery slope as far as religion is concerned. It is way too easy to declare yourself a religion (check out Pastafarians and the Flying Spaghetti Monster!). If you let in one, you have to let in all, as we have seen. I'd rather see the schools focus on academics and leave religion to parents.

Sometimes it's hard to see that the Constitution protects us all, but it does. The freedom to believe what we want, to say what we want, to be who we are are vital, because everyone's in the minority at some point, whether it's political, religious, ethnic, sexual...

oh for the love of Goddess. i have never in my life seen people that seem to be shocked to see a pagan flyer. and realize that we have lives too and we do igsist. it amazes me how people quickly want to crusify us for sending a flyer inviting others to learn about what our yule is.and talking about how it affects there children. well what about our children. no one asked us about how our children feel when they get flyers from other religions.
the fact is i am pagan/wiccan and a practicing witch. and people have read my licence plate which displays it proudly. and the bumper stickers. that admit what i am as well. and the fact is. i am proud of who and what i am. i think that the world would be alot better if people just dealt with the more important issues like drug problems and poverty in the community instead of always trying to thump a bible and say everything others belive in are wrong. becuase i am proud to be a member of naturesspirit and a proud pagan/wiccan. and i believe everyone has a say in this world. not just someone who is christian.
and the final point is if anyone looked at the flyer. it was tasteful and displayed more than one religion. can anyone tell me what other religion offers multi religious learning and acceptance. without judgement.
blessed be and lonnie and veronica thank you for careing about my child and so many others knowledge of our faith. blessed be dixiewitch/danielle robinson

I tip my hat to the folks at NatureSpirit. In a time of fear and intolerance, it took a lot of courage to take the steps that they did. They gracefully and generously invited others to come and share this wonderful season with them, and learn about the different traditions that we all share in one way or another. No preaching, no conversions, just a neighborly invitation without descrimination.
What is everyone so afraid of? If you are secure in your faith, why would someone else's faith matter to or threaten you? What is wrong with learning about another faith? Wouldn't understanding it better be a good thing? Or are you forbidden to understand? Once upon a time, ignorance was used to control the masses. (remember when only certain people were allowed to read?) This kept people from learning, and thus made them easier to control. Is this still happening? Are churches forbidding people to learn the truth about other faiths in order to keep them under control? Hmmm...
Ignorance is NOT bliss.
I am Pagan. My husband is Pagan, and so are our children, by their choice. I own a bible. I have read it. I do not consider it an evil thing just because I am not a Christian. I treat it with the same respect that I treat my own spiritual items.

It's time to stop acting like a bunch of closed-minded bible-thumping zombies. Wake up, there are a lot more religions out there than Christianity. And guess what, they are in includes YOUR neighborhood too!
What was it that Jesus said about loving your neighbor? I don't know about your bible, but the one I own doesn't say "love your neighbor only if he is Christian"......

Happy Holidays everyone, and remember: the holidays belong to everyone.

Just another Pagan chiming in. The subject has been pretty well covered.

And, I agree that if any other religion can send such things home, there is no good reason that we shouldn't do the same.

I am amazed, that in this day and age, that everyone doesn't already know, that "Christmas" is a Pagan holiday. It is, actually, the approximate date of the winter solstice back then, the birth of Mithra, the son god.

LOL!! I mistyped. Mithra is the SUN god. It is this time of year, that we welcome the newborn sun.

it is so sad that people who believe in God, believe in a Higher being, cannot accept that God can be seen in many different ways. and to be known by many different names, and all being God, or the One.

I had been a christian for many years. I became a pagan this year. My God has not changed. I have not committed the unforgiveable sin because God is still God, but I have a different way of viewing God. a balanced way as nature is balanced and so is mankind.

the celebration of the equinoxes and the solistices have been known down through the ages. Older than christianity and Judism and Islam.

Christmas is simply Yule celebrated by a group who looks at that time in one way and Yule as a groups or groups who look at it in another way.

but what I think needs to be known to be realised that being pagan does not mean you honor the devil. the devil is a christian idea. nothing to do with pagan. and being pagan or heathen does not mean No belief in God, just that you do not view it as a christian would. and there lies the biggest area of trouble.

Just because I donot accept that view of God does not make me an atheist but unfortunately many christian equal pagan or heathen with being atheist or agnostic.

The christians of today, the left wing ones, do not practice how Christ would have had them practice. He talked about to love thy neighbor as yourself. no reservations at all.

Very well said Moma. From a monotheistic standpoint there is only one Supreme Being and thus the God of all theistic religions is the same God perceived in different ways.

Assanna, Christine, Jason, and everyone else - the practice of gift giving in our culture(including fighting over it) for holidays and birthdays began with german tribes when they first moved into europe. they would raid and pillage in order to obtain gold, ornaments, jewelry, anything to give to their family and friends. it was a custom they held. this became incorporated into our culture once they settled down. eventually they started trading each other when they realized that they were fighting amongst themselves, but the occaisional skirmish over a much sought after item were still occuring.

Jamey - they won't outlaw tobacco. it's use is too widespread, and besides, it doesn't cause people to halucinate or fall asleep, or loose judgement. restricted use is fine, but legal it shall remain. besides, it has too many roots in our culture, been there too long.

Lynn Heath - right on about the pastafarians and the flying spaggetti monster! you've got to love a religion that views pirates as the chosen people! hahaha

ok, to share a little about my experience...i am a druid. i've followed these teachings for several years now, inspired by the writings of Ross Nichols. i am also a medieval/renaissance/reformation historian. i am also the descendant of a long line of teachers, including my mother, so i know alot about the modern public school system.

what i have to say is this: if you read the bible, and look back through history, you'll find that many christians in the early days right after jesus' death were persecuted for their faith. the romans viewed them as a nuscance for the most part, but from time to time they did kill many of them just for being christian. however, many modern evangelical christians cannot abide any other way of thinking, even amongst christianity. ECL Lutherans see Missouri Synod Lutherans as bound for hell. even within the same denomination, there are competing factions. likewise most lutheran dogmas hold that most other protestant religions are going to hell. this is, to say it again, all within the realm of christianity. i'm glad to say that most christians don't believe this way, but most do. mormans and jehova's witnesses are viewed as cults by most other christians just for having different beliefs.

if christians cannot even learn to coexist with themselves, how are we as a whole community ever going to learn to live in peace and harmony? notions, i might add, that christ himself taught and wanted for all mankind, not just christians.

furthermore, the actions of most fanatical christians to call paganism the work of the devil is not convincing people to not be pagan, but turning people off to christianity. most pagans i know had christianity shoved down their throat and forced on them at some point which drove them to seek alternate ways of living, including my own personal experience.

open your eyes, humanity. not just christians. everyone! no matter what you believe, or even if you do not believe in anything, you have the right to those beliefs (to not believe in a higher being is stilla belief). it is every human's right to live as they choose, even if the country they live in denies them this right. most of us are fortunate to live in countries that allow so much personal freedom that we can actually complain if some of it gets taken away. not everyone has that.

if anyone wants the right to send their religeous flyers home with students, then it should be that way for all religions, not just christians. if you teach christianity in schools, you have to teach hinduism, islam, bhudism, wicca, druidry, etc. even satanism and the pastafarianism. it becomes universal. you cannot hold prayers in schools because not everyone believes in a higher power to pray to, and would be offended to be made to. each person however is free to pray as they wish, when they wish, to whomever they wish.

by the way, christmas is not a pagan holiday...yule/solstice/etc were. christians just borrowed from other religions to continue celebrating. it wasn't so much to use it to force religious change so much as an after effect of religious change. believe it or not, people are loath to give up their traditions just because who they're practicing them to changes. now that's not to say that the Roman Catholic Church in the early middle ages didn't use aspects of paganism incorporated into christianity to force it on others, because they did, but it wasn't always the case.

and with that, i'll step down off my soapbox.

oh, one thing i forgot, i was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran, hence the perspective...

Did anyone here go to the event? I am out of the area but curious what was observed? Hopefully a a NON-pagan will post since this was supposed to be educational I am curious what was taught/learned?

"Its not ((((( THE PATH ))))) Its the destination....." Namaste...

The freedoms outline in the constitution are freedoms for all Americans, not just the majority. Those that demand thier freedom to pray in school need to remember that those freedoms cover all Americans. If you want to claim your own freedoms you should not be surprised when others do the same.

On dec 12 Wanda wrote, "Jesus taught us to love our enemies". This is the major problem I have with the CHRISTIAN religion, that so many of them believe if you are not a Christian that you are their ENEMY. Christians killed thousands during the Crusades and millions of women during the burning times because they thought they were the Enemy. As a Pagan I do not believe those of other faiths are my enemies, I believe they only follow a different belief system. As for celebrating Yule, Christmas, Saturnelia, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or any of other Winter Solstice events, ENJOY the holiday what ever you call it, with a tree, a bush, a log or anything else you chose. It is after all a celebration that light is returning to the world, a truly joyous event. Goddess bless.

Just Curious,

I'm sorry that no one has answered your question. Obviously, as an organizer of the event in question, I AM pagan; however I'd still like to address this.

We are a non-prostlytizing faith, so when we decided to do this we wanted to be sure that at no point did we make a claim that Paganism was "better" than other faiths. The first segment was interfaith with segments on the different holidays, including Christmas, told by people who practiced them. Great effort was made to treat each holiday with respect. A handout was also given covering a wider range of holidays than we were able to discuss.

The second part of the event (which was optional) was a children's Yule ritual. We let people know they were free to leave at anytime, or step ourside the edge of the circle and just watch. We explained the various parts of the ritual, and had a children's activity. Afterwards we had snacks and such.

Basically that was it. It is my hope that what children learned was less about factual knowledge (althought there was plenty of that too) and more that there are many different ways that people celebrate this time of year. We also hoped that they learned that there are many different cultures and religions in our area, and that's something to be proud of, not something to fear.

All in all, it was a beautiful event and well attended. We thank everyone who helped make it happen.


It is unfortunate that people will still hounde at each other in regards to different views of religion. I am someone who is trying to find Spiritual truth and everyone should know that it is not easy to find, especially now in a our modern civilization. Whether you are Jew, Christian, Muslim, Wiccan, Druid, Buddhist, Hindu, etc...the fact remains that every individual looks at the world differently and because of that, it is very important that we as a society need to understand each other rather then hide. I do have a problem with Evangelical/Charismatic Christians who try to shove there beliefs at other people's throughts. But at the same time I have problems with Pagens of any faith base including Wicca who downgrade Christians simply because of what a certain group of people did hundreds or thousands of years ago in regards to the Cruscades and Witch Burning Times. If you needs to blame somebody, BLAME THE PEOPLE WHO COMMITTED THE ACTS NOT THE RELIGIOUS GROUP AS A WHOLE. Imagine people were gatherd in a circle, one person whispers something to the person next to them and that person in return does the same thing to the person next to him. By the time the message has gone around to the end of the circle the message has changed completely. That is what happends to religion, including Christianity. All of us need to spend less time arguing with each other and instead use it to learn from each other and from the past so hopefully we won't repeat the same mistakes that we as humans so often do. Wisdom and Knowledge to me is the most valuable things we humans possess and likewise should cherish.