Monthly Archives: November 2009

I believe in Santa Claus

Mid-winter holiday tree

I’m not big on the commercialism, or the gift orgies, or the “war over Christmas,” but I love the magical aspects of this holiday. The tree with lights and Santa.

My husband and I just bought our first home together, and I haven’t had a holiday tree since I left my parents’ house to go to college, over 20 years ago. The holidays were times that I was traveling or moving residences–never a time to decorate the house or have people visit. And I was never truly at home, just in an apartment for a while. But this weekend, at Home Depot for another errand, we saw the trees on sale.

Even while longingly looking at the sign, never mind actually going over to look at the trees, I was talking myself out of getting one. “They are too expensive. The cats will climb all over it. We’re not really doing presents this year. Never mind that we’re not actually Christian!” But my husband said quietly, “let’s just go look.” Even in the tree aisle, I was talking myself out of having one: “We really don’t need it. The one that was really on sale is sold out. We have no ornaments. Maybe I don’t really want one anyway.” But my husband said quietly, “which one do you like the best?”

And we took it home. And then last night I put the lights on it and sat in the darkened room, surrounded by cats, and cried because it was so beautiful.

And then I started thinking about Santa Claus. See, I believe in Santa Claus. I am not a “true believer,” those children under a certain age who have not been told he doesn’t exist. I was one until I turned 12 and decided that, perhaps Santa was a metaphor rather than a real entity. But I have come back to the cult, so to speak, because life without the hope, joy, and wide-eyed belief that someone out there exists who loves you totally unselfishly was no fun at all.

Being a polytheist in this syncretic culture that has lost many of its most potent myths and gods, I propose Santa as a deity of love, hope, joy, and kindness between people. Santa can show us at very impressionable times in our lives, whether young or old, that loving-kindness between people exists, that magic is real, and that our dreams can come true.

So, I encourage you to write a letter to Santa Claus this year. Open your heart and pour out everything your heart desires. You will know that you are getting at the true desire of your heart when you feel an emotional charge, which for many of us will start out as fear, anger, and feelings of unworthiness. Do whatever it takes to walk through those feelings, to stay with them while they pour through you like bitter tears, until you are drained of them. For me, it takes writing that letter while drinking a strong eggnog and watching “The Year Without A Santa Claus” alone in a darkened room.

Without going into the theory behind magic, symbols, and gods, I’ll just say that between now and December 24, the energy directed at Santa by children all over the world is rising. Lend him your energy too. The love we focus on Santa this year will be spread around world and into our hearts.

This I believe.

Colors of New Mexico

There are two very sensual things about New Mexico that will always stay in my memory. The taste of chiles at every meal and the colors I found all around me.

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A curtain of marigolds next to some old wooden doors arranged outside a little shop in Taos.

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Storm clouds over Highway 68 driving from Taos to Santa Fe.

Painted door
A painted doorway in Santa Fe

Wooden Jesus with sunflower


Carved wooden Jesus with sunflower

Red chile wreaths


Chile wreathes

I can see why so many artists move out here.

Running for me

New Running Shoes

I bought my first pair of running shoes last night. I have never run, except to catch the train, as an adult. But I have lost 32 pounds in the last 4 months on Weight Watchers, and I’ve been thinking about doing more (any) physical activity to help me get to my ultimate goal (90 pounds lost) and to get me in shape by my 40th birthday (11 months away).

Some friends have been doing the Couch to 5K program. I looked it over and thought “that’s doable…maybe.” I mean, I don’t run. It hurts. I once blacked out when I had to run for the Presidential Fitness Challenge in the 6th grade. And that was the last time I ran…except to catch the train.

So, last night I went to the mall (shudder), walked right into the athletic shoe store, and said to the first salesperson, “I am losing weight. I have never owned a pair of athletic shoes, and I am going to start running. I want to spend this amount. What have you got?”

We tried on several different pairs, and she told me to let my body tell me which pair were right for my feet. Hmmm…listen to my body? OK. I liked that, and my body said it liked the Nike Vomeros pictured above.  They are so cushy/springy that I was almost (almost) jogging on my walk from the train station to work this morning.

My plan is to start the Couch to 5K program with these podcasts next Monday and run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on my lunch hour.  Wish me luck!

But rest assured, that my new enthusiasm for getting in shape on my own terms has not influenced my fat cat Mia one bit.  Her daily workout will still consist of walking from the bed downstairs to the kitchen at mealtimes.

Close-up of Mia

Samhain “Rave” Recap

I hesitated to call our Samhain ritual a “rave” until after the fact.  Under the cloudy, misty skies, we danced around a large bonfire to the strains of drum-laced techno music.  With our bodies, we raised energy to send to the Ancestors and invited them to dance with us.

Of course, we got no pictures of the ritual itself, but plenty before hand, as the cast was in costume and generally messing around.

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The cast: The Speaker of Names, The Ring Master, The Abundance of the Tribe, The Speaker for the Folk, The Guide, The Guardian of the Threshold, The Snake Charmer, The Call, and The Hospitality Wench. The Lady of Hospitality was taking the picture.

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The Ring Master (me) messes around with two lovely ladies in red!

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Why is it never a pagan event without some wholesome flogging?

Ritual was a blast, I have an awesome crew, and I believe that this one is a “keeper” for next year.