"Yule?" you ask. Yes, Yule. You won't catch me wishing anyone a Happy Xmas and being genuine about it - I may be genuine about wishing the happiness, but to me Xmas is meaningless. Why? Simple. I'm Pagan, not Christian.
"So you don't believe in God?" you might be thinking.
Actually I do. Not only do I believe in God, I believe in Goddess too! Fancy that!
Paganism is a term derived from the latin term "paganus" meaning "country dweller", thus making Paganism the practices of the country-dwellers. [Heathen, on the other hand, refers to someone who lives on the heath. The two 'labels' are interchangeable, but usually Heathen is reserved for the northerners.
"Where are you going with this?" some impatient minds will be wondering.
I am currently facing the HUGE question mark of whether to baptise my spawn or not once s/he is born. Living in Malta means living in a country where not being bapitsed means:
1) You cannot apply to send your child to a Church School - and admittedly, Church Schools currently hold the highest educational standard.
2) Your child is pretty much going to be the social outcast. Just like you were whenever you visited a new playing field - maybe during your summer holidays, when your parents whisked you away to their summer residence. All the children knew each other from school and cathecism lessons [i.e. muzew], and you had no idea who was the bully and who was the playground queen/king.
3) Family quarrels. Just like a big church wedding ceremony is mainly organsied for the sake of the in-laws, the cousins, the aunts and uncles,and all the other obscure relatives -so is a baptism ceremony organised for other people's sake.
4) Burial difficulties.
I can just picture horrified faces at my mentioning burial, and hear a few of you mumbling about how I'm being pessimistic and thinking too far ahead.
In my reality, I have attended a minimum of one funeral every year since the year 2000. And guess what? Out of the 14 funerals I've been, only 2 were elderly family members. All the rest were people who were younger than me. I have seen way too many parents bury their children for me not to go there. I am too aware of our own mortality not to try and plan ahead.
From my research, if someone has never been baptised into the Roman Catholic church, they can only be buried in the communal slots in public cemeteries. When it comes to family graves, you'd need to get permission from your local Parish Priest to bury the unbapitsed there. Also, the funeral ceremony would need to be solely organised by family/friends, in some rented hall.
If you ask me, at a time of grief and loss, the last thing you would want to deal with is all this red tape bullshit.
Heavy topic to start off the day with, right?
Another thing I wanted to point out is this - I have no intention of shoving lies down my child's throat about how Fr Xmas is real and all that crap. The plan is to expose him/her to as many different stories as possible, from as many different cultures and belief systems as possible, and emphasise on the fact that they are jsut that - stories. I shall be working my arse off to make sure that s/he learns what tolerance and acceptance are, and make it a point that s/he does not goi around telling all the other children that Fr Xmas is not real, for example. If I decide to bapitse him/her, then I'll be exposing him/her to as many different deities as possible.
To conclude, I personally believe that Religion should be a personal choice.... but considering all of the above, living on this rock turns it into a Social choice.