Last month I looked back over six years of postings I have done for FAR. In November, I noticed that I usually during that month tend to review the year and find something to be grateful for.
I decided this month to follow that up by looking back at the posts I have done for the past six years at this time of year, right before the wheel turns into the New Year. I have the privilege of writing for FAR usually right after Thanksgiving and right after Christmas and before New Year’s. I tend to think of this time as a time of looking forward, and Thanksgiving as a time of looking back.
However as I looked at the past six years, I tend not to write of affirmations, generally, but usually find myself steeped in the holidays—be they Christian or Pagan, and find myself reluctant to enter the New Year, burrowing in and enjoying the season.
In 2017, I wrote about putting “Winter Solstice” in your “happy holiday” greetings, how difficult that is for some—but ultimately easy. If it is easy to say “happy holidays” in order to be inclusive, we should be able to think of that inclusivity as including goddess folk and pagans, and include “winter solstice” in our thoughts as well as the myriad of winter holidays that are celebrated as the wheel turns at this time of year.
In 2016 I wrote about the devastation of the “election” and I re-printed with permission a poem a dear friend of mine wrote, Terry Wolverton, that captured my feelings of trying to move on despite our collective feelings at that time. I feel everything in that blog as deeply now as I did then—and am truly so excited that in January 2019 we will have a “blue” majority in the House and I am praying for the success of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to bring change.
In 2015 I wrote about the goddess Elen of the ways, “flying reindeer” and that “Santa” is derived from the pagan goddess Elen, one of the three goddesses I was ordained under the previous spring in the Temple of Isis. This was also published in an amazing anthology Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess by Mago Books, edited by Helen Hye-Sook Hwang and Mary Ann Beavis I will speak more about Helen Hye-Sook in the year 2012 recap, but of Mary-Ann Beavis let me say that I was part of her instrumental study of women who identify as Christian and pagan. In June of 2013 I was fortunate to be part of a focus group of fourteen women invited to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, where we discussed this identity for Dr. Beavis’ work.
In 2014 I wrote about social justice and revolution, asking readers to comment on what your “social justice” resolution was, as opposed to the “resolutions” we often make—exercise more, etc. (which I also make, and am making this year, in regards to swimming!), but I really wanted to focus on what are we doing, myself included, that is a commitment to social justice. I was, and continue to be, deeply concerned about hunger, especially children and hunger. That year I resolved to donate monthly to my local mission. I stopped doing that recently when I found out that the mission was fairly homophobic and was serving a hefty helping of that with the food they were giving. However, today in 2018, I want to re-invigorate that desire to actively donate for the end of hunger in the coming year and will make that a 2018 resolution to find somewhere that feels right in terms of donations.
In 2013 I wrote about how to find the face of the goddess in the holiday season and I referenced heavily the movie Wild, based on the book by Cheryl Strayed. In that blog I was deeply concerned that we look to nature, to the elements. I am an elemental witch and find solace and guidance in the elements of earth, air, fire, water, before any named Goddess. I found in this movie that same spirit—wildness has always called the strongest to me, and it is where I find my deepest spirituality.
In 2012 I wrote about writing for Feminism and Religion, as it was my first year of doing such in this format. I wrote about presenting at the 2009 International Women’s Conference in Seoul, Korea, with my friend Helen Hye-Sook, of the now established Mago Academy who I wrote of above. She is the one who convinced me to journey with her to present in Korea at that amazing International Women’s Conference. I also wrote of Inhui Lee, who I met there, and who on our return gave me an incredible tattoo—based on images we received when we visited a female Korean shaman together, during that trip to Seoul. My wife and I went with her to Fort Bragg, California and I was tattooed in the midnight of the night, with the shaman on the phone from Korea at the Triangle Tattoo Museum. I wrote about the joys of feminist companionship, adventure, travel and shared scholarship.
And so my FAR friends, before we move in to the New Year and our resolutions – whatever they may be—and our new desires, let’s settle into the end of the year. Let’s enjoy our holidays, and reminisce. Let’s gather and be merry, happy and blessed.
In that spirit I send along with this post a few pictures of holiday at our house, our tree, with a new “top hat” topper, our dogs, and the ornaments of this year that my wife and I exchanged. We met December 13, 13 years ago and every Christmas since then we have done an ornament exchange to celebrate our “lesbian anniversary.”
May your year-end review bring closure to 2018 as we move forward renewed and with strength and make room for 2019.
Light is returning, even though this is the darkest hour, no one can hold back the dawn.
Marie Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall (Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine.
5 thoughts on “A Review of Decembers Past before We Move into the New Year by Marie Cartier”
Thanks, Marie, for this lovely, wonderfully colorful, holiday post. And it’s the first time I ever noticed that the word “ember” abides in “December,” and in your photos, and in your thoughts here too, so many bright lights.
I did not notice that either. Thank you so much for pointing that out!! Ember :-) and lights…. Yes. Light is returning….
Good to read your recap of the seasons. I always say to people, “Happy Winter Holidays–all of them.” Some people get it, some don’t. That’s fine. And I have a new “blue wave” bumper sticker from MoveOn. Even though the daily news tells us nothing to be optimistic and cheerful, I keep trying to by optimistic and cheerful. My January 6 post will be a numerological look at 2019. I watched my old favorite DVD of A Christmas Carol on Christmas night. To sort of paraphrase Tiny Tim–Bright holiday blessings to us all.
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I need to get that sticker, too! I look forward to your January 6th post my friend! Yes, bright blessings to us all. I love the old version of a *Christmas Carol* best, too. Kim and I watched IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE last night :-) thats my favorite! “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his (her) wings.”
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This is the time of year to reflect upon the past months – I do a dream journal review each year – always stunned by repeating patterns, and new insights that come reflecting changes that may lead to a new perspective …. winters are so important to us to allow this time to be… The older I get the more I enjoy this time of year… Thank you for this lovely post.