Being a Yule elf is part of my personal mythology. Do you have a personal myth this time of year? Please share it. When we share our imaginative lives, we make an even larger mythology spontaneously emerge, to enlarge all our joy, power, and creativity.
Besides, being one of Santa’s elves makes me so happy that I’m bursting at the seams! I have to share about it, or I’ll pop, like a balloon. Here goes:
Santa put me in a managerial position this year. I wasn’t sure what to think about that, at first. I mean, I was honored, but it’s not what I expected, and I did not like totally the idea.
But I’ve learned that, when Santa wants me to do something, there’s no point in resisting, because he always knows what I want, better than I might know it myself. So I knew the job would be good for me, in the long run.
Besides, I’ve worked as middle-management for chaos gods for years. I have the perfect skill set for managing wild elves and the crazy goings-on at the North Pole. Plus, I am not the only manager, the jobs are divvied up.
My particular job involves a lot of organization. I’ve been organizing the elf games (but not the reindeer games). This requires coming up with fun activities.
My elf friend Kathi Somers helped out. Her Yule gift to me this year was the Ravensberger game Funny Bunny. Yeah, it’s for ages four and up, but I’m not too proud to enjoy a silly preschoolers’ game. As the song says, “It’s a gift to be simple.” Simple things in life can be the best. And foolishness wakes up life’s magic.
My work is not just managerial, but also creative. I like that. Part of organizing the festivities has been coming up with holiday menus. Last year, I created a chocolate recipe I really liked. So I used it again this year. My personal formula for keeping spirits up during the Yule season: Chocolate lumps, not lumps of coal. Gluten and sugar-free.
Oh, another thing: I get to be in charge of the Make-A-Wish-to-Pagan-Santa page again this year! I experience such joy doing it, because the wishes people make to Santa are beautiful! I am so lucky to convey them to Santa! Click here to make your wishes.
Turning the Wheel through Personal Myth
Santa, Squirrels, and More
Backstory: I live in faerie tales. This lifetime, I’ve never heard of turning the year wheel with one’s personal myth (in this context, I mean a myth of one’s own making or a myth not generally perceived as related to the year wheel). I remember it from past lives.
Below, you will not find a theoretical exposition on turning the year wheel with one’s personal myth. I prefer to live in my faerie tales, not in my (albeit fabulous) theories. So, I share a little piece of my myth here. You mystics are smart—you don’t need someone lecturing theory at you from on high; mystics usually learn more watching—and feeling—how people actually embody their theories. Equally important, when I talk about my adventures, some people join me in them—I long for shared escapades.
Telling my own myth is no suggestion that it is the best one for you, or the right way for you to turn the wheel. End of backstory.
I blog about Yule starting in September. It is not the crass commercialism of stores that promote Christmas items way too early. It’s actually the opposite; it rescues me from holiday madness.
In Autumn, squirrels gather nuts to store for the winter. In the same vein, I plan my dark months in Sept or Oct. (I have been planning my dark months in the autumn for decades, so cannot remember whether I made the practice up or was taught it.)
According to Chinese philosophy, unresolved issues are more likely to bubble up from the subconscious in the winter. Experience has taught me that, if I do not plan my dark months before they start, I lose my mooring, and easily sink into holiday frenzy, codependent gift-giving, etc.
Every September or October, I get in touch with what I truly want for the fall and winter this year. Eg, Do I need to focus on a major inner healing? If so, is there a theme I can use for the healing rituals? Do I want to decorate the house for the holidays? If so, a little or a lot? Which holidays do I want to celebrate? Do I have the time to cook for the holidays? And so on.
It’s not that I stick to these plans rigidly. But when I lose my center, the plans helps me regain it. Then I can make sane decisions.
An additional piece of my process is relevant to why I blog about Yule so early. As I said, I live in Faerie tales. They are often myths of my own creation. One is that I am a Yule elf. Come autumn, Santa’s elves are very busy planning what’s going to happen over the next few months.
This planning, including what I’ll craft the next few months to put in Santa’s bag, aka my Etsy shop, is part of my turning the wheel of my personal year. I am an artisan, not a manufacturer, so fall—at latest!—is when I need to start planning and making the handful of items I will add to my shop before Yule.
I blog from the heart. I start blogging and posting from the North Pole as early as September. I want to share my real life—the day-to-day of my myths.
I am also spared holiday madness because, being one of Santa’s elf, I instead can spend the dark time focusing on service: I focus on the joy of crafting goods in the North Pole’s elven workshop, high quality craftsmanship, purposeful creativity, and Yule elf tweets/blogs/posts that help people smile during holiday grumpiness. I also get true holiday joy from my absurdly happy Yule elf meditations and costumes. I am turning my personal year wheel, connecting with the season of Mama Earth.
(I mentioned being a Yule elf as a myth of my own creation. I do not have space in this post to thoroughly portray what I’ve created about Yule elves. Nor could a library of printed word hold it because 1) some things can only be conveyed in oral tradition and 2) some things are so integrated into one’s life that they become too extensive to thoroughly share in words alone. But a lot of what I created plays out in my meditations, which feels important to say because, when we take time to really sink into our mythic stories meditatively, we can live them the rest of the day.)
More of how my myth turns the wheel:
Most of the year, I am in my tinker’s wagon, traveling between the worlds. I am a shut-in but my wheelchair has wings, and so do I. Astrally-traveling shamanic guide and fey artisan.
When weather gets cold, I retreat to Santa’s warm, cozy workshop. I still counsel and teach, from my snug Arctic home.
Claus is in my pantheon. So I pray to him any month. One way I turn the wheel through myth is, the past few years, I’ve made my winter plans by writing a letter to Santa in September about what I want for the dark months.
Every year, I have new elven adventures. And my other myths grow a bit. All my faerie tales are more extensive than this post. And are deeply personal. But I risk posting bits online for two reasons.
Telling my myth is a fun way for this shut-in to share her wanderings.
I am dedicating to helping my students find and/or further evolve personal myths, and live them fully to connect with Mama Earth and Divinity. I posted today in hopes I might do that a bit for my dear site visitors. For one thing, I believe that speaking my life supports starry-eyed seekers to trust their own unique mythic being.
Part two in a series on supporting newcomers (and oldtimers) in your spiritual community. May, 2013. Part one is on my other site, at http://www.outlawbunny.com/2011/06/14/welcoming-newbies/
A woman phoned me to inquire about my classes. That’s not unusual; I teach oral tradition style, so feel I should be available by phone if someone wants to ask about my work.
She immediately said that very few pagans are hard-working in their spiritual efforts. This is not unusual, either; I hear that sentiment plenty.
After addressing her community critique, I tried to move the conversation past it, but she kept returning to the issue. She is not someone for whom I’d be a good teacher.
It is only human to bond with someone new by denigrating others. But it is a tendency I try to avoid: While it feeds the ego of the two people bonding (they get to feel superior to everyone else in the world), it keeps them from getting any actual work done. I mean the sort of work that happens in my classes: for example, self-examination, self-care, nurturing of ability to serve community, and building shamanic skills. No, I am not the teacher for her.When first working as a spiritual counselor in an occult shop, I received a pretty big shock. I’d been guiding folks in a private practice, mostly by referral. Suddenly I was thrown onto the front lines. Someone would come to the shop to consult with me because their daughter had just died. Or their 14-year-old son had gotten somebody pregnant. Or their husband beat them.
I went home and threw out my lofty new age abstractions. I threw out my Celtic cross spread, at least for most of the shop appointments. (For those of you who don’t know the spread, it makes for a complex lengthy session.) A lot of these shop sessions were only ten minutes long. After that my boss pressed the buzzer: Time’s up!
I sat in my home and started coming up with very fast spreads that would tune me into the heart of the client’s issue(s) and the essence of the advice they needed. I compiled a list of community resources: contact information for women’s shelters, teen crisis counseling, etc. I honed my inner skills more than ever so that I’d sense a client’s needs stat.
I was a working minister.
Decades later now. As then, not all my work is with trauma survivors. Often, I help people with more “everyday” concerns,” as well as train folks in shamanism, other esoteric skills, creativity, and marketing. But I’m definitely always on the frontlines: in community, with a busy schedule of counseling and teaching.
I mention being a shop employee and my ensuing work because: I’ve rarely gotten involved in pagan debates; I am too busy! Mind you, I discuss my work with other front-line ministers who can help me polish my shamanic skills, not burn out, and otherwise address my work. But I do not want to be criticized because of theoretical issues that have little basis and are thrown on the table by angry people with no understanding of what I am really up against on the ministerial front lines.
When we’re busy looking at our own faults, polishing our own skills, taking care of ourselves, and serving community, we don’t have time to unnecessarily criticize people.
Criticism is appropriate sometimes. Each of us needs to be held accountable by community. And healthy debate is joyfully welcomed in my classes because fresh perspectives rise.
The sort of criticism that I’d like to see less of is the endless picayune bickering that seems to produce little. Hmm, well, it produces swollen egos, draws the limelight, hurts sincere seekers whether newbie or oldtimer, and silences timid souls. Important sidebar: It hurts the newbies not only because they feel rejected but also because it encourages them to behave in kind.
Even as an oldtimer, I can feel hurt and invalidated, when people get so riled up and so angry and bitter; and behind their words is the statement, “I am better than you, I am better than you, I am better than you.” And behind that statement is their primary one: “Go climb in a hole so that your sincere efforts don’t shame me any longer.” This can be devastating to newbies who are ardent seekers with hearts wide open!
Those kind of arguments and the comments of that person who phoned me are also tantamount to saying about the person being criticized, “You are the ‘other.’ You are ‘one of them,’ so you are not as worthy of love and respect. I do not have to treat you with caring and decency because you do not have the same vulnerabilities as me.”
Now, if this post ends now, my mental meandering amounts to me just being another superior jerk. But I am going somewhere productive (I hope):
It felt important to paint a recognizable picture of high-handed community strife and its outcome for three reasons:
1) If you avoid insane community debate, you still might be uber-critical of other pagans (or someone else) within the confines of your own mind. When I find myself doing that, it’s time for a good look at myself. Internal criticism (perhaps a running commentary on the superiority of others, lol) has the same impact on me as it would were I voicing it online. Same impact, dude! I might be avoiding looking at my own errors or avoiding responsibility, to either community or self.
Feeling superior is more comfortable than looking at my own faults. And superiority can, oddly enough, make me feel safer than self-care. And superiority is safer than getting out into the world to try to make a difference. You avoid the endless, high-handed criticism of I-know-better-than-everyone-else idlers who are likely to pursue you once you try to make a diff in the world.
2) Angry superiority is what many newcomers first see. Or we might meet newbies with a subtle version of the same thing. I want to make a practice of examining myself for this. For example, is my ego playing out in a more subtle manner? Goddess, when someone inquires about my work, keep me humble, welcoming, self-aware, and focused on love and service. Goddess, at all times, keep me humble, welcoming, self-aware, and focused on love and service.
3) If you are afraid of getting into the pagan community because of what you see, now you know i see it too. You are not alone. Please realize there are people who do not bicker. We aren’t as vocal because we’re busy living. If you ask the Universe to guide and inspire you, you will find us.
And, with us, you can work and dance and celebrate the Gods. Because we are pagan to the bone. Heathens, celebrating the stars, the earth, the seasons, ourselves, and each other.
You will find us. We are here. I am like you.