Almighty Murderers, Holy Zombies, and the Cannibals Who Celebrate Them


The day before yesterday, I was one snickering third of a very heated three-way… conversation. Two of my best friends, Shauna and María de Jesus, live in Ireland and Spain. We met about a decade ago, while I was in the Marine Corps and they worked harassing people at embassies in their respective countries. We haven’t seen each other in three years. But we exchange emails a few times a day and Skype once a year, right before the Winter Solstice. Our conversations are long, full of laughter, and like it always happens with women who are sisters by choice, we fight…

…more often than not, about really dumb things.

The latest fight started after María de Jesus asked a rather innocent question about the holiday season. “What do you miss most, Maggy?” she wanted to know.

“I always miss the same thing,” I said “spending December in the Dominican Republic. Dancing around bonfires, singing from house to house, dancing live music in El Malecón, roasting pork over an open fire, drinking sangria, greeting the sun while bathing in a nearby river—”

“I miss my babes,” Shauna told us with a sigh. Her children, ages 9 and 11, are spending the holidays with their father in Hawaii. “They’ll be reenacting the battle of the Holly King and the Oak King.” The longing was thick in her voice. “Kiara gets to be the Holly King for the first time. She’s been waiting for this her whole life. I wish I could be right there when she gets to hit her big brother on the head with a wooden stick, and not be punished.”

I laughed and made Shauna promise that she would share the video she was sure to get from her ex-husband.

María de Jesus said nothing… for a while… I was not surprised. My beloved friend is more Catholic than the pope. She has always refused to believe in any god but her own… and her saints… and angels… and the Virgin Mary… and the Holy Spirit…

Our conversations rarely deal with spiritual philosophies, but it seemed that the never-ending war between the Holly King and the Oak King inspired María de Jesus to go there. “Don’t you worry about your kids being damaged by that kind of violence?” she said. “Paganism is strange.”

I pretended not to see the fire those words kindled in Shauna’s eyes. You see, María de Jesus might be more devout than the pope, but Shauna is the witchiest Traditional Iris Witch of them all. “Violence?” Shauna boomed. “Violence says she with the three-foot tall statue bleeding in her dining room. Go on Mags,” Shauna shrieked, “tell Santa María de Jesus why we never dine at her house.” It must’ve been a rhetorical question because she went on screaming. “No one can eat and stare at a half-naked fella, nailed down, and bleeding like a pig.”

“A pig?” María de Jesus was looking at Shauna with righteous murder in her eyes.

“Worse than a pig,” shouted Shauna. “Pigs have no thorns jabbing their—”

“This winter night,” I yelled over both of them, “I pray the Almighty Winter Murderer and the Holiest of all Zombies can clear the minds of cannibals who celebrate them with gusto.”

They turned to stare at me…

I grinned, waved, and bowed a bit…

Then, together, like women who are sisters by choice tend to do, we roared with laughter, moved on to gossip about our sex lives, exchanged holiday recipes, apologized for past and future assholic comments. And as we do every time this happens, we made fun of people who spend so much time looking at everybody else that they forget to look within.   

The whole thing is funny, isn’t it? Take this as an example, I never argue with people who say that Witchcraft a tad… um… dark. In fact, I’m proud of the fact that it is half dark and half light. Most things are, religions included.

Take Catholicism as an example. During Mass, Catholics eat the body of Christ (Sunday cannibalism), and drink his blood (vampires love dressing up for gatherings), and I doubt I need to remind anyone that the son of the Christian God rose from the dead after three days of being a gonner (um… zombie).

Witchy people refuse to be outdone, so we eat our gods, too. Remember that orange I devour every Winter Solstice? (Sun Gods tastes delicious in the morning); I’ve drenched myself blood-red to dance for the Morrigan (berry stains are a bitch to get out of my pores, by the way); and because my witchery is not only dark and bloody, but also sexy, when I make love I scream to the gods. Okay, so I scream a lot of things, but “Gods! Gods! Gods! is usually in the mix.

And… in response to the Wicked Darling who emailed me, privately, to say that she was “disappointed in” me, and that she “couldn’t believe a Witch of [my] intelligence and so respected as [me] wasted her time belittling her religion and the beliefs of others by grouping real Holy Days with nonsense like Festivus and Hogswatch,”I wish to say the following:

First, my spiritual beliefs are not so easily defined, so do not box them within a religion. Second, you’ve surprised me. For some strange reason, I thought you got me. Guess I was wrong… Just so you know, I wasn’t mocking anyone when I included Festivus and Hogswatch—I know people who celebrate them, and they are a blast. Maybe one of these days you’ll be able to take a step back and see that the actual holidays are not as important as you might think. People, on the other hand, are. Joy and remembrance need no label, just souls willing to embrace them by smacking some fun into them.
 Everybody believes in something. And it will remain important to them, even if the rest of us don’t get it.

Oh, if you have a chance, mount your broom and check out Gothidays 2012. Professor’s Z Cabinet of Curiosities welcomes all hearts interested in “Goth-ifying the Holidays,” or not…  


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21 comments:

  1. such arguments will never come to an end. either you accept or you don't. understanding is something beyond our possibilities,i can't understand God/Gods but I can believe in them.you know, living in a family which is totally Hindu, I still can't understand why so many Gods are required? In some way, Hinduism is closer to paganism, however..well, my comment is too long :) Have a nice day, Magaly!

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    1. It's not your comment that is long, is the concept that is eternal. One god, fifteen gods, no gods, holy energy... who cares, right? We should spend a bit more time being decent to each other, and if there is time left then we can move on to more abstract philosophies. I hope you have a nice day, too, dear Anna ;-)

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  2. Someone is dissing FESTIVUS? Oh, them's fightin' words!

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    1. Indeed, Debra. It's war on Festivus and my heart weeps for the trespass. I think we should do something about it. Maybe HRH could be the mastermind behind the Festivus Preservation Brigade ;-)

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  3. Being Myopic isn't catching...it's just time ill spent. I weep for the closed. I celebrate the open. I get over the zealot. I pass by the self righteous. I embrace them all.....but ask the same in return.
    Or at least I give it my best shot. Glad that you and your girls have the "love enough" to let the good times roll on inspite of your differences of opinion. True sistahood.
    Great post. and ps.....thanks for the advice. S&S Oma Linda

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    1. Great takes on the zealot and the self-righteous, I will remember that. María de Jesus has lapses every now and then, but she gets her head out of her behind and remembers that because she sees the world in one color everybody else won't do the same, too.

      I'm here for you, just like you've always been here for me. "True sistahood" ;-)

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  4. You and your friends' ability to push past that possibly explosive altercation is truly inspiring. I hope that acceptance and respect are communicable diseases this holiday season. I suspect my own mother may be infected. I suspected she was immune, but she said something about the Holy Spirit the other night and gave a nod to her understanding of my beliefs by referring to the entity as "Him or Her". Never thought I'd see the day...perhaps there is hope for other closed minds too.
    Joyous Festivus, Happy Hogswatch, Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Ah Freilichen Chanukah, and anything else that I can think of...Vasant Panchami is coming up next month...Happy Early Vasant Panchami.

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    1. I'm sooo proud of your mom! That acknowledgement sounds like a great present for the holidays. Lucky you. I want to hear the same from some of my family members, but I doubt it. Maybe they surprise me soon, too ;-)

      Happy Beach Fire Day! Yep, you can celebrate that holiday every day, and I everybody will be okay with it, I think...

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  5. Someday I hope to be close enough to a group of people who not only know how to do up Hogswatch, but invite me & my grandchildren along for the party. People who take their Holydays & Holidays too seriously are certain to be disappointed in Life Itself.

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    1. Maybe one day we can get together and dance enough to make Nanny Ogg proud and Granny Weatherwax Livid ;-)

      I'm right with you on the bit about holidays.

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  6. I finally got fed up of 15 years of Thanksgiving Dinners at my in laws saying grace and talking about things that I feel so differently about then they do. It was about time I stopped letting them assume that my silence meant I agreed with them....and it felt good!

    I never asked my Husband if my outburst embarrassed him, cuz quite frankly, it wouldn't make a difference if it did. He already knows how I feel about the subject.

    I bet your cheeks are adorable stained red :)

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    1. You have to do what you have to do. The truth is not always easy to swallow and when you do it for years, it shoots out with a lot of force. I'm sure your hubby is okay, he sounds like a great guy and great guys have decent brains ;-)

      I look sexy (and a bit scary) when I dance for the Morrigan: my hair huge, my skin red, a bit of dark around my eyes, and barefoot and dancing. It's a blast!

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  7. One day, I plan to celebrate a witchy day with you. I dunno when, but....someday. And, if there isn't at least some "dark" in the craft, I feel it's not being done right. That maybe just me, though. You're right about the Holy Days. All people are different, what's Holy to one won't be Holy to another. They have the right to their own Holy Days, who are we to say something isn't "Holy"?

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    1. I think we will. And I have a feeling that Petoskystone might come and bring the grands. We'll cook and dance and sing until the sun sets again. That day will be holy, and no one can't say it isn't ;-)

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  8. sigh ... this is brilliant! Thank you so much for joining our little band of sweet and awesome darklings! From someone who loves. ADORES. LOVES. to do rituals like the Chocolate Ritual ... oh and the one where my husband had us write all the "crap" we wanted to get rid of on toilet paper and then had us flush it down the toilet ... rituals, in all forms, have the purpose to make us more "us" than before. As Jung would argue, ritual brings us into our total being since we face and become our Divine within. And besides, Loki needs a place to play! ;) Thanks for participating!

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    1. Yay! for personal rituals. Those are the ones that truly matter. The ones were everything is part of it and necessary. Whenever I'm doing a banishing spell, I use things that have become trash or signify destruction. It makes sense.

      Indeed about Loki. He would certainly understand why we can't take ourselves (or anything else) way too seriously ;-)

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  9. All this bickering around this time of year has really ruined some of my joy during this season. My mom actually bought a sign that says only this "he's the reason for the season" - can you see my eye roll? But I don't argue with her because she'll never accept my view and I'll never accept hers. It was great that you stepped in and stopped that all too serious battle from getting out of hand. :) Merry holidays!

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    1. Exactly! For a season that is supposed to be so jolly, people are sure biting each others' heads quite a bit. It's sad, and in a way, extremely confusing. Maybe one day things will get better...

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  10. Sometimes I think women are more apt to be inclusive and emrace the beliefs of others, at other times I worry that we are as bad as the Crusaders. But the more you know about someone else's faith the less threatening it becomes and maybe just maybe we are learning that lesson. Godd for you, Magaly!

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