winter holidays can be very frustrating for those of us who aren't christian. the belief that christmas can be divorced from its context as a christian holiday or "reclaimed" because of its hypothetical pagan origins is surprisingly widespread, with negative repercussions for both christians and non-christians. i've spoken to a number of christians who are upset at the idea of a "secular" christmas-- this is where the myth of "war on christmas" comes from. but non-christians don't want to be "included" in christmas by superficially removing its connections to christianity. non-christians don't want to be included in christmas at all!
but for the modern spiritual nomad, divorced from both christianity and other religions in equal measure, the winter holiday season is still one of unease. midwinter celebrations are common among many cultures in history going back to prehistoric times. it is human nature to celebrate enduring. that is why i've decided to make my own winter tradition in line with cyclical beliefs and reconnecting to those ancient human traditions of midwinter celebrations.
describing the origins of the solstice basically
for celebration of the solstice, i focused on traditions that have historical precidence. one of these is the grand meal, the social gathering of friends and family and preparation of food. this is a common facet of many holiday celebrations.
a cyclical meal should touch on the three main types of life, separated out into three courses, or four if dessert is included. the three types of life are plants, animals, and fungi. the first is easily attainable with a salad or other common plant-based meals. for the second, i recommend a type of appetizer or simple meat dish in preparation for the third. the third course is more abstract and invites creativity. most dishes that include mushrooms use them as an accent piece rather than focusing around the mushrooms. my recommendation for this meal would be mushroom stew. additionally, plant-based meat can be substituted for the meat dish if desired. cyclicism invites both abstraction and symbolism freely.
cyclism is defined by connections. that of plants to animals, of animals to decomposers and fungi, and all of this interlinked with the water. to this effect, it is recommended that the cyclic meal is served and eaten out of the same vessel. that is, one bowl used for all three courses by the individual participant. this is, of course, an optional practice meant to enhance connection to the cyclic nature of life, and can be omitted at will.
preparing three separate courses can sometimes be too demanding a tradition, for various reasons. in this case, an alternative option is proposed that maintains the tri-fold connection to cyclic beliefs while allowing for the meal to be substituted in entirety.
for the plants, the recommendation is bean sprouts.
for meat, a simply prepared breast of chicken, seasoned to taste, served with or without dipping sauce.
for fungi, mushrooms can be served whole, raw, or sliced and prepared with a simple broth.
these options allow for the three to be used in ritual outside of a large meal, or served as a precursor to an alternative meal.
this is also helpful in celebrating the summer solstice, in which three heavy courses may be undesirable.