Monday, 9 April 2012

Why commercializing things like Easter and Christmas is good for us, or....In every curse there is a gift and vice-versa....

Photo: Christmas in India is increasingly popular regardless of religion.

I do understand why Christians bemoan the commercialisation of Easter and Christmas but on the basis that in every 'curse' there is a gift (and vice-versa)  it's a good idea to look for the benefits.

One can make the case that good can come out of anything, even extreme capitalism which has Christmas sales beginning shortly after Easter ends - just kidding - and Hot Cross Buns in supermarkets just after Christmas - not so much of a joke!

But what the commercialisation and secularization of Christian festivals has done is bring these rituals and ceremonies and celebrations to a broader community and one which is both beyond and across religion. There is no doubt that Christmas is a popular celebration in Hindu India,  and Moslem Pakistan, and also little doubt that the fun, fantasy and fulfillment of religious celebrations can be had by anyone - regardless of creed or race.

The irony of course is that ALL religious festivals and rituals can be sourced to the ancient Goddess religion which supported humanity for millenia before the patriarchal age which ushered in the 'big daddy' religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam!

The Hindus, and variants, claim that their religion is the oldest and goes back beyond millenia any of us could count and maybe that is true, but even here one can find the warp and weft of those religious beliefs, rituals and ceremonies which have been called pagan for probably 5,000 years or more, but which form the rich tapestry of religious and spiritual belief which has been with us since the beginning.

Photo: Christmas in Moslem Pakistan.

So, in a world where more people than ever before have little or no religious or spiritual belief, the marking and maintaining of highly symbolic and richly soulful ritual and ceremony is a plus. We may not remember at a conscious level why we do what we do but we know at a Soul level what it says, what it offers and what it gives.

And that says, instead of bemoaning the capitalistic motivation of secularised celebrations we should be grateful that forces are at work to keep ritual alive in our all too often soul-less world. And we should also be grateful that Christians, Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus ... and countless others, can participate in something like Christmas and Easter. There is no reason why Christian festivals should take precedence but they do because Christianity has always taken a more embracing view of others and because the modern world, the capitalist machine if you like, is largely sourced in the Christian world.

Just as Chinese New Year has become a national celebration in those nations, like my own, Australia, which has large communities of Chinese immigrants, so too might we in the future, embrace things like the Hindu festival of colour, Holi, or Diwali; the Moslem Eid; the Jewish Passover - festivals which are rich in ritual and celebration and which link us to our Soul nature and which go back beyond the age of religion as we know it with all its divisions and its patriarchal limitations.

Photo: Easter Eggs for sale in Kuwait.

And where there are some things which don't 'fit' well, they can be changed, just as religions and their rituals have been changed, tweaked, re-worked throughout millenia. What matters is that we fill our lives with anything and everything which celebrates the complex nature of human life and this magical world. We all came from the same place and we all return to the same place and all of these celebrations and ceremonies belong to all of us - we need only to reach out and embrace them.

The most successful individuals and societies are those which take what is useful wherever they find it and in the doing, change, grow and develop. Just as words enter the lexicon because they are useful, so too do habits, tastes and systems - celebrations are no different. The world is awash with the language of Soul - Symbol and like Love, it is endless, eternal, and never runs out.

Carl Jung, the famed psychiatrist said Symbol is the lost language of the Soul. But it isn't really lost, just misplaced, overlooked and in the Western world it has been overshadowed by materialist mindsets and the surge of science.

The point of all this is quite simply that next time I find myself muttering at 'greedy capitalism' when I see Christmas decorations in the shops in September, I shall remind myself to say thank-you as well because it is the commercialization of celebration which is returning ritual and symbol to us and enabling them to be shared with others in ways of which we would never have dreamed.

I am not attributing altruistic cause to the commercialization of things like Christmas and Easter, but merely saying that good can come out of something which may be deemed 'evil' and of course, the opposite is equally true. Nothing is ever all bad and in fact some of the 'worst' things may bring the best results. I happen to think that the secularization of religion is something which will draw us all together and return to our Souls, the language of symbol.

I like to think that the Great Goddess has a wonderful sense of humour and given that the ancient Goddess religion believed and taught that everything was sacred, no exceptions, that means our capitalists and commercialists are also sacred and all is part of the Great Work!

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