Sunday, December 21, 2008


The longest night of the year.

As one who has struggled for most of my life (it seems) against "Seasonal Affective Disorder" -- with the highly appropriate acronym, SAD -- I'm very aware of the Winter Solstice. The most darkness in a single day in the latitudes where I usually hang out. The least amount of daylight. Yuk.

It's probably not a surprise that human societies have marked the Winter Solstice, seemingly as long as there have been human societies in Northern Hemisphere temperate latitudes, from what I can tell. Also not a surprise that those acknowledgments take place in the darkness using light from fires of one sort or another.

I hadn't realized how many Wiccans there are in the Army until I joined the Chaplaincy. Lest people get their panties in a bunch about this, Wiccans are not devil-worshipers. The Wiccans I know have a reverence for the earth that could put to shame the way many of us treat the environment around us.

After all, the Hebrew Scriptures say, in the first creation story (Genesis 1:1 - 2:4b) that after creating, "God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." (NRSV Gen 1:31) Who are we Christians and Jews then to disrepect God's creative activity in such a cavalier fashion that we pollute and destroy the beauty of this creation?

My Wiccan friends celebrate the wonders of nature and the bounty of the earth, and seek to protect the earth from the ravages that we humans can inflict upon the environment.

How appropriate that they're bringing that light into the darkness of environmental destruction, especially at the Winter Solstice.

Blessings and peace to one and all on the longest night of the year,

Fr. Tim, SJ

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Capt, Fr, your lighthearted take on the Wiccan religion is troublesome especially for someone as learned as you. From my investigation it appears to have been around along time but was popularized by Gerald Gardner in 1954 where he himself stated,"it was modern survival of the witch cult". They worship a horned god and goddess which are part of a panteistic God-head. They also have a liberal code of morality. My concern is this: Salvation comes from the resurrection of Christ-not from the "worshipping" of the earth. And the Ten Commandments are not just suggestions. The Wiccans goal is not to bring others to Christ. They are a religion, not an envronmental movement.

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