Sounds of winter: day 19  

Santa Claus is pagan too is sung here by Emerald Rose with lovely illustrations that make us think of Yule, Green men, the origins (both pagan and Christian) of Santa, and the way the Church took over ancient festivals and remade them to suit its own agenda. I am by no means criticising that; I find it fascinating and just think we should always remember the roots of our festivals, as I said yesterday. Incidentally, I’m not Pagan or Wiccan. Or Christian for that matter. If I’m anything, I’m Humanist, but I’m not a member – I tend not to join things.

My photograph of a stone ‘green man’ is in the outside wall of Chester Cathedral. Masons often carved interesting symbols that had little or nothing to do with Christianity. Some were actually useful as water spouts; others were just decorative. We usually call them all gargoyles and use the term to mean something ugly but at times they have a strange beauty.

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