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Appalachian Pagan Alliance Dec. 2009 Newsletter

Editress: Ginger Strivelli

The “blizzard of '09” alas, canceled the local Yule gathering 
but We all enjoied the yuletide season nonethelss.
Many of us 'APAer' now chat more on facebook than on our 
yahoogroups group, but it is still open and 'active' to 
some degree. We had several local Yuletide event notices 
were on there this month, and even a bit of chit chat now 
and then. I'd like to see it more active in the New year.

-----------Ghosts of Holidays story by Sybilsue Strivelli (aged 13)----

The Ghost of Holidays Past

        I was laying in bed one night and I heard 
a something outside my window. I got up to see what 
it was and I saw a ghost outside. He was dressed in red and green and had holly in his hair. I opened 
the window to get a better look.
        “Who... what are you?” I asked
        “I am the ghost of holidays past and I am 
here to show you how people celebrated holidays thousands of years ago. Take my hand and I'll show 
you what I mean.” he said as he held out his hand.          I was a bit hesitant at first, but
 I decided to go with him, deciding that all of 
this was probably just a dream.
        The moment I touched him, we were up off 
the ground and light was swirling all around us. A 
few seconds later, we ended up near a semi-circle 
of huge stones. I recognized the monument 
as Stonehenge. I started to ask someone what they 
were doing, but the ghost stopped me.
        “These people are unaware of us, we 
are invisible to them. They can not see us or hear 
us. These are the  Druids building Stonehenge. 
They are building it for Winter Solstice, or 
Yule, which is the longest night of the year. It 
is being built  to, in a way, welcome back the 
        “What year is it?” I asked him.
        “It is 2800 B.C.” he replied “they 
are decorating with holly, which symbolizes 
rebirth, in this case of the sun. They are 
also decorating with mistletoe, which 
symbolizes peace.”
        “Next,” he said “I will show you how they 
are celebrating in Luxor, Egypt 1,400 years 
        A few seconds later we were in the middle of 
a desert. The Egyptians were building the 
Luxor Temple. 
        “They are building the Luxor temple 
to celebrate Yule,” said the ghost “They are 
also welcoming back the sun. When the sun rises, 
the temple aligns with it. They believe that the 
God Hathor gives birth to the Sun God on Yule, it 
is the rebirth of the Sun. They decorate the 
palm trees as part of their celebration. They 
use trees because they symbolize life.”
        “Now, let's go to Rome in 200 B.C. - 
1,200 years later. 
        We flew through the cities of Rome, 
everyone was feasting.
        “The Romans are celebrating Saturnalia. 
It starts on December the 17th and ends on 
December the 23rd. Saturnalia is the feast of the 
God Saturn. People celebrate by exchanging gifts 
and feasting. They also decorate fir trees. They 
made offerings to the Gods of Winter, mainly 
Saturn though.”
        We returned back to my house later that 
night. I learned a lot that night about how 
people celebrated the holidays back then. I went 
to sleep with all those thoughts about Winter 
Solstice and Saturnalia.

Ghost of Holidays Present
The next night, there was another noise outside 
my window. I opened it and saw a ghost dressed  
like Santa Claus. 
        “So are you another ghost?” I 
        “Yes! I am the ghost of holidays present 
and I will show you how different types of 
people celebrate the holidays these days.”
        So we traveled to the other side of town, to 
a church. They were doing a nativity play to 
celebrate the birth of Jesus. Other people 
celebrating Christmas were at home feasting or 
opening presents. We traveled to a few houses 
where people were celebrating Hanukkah. 
        “Hanukkah is the festival of lights.” 
the ghost told me “They lighted the menorah 
to symbolize the light in the oil lamp lasting 
eight days. There are eight candles in a menorah 
then a ninth one to light the others. It became 
a holiday because there was only enough oil in 
the lamp to last one day, but it lasted for eight.” 
        We then went to a Pagan gathering. They 
were celebrating Yule like people did thousands 
of years ago. They were all in a circle doing a 
spiral dance to welcome back the sun. We went 
through a few more holidays. There are many 
different traditions and celebrations I never 
even knew about. 
        We went back to my house later and I 
realized that I learned a lot. I learned that 
there are many different types of holidays 
people celebrate even now.  So the ghost left and 
I went to bed, thinking of all those different 
holiday traditions. 

Ghost of Holidays Yet to Come

        The next night, I expected another ghost 
to come, so I sat by the window and waited. 
After about 15 minutes, there was still no ghost, 
so I turned around to go to bed. I was 
surprised, though, to see another ghost right there 
on my bed. 
        “What are you the ghost of?” I asked the 
        “I am the ghost of holidays yet to come,” 
He told me “I will show you how people will 
celebrate holidays a few hundred years from 
        I took his hand and we traveled to a 
strange place. I looked around for a few minutes 
then asked the ghost,
        “Where are we?”
        “We are on the moon, in 
man-made civilizations. Everyone is 
celebrating different kinds of holidays, 
with different traditions, just like people have 
for thousands and thousands of years. They get some 
of their traditions from how they celebrated 
the holidays long ago. Some of them are passed 
down from generation to generation in the family. 
Some of the traditions are newer. People all 
celebrate differently and have different 
        He showed me different people celebrating 
the holidays. I realized that all the ghosts showed
 me how people celebrate the holidays 
differently. People have for thousands of years, 
they still do, and they will continue for years 
to come. Everyone celebrates different holidays 
and believe different things. That's just the way 
it is and we should accept people even if they 
believe different things.

        The ghost took me back home later, and I 
went to sleep, ready for the holidays to begin.

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