In my household, we’re all Pagans, but we come from very different backgrounds and religions of origin, and we probably all have very different conceptions of God/dess.
In Circle Round, the book I wrote with Anne Hill and Diane Baker, we describe our Pagan holiday traditions and how we might talk about God/dess to children.
I would say:
“Can you think of a place that you love, a special, beautiful place, where you feel wild and free, loved and loving, and safe and happy all at once?
“Being in that place is being connected to the Goddess, the living being that we are all a part of. And all the different religions are like paths through the forest to that special place. Each one will take you on a different journey to get there. Some might take you up steep rocks and over high mountains, others might sail over water or cross green meadows full of flowers. Each one might have a different name for the place, or appreciate different things about it. And you might find your own way there, a path that is yours alone, that no one else has ever walked in just the same way before.
“But the most wonderful thing is—that special place is inside you. And once you know that, you can always go there, just by thinking about it and wanting to be there. You’ll find more and more things in life that remind you of that place, and more and more ways to remind other people that love, creativity and generosity exist at the heart of the world.
“This is the season when, in the Northern Hemisphere where we live, the sun is lowest, the days are shortest and coldest. But on the Solstice, a wonderful thing happens—the sun begins to grow strong again, and the days start to get longer. We celebrate the moment of turning—when the light is reborn.
Our story is that The Great Mother gives birth to the New Year child on Solstice morning. The Christians tell a similar story, but for them it’s about Mary giving birth to Jesus. The Jews light the Hanukah Menorah, adding a candle each night to remember the miracle of their faith, African Americans celebrate Kwanzaa, lighting candles that honor important principles. But all those stories have this in common—they remind us that love and hope are constantly reborn in the world, and that we can honor them, celebrate them, and feed their power.”
And we do celebrate just about everything, to honor our ancestors and their traditions as well as our own beliefs. We plunge into the ocean on Solstice Eve, for cleansing and purification, and then dance around a bonfire. We stay up all night, to accompany the Mother in her birth vigil, baking bread to represent her swelling, fertile belly, then dance the sun up on the hilltops. We light Hanukah candles and tell the story of the Maccabees, and decorate a Yule tree, hang stockings and open presents, to celebrate generosity and just for the fun of it.
Then we collapse, and let someone else throw the New Year’s Eve party!