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Remembering the Ritual of the Holy Days

I like to tell the story of how the different elements of Christmas have ties to actual solstice and shamanic rituals because to me it brings back the healing purpose of these holidays. It also connects to the research I’ve done as part of my own indigenous ancestral remembrance.

I also love the story of Jesus as an incredible teacher/healer, and celebrate those teachings too in a way that for me honors the non-judgement and healing focus of Christ.

However, just like Halloween is not about candy, and Samhain/ Dia De Los Muertos are culturally designed spaces for sharing collective grief and communal processing of the life-death cycle. Reconnecting with those rituals has made the holidays more meaningful to me.

Christmas is a Christianization mashup of many Christian and pagan traditions surrounding solstice. This includes Yule, which is Germanic and many practices of the people of the Far North, including Siberia and my Sámi ancestors.

Arctic shamans have been known for hundreds of years by their spiritual work with with  (Amanita Mascara). There is some evidence of them also wearing red and white attire similar to depictions of Santa. Traditional Sami shamans (noaidis) like all semi-nomadic Sami also travel primarily by reindeer-drawn sled. One thing to note, shaman is a gender-neutral term and there are powerful well-known female shamans throughout history.

These shamans use  to support soul retrieval, as for them depression and other mental illness is a sign there has been a fracture of our soul, where one part itse soul (translated as psyche) gets disconnected from our liewl soul (Sámi word for breath and body aspect of the soul). Shamans use the  to go into a trance or support medicine journey work with the patient to receive guidance as to where their Itse Soul is and how to bring it back home to their body. Itse’s are said to attach to a child when they are accepted into a family and get detached by being unaccepted by your family, trauma or things like being disconnected from the sun for too long.

Close to solstice, as the days got to being almost completely dark in the far north, the shaman had work to do to keep the community healthy. Some reports are that shamans went door to door checking on each family and either coming into the tent from the roof or giving  packets to be used to support the family to be reconnected with their Itse soul through the darkest times.

As winter solstice marks the darkest night, the solstice tradition in Sámi land celebrates how the light returns. It is a Celebration of Beaivi which is the Sun/ Reindeer Goddess. Tradition is/was to leave butter on the doorsteps as an offering for Beaivi to fly higher and higher throughout the night and bring back the sun and fertility for the next year.

So, for these holidays from solstice to Christmas I celebrate:

- The return of the light

- Recommitment to the connection to my psyche to my body through my own practices of embodiment and intention setting

- The helpers we have in the form of attuned and trained healers to give support

- The plant ally teachers we have that in a well-held container can support healing and reconnection

- And I celebrate Christ consciousness— the incredible healer and ultimate teacher of non-judgement and all that the story of Christ has brought to my life

And if you are one of my friends that is feeling really low today or around the holidays, please reach out to me. I would love to be a part of your soul journey home to yourself.

Wishing you so much PRESENCE with those you love  


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