ORIGINS OF THANKSGIVING
The Pagans in ancient Rome celebrated their thanksgiving festivities in early October. The holiday was dedicated to the goddess of the harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was called Cerelia. The Holy Roman Universal (Catholic) Church took over the Pagan holiday and it became well established in England, where some of the Pagan customs and rituals for this day were observed long after the Roman Empire had fallen and had been absorbed into the church system. In England the "Harvest Home" has been observed continuously for centuries.
In our own part of the world, among the early Aztecs of Mexico, the harvest took on a much more horrible aspect. Every year, a young girl - a representation of Xilonen, The goddess of the new corn - was beheaded. The Pawnees also sacrificed a girl. In a more temperate mood, some of the Native Americans in the southeast, danced the "Green Corn Dance" and began the new year at harvest's end. It was all designed around cyclical seasons and multi-celebrations every year.
No wonder the Native Americans and the Pilgrim Fathers felt right at home on that big day in 1621. Obviously, the idea for this first Thanksgiving in the New World was not an original concept. On the contrary Thanksgiving, in the guise of the Pagan harvest festivals, can be traced all the way back to ancient Babylon and the worship of Semiramis. But, that's for another article.
No matter it's roots or beginnings, this is a time to gather with family and friends and unite in a state of thanksgiving ... being thankful for all that we have. A vast number of the world's population lives a troubled existence. They are hungry, poor, homeless, ill, and without work or shelter. It's a time when we can be both a human being, and a human giving. Help others when you can. The younger we are, the less we have. And I have found that the older I get, the less I need. Be forgiving, be loving, be tolerant, be understanding, and ... be thankful for everything ... even the bad times. Because if it were not for the bad times, we would have no comprehension of the good times. The same central nervous system that brings pain, is the same system that brings pleasure. We must have both. It is Universal Law and Polarity.
Just a thought ...
~Justin Taylor, ORDM., OCP., DM.