Friday, December 6, 2013

The Season of Giving

This is a special blog post.  It' s part of the
Pagan Writers Community: Winter Solstice Blog Hop

A whole array of holidays mark this time of year as we approach the winters solstice in the north.  Whether you celebrate Yule, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or another holiday, the idea of giving gifts to those we love is a common thred among them all.  we give gifts to family and friends and gather together for meals and to spend time with loved ones, who are, in and of themselves, the most wonnderful gifts in our lives.  If they are the greatest gifts we receive, what are the greatest gifts we can give?

While any number of possible answers exist for that question, I want to approach the idea of giving through the lens of Gebo, the gift Rune, in general and its Old English Rune Poem in particular.  (This translation is from The Rune Primer.)
Gyfa (Gebo) is for men adornment and complement,
support and dignity; and for all the dispossessed
forgiveness and sustenance, who otherwise would have nothing
The words of Gebo's poem are so strong - adornment, complement, support, dignity, forgiveness, sustenance.  It embodies the idea not only of giving to loved ones, but of helping those who are not as fortunate as we are.  The empowering words in this poem are the truest gifts we can give.  Yes, it's nice to receive adornments (material things), but that is only one word in a long list of words that imply basic desires.  Who does not want support, dignity and forgiveness? Yet, why are these greatest and simplest of gifts sometimes so hard to give today?

This brings us to the heart of the idea behind the season of giving - making it meaningful on a very basic and necessary level.  This holiday season, think of Gebo and be of two minds.  First, to those you love, be forgiving, show them extra support and encouragement.  Let go of anger and ill feelings.  Chances are that will matter more to both of you than something wrapped with a bow.

Second, while you are out shopping, think of gifts you can give to others - other than loved ones.  Buy an extra bag of groceries for the local food bank; buy an extra toy and donate it to the local children's hospital or a shelter.  Volunteer to help feed the homeless.  Invite a new neighbor or colleague to a party or for dinner.  The list of things we can do to spread this wonderful season of giving is extensive.

In keeping with the spirit of Gebo, and to encourage your participation in this idea, I will donate a canned good to my local community food bank for the first 25 comments on this post (Between December 6-10, 2013) that support the idea of the season of giving.  Simply leave a comment on this post sharing something that you do each season in the spirit of giving to others or that you will do this year.

In addition, to show my gratitude to everyone who reads and follows my blog, I will give away up to three copies of my novel, The Son of Nine Sisters, and three Rune readings to you.   Simply email me something that you plan to do this season in the spirit of giving to others and I will enter you into a lottery to win one of these prizes.  Please make the email subject line: Gebo's season of giving

Finally, I hope that you will try to carry the essence of Gebo with you into the new year.  The world needs more kindness and generosity and Gebo's gift can help build it.

Return to Pagan Writer's Community: Winter Solstice Blog Hop


    Winter triptych
    12th month (1-5)
    12th month – 6

  2. Thank you. I have heard many heathens talk of kindred and community but not much of charity. I have long felt that my community is not just my friends or the people on my street but those who share my town, my workplace, my state, and so-on rippling outward.
    I recycle so the people downwind and downstream don't have to breathe and drink my waste and so my son doesn't inherit a world of slag heaps and poisoned water. I give to those in my town in need because when I wad in need others gave to me.

    Gifts I give include donations to Heifer International and Kiva because they help people build prosperity and then give within their own communities.

  3. Hi There- I'd love to win a rune reading from you as part of the blog hop. I am giving away free one card readings to anyone who wants one. This is the best way I can give - by giving spiritual insights and guidance. Lesley

  4. I love giving gifts more than receiving them. And I do try to give back. I blogged about
    #GivingTuesday on a Native Gardening blog I write under my not pagan name ! A reading would be awesome. My husband and sons are of Nordic/Germanic heritage, and I am always trying to learn more about their traditions. Plus I just love runes.

  5. *waving* at you! =) Happy Hopping!

  6. I'd rather give than receive... I'm always worried that the giver has spent too much, or may be going without because they've bought me something. It's a little better if it's something homemade, but even then... LOL I'd rather give!

  7. I must say that i did learn something new from your post. I am a firm believer of giving and especially the giving of ones self. Thank you for the inspiring post.

  8. Thank you to everyone who left a comment here. My apologies for the delay in telling you that, thanks to you taking the time to leave a simple comment on this post, I delivered and grocery bag of canned fruits and vegetables to my local food bank, in addition to my own donation.