The Journey Continues – A Question of Tradition

Wheel of the Year 2

It’s been quite a year. Definitely not the one I hoped for or expected when I watched the ball drop in New York as 2019 arrived. I’ve been watching that ball drop, as part of welcoming in the New Year, for over 60 years. A new year breeds hope of new opportunities and positive changes for ones life.

Here we are in the last month of the year already. Time seems to have passed so quickly. This is a time to review where the year has taken us – what has been achieved and what has challenged us. It’s a time to appreciate and feel grateful for all the blessings and lessons the year (and Universe) has granted us.

This is a time of year filled with tradition, no matter what, if any, spiritual path you follow. Celebrations and reasons for gathering with friends and loved ones abound. Still, I have to ask, have we lost the real reasons behind these traditions? For that matter, have we lost the meaning behind traditions that are kept by many throughout the year?

Tradition…it’s came to my attention that for many younger people this seems to be a “dirty” word, no matter what context it’s used in. That has come to both bother and frustrate me. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to put myself in their shoes and see why they’ve taken this stance with “tradition.” Is it really the tradition (whatever it may be) or is it the way we have come to express it, having perhaps lost the real meaning of it in the course of years, decades, or even millennia since that tradition was begun?

The dictionary defines “tradition” as meaning: “The knowledge, doctrines, customs, practices, etc., transmitted from generation to generation; also, the transmission of such knowledge, doctrines, etc.” This gives us quite a wide base of activities to apply this to besides merely applying to the celebration of seasonal/spiritual holidays. It is here we can begin to see how it would relate to daily living, religion, politics, schooling, and the list could go on and on. Okay…

“The only constant in life is change.” So said Heraclitus some time around 500 b.c.e. I am a firm believer that without change we can become stagnant. The real question then becomes, where tradition is concerned, at what point does the change in a tradition create something entirely new that can no longer be called by the name of the original tradition? To put it another way, how far removed do we need to become from the original meaning of the tradition before we are no longer celebrating or practicing the reason that tradition was originally begun?

It is here that I may have begun to get an inkling as to why younger generations are ready to scrap tradition and start anew. You have to admit, where holidays are concerned, we have become way too commercialized. Instead of focusing on the joy of celebration, we focus on what can be bought, whether that be gifts, clothing for the occasion, food, etc. The real meaning of all the holidays seems to have gotten lost in the urge to spend, spend, spend, and this spans most holidays – Valentine’s Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Yule, etc.

What’s really distressing is when you look at other areas of life on Planet Earth, especially in the USA, and realize we have drifted so far away from what was originally intended. This country just had its 243rd birthday. The political system we live with now bears little resemblance to what the Founding Fathers created. Our educational system used to be one of the best in the world…now….not so much.

Even our spiritual paths, of which I am only truly familiar with my own, bears asking the question, have we strayed so far from the original teachings of the Master of the path that it would no longer be recognized by the original practitioners? The message of most of these Masters was one of Love. If we look around, we find that hate seems to be a motivating force in our world. No matter what our faith, if it doesn’t still speak of Love, have we lost the original meaning of that path?

As I attempt to see things from the perspective of those younger than myself, I get an understanding of why they have become skeptical of anything older generations have to say or the way in which we do things. Even though we are not all this way, what reason have we given them to trust any of us? Look at our country…look at our world. Yes, I begin to see all too well why they want to throw the baby, called Tradition, out with the bath water.

I do want to emphasize that there are many of us who are working in a positive manner in many areas of our lives, whether that be mundanely, spiritually, or even politically. We remember what tradition is really about and have tried to keep those meanings alive even in the midst of all the chaos and negativity that does exist today. If only we could get those younger than us, even a few, to see that those meanings really are still alive. There is still Love, gratitude, and honor expressed in our celebrations. Then maybe they would be willing to help keep those traditions and pass them on to the generations that will follow them.

Once more, when that ball drops in New York at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2020, I will be watching with hope in my heart, open to all the blessings and lessons that New Year may bring. Praying that we find our way back to Peace and Love as a people, country, and inhabitants of Planet Earth.

Old Year & New Year 2

Love & Blessed Be

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