What a wild year! Who imagined, back on January 1 of 2020, that this year would hold what it did? The tumult of 2020 showed us many things, some scary, some sacred, some simply new. Looking back helps us in many ways – it can increase our understanding of ourselves, showing us both good things to build upon and areas to watch. As the year starts, looking back at the top posts of 2020 can add to our new year in many ways.
In addition to the many personal benefits, these posts are all excellent, worth reading again in any case. They cover a range of different types of posts, with the dominant theme being our greatly increased connection to the online Pagan community resulting from the Pandemic, with books to read and other pandemic resources appearing as well. In fact, while many of the top ten posts this year are those which provide links to online rituals during the pandemic (and hence the pandemic may have boosted readership – only two of the top ten are from before the pandemic), the opposite may have happened with John Beckett’s top ten list for 2020, where the highest readership is before the pandemic. Here are the top ten posts of 2020!
10. Samhain (The Fall Equitherm) Approaches!
We post some ideas for celebrations a few weeks before every Sabbat, and for both long time Pagans and people newly on the Path, these can be useful, and appear several times in the top ten this year, so they are helping us celebrate our spiritualities. Plus, both empirical data and general popularity show that among us Pagans, Samhain and Yule are the top two Pagan Sabbats, so it’s no surprise that the post for Samhain preparations made it into the top 10.
9. The Winter Cross-Quarter (Winter Thermstice) Approaches!
As we just saw, our celebration ideas posts do well, and so it makes sense that the celebration ideas post for Imbolc would do well. But hold on, I thought Imbolc wasn’t a huge Pagan holiday? For me, it’s a big help in getting through the time when Winter is stretching on and on. In fact, for me it’s a lot more helpful in that way than the Winter Solstice. When the Winter Solstice arrives, I’m still reveling in the new snow, the new ice skating, and skiiing – all of which I haven’t been able to enjoy for more than 8 months! But when Imbolc comes, I’ve done all those things, and hey, it’s pretty cold, all making Imbolc a welcome time for a holiday.
8. Happy Summer Solstice!
This year, our Sun, Moon and Earth join in the Solstice celebrations near both Summer and Winter solstices with solar eclipses (See top ten #6)! The pandemic gave us online viewing options, along with online rituals for Summer Solstice (including the Summer Solstice sunrise at Stonehenge).
7. Holiday Gift Ideas for Naturalistic Pagans
Year after year, the Holiday Gift Ideas for Naturalistic Pagans post makes it into the top 10. I can’t know how much of the traffic is by people looking for things to drop hints about or otherwise hope to receive, or Naturalistic Pagans looking for ideas for another Naturalistic Pagan in their life, or non-Pagans trying to get some idea for what to by for the person in their life who’s Naturalist Pagan spirituality is a deep mystery to them. But in any case, there are all kinds of wonderful things here, with new items every year – many of which are essential for Pagans, for Naturalists, and for those who are both.
6. The Planets Celebrate the Solstice, Meteors Shower, the Sun is Eclipsed, and Online Events Abound! by Starstuff, Contemplating
What an incredible set of astronomical events we had to join in our December Solstice celebrations! In addition to the solar eclipse already mentioned (see #8, above), we also had a perfect moon (a new moon) for the Geminids meteor shower. The Geminids are a great meteor shower, but a bright moon can greatly diminish how many can be seen. Crescent moons are good, but this year, the moon was completely out of the picture (because it was eclipsing the Sun). Those events are uncommon, but the closest conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn since the year 1623 was much more rare, and happened exactly on the December Solstice! Wow! Jason Mankey wrote more about it here as well. This post also gave an updated list of nearly a dozen online Winter Solstice rituals.
5. Tripping With the Gods – On Entheogenic Spirituality:, (Part 1 of 5) by Wayne Martin Mellinger, Ph.D. [The Dionysian Naturalist]
Dr. Wayne Martin Mellinger gave us a multi-part series on the use of entheogens as part of a Naturalistic Pagan spirituality. This is the first of those posts. He is also starting a webpage now, which is here. He writes:
Contrary to the prohibitionist propaganda that is disseminated by our dominant culture, some drugs, when consumed with sacred intention in carefully crafted rituals, can be magical portals to vividly visionary and exotic realms, catalysts for deep and profound spiritual transformations, and challenging teachers offering the lesson plan of a lifetime. Moreover, humans can learn to consume these substances moderately and safely and not fall victim to hardcore dysfunctional addiction. While this fact goes against the common sense of our culture, it was a part of the wisdom traditions of our ancestors in at least some early tribal societies for up to 40,000 years.
4. Ways to Empower your Samhain Amid the Pandemic
Like the many other pandemic online connection posts, this post listed many online rituals (for Samhain) and also ways to conduct many Samhain traditions in ways which are safe for everyone. Hopefully the trick-or-treating ideas like the flying ghost candy delivery (which I used) or the skeleton candy slide won’t be needed next Samhain.
3. Lupa’s Essential Books For Pagans
We Pagans are so often book nerds, and true to form, Lupa’s book post made it into the top ten despite being before the pandemic. In fact, it’s the only post in the top ten which is both before the pandemic and is not one of the posts about a specific Sabbat. These books help us all draw closer to the natural world of which we are a part.
Most essential reading lists for pagans tend to be pagan-specific books, or books that deal with related topics like the history of pre-Christian religions or herbalism. My list is perhaps a little more removed from blatant paganism than that, and might be better termed “Lupa’s Essential Books For Nature-Based Pagans”. Moreover, it’s a list that will likely change over time. But they’re texts I think all pagans would benefit from reading for one reason or another.
2. The Pandemic Gives us Online Rituals for Beltane
Posted in April, long before the pandemic stretched on and on, this post gave what seemed, at the time, like a large number of links to online, upcoming Beltane rituals – all of three of them! Ha! Still, it rocketed to the second most read blog post for 2020.
1. Yule (the Winter Solstice) is coming up fast!
I think that with the many hardships of 2020, so many of us really needed Yule this year. This post helped us prepare, and heal ourselves.
The pandemic gives us even more reason to turn inward, to stay cozy, and reflect on the hibernation of much of the wildlife (in cooler areas, at least). For many of us, this is a big Sabbat, which takes a more preparation (and if you are buying gifts, the Naturalistic Pagan Gift List here might help). Whether it’s due to cultural inertia, or kid’s expectations, the importance of Stars and this Sabbat, or whatever, it’s a big deal in our family. We’ve are about to start the Solstice doors and decorating (with a relatively late US Thanksgiving this year). If you have been doing your Winter Solstice traditions for years, if you are just starting your family and are currently building the traditions which will bring the Universe to your kids, or anything in between, I hope that the traditions and practices on this post are found to be useful, inspiring, or just comforting.
May that joy, which cannot be fully put into words, find us all in 2021. Blessed be