Thanksgiving

2006-Nov-23

Thanksgiving is one of the most important Pagan holidays in our American Civil Religion. Although the harvest festivals are now over, we are celebrating their success.

The central focus of Thanksgiving is the extended family. For hundreds of thousands of years there was no difference between extended family and family and no need to make a big deal out of it, but in America, our corporations needed to break apart the extended family into the nuclear family with only the breadwinner, his spouse, and his children, because that was the family unit that could be most easily moved to whatrever suburb served the factories that needed them. And so Thanksgiving arose to fulfil the need for nuclear families to re-establish contact with the wider family they had left.

And Thanksgiving gives us an excuse to have family reunions to give back to us for just one day just a little bit of the human contact we surrendered when we gave up the religion of the family and replaced it with the religion of Capitalism.

Of course there are constant attempts by competing religions to co-opt Thanksgiving, with the Christians wanting yet another Christian holiday, and the Capitalists trying to gut the four day weekend of family celebration by carving out Black Friday as another day for worshipping Mammon. But I urge you to use the day to remember we were not always isolated from the rest of our family by thousands of miles.

And some day when the oil runs out and the water runs out and the jobs run out, we may find ourselves returning to our extended families to find that emotional and physical support that the god Mammon will fail to provide us.

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