From a Political Junkie: Welcome the Winter Solstice

Byy On
• In People,

This week, you will have to handle a shorter column about faith. But before I get into that, I want to give a shout out. The Whatcom Democrats had their reorganization meeting this last Thursday. At the meeting, a whole swarm of fresh faces were elected to the executive board. Among those faces is my fiancé and love of my life, Bryna Hoffmeister. That is right; my bride-to-be was the first of the two of us to be elected to something. She’s still chuckling about that. Moving right along . . .

This last weekend, I traveled down to Silverdale to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Bryna’s family lives there, and we are going to celebrate the pagan celebration of Yule. Yes, Bryna and I are pagan.

I don't talk about my faith much. It is a big part of my life but it is something that I keep quite separate from my professional life and even from parts of my personal life. As a pagan or more specifically a Wiccan, I have faced discrimination even in die-hard, New Age Bellingham. Consequently, I try to keep quiet about my faith.

As a political organizer, rule number one is never hurt the candidate. I want to make sure my involvement with a campaign is NOT a negative. That is why I rarely bring it up; I don't wear my pentacle when I am doorbelling. I try and make sure my car is out of sight at fundraisers because of the pagan bumper stickers. I am not ashamed of my faith, far from it. I’m proud of what I believe. I just don't want people's misconceptions about my faith to taint whatever I'm working on.

That said, I am headed home to celebrate Yule. On this day, we celebrate the return of light to this world, when the Oak King rises up and strikes down his brother, the Holly King, and warmth begins to return to the land. We do some meditation, a religious ceremony, and of course, swap gifts. Since so many of the Christian traditions (decorating a log, lights, feasting) come from the older traditions, on the surface, it looks pretty darn similar.

With that, I have been anti-social enough. The in-laws are making piles of cookies that look suspiciously unguarded. I wish everyone a happy holiday and next column, I will tackle the Obama Tax Cut deal, why I think it was a great bargain, and how he is smarter than the House Democrats. Tune in next week for all that and more!

About Riley Sweeney

Citizen Journalist • Member since Aug 10, 2009

Riley Sweeney, raised in the Pacific Northwest, moved to Bellingham during the Bush years, worked on a cross-section of political campaigns during the Obama years, and then fled to the [...]

Comments by Readers

Larry Horowitz

Dec 20, 2010

Happy Yuletide Riley.  I hope you and Bryna are enjoying the Winter Solstice with Bryna?s family in Silverdale.  Maybe you?ll make it home with a few extra cookies to share?


Riley Sweeney

Dec 20, 2010

Thank you! Bryna’s at home with the pile of cookies so chances of their survival are around 40%.


Kamalla R. Kaur

Dec 20, 2010

Happy Soltice with lunar eclipse tonight!

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