How a holiday gift changed my life

This year marks the first year since my departure from the Abhrahemic tradition. I have determined I will be celebrating
Yule Tide this year rather than the traditional Christmas. I made this decision based on my recent conversion to Paganism. Although I am seeking a pagan tradition unique to my own desires, I would like to recognize some traditions of old.

This year has also been the first time a loved-one sent me Yule or holiday gifts rather than traditional Christmas gifts. It was surreal having a gift that was so thoughtful. It was a special feeling having my girlfriend send me such thoughtful and amazing gifts. I was instantly brought to tears. I was overpowered with positive feelings. At first I wrote it as the greatest “Christmas gift” ever. Then I realized it wasn’t a Christmas gift, it was a Yule gift. She went out of her way to ensure it wasn’t Christmas themed at all. Instead of marking it in my heart as the best “Christmas” gift I wrote it as my first Yule gift but also registered it as the best “Holiday” season gift making the sentiment equally accurate both ways.

I stayed up late into the night reading articles on Yule traditions. This led me down a rabbit hole of wiki articles regarding various Norse, Germanic, Pagan, Heathen and other European traditions around the winter months. It left me in a mind state of confusion. I eventually felt asleep but never did achieve much in the way of rest. I woke up tired.

What I am looking for in my pagan tradition is a path that departs from the traditional. I want something that resembles the Christianity I was raised in but with a pagan touch. Unlike the Catholic/Orthodox/Anglican tradition of assimilation (read appropriation) I’d rather find a tradition that blends Christian practices with blatant Pagan traditions. As for teachings I am unsure which direction I wish to seek. What I am considering might be akin to starting my own church, if you will, in a way.

What I am considering is a practice that borrows the traditions I find compatible with my interests while shaving those unsavory elements asociated with Germanic paganism/heathenry, i.e. debauchery, racial superiority complex and the traditional gender roles. I am not borrowing much from the Norse/Germanic people’s other than a few traditions, holidays and maybe prayers to Frayja my sole Norse Goddess in my cult.

I remain hesitant to refer to my practice entirely as a new faith. I don’t want to establish a “cult” so to speak. I don’t want to form a new “church” either. What I am contemplating is seeking a congregation of like-minded individuals who are seeking an alternative to the mainstream religions. However this itself falls dangerously close to cult territory. During my Southern Baptist missionary training days I was primed for starting churches. In fact I was involved in forming a couple of house-churches/fellowships over the years. What I envision is more than a Universalist Church where one can worship however they please. Rather than mimic Christian church with Pagan rituals what I desire, should I go this route, is a service that honors the 12 various spirits I honor in my faith.

I am considering calling it the Cult of the 12 or the Church of the 12. Something like that. I don’t know if I want to share my practice with others. I am not setting out to start a new religion. Yet the call to share my newfound beliefs with others does fill my mind with curiosity. Right now I am merging my pagan traditions with the remnants of my Christian beliefs as part of my witchcraft. Unlike some witches I see online, my practice is a away of life for me, not just a hobby or practice.

In the meantime I will enjoy the season my own way. Right now I am riding the high the Yuletide presents my amazing girlfriend sent me.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to, Thank you.