Sunday, December 18, 2016
A Brief Magickal History of Gift Giving
Greetings My Witchy Readers,
The Yuletide season is upon us and for many it is also Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. For some it is simply a season for gathering with family and friends, going to some holiday parties and perhaps giving and receiving a special gift from a special person.
The history of gift giving is ancient, and magickal and perhaps one of the first social interactions humans have ever engaged in. Archaeologists have found in caves, once inhabited by Paleolithic man, evidence of gifts given. A special rock, a crafted stone tool, a pierced animals tooth or shell to wear as adornment have all been found. It is felt that the male of the species that gave the most desirable gift would more easily attract the mate they were interested in. Many gifts have been found in ancient graves, from the earliest burials. Gifts given, which were intended to follow the spirit of the deceased to the next lifetime.
Even the aforementioned gift items that were tucked into graves and temples, tombs and pyramids of deceased loved ones were not only meant to be used by the spirit of the deceased in the afterlife, but to be a connection, a memory of the loved ones they had left behind.
I did title this discussion, the 'magickal' history of gift giving. Many of the above reasons for gift giving could be considered magickal, and the magickal can also be found in many other ancient gifts once given. When a gift is given, not expressly for a celebratory gift or to mark a special occasion, but one that has a special property, such as love or protection, it is considered magickal.
One of the most famous of magickal gifts recorded in history, is the gifts the Magi brought to the baby Jesus, as he lay in the manger in Bethlehem. Yet the Frankincense, Myrrh, Gold and Silver brought were not birthday gifts, but gifts of protection. The incenses have long been known to bring protective energies to surround a place where they were burnt, and were often burnt in ancient temples, and gold and silver have a long history of protective energies.
In my research, gifts were often given from rulers of one clan or tribe to another for diplomatic reasons, giving elaborate gifts often was a show of ones status in the community, given as dowries when a girl was married off so that she would have a generous start to her new household and the gifts for this type of occasion would have been objects for the household.
I found though, one of the earliest reasons for giving a gift to a loved one, was as a tangible memory. In ancient times, it was a common occurrence for a loved one to move far away, go to war, leave for an extended pilgrimage or trip and sometimes they would not return for months, years or perhaps never return. In these ancient times, there were no devices to record one's picture, and only the very wealthy could afford a portrait to be painted either in a large wall hanging portrait or a tiny picture tucked into a locket. So the idea of having a gift, a tangible item with which one could touch and remember their loved one became an important sentimental memento. This may have been a special piece of jewelry, flowers which were carefully dried and kept, polished semi precious gemstones, a ribbon, a hair comb, something that could be worn on the body inconspicuously. Many times these lover's keepsakes were secret, especially if the couple were not married.
Another set of ancient gifts which continue to this day, are the bride's gifts that are given by the bride's mother, or maid of honor, or close loved ones for the bride to wear as she walks down the aisle in the wedding attire. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. These were not just gifts given to the bride but were meant to bestow good luck upon the bride and the wedding festivities and to bring good luck for the upcoming marriage.
There is a deep psychology to gift giving, that many may not consider in this modern day and age, when it seems so many have so much. That holidays cycle around the calendar and . . . sigh . . . another gift giving holiday looms. The psychology of gift giving is two fold. On one hand the giver gives a gift with the sentiment and emotions they feel in an effort to connect with the gift recipient.
Secondly, the recipient then receives the gift and the emotions and sentiments are ideally also received and the connection desired is made. The sentiments and emotions can be happiness in giving your 18 year old a new car, the joy of giving a sweetheart a special piece of jewelry or flowers, or thanks for a co-worker or boss for the pleasant profitable work experience from the past year.
If you love to give gifts, but find a recipient who does not reciprocate, it is up to you whether you choose to continue to give them gifts. I find, the magick and joy it gives me, far out weighs their lack of reciprocating. But if you allow their lack, to adversely affect you and make you unhappy, then simply do not give them a gift. Allowing social expectations to cause stress and negative feelings and emotions will cause you more unhappiness and that is not what the magick of gift giving is about.
Gift giving should make each person, the giver and the receiver happy. It should help make a connection and whether it is to give a memory, send love, draw protection, mark a special occasion, or to give thanks, whatever reason you choose to give, give from the heart. For those are the only gifts that matter.
The history of gift giving is ancient and covers so much more than I touched upon here, but delve into your heart. Think about the loved one (s) in your life, and give as it moves you. Try not to let the commercialization of the modern holidays make you jaded,and decide not to give a gift, as even a hand written card, expressing true sentiment can mean the world to someone.
Give of your heart and your love this holiday season, and you will receive it back three fold,
Live, Laugh and Always Love, Ms. Faith
© 2010-2016 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited.
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at Sunday, December 18, 2016