• Overstrand Life

Wednesday 3rd November 2021 - Paganism and Autumn Wildlife

Life is full of new encounters and a continuous learning experience, or at least it should be. We watched a TV programme, Scotland’s Sacred Islands, last week which made me inquisitive to look into and learn as to what is; Paganism. To explain more; various people were interviewed by Ben Fogle about their island lifestyle and beliefs. Majority described themselves as Christians but one said they considered themselves a Rustic Pagan who believed in harmony, kindness and being one with surrounding nature. The word Pagan conjures up all sorts of thoughts and has been used in a derogatory sense. However, after looking into this a bit further, it appears as with Christianity with the Church of England, Catholicism, Orthodox and Methodists to name just a few, there are many different types of Pagans who like the various Christian entities are a variation on a common theme. One thing I noted whilst looking a little further into Paganism is; Christmas when the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated was, pre-Christianity, a Pagan festival when greenery such as holly, ivy and mistletoe were brought in to brighten homes, gifts were exchanged and it was a time for feasting. So, when the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated on 25th December, the Pagan traditions still continue alongside, although today there is less greenery and more tinsel and coloured decorations. It will certainly make me think when, a week before Christmas, I am cutting greenery for our decorations, that my actions go far back to before Christianity and are in fact Pagan. It’s certainly food for thought.


Typically autumn, it’s been damp underfoot, the fallen leaves are sticking together in cloying lumps and we leave tracks across the lawn when we walk on the dew laden grass. Alongside these we have enjoyed some wonderful blue skies and after the cool of early morning, the sun has warmed us. While I was out trimming a shrub and clearing leaves yesterday a buzzard dared to fly over. They are rarely tolerated by the local gull population and it wasn’t long before the gulls mobbed the buzzard, sending it back over the hill towards Northrepps. On the cliff tops, after a long flight from its summer habitat, a snow bunting has been making the most of the seeds on the ground. Totally un-phased, it pecked fairly close to where I was standing and stayed when Peter joined me. Migrating down from the wild areas of Scandinavia or Greenland, where humans are few and far between, it showed no fear of us. In our garden a quite tatty peacock butterfly rested yesterday on our drive which had been warmed by the sun, whilst a painted lady alighted on foliage. Given its state, I am not sure if the peacock will survive the period of winter hibernation and as for the painted lady, I thought it should have headed south weeks ago but then we have had a mild autumn. I hope it doesn’t leave it too late and as a result of the cooling temperatures and possible reduction of food sources in the countries it crosses, not survive the flight back to warmer climes.


The date and times for the Remembrance services have been published. Rather than include a photo in today’s blog, I am putting in the Church’s poster as additional publicity to the posters in the village. Before this, there will be a bonfire and fireworks on the 6th November on the car park. This made me think, do Halloween and Bonfire Night have their roots and traditions in Paganism. A quick search on the internet and yes they do. That’s another thing I’ve learnt, leaving me with the question; are there any traditions that don’t have Pagan origins?