The festive underbelly

Part of me finds christmas quite abhorrent because meat gluttony peaks at this time of year and there’s really no escaping it. Everywhere I look –  in my newsfeed, in commercials and many of the websites I use to do my ordinary shopping – there are animals that look like they have been victims of a tragic house-fire, presented to me so up-front and unavoidably that I can’t prepare myself or avoid them…with labels suggesting they are my ideal festive food, only the knife carving into them suggests something far more sinister going on under my very nose.

These same animals are presented with sprigs of holly and smiling faces gathered sleepily around them…I suggest the word “asleep” is appropriate because it’s as though nobody sees what this thing on their table once was or, really, still is. To them, its just “meat” or “food”, the centrepiece to an abundant spread, not the carcass of a living being that so recently had soft eyes and the very same clues to their obvious sentience as our cats and dogs…now killed for their temporary enjoyment, forgotten by the time the dishwasher is loaded, or their tattered flesh scraped into the bin by people who have overindulged so much they hardly needed the “essential sustenance” they claim meat is to them by the time they got to it. This dependence on meat, of course, is yet another fiction on which they build their stories because its been so well demonstrated by science and example that we simply don’t need it, this meat-pivot so many people have put at the very centre of their lives and culture. It seems to be the one thing most people insist upon, dance around, merrily upholding it as truth and requirement and yet this is all a lavish fiction upon which so many other lies have been built; all of which are ripe to be dismantled but very few people dare. So around and around they go, beguiled by all the traditions made of it; believing it wouldn’t be christmas without it…but oh yes it would, just a different one, perhaps a lighter one…

So they collectively uphold and guard this tent pole to their culture, constructed from long-upheld traditions, family traditions, things they are scared of letting go of, like comforters retained from childhood…yes, as though their whole ceiling of reality would fall down on them if they stopped being on the merry-go-round dance around it that tells them they must work in order to earn in order to buy meat in order to make them strong and to be like all the other people and then to gorge together to forget the life where they inevitably go back to work to buy the meat and so on…all the time, wondering at the inevitability of dire health, cancers, diabetes. Meanwhile, while they distract themselves with all this, the planet that they live upon is being slipped out from under their feet since this is what confronts us if we continue to consume the flesh of other creatures; we will have no planet to spend our lavish or any other kind of Christmas on in less than a generation. Of course, the vast money that is invested in meat makes sure we don’ t hear this all too often…

So, of course, this merry pole-dance has a whole other layer of malevolence which is the circle of money passing from one hand to another though, strangely, those who control the meat-market seem to get to keep most of it and Mother Earth, having been dealt an unfair hand on our collective watch, loses out most of the time. Meanwhile everything we pretend christmas is about – love, compassion, babies, mothers, care of the weak, the gift of life, celebrating the light – is made a mockery by this culture ingrained in blood. So yes, a big part of me recoils at the bearly hidden malevolence of christmas as it really gets going into the meat-gluttony phase, so I can’t seem to walk past a village shop for seeing another window poster depicting a burnt, plucked cadaver; or a cafe doorway without the stench of roasting flesh; a supermarket without all the agressively thrusting campaigns promoting mindless over-undulgence of guess-what; a farm without a cartoon turkey inviting me to come and choose my own; a christmas market without a whole pig spit roasted for all to see…and the ever-present reminder, in the non-reaction to all of this from most passers-by, that they are fast, fast asleep and their hearts apparently made of stone. It could make me really sad, depressed even, if I let it, so I draw myself deeper inwards, to my self-created world around a gentler hearth and grit my teeth until it’s all over again…and all those long-forgotten, hardly appreciated bones scraped into the neighbourhood refuse like the left-overs of a masacre. So, onwards we all go for another year, with me praying that by next year there will be more enlightenment; not just the pretence of it laid on the top, like so much plastic tinsel and a glitter star hung on a cut-down tree yet with no beating heart at its core.


My christmas gift to you is this video – from the bottom of my heart, I ask you to make time to sit and hear this incredible man through; it might be the most impactful, inspirational speech you ever get to hear (many people think so). Over to my hero, Philip Wollen:


About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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