Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Our ancestors live on in us. We know this through the science that traces our journey some 50,000 years from darkest Africa to the world of today. We know that our brain, our heart and our body are much the same as those of human beings 150,000 years ago. Can it then be that we have deep commonality in many of our experiences? How long have we as human beings understood the world around us? Are our myths, beliefs, traditions and rituals rooted in the past? Is this a common thread..the perennial philosophy?

The Christ season is upon us! The light of the world returns in what we now call the Solstice. Understanding the return of light during this Advent season today is a far cry from our ancestors who feared the sun would not return and death would be imminent.

The Sun, with its life-giving force, was personified from the earliest times as the unseen creator, the light of the world, the savior of humankind. There is a long and rich her/history of the relationship between the Sun and December 21-25;, a time when the actual Solstice can be determined as the shortest daylight hours in the year. Only then can the light, the life-giving force return. Imagine then the fear as primitive man’s understanding only knew that their source of life, the Sun, was going away. Would it return?

Through hieroglyphics, we now know about a solar messiah and the myths evolving from the movement of the sun across the sky. One of the most ancient enduring Egyptian gods, Horus, became incredibly important as his role evolved over time. He wore a solar disk to show his representation of the creator -the Sun God. According to the myth rooted in oral tradition Horus, born around 3000 BCE on December 25, of the virgin, Isis, possessed human traits and emotions.(anthropomorphism). The attributes of Horus permeated many cultures though under different names: Attis of Phrygia, born of the virgin Nanan.* Krishua of India, born of the virgin Devaki,* Dionysus of Greece also known as Bacchus of Rome, born of a virgin* Mithra of Persia, born of a virgin are a few of the many gods known to humankind as embodiment of the sacred.

Oral traditions, stories told around the campfires, embody both the myths and experiences of a people attuned to the movement of the sun, the moon, and the planets: always present in the skies, always a part of the governing of who they are, and to whom they give honor. Ancients built sacred observatories such as Stonehenge (England) and Newgrange (Ireland). Astronomical and mathematical sites throughout the world give credence to man’s search to control the observable universe: Gobekdi Tepe in Syria/Turkey, Puna Punka of Bolivia, Macchu Picchu in Peru continue to amaze with their insights into a people searching for their god(s), honoring the unknown, and expecting protection from the uncontrollable elements of daily life.

Nearly all ancient and advanced nations such as Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, and England marked the return of the Sun at the Winter solstice with festivals. Bright bonfires, revelry, gay decorations, gift exchange, feasting, singing and dancing. Is it any wonder that we too celebrate the return of the Sun/Son on this day with such a wonderful heritage of many traditions.

For some 2000 years many people, in many lands, affirm Jesus, the Christ, born of the Virgin Mary at the Winter Solstice. The Gospel of Luke relates the Infancy Narratives with elements of these ancient stories. And we rejoice with peoples of other beliefs as they too celebrate during this solstice season: Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights), Kwanzaa (Swahili for first fruits) an African inspired celebration. Major Islamic celebrations are lunar based. Islam recognizes Jesus as Prophet and can choose to celebrate this season with the tradition of the cultures thatvary from country to country (in my childhood home we celebrated Christmas on December 25 and also the feast of the Magi on January 6, Epiphany, honoring our immigrant Slavic traditions)

So look to the light and dance with the Sun/Son! Bless the warmth that we receive from these wonders in our life and know that we are here in this NOW time with all its chaos, and conflicts because an ancient people, striving to understand who we are ,nurtured the search through all these generations.

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