Light - The God Of Generosity
For longer than recorded history, native cultures living in the northern hemisphere have recognized that December brings with it ever increasing darkness. The days grow steadily colder and shorter and the age old drama in the war of light against darkness takes on a particularly poignant significance. In late December (this year December 22), the sun seems to hover in the sky in its lowest arc of the year. The winter solstice (meaning standing still sun) brings with it the shortest period of daylight during the year and historically has been the most hopeful and conversely the most dreaded time of the year.Cultures from across the globe watched and recorded the movement of the heavenly bodies to assure they would be prepared for and able to predict the time each year when darkness would appear to rule over light. Humans have struggled with the darkness during the winter months for millennia. Complex and often lengthy rituals were developed to ensure the triumph of light over darkness. To this day the Hopitu Shinumu, or The Peaceful Ones, a native culture from the pacific northwest, practice the Soyal ceremony. The ritual begins on the shortest day of the year and is a time for offering prayers and wishing prosperity and health in the coming year. During the Soyaluna ritual, the most powerful humans of the Hopi, the warriors, intreat the Sun God to turn around and return to the earth. This ritual represents, among other things, the start of another cycle of the wheel of the year and is one of the most important periods of purification. Prior to the Christian era the Roman solar cult had its major festival on the winter solstice, December 25th. This date of the invincible sun was carried into the iconography of Christianity as the birth of Jesus and the story of a brilliant star that lit the sky symbolizing life over death...light over darkness. Although science has given us a precise and clear way for understanding the decline of the sun during the winter months, light continues to play a significant sub-conscious role for us during December. We continue to mimic age old customs of building bonfires, burning candles and celebrating festivals of light by wrapping our homes in glittering reminders of the transition taking place during this season. The lights of December are an invocation of the coming warmth and brighter skies of Spring. This time of year is a reminder that just as light follows dark, great joy often follows and flows from deep sorrow. Satisfying some primal instinct within each of us, light, the Giver God, brings with it comfort and hope for life’s renewal.