Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Sun, the Source and Force of All Life

With the holiday season and the long, dark nights of winter upon us, we find ourselves turning to cultural traditions while we await the return of the sun’s light. The sun has long been thought of as the source and force of all life. We need it to survive and thrive.

Nearly all cultures have celebrated the sun in one form or another. In fact, according to Caroline Casey, in her book Making the Gods Work for You, the Buddha statues, with outstretched and open hand, along with the rock carvings in the Sahara of an open hand, both represent the rising sun, with the fingers as the sun’s rays of light.

One of the most well-known celebrations is the Winter Solstice, which marks the longest night of the year. This is the start of winter, and after this night the sun begins its return to longer days as the season moves toward spring.

Casey tells us that in the days before the solstice, the point of sunrise moves south on the eastern horizon. The word solstice breaks down into sol, which means “sun”, and stice, which means “stands still,” telling us that on the Winter Solstice the sun appears to stand still at its rising point, before it moves north again along the eastern horizon.

In Casey’s chapter on the sun, she also tells us that many cultures have linked the winter solstice to the birthdays of important figures, such as King Arthur, Jesus, and others that are associated with the symbolic return of light to the world.

These cultural traditions and beliefs show us that the Winter Solstice celebration is much like a prayer for the sunlight to return, and to bring hope with it for new possibilities. These celebrations timed with the season help us to throw off our old restraints so that we may begin anew, revitalized by the sunlight.

This winter we celebrate the season and our hopeful expectation of the sun’s return with lights decorating our homes and trees, with the lighting of the menorah, and the cherished time we spend with friends and family. Sunlight is truly fundamental to our lives!

For the holidays our office will be closed from Monday, December 23, 2013 through Thursday, January 1, 2014. The office will be open for the new year starting on Friday, January 2, 2014.

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