CHRISTMAS AND THE CULTURE OF “WHITENESS” (Part 1)

“The dark shall soon flee from the dells of the earth

So she a wonderful word to us speaks

The day shall again, new made rise from a rosy sky

Saint Lucy, Saint Lucy”

  • The Lucia Song: verse 3 (English Translation)

 

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PHOTO COURTESY OF EURWEB.COM

DREAMING OF A WHITENESS CHRISTMAS

Something that has gained increasing traction in not only academia, but also in popular culture, is the idea that people of European descent, i.e. “White people”, have no “real” culture of their own.  This idea has largely come out of “Whiteness Studies”, which is an offshoot of Neo-Marxist Critical Theory and has entrenched itself into the worldview of an increasing number of people across the Western world.  If you ask any adherent to this philosophy what “White culture” is, they might respond with words like “patriarchy”, “capitalism”, “oppression”, “privilege”, “cultural appropriation”, “racism”, “exploitation”, etc.  They might even say that White people don’t really have a culture of their own outside of Big Macs and Hollywood movies.

There is perhaps no better, more consolidated example to support this view than the modern Christmas or “Holiday” Season.  Christmas and the Holiday Season, have become synonymous with capitalism, commercialism, consumerism, materialism, and of course, racism.  The myth of the fat old white man going around the world spreading “cheer” by distributing all the latest consumer products the “white” global consumerist market has to offer- this is what Christmas or “The Holidays” are all about in modern consumer society.

Plus, add to that the annual resurgence of all the various debates around whether we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” or what skin color Santa and Jesus should have.  One could even argue that the “origins” of Christmas, i.e. the Jesus Nativity story, is a sort of white cultural appropriation as it is a story involving Middle Eastern people in Middle Eastern lands, that is claimed by many white folk as their own.

In the following series, what I am going to lay out here is the case that what has become known as the oppressive “non-culture” of Whiteness, particularly as exemplified by the modern Holiday mythos, is in fact, something that was slowly imposed on “White people”, who in fact DO have a rich cultural tradition that still lives on DESPITE multiple attempts to twist, subvert and eradicate it over the centuries.  I also plan to show how this rich culture, which has been shared with the world in a variety of forms, is also personified by the stories and traditions surrounding what has become known as “Christmas”, and this culture lives on in us in a deep archetypal and spiritual way, and is available to us here and now.

JOLLY OLD SAINT ODIN

I have written in the past about the Solar myth that forms the spiritual significance of this time of year and the deeper mysteries and parallels of Christianity and the earlier Proto-Indo-European religions.  However, what of the Santa myth that rivals Jesus in cultural significance during this time of year?  What of this seeming archetype of modern “White” patriarchal consumerist globalization?

When it comes to the origins of the figure known as “Santa Claus”, a lot of people immediately gravitate toward the story of St. Nicholas of Myra.  A somewhat legendary figure, St. Nicholas was reputed to have a “legendary habit” of secret gift-giving.  Nicholas was a said to be a Greek Christian in the Byzantine Empire and during lived in the 4th Century A.D.- three to four centuries before the Muslim conquest of the region.  However, some have argued that St. Nicholas was in fact born of wealthy ethnic Black Anatolian “Muurs.

But the origins of what became Santa Claus are in truth much older than that, and originated in a much colder place.  In many parts of pre-Christian Northern and Central Europe, the Winter Solstice was known as the time when Odin or Wotan- the white-bearded ruler of Asgard, led his hunting party across the sky.  Known as “The Wild Hunt”, Odin rode his eight-legged (eight reindeer) steed named Sleipnir, which would leap great distances across the heavens.  During this time, children would leave their boots by the chimney filled with carrots and hay to feed Sleipnir.  In return for their charity, “Odin” would leave the children gifts by their boots.
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This night of Odin’s “Wild Hunt” has a counterpart in what is known as Lussinatta, or “The Lussi Night” in Sweden.  This is now celebrated as St. Lucy’s Day and occurs on the 13th of December every year.  However, before the Gregorian Calendar shift, it would have fallen on December 21st– the night of the Winter Solstice.  Some legends suggest that a supernatural female entity was said to ride through the air with her fearsome followers called “Lussiferda” and that it was particularly dangerous to be out on this night.  Misbehaved children had to take special care as Lussi could come down the chimney and take them away, and if certain tasks needed to prepare for Yule were not completed, Lussi would punish the household.

The contrast between Odin who left gifts and Lussi who brought punishment has echoes of the later pair of St. Nicholas/Santa Claus and the Krampus.  Interestingly, some scholars link Krampus, as a member of the fearsome entourage of the ancient Germanic goddess Frau Perchta, who some connect with the ancient Norse goddess, Freya– one of the primary Vanir or old nature gods who some say ruled before the Aesir.

The inclusion of both the fearsome and the festive shows a deep understanding of the dualism inherent in nature that these ancient European peoples possessed- especially during this most perilous time of year.  On the one hand, we have the often harsh and brutal forces of nature during the cold winter months.  And on the other, we have the festive joy that comes from the promise of the return of the Sun.

But if we go even deeper and look at etymology and linguistics, we add another layer of sophistication.  Swedish stems from the Indo-European family of languages, if we sound out the name of Lussi and in particular, her Lussiferda, the name “Lucifer” might perhaps come to mind.  Lucifer, of course, stems from “lux ferre”, which in another Indo-European language, and that is Latin, literally means “light bringing”.  We perhaps see that these ancient Northern Europeans were pointing at how it was the oft-times terrifying darkness that carried the Light that brought life to the world.  This is true not only within Nature, but within the trials and tribulations of our own lives and our own being- the night is darkest before the dawn.  It is the darkness that brings the Light.

We see this deep understanding mirrored in in the Scandinavian Festival of St. Lucy where traditionally a procession is led by a beautiful young lady adorned with a crown or wreath of candles upon her head (although now this is being changed to be morepolitically correct”), bringing the promise of life-giving Light into the darkest night.

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PHOTO CREDIT CATHOLICCOMPANY.COM

The cold and brutal Northern European winter was a time that had the potential to bring starvation and death (and often did).  But with after the passing of the Solstice, the people knew that the days were slowly beginning to grow longer, and the life-giving Sun was growing stronger.

The Norse-Germanic festival of Yule was celebrated from right around the time of the Winter Solstice all the way through the second week in January.  This festival of feasting, drinking and sacrifice was a hallowed tradition among pre-Christian Northern European peoples to whom winter had a special significance that was not held among most others.  Yule was the tradition of a people who were close to the land and intimately tied into the cycles and processes of Nature.

The industrious elves/dwarves, the holly, the mistletoe, and the evergreens that have all become symbols of “Christmas” are all hallmarks of the culture and lore of Northern Europe.  The white of the pure, cleansing snow; the green of the evergreen tree- symbol of the magic of regenerative life; the red of the blood of the sacrifice and the folk; and the gold of the eternal undying Sun; these are the colors that are synonymous with “The Holidays” and they are inseparable from the unique folk consciousness and soul of the Northern European peoples.

These ancient “white” people were a very distinct culture with rich customs and traditions.  However, they would eventually find their culture usurped and altered at the point of a sword by invaders from the south and the east, as well as traitors within their own tribe.  Of course, what I am referring to is the spread of Christianity in Europe.

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Christianity moved in slowly at first, with the rather tolerant Northern European pagans accepting and in some cases even adopting the worship of this new “god”, seeing similarities between their deities of similar attributes.  This was commonplace during the old phase of the Roman Empire, where Celtic gods and Roman gods were often mixed and matched.  However, Rome began to use its wealth and influence to spread its influence, bribing local rulers and nobility, who in turn would use their military resources to impose the new religion on their people as well as neighboring tribes.

Another reason this new empire was so successful was that it also became adept at using more subtle tactics, such as co-opting the patron deities of various European peoples and turning them into Christian “saints”.  These figures would be attributed to various good deeds or miracles that made them similar to the deity the church wished to replace.  They would then proclaim the pagan festivals and holy days that used to belong to the old deity as now being a celebration and veneration of that saint.  This is more than likely what happened with figures like Saint Nicholas and Saint Lucy in Northern Europe.

By the end of the 14th century, the entirety of Europe had been converted to Christianity, and even after the split between the Eastern and Western church in 1054 AD, Rome would still control Europe and its people from the British Isles, to Scandinavia, all the way into Hungary and parts of Romania.  Through the church, Rome controlled the people not only through political means, but through the indoctrination of the people into a dogmatic belief system, it by proxy controlled their minds.

The conflict of the incoming Semitic Saturnian religion with that of the Indo-European Solar religion, has in many respects seemed to create a sort of neurosis in the European collective consciousness.  This is could be in part because this was not really an organic spirituality of the people based on their unique relationship to Nature and Spirit, but rather something that was foisted upon them, largely against their will.  This could also be because the totality of what was happening and is continuing to happen with these archetypal forces has not been fully understood and integrated.

stonehengewinterPHOTO COURTESY CRYSTALINKS.COM

ĒOSTRE: THE RETURN OF THE GODDESS

“Here, in this moment of balance, I honor and recognize the sacred mystery of existence. I am a part of a cosmic dance. A holy and blessed music fills the world. The light and the darkness shift from this moment onward. As it is on the land, so it is in my being. I follow the movement of the Mother, and She works a transformation in me. Be it new beginnings or resolution, the Equinox is a point of transition; of change. I embrace the change.”

– Teo Bishop: “The Solitary Druid Fellowship’s Equinox Devotional”
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For the people of the ancient world, especially those living in Northern Europe, the changing of the seasons was of particularly great significance. The lengthening of the days that began after the winter solstice gave the anticipation of the beginning of the end of what were at times long and perilous winters- which for some were a time of hunger and death. This is why the time when the frost melted, the trees began to bud, and the flowers began to bloom was a time of great festivity and jubilation. According to the Roman Catholic monk, Bede, it was during this time that the Germanic tribes of Europe (the Anglo-Saxons in particular) had great feasts and celebrations during Ēosturmōnaþ (April) in honor of the goddess Ēostre, also known as Ostara.

Ēostre derives from the Proto-Indo-European austrōn meaning “dawn”. This has led many scholars to conclude that Ēostre was the goddess of the dawn- a solar goddess. As I talked about at length in my articles, “Yule: Birth of the Sun God(dess)”, and “The Abrahamic Question”, much of the Indo-European spiritual traditions seemed to have been a holdover from much further in antiquity than the peoples of the Mediterranean and the Middle East, who lived around the same time. This includes the personification of the solar deity as a female. I encourage folks to read the article on Yule in particular as I get into that in some detail.

The goddess Ēostre was also understood to be a fertility goddess and is associated in particular with the season of spring, when new life seems to be “reborn” or “resurrected” out of the seeming death of winter. When the spring comes, it proves that this “death” was merely an illusion, and that life can never truly die. The seasons themselves follow the Sun and if we were to look at the cycle of the year as that of a single day, we would most certainly place spring in conjunction with the time of sunrise- the dawn after the long, cold night of winter. Hence it makes sense for the goddess of the spring to also be the goddess of the dawn.

Ēostre was yet another aspect or “personality” of the complex Goddess archetype that envelops the natural world. The people of these times lived very close to the natural world and were quite attuned to its patterns and rhythms and revered them. They had a certain deep reverence for life that seems to be lacking in much of modern culture. They revered not only archetypal gods and mythic patterns, but also animals and animal spirits. One animal particular revered and symbolic for this time was of course, the rabbit. The ancients no doubt saw this animal as a symbol of this season due to its incredible fertility. Likewise we also have the egg as a great symbol of new life, which is what Ēostre is all about.
In his 1835 book, “Deutsche Mythologie”, German author Jacob Grimm spoke of this particularly joyous time:

We Germans to this day call April ostermonat, and ôstarmânoth is found as early as Eginhart. The great Christian festival, which usually falls in April or the end of March, bears in the oldest of OHG remains the name ôstarâ … it is mostly found in the plural, because two days … were kept at Easter. This Ostarâ, like the [Anglo-Saxon] Eástre, must in heathen religion have denoted a higher being, whose worship was so firmly rooted, that the Christian teachers tolerated the name, and applied it to one of their own grandest anniversaries.

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It is no secret that Germanic paganism and the later Germanic mystical tradition played a huge role in the shaping of Christianity in Europe and later America. This is one reason it could be argued that Christianity as many know it is just as rooted in Northern Europe as it is in Rome or even the Middle East. This idea of German mystical influence is also something I delve into in the third installment of my “Origins of World War II: The German Question” series.

Grimm then goes on to describe further correlations between the goddess cult and the later Christian adaptation:

Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy … Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing … here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great Christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess.

However, the Goddess and her mythos is far-reaching and the story of her aspect as the bearer of new life and fertility is no exception. One of the great myths retold throughout the ancient world revolved around the descent of the fertility goddess into the Underworld and her triumphant return, bringing rejuvenated life to the world.

The Goddess has had many names. In ancient Mesopotamia she was known as Ishtar, daughter of the Moon god, San (the Moon is often associated with the Goddess and the Divine Feminine). In this version of the story, Ishtar not only desires to enter the land of the dead, but is more than a little insistent upon doing so as the ancient myth shows as she storms the gates of the Underworld:

O keeper! Open thy gate! Open thy gate! I say, that I may enter! If thou openest not thy gate, I will assault the door; I will break down the gate; I will attack the entrance; I will split open the portals.”

However, once Ishtar enters the Underworld, the Mistress of Hades inflicts all manner of suffering upon her and imprisons her in the Underworld. As Ishtar was the goddess of fertility, her absence prevented the crops from growing and life from maturing so that it was able to reproduce itself. When the gods saw that Ishtar’s absence was having such a disorganizing effect on the balance of Nature, they sent a messenger to the Underworld to demand her release.

In ancient Greece we have a similar story of the young goddess, Persephone. Persephone was the goddess of new life and new growth, who caused flowers to bloom wherever she went. She was beautiful, and was coveted by Hades, lord of the Underworld. Hades eventually made up his mind that he would have Persephone and came to the surface world in his dark chariot, kidnapped her, and made her his bride. However, like Ishtar, her absence caused the green of Earth to slowly wither and die. The gods demanded that Hades release her. Hades eventually agreed to do so, under the condition that for half of the year, she would remain with him, and the other half, she would live on the surface and continue her job of creating new life. This was understood to be the origin of the seasons.

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The time of the spring equinox; the time of new life; correlates with the modern Christian holiday of Easter by no coincidence. The story of Christ Jesus was modeled after these ancient myths and some would say that his purpose as a physical being was to physically imprint these archetypes and initiations into the brutally dense material existence that was the Kali Yuga. We may recall his descent into the Underworld, or “Hell” as mirroring that of Ishtar or Persephone. However, he was not captured, but rather went down to release humanity from the strengthening vice of Satan/Saturn- the force or pull of matter into increasing density- so that man would be able to re-ascend into finer, more etheric or “spiritual” states of existence.

The Goddess, while given somewhat of a supporting role in the canonical texts of the Bible, nevertheless plays arguably the most important central role in the crucifixion/resurrection story, with Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene being present at the cross as Christ Jesus “gave up the ghost”, and Mary Magdalene being the first to see Jesus after being resurrected and transformed into his Light body. In fact, certain sects of Gnostic Christianity saw Mary Magdalene as the human incarnation of the fallen wisdom goddess Sophia, who was reunited with the human incarnation of her lover, the Christos.

There are many, many myths about the Goddess that can be read and enjoyed. However, the true purpose of a myth is not to simply entertain, but rather its purpose is to inspire us to some form of action. It is to create an urge to delve deeper into the mysteries of reality and our own lives. It is to encourage us to explore the world and fine tune our understanding and relationship to the Laws of Nature and Creation.

During these times when so many of us are confined to urban areas, it is more important than ever for us to find ways to attune ourselves to and align ourselves with nature in whatever way we can. This will enable us to develop not only a better understanding of these patterns and how they work in the exterior world, but also how they operate in the interior world of our own being.800px-British_Museum_Queen_of_the_Night

As I have spoken of before, when I was first called to really pursuing spirituality and a spiritual path on my own, it was through the practice of pagan shamanism (which I still practice to this day, albeit sporadically at times). I have found through my experience that shamanic work, particularly the practice of journeying into the archetypal realms, the subconscious and the unconscious (both collective and individual), is ruled by the Goddess.
I have seen the Goddess and experienced Her in a myriad of forms, from the old crone; to the nature goddess; to the being I know as the White Goddess- who is the warrior wisdom goddess known as Athena, complete with a snowy owl perched on her shoulder. I have even had a particularly powerful experience with Ishtar and the owl-like beings pictured alongside her. Interestingly enough, it was after the experience that I found this photograph and saw the beings I had seen in the vision looking nearly identical to what I had experienced.

So as we move into spring and the new life blooms, I urge folks to get out into nature and experience it. The great alchemist and healer Paracelsus wrote:

Nature is the Universal Teacher… It was the Book of Nature, written by the finger of God, which I studied… Nature is the universal teacher.  Whatever we cannot learn from the external appearance of nature, we can learn from her spirit. Both are one.  Everything is taught by Nature to her disciple if he asks for information in the appropriate manner.”

I am not saying to completely disregard whatever texts inspire you and hold value to your life, but know that there is more to spiritual life than words on a page. Both the Gnostic and the Shaman hold the direct experience of the spiritual world as the most sacrosanct- and it is these two avenues above all else that have personally influenced my journey. In any event. I will always encourage folks to seek and explore as many avenues of direct spiritual experience as they can handle (and then a little more).  And of course, I encourage you to get to know your Goddess in all of her myriad forms and in as many ways as you can. She is an amazing, incredible and complex being who is full of wisdom- and someone who I should really listen to more often 😉

Those who have ears to hear should hear.  Namaste and God Bless.

YULE: BIRTH OF THE SUN GOD(DESS)

“I saw the Sun and it seemed to me I was seeing a glorious goddess; To Her I bowed for one last time in this world of Time.”

Sólarljód – the Song of the Sun st. 41

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Over the years I have found myself time and again delving into the ancient Celtic holy days as a part of an intrinsic desire to further connect with my Scots-Gaelic (and probably Gallic) roots, which I see as part of my personal spiritual practice. Yet I am also a large part English, which is a component I had never really honored in the past. This is no doubt due to some anti-English sentiments I have felt because of the horrifically oppressive and even genocidal treatment of my Scottish and Irish folk at the hands of the English, a disdain for the seemingly degenerate monarchy that arose post-Norman conquest, and a general contempt for the British Empire. Interestingly I had ancestors that fought for the Colonists as well as an ancestor who was a major British general during the American Revolution. Personally, I feel that these ancestral “brothers’ wars” have an effect on us at a genetic and soul level, creating a source of internal division and conflict to be worked through.

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Recently though, my view of my “Englishness” has changed as I began to look further back in history at the Germanic tribes known as the Anglo-Saxons that settled the British Isles in the early part of the last millennium with a sense of wonderment and intrigue. The Celtic and Germanic (as well as Nordic) peoples can essentially be seen as different branches of what are known as “Indo-Aryan” or “Indo-European” peoples, and one can pretty easily discern from looking at me with my fair skin, long facial structure, and large blue eyes that I am quite “Teutonic” (Germanic/Indo-Aryan). These Germanic peoples had similar myths and festivals as their Celtic cousins. One of these festivals was what was known as “Yuletide”- a festival of drinking and merriment as well as connecting to the supernatural. This festival would have lasted from the Winter Solstice into the second week of January. The eighth century scholar, Bede, speaks of this as an important time for the Anglo-Saxons:

They began the year with December 25, the day we now celebrate as Christmas; and the very night to which we attach special sanctity they designated by the heathen mothers’ night — a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies they performed while watching this night through.

It should be noted that December 25th during that time was in accordance with the Julian calendar. In the Gregorian calendar system that is used today, this date correlates with December 20th- right around the time of the Winter Solstice. This Saxon “New Year” or what they referred to as “Modranect” or Mothers’ Night, was a celebration that was connected to the rebirth of the Mother Earth, as the Solstice brought about progressively longer days. The rituals and ceremonies conducted would have been linked to fertility and a celebration of the coming new life of spring. In fact, the traditional decoration of holly and ivy were used as representations of masculine potency and feminine protective nurturing. Freyr and his sister, Freyja, the Saxon god and goddess of fertility, would have been honored at this time.

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But there was of course, another major figure that would have been subject of praise and reverence during this time of the Solstice- that of course would be the goddess Sól herself. Referred to in Old High Germanic language as “Sunna”, this was of course the goddess of the Sun. The ancient peoples were well attuned to the vital role the Sun played in the creation and nurturing of life in the Earth, and no place would this have been more understood or celebrated than the cold lands of Northern Europe. The time of the Winter Solstice was seen as the miraculous birth or re-birth of the Sun after seemingly being taken by the increasing darkness and death that appears leading into the winter months. The climax took place on the day of the Solstice itself, which was and is the “longest night”.

The Poetic Edda (a sacred Norse-Germanic prose) known as the “Vafthrudnismál” describes the apparent death and rebirth of the Sun at the Solstice in stanza 47:

A daughter is birthed by Elf-Splendor (the Sun goddess) after she is swallowed by the wolf. She (the New Sun) shall ride as the gods are dying the old paths of her mother.

In the Norse-Germanic mythology, the Sun was a goddess who drove a golden chariot across the sky (similar to Apollo or Helios in Greek mythology) while being pursued by the wolf of darkness. The wolf would eventually devour the Sun on the day of the Solstice, only for the Sun to be miraculously reborn, hence starting the cycle anew. This “death and rebirth” of the Immortal Sun was also something that was understood to happen not only on the yearly cycle, but was also reflected in larger cycles of time, as this was part of the events that take place at Ragnarok- the end of the Age.

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In her article, “The Old Norse Yule Celebration – Myth and Ritual”, author Maria Kvilhaug describes some of the symbolism behind this:

In Norse mythology, the wolf is a creature of Hel and the Underworld, representing death as well as related issues such as desire, life-force, survival instincts, hunger and greed. Not an evil creature but a formidable one and often an opponent, unless you learn to steer it like the giantesses Hyrokkin (“Fire Spinner”), Hyndla (“She-Wolf”) and the god Odin (“The Spirit”) appear to do. In the case of the Sun, we may safely assume that the wolf who eats her represents death, and death is in Norse myths not a fixed state but a transition phase associated with dark and coldness – and winter.

Kvilhaug explains that Sól herself was understood by the Germanic peoples to be an essential element of the Cosmos:

There are a few fragmented myths and texts about her which show that she was essential to the order of cosmos, to time and to the creation of life on Earth: She came from the southern realms of heat (same as the norns and the valkyriur) threw her right hand around the “steeds of heaven” (the planets?), claimed ownership to her “halls” (the planets?) and shone her rays upon the rocks of the “hall” called Earth, which then began to sprout forth green growth.

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This notion of the Sun as a goddess is somewhat of a deviation than what many who are familiar with mythology and esoteric lore are familiar with. Typically we see the Sun most commonly represented and understood as a masculine principality, seeding the Earth with the Light that is the progenitor of life- commonly understood masculine traits and functions. From Horus, to Apollo, to Jesus, to Quetzalcoatl, the solar deities we are familiar with are all male. So how do we explain this apparent deviation?

Culturally, women were revered in Celto-Germanic society and they lived in a far more egalitarian fashion with men than did the peoples of the Mediterranean and Middle East, where much of the institutionalized “patriarchy” so maligned by feminists arose. In fact, women themselves had property rights as well as the ability to divorce her husband, which was something that was later done away with under Roman-Semitic Christianity. This reverence of the goddess figure may reflect this cultural difference between the peoples of the North and the peoples of the more Southerly lands. But I think we can go a little deeper with this as well.

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It should be understood that all beings possess both masculine and feminine traits. In the physical world, this is most obviously characterized by hormonal structures like testosterone and estrogen. While both men and women carry both of these, it is testosterone that will typically be more dominant in men, making them more “manly” than women. Obviously this is a gross over-simplification but I think you get the point. This concept is articulated in the Principle of Gender, found Hermetic text known as “The Kybalion”:

Gender is everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes

The Sun has previously stated masculine quality of “seeding” life, but it also has the feminine quality of nurturing the seed of life as well. It could also assumed that as we move further away from physical matter and towards pure spirit, things like gender become less fixed, meaning that an entity existing in a higher and lighter vibrational state can more readily shift at will from masculine predominance to feminine predominance and vice versa.

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Another interesting difference from this story and other “Sun Birth” stories, is that here we see a female Sun giving birth to another female Sun, without any sort of apparent “seeding” process. At first glance, this appears to contrast the Nativity story of the Virgin Mary giving birth to Christ Jesus, who was conceived by the seed of the Father God. Something that is often overlooked with that story though, is that it is the Holy Spirit, and not God “The Father” who technically seeds Mary with Jesus. Gnostic and other esoteric traditions have long understood the Holy Spirit to in fact be female in nature. The Nativity is a story describing how the Christ Light- the Light of the Eternal Sun- miraculously emerges out of the Womb of the Great Mother, which is the Void of Darkness from which the Light of Creation emerges. The Sun in the sky is the supreme physical manifestation of that Light.

Many scholars of Norse-Germanic mythology point to Sól as being a prominent deity from an older, “Proto-Indo-European” culture due to linguistic connections from Sanskrit, Gaulish, and Slavic peoples among others. Recent archaeology has pointed to a period of time in the ancient past where the primary deities were female. This has been noted in Egypt, the Near East and India. Some speculate this was a time that was right around the “Flood” event. It is later that we find a switch to the rise of male deities being the most prominent. As I have speculated in previous articles, (which is correlated by the work of various scholars and stories like the creation saga of the Bock Family) much of the mythology and archaic wisdom from the Celto-Germanic peoples may very well have been a holdover from a much older system of knowledge than that of the Roman and Semitic systems that eventually sought to absorb or obliterate them.

It perhaps that the understanding of Sól comes from a time when the idea of self-regeneration or even asexual reproduction like some plants may have been something that was experienced by humans. This may have been a time before “male” and “female” as we understand them to be, existed in humans. Perhaps it would have been a time when humans could create with the power of light and sound alone, without need for physical procreation, as we have come to know it. If so, that would be a most archaic form of knowledge that would harken back to the Satya Yuga or “Spiritual Age”, before the full descent into physical matter and flesh. Of course this too is somewhat speculation, but I find the notion intriguing nonetheless.

We could also be dealing with a different incarnation of the Sun altogether. I have had spiritual teachers who have stated that they understood the previous incarnation of the Sun or “Christ”, to be Isis- one of the many faces of the Goddess. Likewise, Mayan prophecy states that we are living under the “Fifth Sun”. It is perhaps that each incarnation of the Sun takes either a feminine or masculine form. All evidence points to us currently being under a masculine incarnation with the prominence of male solar figures like Christ Jesus. The Solar Goddess worshiped by the ancient Germanic peoples again, may have been a holdover from the previous age.

In any case, by the time of the Norse-Germanic myths that most are familiar with from Viking lore, Sól appears to have been separated into multiple different goddesses, most notably Freyja and Idunn– who was seen as a life-giving golden goddess:

There dwells in the valleys a knowledge hungry goddess The Seed of Yggdrasill (the Universe) sinking down the Ash (the Universe) of the lineage of Elves her name is Idunn (Stream Returns to Source) (She is) the oldest child of the Inner Ruler´s (and she is) the youngest child

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This notion of “Elfin lineage” mirrors the story of Sól in the Vafthrudnismál which states that she is “birthed by Elf-Splendor” (anyone else thinking Christmas Elves?). Maria Kvilhaug explains:

Apart from being the “seed” of the universe and one that returns (cyclically?) to the point of origin, It is the elfin lineage that gives Idunn´s “secret identity” away – if not as the Sun herself so at least as one of the goddesses who inherited the essential attributes of the older Sun goddess… elves representing souls may have been important during the time that counted down to the Winter Solstice as well as during Yule. Then we should bear in mind that the Sun goddess was not only called Sól (Sun) but also Alfrödull – which translates as “Elf Shine, “Elf Splendor” or “Elf Wheel”. Thus she is the wheel or shine or splendor of the elves, which ultimately represented souls.

An association to the Sami Sun goddess is appropriate here, since the Sami goddess Beaivi Nieida, the “Sun Maiden”, was considered the source of all souls. The souls came to Earth as rays from the Sun Maiden, and were received by the Earth goddess Matahrakka, whose three daughters distributed and protected the souls when entering the wombs of female individuals.

This notion of the “Sun Maiden” as the source of all souls, which come to Earth as rays of the Sun is mirrored in Toltec mythology as is articulated by Toltec Shaman Don Miguel Ruiz:

Light is a living being. There are billions of different vibrations of light. Light carries all the information for any kind of life on Planet Earth. Mother Earth transforms the information in the light from the Father Sun to create life. The DNA in each of our cells is a ray from the Sun condensed into matter by Mother Earth.

The information carried by the light is known as the silent knowledge. The silent knowledge is stored and passed on in DNA; therefore our bodies contain the codes.
All knowledge that exists is in the light. Light is the way stars communicate from one to the other, just as light is the way one atom communicates with another atom.

Each human has a frequency of light, which is always connected to the Sun, like a river to Earth…”

The great myths that tell the story of the cycles of the Cosmos also take place within each of us individually; “As above, so below; as below, so above”. Sól is the Soul, which encapsulates the Divine Self and resides in our Sol-ar Plexus. It is the Light and the essence of Life that makes up our DNA. We are born of the Light and when we move through the darkness, we give birth to a fuller realization of that Light within us. Yule is a time to reflect on what that means and take action necessary to ensure the alchemical birth the Sun from inside of us, extending its loving Light to our family, our friends, our folk, humanity, and all life in Earth.

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Those who have ears to hear should hear.  Yuletide Blessings and Merry Christmas 🙂

LAMMAS- THE LOAF MASS

“And he took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it and gave unto them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.’ Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup IS the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.’”

The Gospel of Luke 22:19-20

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In ancient times, the Celtic and Germanic peoples of Europe would celebrate Lammas, or “Loaf Mass” around August 1st.  This festival marked the height of summer and the time when the crops were ready for the first harvest, specifically the wheat harvest.  It was customary to bless a loaf of bread made from the wheat, and in Anglo-Saxon England, this bread may have then been employed in a magick ritual.  This ritual was later “Christianized”

This festival was known as “Lughnassadh” in even earlier times, named after the Celtic Sun god, Lugh.  In Ancient Ireland, races and games were held in his name and that of his mother, Tailtiu, which may have been funeral games in honor of Tailtiu who died of overwork clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. lughnasadh-deities

The primary myths surrounding this time have to do with sacrifice, either of the Goddess of the Land or the God of the Sun.  We see this in the myth of the Sacred King, who is understood to be an aspect of the Sun Deity.  This is an ancient legend wonderfully retold here by Lady Spring Wolf:

“In the green land of old, the men and women walked the fields in hunger. They would eat of those that walked in fur, fin and feather, and thanked them for their sacrifice.  But their gifts were not enough for the people to live.  They would eat of the wild fruits of the Earth, but that was not enough.  They would forage the wood and eat of the wild berries, mushrooms and gourds, but this was not enough.

As they looked for fruits and berries, as they hunted for fur, fin and feather, their homes could not be built.  The roofs leaked in rain, the rooms stood cold for lack of fire, the land could not be tilled.  For all of these gifts of food must be found, and hunted, and a home cannot be built on its own.

The Sacred King saw the men and women in their suffering.  He watched, waited, and thought upon it for a time, and his face grew grave and sad.  He spoke to the Lady, and said, ‘I must die.  The land will be fertile and the earth will bring forth a harvest and the people will live and grow.’

The Lady sobbed and fell on her knees.  She grieved for Her Lord and watched him leave for the fields beyond.  The Lord traveled to the center of the land and he fell upon his sword, and died.  The blood of his body flowed through the land and covered it in red.

The Great Mother buried the Sacred King in the Earth, returning him to her womb, and mourned his passing from the land of life.

Winter wrapped the world in ice and snow.  Covering the land with a gentile white blanket that hid the sleeping life beneath it’s frozen splendor.

The Great Mother covered the face of the sky with dark clouds, and her tears of rain poured from there in cascades and torrents.  The Tears of the Mother melted the snow and ice, and covered the ground in wetness.

Time passed and the Sun warmed the ground, and a green shoot appeared, poking its head out from the womb of the Mother.  The green shoot grew as the days grew, longer and taller, until the golden hair of the Sacred King once more waved proudly in the wind; until the Grain of the Fields stood, row upon row, as far as the eye could see; until the Bounty of the Mother, the Sacred King Himself, stood upon the world, ready to be harvested.

The great Mother looked out upon the green fields, and saw the wind caressing the face of the Sacred King.  ‘That was well done,’ she whispered upon the wind, ‘But it pains me to see you die once again.’

‘It is as it must be,’ He said, ‘And does it not show them that Death is an illusion.  It is just another change in a multiverse of change?’ he added.  ‘And through their harvest, they strive and survive.  They eat and grow.  Their houses are built, their fires burn and their bread bakes for the harvest. And all this is a good thing.’

‘You are right,’ She sighed with sadness, ‘But I just wish it could have been done in a kinder way.  The Lady still mourns your sacrifice and each year it will be so.  Her tears will fall and her heart will ache, for her love has left her side.’

‘Change is never easy, Great Mother.’  He spoke, lowly, ‘But it is as it is, nonetheless.  The fields are green, and the harvest is plentiful.  The people are well and the land will grow again’.

Thus it was, and so it is, and ever more shall be so!”

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Here we have the “self-sacrifice” of the Sun, the “Sacred King” for the benefit of the people.  Remember that Christ Jesus is referred to as a “King”, as well as the “Son of Man”.  Jesus allowed himself to be sacrificed so that humanity might be “saved”, just as the Celto-Germanic Sun God of pre-Christian days did.  This is a recurring theme that is as old as humanity itself.  This sacrifice of the Sun that is alluded to in the myth extends to the wheat, barley and corn that is harvested from the Earth.

At the “Loaf Mass”, the people harvested the wheat for making the bread that would help them survive the colder months.  They recognized the “sacrifice” of the Sun, which was slowly beginning to wane and diminish in power.  The Sun gives of Himself so that we may live.  In the 1899 book, “Aryan Sun Myths: The Origin of Religions”, author Elizabeth E. Titcomb states that “All Indo-Germanic nations have worshiped crucified saviours and overwhelming proof was obtained that the sun-myths of the ancient Aryans (Indo-Europeans) were the origin of the religion in all of the countries which were peopled by the Aryans.”

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In later centuries in England, there was born the legend of John Barleycorn- the God who sacrificed himself for the Goddess of the Land and for the harvest.  Below is an excerpt from “The Ballad of John Barleycorn”:

corn_king_by_charles_vess“There were three men come out of the west their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn vow John Barleycorn should die.
They ploughed, they sowed, they harrowed him in, throw’d clods all on his head
And these three men made a solemn vow John Barleycorn was dead.
They let him lie for a very long time till the rain from heaven did fall
And little Sir John he throw’d up his head and he so amazed them all.”

Going back to the Sacred King story as retold by Lady Spring Wolf, we also see the story of a tribe of humans moving from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to an agrarian lifestyle.  In Mesoamerica, we have the legend of Quetzalcoatl, the legendary “Sun King” of Mexico that brought the “light of knowledge”- specifically the knowledge of agriculture, to the people.

Picture2 QUETZALCOATL AAS THE MAIZE GODThe development of agriculture was imperative to the development of complex civilizations, simply due to the fact that it freed up time that would have been spent hunting and gathering.  We see this problem described in the story:

“As they looked for fruits and berries, as they hunted for fur, fin and feather, their homes could not be built.  The roofs leaked in rain, the rooms stood cold for lack of fire, the land could not be tilled.  For all of these gifts of food must be found, and hunted, and a home cannot be built on its own.”

With the coming of agricultural society, the relationship to Spirit also changed.  In hunter-gatherer societies, this relationship was primarily focused on manifesting a successful hunt.  This is illustrated (literally) in the cave paintings found in the caverns of France and Spain.  But when all time and energy was no longer going into searching for food, there was time for deeper inquiries into the nature of reality.  This allowed for man to “build” a spiritual “house” in a way that had not been possible in hunter-gatherer times.

However, the ancient Europeans knew of a deeper level of existence to the Sun that just what appears as a blazing disc in the sky.  They also knew of the Sun’s deeper relationship to mankind.  In his book, “Celtic Mysteries”, author John Sharkey talks about an interaction with the Sun God Lugh, and the warrior hero of the Ulster Myth Cycle, Cu Chulainn:

“In one episode, when the champion is badly wounded and needs a respite, the Sun God Lugh himself appears… ‘Who are you?’ Cu Chulainn asks the ghost warrior.  ‘Your father from the Outerworld am I… Lugh, son of Ethliu.  Sleep a while Cu Chulainn,’ says the radiant warrior, ‘and I will oppose all during that time.’…

In the Cu Chulainn story, the Sun God materializes to take over the functions of the warrior, who by dying for three days can remain mortal.  In this bardo state he can ascend the three mystical worlds of the Celtic afterlife: from earth-body to the physical spirit and finally into the radiant soul-light in which the Sun Himself is manifest.  When Cu Chulainn sleeps he becomes joined to his own embodied radiance, inhabiting all worlds at once…

This easy movement between the human warrior hero and his otherworldly archetype, the Sun God, is a common practice in every kind of Celtic Story.”

Lugh and Cu ChulainnIn my initiation into the Mysteries, I was taught how to see what is referred to as the “Self” in meditation.  The Self and the Soul that encapsulates it is physically located in the Solar Plexus (yes Solar as in “Sun”- there is no other meaning to the word).  Visually, it appears to me as a dark luminescence, like a black light, with a corona and a bright center that is still somewhat hard to look at directly for a lengthy period of time.  It feels like joy and laughter.  I am able to “see” it by closing my eyes and focusing my attention on that region of the body.

Father Paul Blighton referred to the Self as “a cell in the body of the Father… situated in man’s spiritual body basically, but it can be seen through the physical when the veil between the two worlds is removed, with the attainment of God-realization.”

Father Paul also stated that the “center of one’s Self is like the sun.  It is a reflection of the great Sun- the Christos… The Self is the sun of our body, of our universe.”

solar-plexus

The Sun sacrifices itself so that we may have life in a physical sense AND in a spiritual or “metaphysical” sense.  The Self or “Inner Sun” sacrifices part of Its Divine Essence when it incarnates part of Itself into matter.  But this incarnation is what allows for a new type of spiritual growth and development to take place.

Like the suffering people in the story of the Sacred King, we too often find ourselves too distracted with “surviving” to tend to our own houses and when this happens, we do indeed suffer.  We suffer from the pains, depressions, and sicknesses that all have their prime root cause at the separation from our true nature- the nature of the Self.  But the sacrifice of Christ Jesus- the Sacred King of this Age- has helped bridge that gap of separation and opened up a direct link to Self and a possibility of spiritual growth and development that wasn’t there before.  We just have to make time for it and nurture and develop our relationship with it.

Developing a true relationship to Self- to the Divine within, inevitably takes sacrifice.  We need “to separate the wheat from the chaff” and let go of those ways of being that no longer serve us, giving ourselves in service to the Higher Impulses of Truth, Knowledge, Compassion, etc. This is our Bread of Life.

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Those who have ears should hear. Namaste and God Bless.