Out of the Darkness & Into the Light
It seems like every holiday and change of seasons is celebrated with even more enthusiasm in 2020. The passage of time is celebrated, not mourned or forgotten this year, as we all look forward to a new world. This year's Winter Solstice is no exception.
Even people who've never celebrated the Winter Solstice are embracing it's message of welcoming the light, and saying goodbye to the darkness of this awful year. There is further excitement as the rare "great conjunction" of Jupiter and Saturn wows sky watchers all around the world. This is being seen by many as the "Christmas Star," returned after 800 years to remind us of the hope and light that is possible in the world.
My favorite Winter Solstice story revolves around the Deer Mother, who carries the light of the sun through the dark winter night in her antlers, bringing peace and hope. Before the story of Christmas existed, the Sami people followed the reindeer herds throughout northern Scandinavia and Russia. It was the female shamans who traveled by sleds pulled by reindeer throughout the area, and believe it or not, many wore red clothing with white fur trim. Sound familiar?
To my children, I talk about how reindeer have antlers, just like others in the deer family. But with reindeer, many of the females retain their antlers throughout winter to help protect themselves and obtain food, as they are usually pregnant during the winter. So we joke that Rudolph was really a girl!
This story makes me wonder what life was like thousands of years ago. It makes me wonder how the human race could go from honoring the feminine to building the patriarchy. How we could go from living as close knit communities to spreading out all over the globe to fend for ourselves. It connects me to my ancestors, and inspires me to keep moving forward. It rekindles hope and faith for a return to a more equitable, just and peaceful society for all living things.
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Ms. Jennie is an outdoor educator in Austin, TX. She has a background in Montessori education, and strives to get families and kids out in nature to connect & wonder.