Solstice and the Distortion of Northern Wisdom by the Christ People
Winter Solstice 21 December
The Shaman: The Shaman was deemed responsible for seeing to the return of the Sun at Midwinter. When the Winter Solstice appeared and the Sun dipped below the horizon, it was the Shaman that used the language of the elements to guarantee its rebirth.
The Shaman of the North is a holy man who consumes plant entheogens to trigger a hallucinogenic, out of body type experience. In this case, the red and white Agaric mushroom. The Shaman was believed to enter the house providing for a forthcoming ritual through the house's roof, carrying with him a bag of dried mushrooms. Through this ritual, the Shaman was responsible for overseeing the birth of the new born Sun.
The Red Deer: Liminal creatures, symbolic of belonging to both the wilderness and the settled world. The red deer is also considered to be representative of the newly born Sun at Midwinter
The Raven: A symbol of existence before creation. It exists outside the parameters of time and has been suggested, in some cultures, as being a symbol of the theft of the Sun. In other cultures, the raven is suggested as being unclean and is associated to the constructs of death, loss, and war.
The Wolf: A valiant, courageous warrior who could also be ferocious, greedy, cunning, and cruel. In Nordic tradition, the wolf is representative of chaos in the form of Fenris, and is thought to be responsible for swallowing the Sun at end of the world. As an extension of Norse tradition, the wolf, as chaos, is required to be imprisoned; the ordered universe can only exist with the chaotic and destructive elements inherent to the cosmos bound in captivity.
The Bear: Representative of a "brutal primitive force," or a deity of war and strength. It is also referred to as being a Lunar and resurrection symbol, given the bear's life cycle dependent upon hibernation.
The Solstice Evergreen: A symbol representative of everlasting life; proof that despite the death of the Sun, life continues to exist in the form of the evergreen tree.
Shaman: Stretch out your hand.
Stretch out your hand.
Don’t you have a greeting for me?
Today, of all days?
Ending and beginning day?
The day of death and new birth?
Or, Solstice Greetings!
You have forgotten me, haven’t you?
Shaman: Your children tell sweet tales of me, and you laugh behind their backs. But I tell you, your children are wiser than you...
You still don’t remember me, do you? Think back…think back to the very beginnings…back to a time when the long darkness brought hunger to your fireside…a black stranger to live with you…the dull pain of famine.
Think back…think back to the times of the pounding heart, the ache of the chase, the madness of the kill, the smell of blood hot on the snow, the Red and the White. Red and White. When a dulling eye and the ebb of breath meant an easing of hunger…for a while.
Do you remember me now?
Your children draw pictures of me, an old man in a red suit with a white beard squeezing down the chimney with all they want most in the world. Lord of the reindeer, keeper of the game, as old as mankind. I am the shaman, the magician, the priest. When your heart beats fast in the dead of night, I am there. When you whistle or sing in the face of danger, I call the tune. I am your ancestor and your child. I am your guest tonight. And you will be mine.
Here is my invitation to your house: a green tree from the northern forests. See? Some things you still remember. An evergreen tree hung with lights and mirrors, sparkling gold like the glimmer of Solstice Fire through the forests branches. Red and White, blood on the snow. And today, the day of endings and beginnings, of death and rebirth. The birth of the sun. The Solstice.
Come with me…back to the beginnings…stretch out your hand to me. Stretch out over a thousand generations. Come and understand once more.
Shaman: The running of the deer. The rising of the sun. The song and praise of the woods, and the forests, the beasts, and the seasons.
And then one day the Christ people came, turning their backs on what is, and demanding what should be, as if they were Lords of it all. They took that song, and made it theirs, just as they took my Solstice festival for their own.
The birth of a sun, as it always was, for as long as mankind has gaped at the sky and questioned the light and the darkness. Birth of our sun…
Birth of a boy child….
Their festival is trick of words, a fashion of the last few seconds of the history of man.
But while they try to drive me back into the shadows before their new born godling, the Christ people still feared me. For the shaman was their ancestor too. The blood on the snow…
So, they tried to tame me, contain me, cage me, turn me into a tale for little children.
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