From the dark and cold of night is born the new Light. Hail, the Unconquered Sun!
May the Light of the Unconquered Sun shine on all your days in the year to come. May His rebirth be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out. (Big fan of Tolkien, obviously.)
It’s also a rare Christmas full moon tonight, so I hope you’ve sung to Her, too. Hail, bright-faced children of Hyperion!
May the Unconquered Sun reign in the heavens for a billion more years and may his light (or her light, YMMV) shine upon all the world, joyous and bright.
Praise and honour to you, Son of Titans! King, father, and friend to Men!
Photos from the Festival of Hathor-Isis in Search for Hêlios:
With any outdoor rite, even if it’s just over your backyard, permission is first requested from the Wild Spirits before any human activity can commence. These plants didn’t seem to mind, and I have ‘reason’ to believe they enjoy it.
Our cult image of Hêlios-Sol Invictus was taken out and hung on a post.
Normally, we would have several cows grazing nearby, but we didn’t want to bother them. Fortunately, our friend, Murmur, made us an image some years ago. She is flanked by cult images of Isis and Hathor for obvious reasons.
The heavenly Heifer.
Pancakes as the primarily ritual offering, being solar in shape and colour.
At 17:30, the Sun King began to make his way into the dark womb of Night.
Whilst I understand that where I live, it will always be an eternal equinox all year round, it still makes sense to count the days from the winter solstice, when the Sun King ‘decides’ to take our planet for another dance of 360+ days. That or my head is still stuck in the North.
After much singing and praising and raising of wine glasses, the offerings were then burnt.
Finally, some fireworks. Not a fan, but my friend’s little brother insisted.
I live in the tropics where sunshine reigns supreme. There’s hardly a day in the year that doesn’t enjoy sunlight. Haring Araw (Sun King), people call the Sun, and for a damned good reason.
Tonight, however, is a relatively special time as it marks the end of one full rotation of our planet around its parent star whilst simultaneously marking another beginning (i.e. if you begin your year in winter).
One of our local news journals goes on to report about it:
The Philippines will experience the longest night and the shortest day [tonight], December 21, due to the winter solstice, PAGASA said.
The sun is expected to set in the Manila Bay at 5:32pm and rise again the next day at 6:17am, PAGASA Astronomical Observatory Chief Mario Raymundo said.
The estimated night time will last for 12 hours and 45 minutes.
Yes, twelve hours and forty-five minutes. Sounds awfully like an equinox to me. I suppose, they should’ve mentioned that solstices are hardly noticeable around here. We also know that precolonial Filipinos–not unlike the ancient Hellenes–didn’t care so much about solar birthdays. Why, with all that sunshine all year round, who would’ve noticed?
Nevertheless, as part of my month long celebration of new beginnings and cosmic birthdays, later at sunset, I’ll be celebrating the Festival of Hathor-Isis:
This Hellenistic festival is celebrated on the Winter Solstice.
According to Plutarch on the Winter Solstice a cow was led seven times around the temple of Hathor-Isis in search of the sun, the number signifying the amount of months until its return at the Summer Solstice. Cakes were also made with an image of a cow’s head imprinted on them, and sacrifices were made in honor of Hathor-Isis, Horus, and Helios.
Whether you see all sun gods (but not necessarily all solar gods) as one Sun God is entirely up to your thinking. I’ve personally been identifying Hêlios (anikêtos!) and Sol Invictus for many years, but I can’t say the same for Amaterasu or Sunna.
Also, tomorrow at sunrise, I’ll be celebrating the first day of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birthday of the Unconquered Sun), leading all the way to 25 December. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as they say, and it certainly can be if you make it so.
So, here’s to a billion more years, O Unconquerable Ruler of the heavens! Have a glorious umpteenth birthday and may the whole world have just the right amount of sunshine for us to enjoy!
Whilst I was happy to spend Solstice Eve at home with my family, I had to spend the night at work. You really can’t have your heathen cake and eat it two when a festival falls on a working day.
But, as you can see, it wasn’t so bad. My friend and I said our prayers to the reborn sun beside my window, an hour before heading home for the super awesome 4 day weekend. Nothing fancy, though. Not even something that resembles a basic ritus. No pictures, no fire, no incense. Just us and the rising sun, and our hymns of praise. Well, I reckon if you want to praise a physical celestial being, that’s all you really need. Hail the newborn Sun!
He… she… ze was spectacular.
For tonight, the old sun-wheel sets. For tomorrow, a new one is reborn.
Holiday posts coming soon! I’m having a 9-day week off of work. WOOOHOO!