To day I remember that the Winter Solstice was perhaps the earliest universal holy day, celebrated in different ways in different places throughout the world from the earliest days of human culture. When language was young, when even the gods and goddesses had not yet taken human forms in the human imagination, but ran instead with deer in the forest, flew with the wings of crows, or were glimpsed nameless from the awed depths of every numinous pool........ even then, this was a holy day, a day of celebration.
Long ago ancestors lit fires before cave homes to welcome the shining god who was the sun return from mysterious underworld depths. They built stones or made circles or created doorways to be aligned with the sun's pathway. They left offerings of food to show their gratitude, they invented songs or danced throughout the long cold night, grateful, encouraging, hoping to help the Sun on his difficult journey to the promise of new life.
I remember today that holy days begin among our most ancient, instinctual roots, taproots that reach down, deeply entwined within the visible and invisible web of life. Planet Earth turns her face toward her star again, circling in brilliant orbit, bearing every evolving, responsive, living, infinitely conversant be-ing within her fragile, exquisite azure skin on her long journey.
Perhaps I can regain, for just one instant, that pre-verbal, instinctual animal knowing, found beneath the pages of any book written with five fingered hands, beneath each inscribed layer of words, signs, hieroglyphs, pictures in jet or ochre or sepia, the primal light, luminous beneath the oldest pages. Veneer peels away, revealing a pentimento, an ancient heartbeat, shared again with all beings that keep vigil on the night of the winter Solstice. The light is returning again.
I pledge allegiance
to the soil of Turtle Island,
and to the beings
who thereon dwell
one ecosystem in diversity
under the sun
interpenetration for all.