Sunday, December 19, 2010

Amaterasu and the return of the Sun

Mana Youngbear  (2004)


Hail and Awake!
Children of the blue, brown and green Earth
I have come from my shining abode in Heaven
I am Amaterasu Omikami  - Great Woman Who Possesses Noon
Here is a gift for you:
A mirror, to draw you from your cave of sleeping
To see yourself in all your wonder:
Allow me to introduce you - to yourself!

Mary Kay Landon

A wonderful story for the Solstice comes from Japan, the tale of Amaterasu,  Goddess of  the Sun.

Angered by her vulgar, violent brother Susanowa,  god of storms,  Amaterasu Omikami fell into despair about the ugliness and the ignorance of the world.  She retreated to a cave, and refused to  come out. And so, deprived of her warmth and light, the world began to die.

All the deities and spirits came to the mouth of her cave, and begged the goddess to come out. But Amaterasu Omikami, withdrawn into her dark musings,  would not, and all the pleas of those gathered could not persuade her to return to the world.

At last, the little goddess Uzume placed a mirror at the entrance to the cave.  Then Uzume, known for her high humor, began to dance. Her dance was so bawdy, so absurd.......that everyone gathered had to laugh, in spite of their dire circumstances. They laughed and laughed and laughed!

At last, with so much raucous laughter, even Amaterasu's dark thoughts were interrupted with sheer curiosity.  She opened the cave door just a crack, and peeked out.  And at that moment, her radiant,  face was reflected in the mirror. At that very moment, she saw how beautiful she was - and rememberd how much joy and laughter there still was in the world.  And that is how Amaterasu left her cave of dark despair, forgot about her anger and disillusionment, and joined the dance, shining again in all of her glory.  

There are caves of darkness into which we all retreat. For a day, a month, too many years, perhaps a lifetime. Sometimes, we have to be tricked away from abysses of the heart in order to see how beautiful, how valuable, how important the light in each of us really is.   Then we find the the will to rejoin the hilarious, heartbreaking dance of life - and once again,  be the Sun.

Laura Janesdaughter (1999)