The Chill of Winter and the Return of Light
The chill of winter’s embrace enfolds us in an ever-darkening time of anticipation and joy. In all of us, it seems to stir up a caldron’s brew of memories—of times past and possibly of things and moments no longer. The earth waits and waits, as do we, for the promised return of the light. It is a time to feel—to be aware of the fertile dark soil of potentiality that lies within us, as well as the dark, the dark that does not serve us and the dark that needs to be released.
This cycle of light and dark repeats endlessly but each cycle is intrinsically slightly different. Time is cyclical, not linear. There is the past and the present that some indigenous cultures refer to as the non-past. But there is no future only potential ones based on the actions of the non-past influenced by the past.
Our cycle of the return of light to a darkened world is reflected in the myth of the Returning Hero:
A legendary hero is usually the founder of something—the founder of a new age, the founder of a new religion, the founder of a new city, the founder of a new way of life. In order to found something new, one has to leave the old and go in quest of the seed idea, a germinal idea that will have the potentiality of bringing forth that new thing.[i]
The cultural hero, and his return, is one of the most enduring as well as important cross-cultural archetypal prophetic themes known to humankind. Its importance is due to its message of hope and renewal. The meaning stays the same; only the names of the hero change. The best known returning hero is Jesus. Similarly, the Hopi prophecies speak of their spiritual hero Pahana, the purifier or the elder white brother, while the early Hawaiians worshipped Lono as their savior and lord of peace. The returning cultural hero for the Incas was Viracocha whereas the Mesoamerican prophet or cultural hero was known as Quetzalcóatl—the morning star. And to the Maya, he was known as Kukulkán, the Mayan name for Quetzalcóatl—the Feathered Serpent. Kukulkán was known as “god of the powerful voice,” a resurrection deity and master of the four winds.
The enduring teaching and message of each returning hero was focused on achieving a balance between spirit and matter with the additional knowledge that we are all a child of God, divine as well as human. To the returning hero, separateness is the illusion; oneness is the reality—all existences interpenetrate radically non-dualistically (non-dual interpenetration – Oneness).
Symbolically, the return of the hero represents the spiritual concept of the infinite cycle of death and re-birth. But it as well represents the return of light or enlightenment to a world void of love and a humanity that has darkened once again. The religious histories of many cultures also portray the morning star, the planet Venus, in this same emblematic role of representing the returning hero.
In this time of darkness anticipating the return of light, what inner potential needs to be manifested and what dysfunctional darkness needs to be released? Better to consider these than focusing on consuming some stupid stuff that you probably don’t really need.
[i] Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, 136.