The solstices and equinoxes are the great landmarks in the movement of the Sun in relation to the Earth. Since most of the ancient religions were once solar cults, around these dates naturally a large number of religious festivals are gathered, rich in an enormous amount of symbols. The religion in its origins was mainly an astrotheology and the ancient philosophy was mostly a natural philosophy, that is to say, from the observation of the natural cycles and the relations between the Earth and the Sky a series of ethical and soteriological principles were built . Man believed that the world he lived in was a microcosm of the higher world, and thus he himself was an image that reflected the Sun and his life as an emblem of the vicissitudes that this star faces in its annual movement. The light of the Sun was truly the life of the human being and nature.
Hence, solstices and equinoxes are assemblage points in which the stories of the different gods are linked: Christ, Mitra, Horus, Cronos, Dionisio, Huitzilopochtli, and many others, have in their mythology clear coordinates of correspondence with these dates Some mythologist, like Joseph Campbell, would tell us that it is a single story, the story of the hero of the thousand masks. We will say here that it is a single story, the only story: the light that registers in space time ago.
The solstices -word that means “still sun” – mark the maximum polarity of light. In the summer, the solstice is the brightest day of the year; the fullness, the celestial force that engenders and spreads through nature, and yet, in the maximum intensity, the decline of this splendor can already be perceived. In the winter, while the solstice is the darkest day of the year, the rebirth of the Sun is celebrated, which begins to die in autumn but proves to be invincible (it is the Sun Invictus of the Romans), despite the sacred hesitation of the death in its descent to the underworld that is like a theatrical gesture, as it happened in the mysteries of Eleusis, where the adepts had an experience of the immortality of their souls invested in the symbolism of Demeter and Persephone.
The equinoxes strike the balance – the word means “equal night” – the day and the night last the same, the duality is canceled for an instant, only to continue the eternal polar game of concealment and revelation. The spring equinox marks the beginning of the astrological new year, the renewal of vitality, in the great initiative of Aries (ruled by Mars, the planet of action and courage). The autumn equinox is the herald of death and recollection. The sign from which the Sun rises to enter Libra right at the equinox is Virgo, the Virgin, the archetypal goddess of the Earth commonly identified with Isis and Ceres, and who marks the moment to treasure the grains and prepare for the winter, the death and the trip to the underworld. We can think of the solstices and equinoxes as the nodal events in the life of the Sun: its birth, growth, splendor and death.
Manly P. Hall, a great scholar of ancient philosophy, tells us that “there has not been any people who have not gone through some kind of phase of solar symbolism in their philosophy, science and theology, the Sun has dominated all the arts, been involved in all theories of musical harmony [remember that Pythagoras, according to tradition is the son of Apollo, the god of metrics and light]. We find records of this everywhere because the Sun [and particularly its solstices and equinoxes], represents the annual restoration of life, symbol of the great resurrection of all existing things, the great redemption, the elevation of all life of the darkness to light. “
The religion of nature that had in the Sun to its maximum emblem of the divinity saw in the movements of the Sun and its effects in the Earth the revelation of the essential laws of the life. A time to sow, a time to harvest, a time to gather, a time to rest; times where there was more energy, times where it was necessary to conserve this energy, et cetera. Time was revealed as rhythm and sacrifice – the alchemists called it solve et coagula – and to follow that rhythm was then to be in harmony with the law of the cosmos, a law that was a manifestation of the power of light that embodied the Sun. of the economy and the community coexistence but also in spiritual and individual terms, remembering that, as the Pythagorean philosophers thought, the soul was also a rhythm and, in fact, the tone and the essential tonic of the soul is the Sun. According to Manly P Hall:
The worship of nature is the worship of the realities of things with a humble resolution to learn the lessons of light and life, that, over time, we become honored servants of this House of the Effulgence. All religions have had gods of light and these gods of light are gods of love. They are deities that protect, preserve, elevate and redeem all forms of life in nature.
And within this light we have all the laws of life, and the laws of life are the commandments, the methods, the principles through which life achieves perfection.
There is a remarkable identity here between light, life and law. Saint John had already said: “In him was life, and life was the light of men”. But also, according to Hall: “All the mystery of the light is completely mathematical, completely legitimate, as Newton noticed. In the light are all things. And this light that comes from above is reflected by all the things of creation. ” This is what allows us to know the Sun with its mathematical movements -which reveal order, rhythm and archetype- and with its light, which allows life to flourish in nature. Light is the writing of the eternal archetypal laws of which the world we see is a reflection, as if it were a shadow.
The Neoplatonic poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, expensive to Manly P. Hall, wrote in his essay on the Super Soul: From within or from behind a light shines through us to the world and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is everything. A man is the facade of a temple in which all good and wisdom reside. ” In the light are all things and for us to recognize this we must do nothing, let us go through the light, emptying our personality so that we can express through us the whole, which is a way to worship the King, the Sun , which is the visible symbol of the Light of the Absolute.
Manly Hall continues:
This life that we know shining eternally has been distributed as the source of individual life, individual light. And so also the light as life penetrates within us; The great nucleus of light-life in us is the heart. The heart is where the drum of the gods eternally beats. This is where the drum of Shiva beats, according to the sages of India, the sound that emanates from the pulse that sustains life. Everywhere we find symbols, and where there are symbols we find the story of the Victorious Sun, the mysterious universal light that illuminated the being of all things, and this light and this power is the life of men. It is the life of all creation, distributed through the leaves of grass, crossing all forms in the vast tree of life; therefore, in the final analysis, all life is one life, and that life is the eternal Light-Life in itself, the power of divinity in all creation.
A beautiful equation: If there is only one light and light is life itself, then all living beings are one being. And in this we could rely on modern scientific principles, such as quantum entanglement that show that photons exist in a state of inseparability, in such a way that any change in one manifests itself in the other no matter how far away they are. From the perspective of light there is no time or distance, light rests in absolute and indivisible unity. According to the most modern theories, life on Earth seems to have been sown by the Sun. Solar storms, like long sperms of light, seem to have conditioned the atmosphere for the emergence of life. According to the Nobel laureate, Albert Szent-Györgyi: “A cell requires energy not only to perform all its functions but for the maintenance of its structure. Without energy, life would instantly become extinct, and the cell tissue would collapse. The source of this energy is the radiation from the Sun. ” We return to Hall:
The Sun is life, and this life is the common property in all things, the power on which we depend. From the smallest atom to the greatest star, light is a symbol of the presence of life. This life is a promise, something we must understand, this light is not something that was suddenly lit from nothing, in an ancient aeon, this light is eternal. That is why life is eternal, immortality is a certainty, growth is inevitable. Because all good things, all revelations, are based on the inevitable and immediate and eternal presence of life. Life is therefore very sacred and by observing its descent through the different orders of creation, we see that life is diffused in the human being. There is life in us and this life in us has made its tabernacle in the flesh.
In the Psalms it is said that God placed his tabernacle in the Sun, but the Sun itself, which is the divine spark in us, has made his tabernacle in man, which is an image of the Father.
Light is life but it is also the symbol of wisdom, of the truth that liberates from ignorance and the illusion that we perish with the body, like the Sun that is reborn in the solstice. In the knowledge of light, in the human consciousness that is really an extension of the Universal Mind, there is the certainty of immortality, peace and joy.