Surge et ambula!

December has arrived and the feast of Father Saturn is only two weeks away. It’s a celebration of abundance, peace, and fraternity, remembering a mythical time when people lived in a golden age of exceptional prosperity and freedom. Of course, it’s fair to ask how should one do that today, faced with a financial and economic crisis and a long way to go before better days arrive. How can we celebrate abundance in the current context of need?

Midwinter is the lowest point in the solar cycle: the days are shorter than at any other time of the year, temperatures drop, the vegetation is poorer, and the Earth rests, apparently barren. Overall, it’s a simulated doom of the world in the lack of warmth, light, and vigour – much like our own final days – but it’s also the time when traditionally we exhibit the exact opposite: to the absence of natural light, we reply with that of candles and our festive decorations; to the impoverished vegetation we oppose the vigorous colour of the pine and other evergreens; and the unfruitfulness is replaced with an abundance of food and colour worthy of springtime. It’s a celebration of life in the face of the apparent death of the world and during the point when the cycle turns, for the days start growing again once midwinter passes. And that’s where there’s something to be learned: when faced with the lowest point in the Earth’s cycle, we bring forth the images of Her bounty, performing a great act of sympathetic magic aimed at recalling the long sunny days and kick start the journey that will bring them back. Yes, there’s still a long way to go before June and the road is paved with more cold and long nights, but the first step towards Summer takes place when the cycle turns on the solstice in December. It’s an energetic restart and that’s the spirit needed in a time of crisis.

So if faced with need or uncertainty when celebrating Saturnalia, think of the greater days of the Golden Age and think of your own high times and plans for the future. Bring forth their bright colours and rekindled their flame as the sun wanes and is reborn; take that moment not to mourn or dabble in the longing of what has been lost, but to energize yourself in the start of the long road towards better days and the accomplishment of your goals. Surge et ambula, rise and walk! Father Saturn is a god of sowing, so cast the seeds and work on through the harsh weather and storms! What once was shall be again: as the sun in midwinter, rise and walk towards your summer days, your golden age!

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