Neville at de Young Museum, San Francisco
December 17, 2018
Saturnalia, the festival of the Roman god Saturn, and based upon a more ancient Greek and Egyptian traditions for this dark time of year, is still celebrated throughout Europe in various forms.
Today we call it Advent, from Latin ad-venire, ‘to come,’ signifying the 4-week waiting period for the birth of the ‘Bambino Divino..’ In Saturnalia, we are awaiting the original Lord of Misrule, the father of Greek Theatre – both tragedy and comedy – the ‘God Who Comes,’ suddenly and unexpectedly, bringing a time in the dark of the year when old/young, male/female, master/slave, all change places. That is, Dionysus: the god who shakes things up, so we can welcome the return of the sun from its farthest point away.
This festival, like Advent, features candles and other lights, welcoming the solar god in one of his many manifestations: Apollo, Mithras, Aten, Shamash, Ahura Mazda… And a fascinating book on the solar iconography of JC, is Jesus Christ: Sun of God, written by my friend David Fideler, (translator of the I-Ching and founder of Phanes Press.)
On the pre-Celtic traditions for this dark time of year: The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas, by John Matthews (author with Caitlin Matthews of the fun and interesting Arthurian Tarot.)
Analemma (Photo: A.Ayiomamitis)
And The Sun by Madanjeet Singh (author of UNESCO books: Himalayan Art, and India, Paintings from Ajanta Caves.)
Let’s light candles and send our flame-like wishes aloft to celebrate the dark of year that heralds the return of the light!
Festival of Light Celebration
(Photo & movie footage credit: Parker Walbeck and Nick Sales)
Please visit me on my website www.KatherineNeville.com