Monday, November 12, 2012

Winter solstice: The Longest Night

Source unknow as told by Matthew Cosgrove -->
By Matthew Cosgrove.

            A long time ago it is winter, summer is but a dream, there is only winter, it has no end. The Great Spirit gives fire to the people but the North wind breathes on it and makes it cold, the people cannot light the fire again. The sun goes west and does not return, it is the longest night.

         Life is hard for the people, they have little to eat, and many young and old pass into the world of Spirit. The people sit together to stay warm but no one speaks and no one sings. Then the people find a bear sleeping in a cave, they want to kill the bear for it’s meat and fur but the bear wakes up, "I am weak from sleeping but my teeth and my claws are sharp, if you try to kill me now you will also die"

         The people think about this and they know that it is true. Bear and the people sit down in the cave together. They are afraid but hungry also, they tell the bear that they need his meat and fur to stay
alive. Bear listens and says" Where is your dried food, where have you stored your berries, what stories and songs do you sing to keep away the cold, to warm your hearts, to keep your Spirits alive"

          The people say they have no food, they cant remember summer, they say summer is but a dream, they say there is only winter and winter has no end, Then the bear understands, the people have no stories “Memories visions and dreams are real and stories give power to those memories to those visions to those dreams" Then bear tells stories to the people, he tells them about the creator about the creation of the world, how the world is like a circle, how the seasons follow one another. He tells them they must believe in winter even during autumn’s plenty, working hard to store food for the cold, which is coming. Most importantly he tells them that the Creator promises that after this the longest knight the next will be shorter and the next shorter still bringing and end to the darkness. The creator promises that dawn always follows night, that spring always follows winter.

          But the people are cold and hungry, hey are frightened by these
strange words of bear which they don’t understand.

 Bear lights a fire in the cave for the people, "Look, the world is
cold and dark ,there is no sun in the sky, this fire is not the sun, but 
it is real, it is not a dream, it gives warmth and light until the sun
returns. Stories are not life, but they are like little fires of life, holding truth and light until life returns.”

          Then the bear gives his meat and fur to feed the people and keep them warm. But the Spirit of lives on and speaks to the people all through the long night.

          In time all the stories that bear told the people come to pass as he had said, and the people recognize him as being the guardian of the north, of the dream-time, offering him prayer and sweet smoke so he will protect them from the bite of the cold winter wind, and the hunger and the darkness.

 This is why people always tell stories in the wintertime, lighting
little fires in the darkness, and this is why people have always
gathered on this the longest night to celebrate the coming of the dawn which the Creator promises will always come.

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