Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Happy New Year
Meant to post a photo of firecrackers and not finding any truly inspiring ones, I thought about symbols for New Years. What is the meaning of the old man with the scythe? I did some research which I love to do and will probably bore most to death, but anyway here it is:
Santa Claus tied to the Old Man? Holly King / Santa Claus: There are as many theories of a "historical" Santa Clause (or "Saint Nicholas") as there are ethnic cultures. As an Keltic folk archetype however, the old man wreathed in holly is the Holly King. He represents the "waning year", the "old year", or the "dark half" of the year. At winter solstice the Oak King (or the Sun, or the New Year) is born, and the Holly King's reign is over.
Other authors consider Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius as the three murderers of the sun, inasmuch as Osiris was murdered by Typhon, to whom were assigned the thirty degrees of the constellation of Scorpio. In the Christian Mysteries also Judas signifies the Scorpion, and the thirty pieces of silver for which he betrayed His Lord represent the number of degrees in that sign. Having been struck by Libra (the state), Scorpio (the church), and Sagittarius (the mob), the sun (CHiram) is secretly home through the darkness by the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces and buried over the brow of a hill (the vernal equinox). Capricorn has for its symbol an old man with a scythe in his hand. This is Father Time--a wayfarer--who is symbolized in Masonry as straightening out the ringlets of a young girl's hair. If the Weeping Virgin be considered a symbol of Virgo, and Father Time with his scythe a symbol of Capricorn, then the interval of ninety degrees between these two signs will be found to correspond to that occupied by the three murderers. Esoterically, the urn containing the ashes of CHiram represents the human heart. Saturn, the old man who lives at the north pole, and brings with him to the children of men a sprig of evergreen (the Christmas tree), is familiar to the little folks under the name of Santa Claus, for he brings each winter the gift of a new year.
Next in mythology we have:
Pictures of Saturn are always portrayed an old man. This comes from the idea that Time is old and eternal. Often Saturn is also seen carrying a scythe, which was depicted in the Greek myth as the implement used to castrate Uranus. The story also in mythology represents the live cycle of plants as well as people. Here, with the curved scythe tells of the harvesting of the crop in spring. Although this may seem the end of life, the set aside or unused seed from maybe replanted for the next generation of crops.
I thought these comments were rather interesting. The first notion left my head fuzzy, but both summarized, it seems the Masonic view is that of a religious point of view anyway - the sun as a God, Hiram? Mythology appears to arise out of a need to explain what is going on in the earth around the man. Well, I'm far from a philosopher but when I celebrate something, I want to know what I'm celebrating!
Today - I will have split pea and ham soup in honor of the old year 2007 passing away into history and the new year beginning with some hope. "H" will watch ball games all day, that is his celebration. We've never once gone out on New Years. Odd. (Maybe I will go see Sweeney Todd.)
This year is supposed to be challenging according to some, and others are saying it will be the year of new beginnings for many. We'll see. No matter what we think, it comes!