The 12 Days – 12 Gifts of Enlightenment series is based upon the “spirit of the season”, not pertaining to any particular faith. Consider it a nod to ancient cultures who celebrated the Winter Solstice with festivals, rituals and parties, heralding the return of the light – the Sun. Ancient Rome celebrated the solstice holiday as Saturnalia, and Celtic Druids created bonfires in a three day ritual as the Oak King battled with the Holly King and won back the light. History of these celebrations are found with the honoring of Mithra, in Egyptian practices of Osiris and in various societies around the world. The seasonal observance for many at this time extends to January 6th in conjunction with the story of the Three Wise Men, the Magi who brought gifts upon their arrival. The 12 gifts of enlightenment are shared throughout the celebrations of the return of the light and need not necessarily culminate on a particular day. Perhaps it alludes to a time to create new rituals including for the New Year, with heartfelt intentions to bring abundance, joy, good health and inner wisdom.
The Twelve Days – Twelve Gifts of Enlightenment are a reminder that on the journey to esoteric wisdom, knowledge is the first key. As was written above a mystery school temple in ancient Greece, “Man, Know Thyself”, it has always been of tremendous value to spend time in self-observation and introspection. One of the ways to begin this journey, is to look at the past, review the history of humanity and discern the truth to see how history changes and is rewritten according to cultural and political mores. Begin with your own investigation of the origins and history of the holidays including Christmas, New Years and Easter to discover how they have evolved to the modern day concepts.
You may find during your research, that many of the holidays now celebrated began as a completely different celebration. My intent gentle reader, is not to discourage you from celebrating each holiday, but rather to encourage you to delve deeper into the history and find the path which is right for you to follow. As Anais Nin said, “The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery”.
On this path, I’d like to recommend two books that I have enjoyed reading this year, which share a particular perspective of western history. This brings us to:
Gift Number 9 – Give the Gift of Knowledge and Discernment.
The first book is: How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill. The title is a bit ambitious, as most any student of history will note that the Greeks and the Eastern Byzantine Empire continued to exist and document historic record before and after the fall of Rome, as well as many eastern cultures. Perhaps a more accurate title would be: How the Irish Evolved By Combining Roman Catholic Beliefs with their Traditional Pagan Beliefs, creating Many Holidays and Cultural Beliefs Which We Celebrate Today. Having said that, one can plainly see which title is more attention grabbing. Cahill describes the decline and fall of Rome and how the Irish, due to their love of preservation, transcribed this written history during the Dark Ages, when recorded history throughout many parts of western Europe was on the verge of being destroyed by Barbarian cultures. The second portion of the book explains how Irish myth, lore and culture then placed its own unique stamp on civilization, blending a mix of Christianity beginning with St. Patrick, into traditional Irish pagan rites and customs. Cahill shares some of the life and history of St. Patrick, a roman boy who came from a family lineage of tax collectors, who was enslaved and taken to Ireland. Not mentioned in regard to the stories of St. Patrick are the reports of Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, which chronicle how the Druid culture was driven from Ireland by Christian monks beginning with Patrick.
The beauty and passion of the Irish people is vividly described as Cahill shares his love of poetry and brings ancient Ireland to life, which also serves to stimulate popular interest in the history of western civilization. My hope is that the reader would begin here with this read, recognize it as only one piece to the puzzle and then venture further into study of the Greeks, Romans, Armenians, Coptics, Arabic, and many other cultures, all of whom carried forth the history from these dark times.
Book recommendation number two is, How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It, by Arthur Herman. Particularly interesting is that the UK title for this book is The Scottish Enlightenment, which is a better representation of the information found in this book. This also leads to the question, Must we as Americans require alleged super hero titles for every book in order for it to sell? Both books in review here, extend their titles to the extreme, but this is certainly not a new concept. One only has to look at American history to see how much of it has been fabricated to “sell the sizzle”. A quick example being the focus on the midnight ride of Paul Revere, when in reality, Israel Bissell rode farther and faster, but didn’t have what it took to turn him into a superstar to rally the crowds.
In How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Herman lists an impressive collection of Scots and their accomplishments including Andrew Carnegie, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Walter Scott and John Muir. One of the best features of this book, is that it endeavors to explain Scottish history and development, without over-fanciful ethnic pride clouding the vision. An interesting read to add to a long list of selections for history buffs, mark this one as the tale of the 18th century as the age of enlightenment for Scotland.
Tune in tomorrow as we explore Enlightenment Gift Number Ten. If you’ve missed Gift’s One, Two, Three, Four, Five Six, Seven, or Eight, click on the links here to visit the articles and click on the subscribe button on the top section of this page, where you’ll be notified via email each time a new article by yours truly appears.
Sitting amongst random piles of books, pondering the mysteries…
More about Kala Ambrose:
Kala is an award winning author, intuitive and talk show host of the Explore Your Spirit with Kala Show. Her thought-provoking interviews entice listeners to tune in around the globe! Described by her guests and listeners as discerning, empowering and inspiring, she speaks with world renowned authors, artists, teachers and researchers delving into metaphysical, holistic and paranormal topics. Kala’s book, 9 Life Altering Lessons: Secrets of the Mystery Schools Unveiled delves into the mysteries of ancient Egyptian mystery schools and explains their wisdom teachings. Kala lectures on Esoteric Teachings, Developing Business Intuition, Working with Auras, Chakras and Energy Fields, and Wise Woman Wisdom (also known as the Divine Feminine). Kala’s Guided Meditations CD’s include Spirit of Hawaii and Egyptian Mystery Temple and Tibetan Mountain Journey. More info: www.ExploreYourSpirit.com