The Twelve Holy Nights
Deepen your experience of the Holy Nights with a profound eurythmy study of the zodiac.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a very beautiful Christmas season. Here in my home, the skies are gray, the grass is green, the trees are bare, the birds have arrived from high in the mountains, and chirp in all the trees as they wait for spring. Everything is becoming quiet in preparation for the Christmas Eve, the prelude to the 12 holy nights.
We are all familiar with the popular tune, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” But what do they really signify?
Many ancient civilizations followed the course of the year by using the Lunar Calendar. This calendar measures the time it takes for the moon to complete one full cycle, such as from full moon to full moon, or from new moon to new moon. This cycle takes just less than 29.5 days. Twelve lunar cycles complete one lunar year, the time it takes for the moon to return to its starting point. (For instance, if the first full moon would be in Capricorn, the next would be in Aquarius, the next in Pisces, etc. After 12 cycles the next moon would again be in Capricorn.) Thus, the lunar year takes just over 353 days.
The calendar commonly used in the west, the Christian calendar, follows instead the cycle of the sun. It thus takes 365 (or 365.25) days for the sun to return to where it had been a year previously.
Deep mysteries are woven into this story. We must cultivate here the difference between sun knowledge and moon knowledge. The moon is a perfect reflector, whereas the sun serves as the source of light and love. In our souls, the moon seeks to serve what is greater, whereas the sun is the source itself. Our soul, our psyche, lives in the dynamic interplay between the moon aspect of our daily self and the sun aspect of our authentic self. This dance is a precious mirror of the connection between sun and moon.
You will have seen that the difference between the lunar calendar and the solar calendar is 12 days. An old tradition chose to honor the dynamic tension between the two calendars now, during the 12 days that follow Christmas.
We can follow this story deeper. Thus:
December 25 is thus considered the day when the shepherds visiting the holy child in the simple cattle stall in Bethlehem. It is a time of quiet blessing and inwardness.
January 6 is considered by many to be the day when the three kings, who had traveled from distant lands, finally found their way to the holy child and offered their more worldly gifts. (In many cultures, this is the day when presents are shared.) To one who pays attention, the mood from the inwardness to worldliness always changes on New Year’s Day, halfway through the twelve days.
January 6 is also called the day of Epiphany, the day when Jesus, at age 30, was baptized in the river Jordan and began to embody the spirit of the Christ-Logos in himself.
If we are able to cultivate a special spiritual practice during these twelve days and nights, we can experience them as a journey that feels somehow “lifted out of time.” It is felt that the formative forces of the spiritual beings who have made our existence stand guard over us in this season, holding a space free for our growth. If we choose to look deeply, the demands of daily life can fade into the background, leaving for us a free space to look for the ‘sun in the midnight hour,” the glow of the living heart forces within and around us.
Tradition holds that these 12 days may pre-visage the year to come. The first day of Christmas may be a microcosmic precursor of January: the second day of February, and so on. This happens through the doorway of the twelve signs of the zodiac, the portals through which the spiritual beings can work upon our earth.
Farmers and stewards of the land watch these days to gain an inkling of what the weather might be in these months. Superstition? or fact? It may be tested to find out.
Those who dream make a special practice of noticing their dreams in those nights, and possibly catch a vision of what dynamic will play out in the months to come.
THE TWELVE SIGNS THROUGH EURYTHMY
Through the journey of eurythmy, we can consciously approach the beings and powers of the constellations through meditatively and eurythmically engaging with the twelve signs of the zodiac.
In this sense, I invite you now to look back over the twelve free lessons that I created for you over the course of the past year. Each lesson is a deep meditative picture of the unique power of each sign of the zodiac. You can read the essay that I wrote and you can watch the video I recorded and learn how to move the gesture and the sound that belongs to each sign of the zodiac.
It would be a wonderful practice to begin with Capricorn on the first day of Christmas, and continue through the 12 signs of the year, working with one sign each day. If possible, live with the imprint of that sign in your work and your study and your art.
With these words, I send you my heartfelt Christmas greetings. I wish you joy, and beauty, and peace, and fellowship, even as I also hope you will find the way to open your heart deeply to the love that is looking for you.
Here are the links to the studies and the videos for each day:
PLEASE NOTE: IF ANY OF THESE VIDEOS DO NOT PLAY FOR YOU, THEY CAN ALL BE FOUND ON MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL, “CYNTHIA HOVEN”
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