Around here it happened around 6:08 this morning, and it is all because of the TILT. The tilt is pretty close to 23.5 degrees and combined with the gyroscopic effect of the rotating planet we live on, and the period of orbit around the star which is our major source of energy, we have seasons.
I like seasons, and even though I appreciate the fact that seasons are a by product of the physics in a dynamic solar system, I still take a visceral pleasure in the seasonal mystery of cold foggy mornings like this one. My mind says all this starts with the tilt, of course, but my sprit says, "Breathe deeply and enjoy your life this morning. This is a gift."
Last night was the night of the Winter Solstice and was the longest one for the next 365 days, and we have learned that it can be predicted with simple arithmetic. We humans did not always know that and some of us still don't. When we were more ignorant, our mystics told us various things were the cause of the long night and the cold. Some of the mystics told their tribe members to do various things so that the days would get longer and warmer again and the crops would grow and the tribe would again have enough to eat. Interestingly enough, nearly all winter solstice festivals involved giving things to the mystics in one form or another, even though there were thousands of variations on the theme. Here is an example from Ancient Greece:
The winter solstice ritual was called Lenaea, the Festival of the Wild Women. In very ancient times, a man representing the harvest god Dionysos was torn to pieces and eaten by a gang of women on this day. Later in the ritual, Dionysos would be reborn as a baby. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by the killing of a goat. The women's role had changed to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth.
Doesn't that sound like fun?
So because of the TILT, we had seasons and some of them were rough on humans living at various latitudes on planet Earth. Religious myths were created by simple social conversations and interactions and sometimes molded and used for the benefit of some folks, but not always, as in the case of some of the Winter Solstice celebrations. Sometimes it was dark and cold and miserable and people just needed a party.
Just remember that "YOUR RELIGION" is the only true religion and all those others are just mythologies, but even so, all of the Winter Solstice celebrations have come about because of the TILT.
If you are curious, and I know that you are, you might enjoy reading about a lot of the practices that various peoples have created just to get them through the darkest night. Your personal religion is probably listed here but that's just for camouflage and the interests of peace and good will.
You and I both know that your personal religion is actually the only real one. All of those other religions owe their Winter celebrations to TILT...But not yours.
Enjoy your gift and may you revel in it's mysteriousness,
Tolerance for other's beliefs