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Ancient Mystical Symbols

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The Sun and the Moon

Ancient Cultures

The Celts

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Another Amerindian culture which practised Sun worship were the Incas of pre-Columbia. They said that a couple were sent to bring civilisation to humanity by their father, the Sun god Inti. Inti was honoured in the silverware of the Incas, and depicted as a formidable face surrounded by blazing rays. The Aztecs, a tribe similar to the Incas in many ways, told that the Sun was home to the great god Quetzalcoatl, and moved in his breath.

In Australian Aboriginal belief, the Sun was discovered by Bamapama, one of the ancestors of man today. Bamapama's people once lived underground, but when the no-good Bamapama went hunting a great kangaroo on the surface, he discovered a new way to live: to hunt during the day, while the Sun shone, and sleep at Night when it passed over.

While the Sun and its various deities are usually attributed with positive forces, such as goodness, love, warmth and joy, the Moon is sometimes believed to exude evil unto the world. One commonly-held superstition was that the Moon could make a person insane: hence the word "lunatic" from "luna," the Latin word for the Moon. Nights of a full moon were supposed to be extremely unlucky, as hellish beasts and demons such as were-wolves drew their sinister powers from its dark energy.

However, there are cultures today who demonstrate great reverence for the Moon. The Inuit peoples create spiritual masks from wood depicting the woman in the Moon whilst the Moon and star make up the symbol of Islam, the world's fastest growing religion.

In order to keep the Gods and Goddesses pleased so the crops would continue to grow and people would be spared from natural hazards, worship had to be offered to the deities of the Sun and Moon. Stonehenge, the world-famous megalithic monument in Wiltshire, England, was perhaps erected in order to honour the Sun. To signal the beginning of summer on May 1st, the Celtic peoples held the Beltana fire ritual. By driving cattle though the smoke of enormous fires, the Celts believed their livestock would be purified and fertile. The Celts also celebrated Lugnasad on August 1st, which was in honour of the light at its zenith.

Today, most cultures still honour the Sun in some form. The Amazon Indians wear head-dresses made from feathers during special occasions, which aim to represent the Sun's rays. The written religious traditions also honour the light and fire which is brought by the Sun. Christianity speaks of "the Light of God," and candles are lit to represent God's divine presence. Hinduism describes the Fire god Agnee and celebrates the Festival of Light, while in Buddhism fire is regarded as a sacred and purifying element.

We may know far more about the Sun and Moon today, but these two celestial bodies do not cease to continue to inspire man with awe, wonder and respect.

 

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Sun Spirit pendant, available at the Spiral Online Shop

 

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