As the light dwindled in the sky and the days grew shorter, the ancients wondered what was happening to the sun. Their shamans and storytellers supplied the answers. Gods and goddesses were fighting for the survival of all life, playing games in the sky or battling each other for supremacy.
Ancient peoples worked to be in balance with the forces of nature as they understood them. Many cultures carefully watched the sun so that they would know when to plant, when to harvest and when to batten down the hatches for winter.
What people do not know or understand, they make up stories to explain.
What the ancients feared, they named so that they could understand it in some way.
There are common patterns with Deities representing the sun or the light as the central theme. At latitudes where the tilt of the earth causes the sun to dip very low, tales are told where the threat to the sun is mortal so the people must come forward in the sun's defense. Closer to the equator, we will sometimes see the sun as simply losing interest or a diminishing of its capacity to perform its duty so the festivals and ceremonies are to remind of, or bind it to, its task
These days, most people think back on the mythical explanations that forces of nature were gods and goddesses as quaint legends. We know better.
We have forgotten what it is to huddle in a fire-lit cave while thunder splits the night sky with sound and shakes the earth around us, so we no longer need know the names of the thunder gods to assure us there is some kind of order in the universe
These Solstice tales are formatted in slideshow so you may read the wee books by clicking on the image for the next page