This morning as I woke up, but wasn’t ready to get up. I lay there, letting my mind wander and easing into the day. It’s Epiphany, I thought. The Christmas season is over. Yes, Christmas is not just a day, it’s a season. (That’s not a tag line; there’s a really old song about it and everything.) Christmas is 12 days long ending with Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. Epiphany celebrates the gifts of the magi to the baby Jesus and an acknowledgement of him as the one who’s coming was foretold. I had my own epiphany this morning.
Right in the middle of this season comes New Years Day. This has always seemed like a made up holiday to me. There’s no context for it in nature. And, it’s so out of sync with the season, it feels to me like it short circuits this reflective time of hope and light. It shoots us into goals, resolutions and hovering failure with a tradition of drinking, falling balls and loud fireworks.
Growing up, New Years Day was the day the holiday decorations came down. Everything looked so bare and empty – and the January blues often took advantage of this window and settled on in.
As I’m thinking about this, I fall back into a light sleep. I see a cowboy. He’s burly and manly. He smiles at me in a crooked sort of way and I see that cheeky Hollywood sparkle off his teeth. He seems to dwarf everything around him – even the horse he’s riding on. I close my eyes and look again. No, he’s a big man, but the horse is bigger. Then, he dwarfs everything again. I realize it’s his attitude, not his size.
He sits up straighter in his saddle, grabs his rope and begins to swing a lasso above his head. I look ahead of him to see what he’s after. There’s nothing there. He let’s loose and the lasso soars through the air. The cowboy shouts his success, pulls tight on the rope and saunters to his prey. I still see nothing.
He swings down from his horse and giving another shout of victory he holds up a calendar. It’s like a giant sized daily calendar – like a quote of the day kind of thing.
I wake up laughing. The cowboy thinks he’s lassoed time. Then I chuckle at the dream wondering why it came. Ah, New Years Day – the made up holiday.
I realize the cowboy with his American attitude of being lord of his domain was a manifestation in the dream. Historically, he was actually Roman. Romulus started it all by abandoning the lunar calendar and creating the Roman calendar. The science was a bit off. The original Roman calendar consisted only of 10 months and a year of 304 days. The remaining 61 1/4 days were simply ignored, resulting in a gap during the winter season. Later January and February were added.
Like their penchant for straight roads despite the landscape, the Romans tried their hand a taming time. But the sun, moon and stars just keep moving in their own patterns.
Finally, Julius Caesar created the Julian calendar in an attempt to better regulate time for efficiency throughout the Roman Empire – which extended across cultures, hemispheres and landscapes. Despite the quite regular cycle of 13 moons in a solar year, the Roman calendars reduced the year to 12 ‘moonths’. Yes, they awkwardly have different numbers of days and every four years, we have to add an extra day to sync up with nature. But hey, for those who wish to believe, time has been captured and branded so everyone knows who it belongs to.
My Celtic, nature centered heart finds this quite amusing. And to think, the cowboy got back on his horse and lassoed time again to create daylight savings time. This cowboy might have been a New Zealander named Hudson, a German, Austrian or even Ben Franklin. There seems to be a lot of stories as to the origination. Perhaps the cowboy wore a mask?
Certainly, there is a convenience to having a common national and international time reference. We just have to remember it’s an artificial construct. New Years Day is a made up holiday without context to the natural world. To be fair, the Julian Calendar was created before the birth of Jesus, so we can’t blame Caesar for the interruption of the Christmas season. If we lose the magic of the season, that’s on us.
It seems to me that it makes plain good sense to reflect on how we measure things and whether it really serves us. It’s a really good time to return to the syncopation of the natural cycles – to see time as endlessly cyclical and not a commodity with limits. There is ease and freedom in the natural cycles. As we straddle artificial constructs and the natural cycles, let’s keep a sense of humor about it and find our own balance. ~ Coleen
Photo by Fabian Burghardt on Unsplash
Like, share, follow, comment and forward to friends and colleagues. I’m Coleen Rhalena Renee – a spiritual healer and teacher. Please help me pass along these insights, teachings and thoughts to ponder. I’m deeply grateful to all my readers and thank you for your efforts.