We are all aware of the changing of the seasons, the turning of the planet, and the shift between lighter days and darker days.
Ancient religions were also aware of this cycle, before modern science could prove or explain the reasoning why. Pagan traditions marked these dates — summer and winter solstice, spring and autumn equinox, and the quarter points in between — with prayers, rituals, and celebrations.
Many Pagan traditions take this concept and expand it even further into myth. This is the myth that can be best described as “light versus dark,” or “the battle between good and evil.”
Many religions, both ancient and modern, and not specifically limited to paganism, hold the belief that the world is at a constant battle between good and evil, has been this way since the beginning of time, and may peak at the so-called “end of the world.”
Some say this war between good and evil comes down to the angels verses the demons. Others say this is specifically about one God of light versus one god of dark.
The ancient Egyptians called the darkness “Set,” the ancient Romans: “Saturn,” in Christianity: “Satan.”
The ancient Egyptians called their savior God of light “Horus,” and in Christianity, “Jesus.”
For the further explanation of this myth, I will not refer to a specific deity or being. I will use terms “light” and “dark.” Light representing goodness and purity, dark representing evil and negativity.
So, according to this myth, we live in the reign of light for the first half of the year and then the reign of dark in the latter. Some versions say that in the beginning of time, the Light and the Dark made an agreement to share the world and take turns ruling it. Other versions say that the two are at constant battle for power, and because of their equal amount of strength, it is natural that they end up sharing equal amounts of rulership.
It all begins on winter solstice, or December 21. (Adjust date according to hemisphere.) This is when the light is born in a time of absolute darkness. Lightness gradually gains strength, eventually conquering Darkness on the spring equinox, in which Light has completely taken over. Spring equinox is the final match between Light and Dark, in which the darkness officially gives up.
And then comes summer solstice, June 21, when Light has reached its peak. It’s the longest and lightest day of the year. This marks the ultimate battle between Light and Dark — and this time the Dark wins. Autumn equinox, September 22, is when Light, after slowly losing strength, finally gives up and retreats.
But as we all know, the light will return again on winter solstice, as the cycle repeats itself over and over again.
Now of course, evil happens any time of year, and can certainly take place in winter/spring, the first half of the year. And kindness and miracles can certainly occur during the so-called reign of darkness, during the summer/fall. However, it’s not that the light does not exist during reign of darkness, nor the dark does not exist during reign of lightness. After all, we still experience night and day. What this implies rather, is that the dark holds more power and influence during the reign of darkness, and vice versa.
It does seem that depression and hopeless thoughts are more common during the second half of the year, as well as a gravitation towards violent and disturbing themes. We tend to think of summer as such a happy time, but it could be more-so the spring we are referring to, and the start of summer, or summer vacation itself.
Seasonal depression is real, as the decrease of exposure to light affects our mood, most notably less vitamin D absorption. However, this would mainly refer to late fall and wintertime rather than summer.
I do notice myself, and others, feeling sadder during late summer, like August. Like Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness,” it actually is not all it’s hyped up to be. A lot of people do seem to fall into hopelessness, right before and during the season of “fall” — as not just the leaves fall, but our hope falls down too.
This could be due to many factors. For students, parents, and teachers, it could be linked to a new school year — as July often means that vacation is halfway over and a new school year is almost here. The change of routine, with new classmates, teachers, and coursework brings anxiety and fear of the unknown. This is stressful for both people in school, and parents of kids in school.
Certainly, the changing of school years must play a part in the depressing thoughts people are more likely to experience. However, it must go beyond that, as many adults with no involvement to school are still prone to the shift in these uncomfortable feelings.
So what can we do, if this is true? How can we handle the reign of darkness, which rules half of our years and therefore half of our lives?
Avoid making major life decisions…?
Some say that during the time of darkness, especially within a waning moon, that major life decisions should be avoided. Of course this is not practical, as we are faced with countless decisions each day, both big and small. You cannot live half of your life without making serious choices. However, I do think that we could be prone to unhealthy and fear-based decisions during this time. Before making decisions, it should be deeply considered that you are not deciding out of fear, that you are choosing with hope rather than despair. I think major decisions require more deep reflecting during this period.
Fall & surrender
I do think that the summer and the very start of autumn is more of a struggle than mid to end of autumn. The initial adjustment from light to dark is the hardest. Once autumn is in full swing, and we are already used to darker days, I think it becomes easier to accept this change and move forward. Also, end of autumn means we are much closer to the return of the light (winter solstice) than we are at to the return of the dark (summer solstice.) Although days are much darker by late October and November, it is also a time in which hope returns because we are so much closer to the rebirth of light. Anyway, welcoming the darkness is all you can do, knowing that this too shall pass. The more you resist it, the more power it gains.
Stay close to the light
It takes more of an effort to keep a positive mindset, but it’s so important that you try. When you find yourself becoming burdened with hopelessness, talk to someone. Use all your strength to stay positive. You may be more tempted to binge negative media — shows, movies, books, music etc. with themes of despair, violence, and cynicism. I think moderation is okay, but at least balance it out. When you consume something that’s really heavy and dark, follow that with something positive and light. Do not isolate yourself from loved ones.
The reign of darkness is an opportunity to confront your demons and resolve inner traumas. For serious matters I suggest a professional therapist. There are many online courses and books that can help you. Even simply journaling can help you out. During this period you will be able to see things that you typically hide from yourself. This is a great time to release suppressed negativity.
I have received some unwanted comments (from people who don’t even follow me, and I don’t respond to these types of comments or approve them) regarding things I write that have to do with myths or theories. This should already be clear, but… I write these things for fun, and as a way of looking at things differently. I do also write plenty of nonfiction posts, and when I do that I always add my sources. And I’m also not trying to be offensive towards anyone’s religion at all. If you aren’t interested in something then why bother writing a rude comment? If this type of content is not for you then I kindly ask you move along, thank you! Having said that though, lots of love to people who do support me regardless!
4 thoughts on “Mythology Monday ~ Light Versus Dark”
These are some great pieces of advice! I especially agree with you about not so much avoiding making any important decisions in low-energy times, but instead being aware and counteracting any fearful tendencies with careful consideration.
Personally, my response to light and dark times seems flipped. I often feel depressed and listless on long, sunny days while darker, rainy and cold days can make me practically skip. So I’ll probably keep your tips in mind for next journey toward the summer solstice! 😅
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Thanks!!!! I completely relate to feeling happier on a cold/rainy day than a bright and sunny day!!!
For me, I find July through October to be most depressing. By November (maybe because it’s my birthday month) I begin to feel better, and by late December into January my mood is much improved.
Although I have to say, springtime makes me quite anxious. Gotta love those April showers though 🌧☔️😌
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Actually, we like the darkness. For quite a while we lived in the Arctic and the dark time was for us – as for many we we know – the cosy time. The time you come together in the front of the open fie, you tell and listen to stories, to enjoy the sauna together and read and listen to music. You don’t work that much but relax.
If you look at the history of symbols you see that in most symbol systems darkness is seen as the mother of crativity. In Buddhism f.e. the medition on the dark goddess Kali is seen as highest meditation.
We had to live in California and Greece before, there we got kind of depressed. We couldn’t stand the sun all the time and this hot weather any longer.
Thanks for sharing your ideas
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
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Good point 🙂 Yes, goddess Kali is one of my favorites. It is said to understand Kali means to transcend fear. The darkness does require us to slow down and through this we can discover the unhidden. Thanks for stopping by!
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