Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with throwing open the cabinet of curiosities and wondrous things I call my brain and leading you on a tour of what actually resides in there – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
H is for…
Heliolatry – (n) worship of the sun
After days of rain and clouds, today I woke with the song “Here Comes the Sun” blasting through my brain. What a difference a few early morning rays can make, and today I’m all about the sun.
Our word today has its roots in Greek mythology. Helios was the Titan god of the Sun, brother of Eos (dawn) and Selene (moon). He lived in a golden palace in the river-ocean Oceanus. Every day he emerged at dawn, crowned in the gleaming aureole of the Sun, and drove his chariot drawn by four horses (often pictured as winged) across the sky. When he reached the furthermost land in the far West, he descended into a golden cup which carried him back through Oceanus to his home where he would rise again bringing a new day. He was also considered a guardian of oaths, as well as the god of sight. He was often depicted as all-seeing because it was believed from his position in the heavens as he rode across the sky, he could witness everything in the heavens and on Earth.
I couldn’t help but snap this photo this morning. I have this sun hanging in my bedroom and it was the first rays of sun catching it. Hello Helios!
I’m reminded of the words from one of John Donne’s poems:
”Busy old fool,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains call on us?”
While of course today’s word clearly belongs to Helios, I have my favorite sun goddesses as well. I’ve mentioned my connection to Sekhmet, the Egyptian lion-headed goddess, and she’s often depicted wearing a solar disk. But I also love Amaterasu, the Japanese Shinto goddess, whose name means “great shining heaven.”
Here’s a snap of a sun goddess I keep on one of my altars:
While I’m riffing about the sun, I have to share this wisdom from Hafiz, as translated by Daniel Landinsky:
Did the rose
Ever open it’s heart
And give this world
All its Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
We all remain
I must say I really love that sentiment.
May we all know the power of heliolatry, be embolden by the gifts of the sun, and may we be filled with light that we are willing to always share.
What about you? What’s your relationship with the sun? Do tell – you know I love to hear.