Selentag and The Twelfth Night

Posted by James Bowery on Sunday, 06 January 2013 21:59.

The quest for the authentic Christmas Spirit continues with this perspective from Melvin Gorham on what is now known as “The Twelfth Night”.

Originally published in 1970 as “The Ancient Story of Selentag” here is the description of the holiday “Selentag” from the revised “Kris Krinkle and The Moon Princess”*:

A season we call Selentag began when yonder young moon first showed in tonight’s sky.  It will last until that same moon has grown full, and then will continue on until the moon has again shrunk to the same size and set in the west some twelve days hence.  Among my people, a woman and a woman’s love, at all times, are given honor equal to a man’s courage and will.  But because my men are exceptionally brave and zealous in their defense of honor, and because the winters are long and dark in my country, we have designated a season surrounding the first full moon after the winter solstice when a woman’s love is not only honored equally with a man’s valor; it is honored absolutely.  During this time, woman and woman’s love are honored wholly and exclusively, while the spirit of man sleeps quietly, even as, beneath a deep snow, a bear goes into hibernation.  Anyone who provokes or issues a challenge during Selentag without extremely good cause is held in contempt by my people.  He forgoes the honor usually accorded a brave man who fights with judgement and fairness when in honor he cannot avoid fighting.  Often men who drink and sing the songs of Selentag together forget their differences and fail to issue the challenges that their restraint has caused them to hold back in deference to the holidays…

Each night while the moon is young, open house will be held by the older children of every hearthside, while adults and small children go from house to house, everywhere welcomed to enter, eat and drink by any hearthfire, and join in songs and merriment.  On the night of the full moon, and from noontime of the day preceding it to noontime of the day that follows, it is customary for everyone to travel as little as possible—all remaining as house guests in whatever home the preceding midday finds them.  Because all are inside by their hearthfires in congenial happiness, the full moon shines down on a silent night of profound peace, as woman’s love would have it.  Then the nights following, while the moon wanes to the present size again, the adults and small children hold open house, and all the older children visit.  They, then, are entertained with food, drink, songs and merriment.

Last night was celebrated as “The Twelfth Night” among Christian traditions. 

Under Gorham’s description, it should be January 10th this year.

*ISBN 0-914752-29-4 Available from Sovereign Press, 326 Harris Road, Rochester, WA 98579

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Comments:


1

Posted by Suburban_elk on Mon, 07 Jan 2013 20:47 | #

Metaphors which are not metaphors; but i would ask you to spell it out. What is their adaptive value.

There was a time, people forgot their grudges? Do you care for Herbert, he reflects some of your ideas (the Fremen had their orgies).

Is this a necessary mode for a healthy community, to give it up for a fortnight? Who would object; i guess those who control the usual pressure points. I liked by the way, your explanation on the “old” origin of the “Christmas” mythos. (Is that the right use of mythos?)


2

Posted by James Bowery on Tue, 08 Jan 2013 12:08 | #

I haven’t experienced, in a relatively pure form, Selentag as described by Gorham so I can only speculate as to the adaptive value:

There is a sense in which the depth of winter is associated with all-pervasive death.  Since the masculine aspect of creation is killing that which needs to be killed—destroying that which needs to be destroyed for new creation, and that aspect is given full force by Nature during the depth of winter, there is little need for individual men to exercise that aspect during that time.

Likewise, since the feminine aspect of creation is nurturing that which needs nurturing—preserving that which needs to be preserve to further creation, and that aspect is given very little force by Nature during the depth of winter, there is great need for individual women to exercise that aspect during that time, and for men to support that feminine aspect of creation.

As to the particulars of the first twelve nights vs the last twelve nights of the “tide” of Selene (the moon):

The social role of host is played by the older children (shielded youth) during the waxing moon which allows them full expression of their innate creativity which is, at that age, beginning social aspects of genetic expression.  This not only enhances their growth into fully social adults, it revitalizes traditions from vital genetic forces—life force if you will.  By placing this prior to the adults playing host, it holds back stifling influences of tradition.  Although Gorham doesn’t specify my speculation is that adolescents are also “older children”.  This means the waning moon is primarily for socializing youth in traditions within the context of their own previously expressed creative impulses as a contrast—and to introduce young children to the traditions as a way of providing a cultural framework from which their later genetic expression will creatively depart through the genetic forces of youth.

As for the full moon sedentary noon-to-noon, I can imagine that people will have, during the waxing moon,  sorted themselves into affinity groups after full opportunity for comparison between the various hosted environments, and that this sorting will provide a degree of social status to the children/young people who most express the authentic force of life/genetics.


3

Posted by John Thomas on Fri, 08 Feb 2013 16:08 | #

Concerning Moon and Moon Time or Lunar Time check this out:  (PDF) Return to the Circle by Pastor Buddy Johnson…..Farmers Alamnac and Morning of The Magacians about Fire and Ice… Even Wiccans know the facts about the Moon and its effects. Keep in mind Joseph Smith on Sept. 21 and 22 Autumn Eqinox…  PAY LAY ALE The Raven and the Sweet Odor of Cedar Returns…. JOHN THOMAS



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