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The 12 Days of Christmas: This week on The Storyteller's Night Sky

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The seasonal carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” marks the 12 days from Christmas Day, Dec. 25, to Epiphany on Jan. 6, as though in a folk-ish or even nonsensical way, but a much deeper meaning is revealed if we consider that this is darkest time of year, and since ancient pre-Christian ages it marked the time for specific rites of initiation.

These ancient rites always pointed to an exceptional moment in worldly evolution, referred to in contemporary culture as the birth of inner light during the year’s darkest nights. Though there may be varying opinion about whether or not this light has yet been realized, centuries of practice suggest that some miracle is rightly anticipated and celebrated at this time of year.

If we take the rhythm of “The 12 Days of Christmas” song, we notice a definite shift in the verse sung for the fifth day, when the lyric describes the gift of five golden rings. The reference to gold can be understood in relation to the Sun, which, astrologically understood, relates beautifully to the forces of the human heart. So this verse in the song may be understood to point to the deep mystery of awakening the Sun forces in the human heart, which makes of the human being a star, like the Sun, but now realized on the Earth. The five points of the star are evidenced in the human form itself, with head, two arms and two legs making the shape.

The fifth day of Christmas is always December 29th, and this year, the planet Mercury will begin its final retrograde of 2022 on that day. At the same time, Mercury will come conjunct the planet Venus, a sign that Mercury, as escort of souls, intends to carry love and beauty, as radiant evening star, into the new year.

Mary Stewart Adams is a Star Lore Historian and host of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky.” As a global advocate for starry skies, Mary led the team that established the 9th International Dark Sky Park in the world in 2011, which later led to her home state of Michigan protecting 35,000 acres of state land for its natural darkness.