Twelfth Night Thoughts

“A real artist is the one who has learned to recognize and to render… the ‘radiance’ of all things as an epiphany or showing forth of the truth.”

– Joseph Campbell

Twelfth Night, the twelfth day of Christmas, is also known as Epiphany Eve. Many traditions surround this time, but many of them consider Twelfth Night to be January 5th with Epiphany celebrated on January 6th. Some refer to Epiphany as Three Kings Day, and see it as a celebration (primarily) of the visit of the Magi and the revelation of the incarnation of God in Jesus. Others link the day to Jesus’ baptism.

The symbolism here would take multiple posts to discuss and, regardless of one’s church or sect or denomination, the meaning, I believe, transcends temporal orgnizations and faiths and instead reminds us of the most important epiphany each of us can have: the realization of the divine within ourselves.

Wikipedia Photo

Originally, when people spoke of having an epiphany, the default value of the experience was that the insight they found came from the god of their hearts. Now, such realizations are often considered to be of a logical or scientific or psychological origin. It’s all the same, I think.

As writers, our best work seems to come from multiple epiphanies, from having our fingers or thoughts on the pulse of the universe and the channels through which cosmic energies flow.

Or, perhaps you are more comfortable with the idea of inspiration or having a real or figurative muse. Looking at it that way seems less presumptuous!

My muse tells me to follow the old traditions and to take down my Christmas decorations today or otherwise be stuck leaving them up until Candlemas. It’s hard enough explaining to neighbors why our decorations are up longer than most people’s; it would be more difficult if our lights and greenery were up until February 2. The decorations, when they go up, and when they’re put away are guidelines, not rules, for the paths we’re following.

Perhaps the decorations symbolize a person’s readiness to discover and interpret the radiance of all things.