6th January in Spain and it’s Epiphany. The day when the three kings visited Jesus and offered him gifts. The day when traditionally, Spanish children also receive their gifts from their families although increasingly, many Spanish families are now celebrating Santa Claus on the 25th December too, making it an expensive time of year.
For language geeks like me, epiphany is also an interesting time and word and idea. The concept of an epiphany is the sense of gaining, perhaps quite suddenly, an intricate and perhaps externally influenced understanding of a concept. An epiphany suggests to me a gift from the gods or supernatural elements looking out for us little people and giving us some insight into life the world and everything.
At the same time, however, an epiphany doesn’t come without some sort of prior work. We can’t suddenly grasp huge concepts of physics or matter or the universe without some prior building blocks and thought.
That’s why an epiphany is a great concept. The marriage of some supernatural, magical event or understanding in our lives after some serious thoughtfulness and meditation or maybe some serious physical graft or just some hard bloody work.
An epiphany is a major thing, an opportunity, a light shining. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a big thing in our personal worlds. It may be a decision to change something in our lives, to be more charitable, to be honest or enact a kind moment every day. The small stuff begets the big stuff, emotionally, physically, spiritually.
The celebration of Epiphany also coincides with Twelfth Night, traditionally the time to put the decorations away and prepare for the year ahead. Twelfth Night has been a time for the final acts of chaos and misrule as we celebrate the end of the disorder started earlier in the year (at Halloween).
The origins of Twelfth Night and Epiphany are complex, with religious and pagan ceremonies coming together in this significant date after Christmas. They may mean different things to us all, the end of Christmas, the recognition of a New Year ahead, the return to order after dark winter chaos, the celebration of the birth and recognition of Christ as the son of God.
I don’t think it matters what you may be celebrating or thinking about today, I just hope that we can all take a magical bit of the meaning of those ingredients.
Personally, I’d like to combine a bit of pagan chaos energy with a moment of clarity, an epiphany which will allow me to make changes for the better in the New Year. Perhaps it’s enough; if we believe in it, in combining those elements together today; magic will happen.