Sun Stories

Sun Stories; Tales from Around the World to Illuminate the Days and Nights of Our Lives by Carolyn McVickar Edwards. San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins, 1995. ISBN 0¬06-2S0276-x 205 p. USA $12.00, CAN $16.75.

A book of sun stories could not have been more welcome arriving as it did, in early March, when winter was showing no signs of abating. For that matter it could have arrived in May, this. year and still have hit a snowy day..

I started reading straight through and found, as Edwuds points out , that read this way the stories are strung like beads on a necklace: each offsetting' its neighbours. Then I began to skip around, intrigued by the descriptions given in the table of contents. Either way, or any way, it is a fascinating collection of tales about the return of the sun - not the metaphorical sun, but the real sun of the ancients. There are 26 stories in the collection, all but one rewiitten by Edwards. Each is introduced by notes on its theme, and on its founding culture.
I enjoyed the notes as much as the stories. It is always good to put stories in context culturally, and the thematic notes went beyond commenting on just the story to include general discussion of myth. More than that they maintain Edwards' own belief in the need to simplify our lives, to recognize the eco-cultural transition in which society finds itself today, to redefine our lives in relation to solar energy.

The notes and, indeed, the stories she has chosen, tell us much about the author's own mix of spirituality and ecology. In showing us her view, as well as the view of the ancients, she invites us to re-examine our own lives and mythologies, to look into the mirror and see who is there. Edwards has chosen Native American stories, stories from Thailand, India, Eastern Europe, China, Africa, and South America. We see the sun as young womal1,. and queen, as young king, and as old man. We see the sun enclosed in a tower, trapped in the underworld, and hidden in the sky. We meet tricksters, 'heroes, laughter, courage, deep sorrow, and sexuality. There stories here that could be used effectively with children. and Edwards has even put one story in play form for classroom use.

In addition to a sizeable bibliography, there are also story and motif indices. All of these things, and the diversity of the stories that can only be appreciated by reading them, are what make the collection appealing to me. I have already gone back to some of the stories more than once, and will probably continue to do so. In the introduction Edwards says: "The seasonal solstice is a powerful metaphor for the psychological and cultural solstices of our lives. Waiting on the threshold in the dark, alone and together, we dare to hope for spring. We know too much and not nearly enough. We have to believe it all matters, and we have an agonizing hunch it might not. These are winter tales that sew from all the scraps a quilt of hope, wisdom and humor. "

Don't wait until winter to warm yourself with these stories.

The Second Story Review, Vol 1, No. 2, Sep 1996
Mot de passe oublié?