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The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice Paperback – October 12, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Marlowe & Company (October 12, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569246173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569246177
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,509,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Intelligent and charming, The Return of the Light draws you into an ancient, still thriving world of mystery and magic, where humans strive to make sense of nature and come up with ingenious and often fun tales to explain the winter solstice.

Carolyn McVickar Edwards lays a foundation of knowledgeable yet accessible scholarship, then recounts each tale in the various cultures' unique styles, often with snappy dialogue, often with a haunting poignancy.

Whether you're new to comparative mythology or an old hand, you're sure to enjoy and appreciate Edwards' respectful yet lively look at how the mystery of change resonates throughout our stories and rituals, bringing meaning to our myths and our lives." -Pamela Jaye Smith, mythologist and filmmaker, founder of MYTHWORKS(tm)

"Each story is a glimpse into the imagery and mysteries of another culture-from a female Santa Claus in Italy to a girl marrying the sun in Africa, to the North American Raven creating light. Read the stories one day as a meditative journey or read them to your kids, or read one after another. They tell of an inner journey too, the universal journey from light to dark and back to light again. As Carolyn says, myths are the soul stories of a particular culture. Each of her commentaries creates a tone, paints the landscape, and deepens our journey through these other worlds. Wonderful stories for the holidays or for any day of the year." -ELLIE FIDLER M.F.A., artist, lecturer and teacher of art and mythology, and the Solstice and Seasonal Myths and Mysteries series at the University of California extension, Santa Cruz, and in Berkeley, California

"The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice honors the power of storytelling and will enhance the experience of the Winter Solstice through its stories and fables, ritual and ceremony. It gives us ways to look at this time of year with renewed meaning." -Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., cultural anthropologist, author of The Four-Fold Way and Signs of Life

About the Author

Carolyn McVickar Edwards is a teacher, storyteller, and the author of The Storyteller's Goddess (Marlowe & Company), recently re-issued in an expanded and revised second edition. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
These stories are beautifully written and crafted.
Ellen Jackson
All are very well written, easy to get into, leave you with things to think about.
merrymousies
I bought this book for a St Nicholas Day gift for my son and daughter this year.
Kira Jovian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 56 people found the following review helpful By merrymousies on January 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful collection of short stories - really great to read and put down, come back later for more. The stories are from around the world which I particularly liked. All are very well written, easy to get into, leave you with things to think about. Here are the titles of the stories:
Part 1: Theft
- Why Hummingbird has a red throat
- The golden earring
- Raven steals the light
- The sun cow and the theif
Part 2: Surrender
- How Maui snared the sun
- How the cock got his crown
- Loki and the death of light
- The pull-together morning
Part 3: The Grace
- Grandfather mantis and his thinking strings
- The girl who married the sun
- The light keepers box
- La Befana and the Royal Child of Light
For each story we're told what country its from and a little background for contect. Excellent!!
The last part of the book has rites (e.g. tree offering, give away) and games for winter solstice nights and solstice songs (e.g. deck the halls, joy to the world etc - different lyrics from the traditional christian songs)
There's also a great bibliography to check out more books
Highly recommended.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Terrie on November 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love this little volume of Winter Solstice tales from diverse cultures around the world. I believe that exploring the rich symbolism of the Yuletide season helps to make this joyful time of year come more fully to life. These clever stories are sure to further your understanding of the meanings of the holiday celebrations you have enjoyed all your life, adding new dimension to your future celebrations. They offer an opportunity to increase your sense of oneness with others who may worship and believe differently from yourself but who are none-the-less your sisters and brothers. There are tables at the back of this book which have short ritual ideas to use in your own celebrations and revels as well as some clever lyric revisions to well-known carols that put a Winter Solstice spin on them. I am a Wiccan Priestess and have used this book in crafting an annual public, ecumenical Yule ritual with great success. I recommend it for fireside reading as you wait up to greet the new born light.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Hart on April 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
In The Return of the Light Carolyn McVickar Edwards assembles twelve legends, folktales and fairy tales told about the "return of light" that occurs at the winter solstice. I wanted to know more about the roots of the older traditions surrounding the Winter Solstice before it was taken over by the Church. I didn't really find that, but I did find several different takes from around the world on just what happens during the solstice, the shortest day of the year, and their explanations for why the sun goes away, and more importantly why it comes back after.

The book is divided into three parts, each part containing four stories of a particular way in which the sun is lost at the solstice: the first through theft, the second through surrender and the third by grace. Each part is preceded with a short discussion about the method of reacquiring the sun, and each story is additionally given an introduction explaining the society it came from and where the story originated.

I thought that the introductions to the book and the sections in particular were by turns overly analytical, and then bizarrely whimsical. They could have perhaps been written in a more user friendly way. I am used to reading sociological and historical texts with a lot of technical terms in them and even I found myself lost and re-reading passages trying to get the gist of the great deal of knowledge the author attempted to cram into very little space. This also resulted in a bit of reader's whiplash when you switched to reading the story.

The stories were simplified and written in a very easy to understand and casual manner, particularly the dialogue which was written in a very believable modern day cadence and made the stories easy to read aloud and easy for listeners of any age to relate to.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Jackson on July 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
These stories are beautifully written and crafted. For those of us who love celestial creation stories, it's gratifying to see so many fine tales brought together in one book. However, I question if this is really for children (it was catalogued as a juvenile book in my library) with sentences such as the following from the introduction: "In each tale, the status quo, represented respectively by grudging community, powerful magician, innocent girl, or oblivious community, is like the personality entrenched in its habits and defenses, blind to spacious possibility."

Ellen Jackson, author
THE WINTER SOLSTICE
[...]
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ashish Kumar on December 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We purchased this book along with "The Shortest Day" with the intentions of celebrating the solstice with our children- ages 3 and 5. While this book is not a children's book, it does have a collection of unique stories that all offer the promise of the sun's return. I would love to see this author create a more kid friendly version of this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kira Jovian on January 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for a St Nicholas Day gift for my son and daughter this year. Since they were 18 months old and 2 weeks old respectively at the time, it might have been more of a gift for my husband and me, but either way it was the beginning of a new family tradition for us. On each of the 12 days of Christmas we read a new story, each one short enough (and colorful enough) to keep the interest of my toddler... and me! In fact my son brought this one to me over his pictures books on many occasions this Yuletide season.
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