I love Thanksgiving as much as the next person. Sharing a feast with friends and family, a few days off at home – cranberry sauce and mashed sweet potatoes with caramelized apples. Not to mention the pumpkin pie that Rich bakes from scratch, using fresh pumpkins from local farms.
Still, history is written by the winners, and like so many of our holidays the actual history of the Thanksgiving holiday is lost to the mists of legend. According to most accounts, our Thanksgiving holiday commemorates the feast held by the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts to celebrate their first successful harvest and the assistance of two Native Americans, Samoset and Squanto, who taught the Pilgrims how to tame the land and nourish their families. But there is some evidence that the primary purpose of the feast was to sign a treaty with the Wampanoag tribe for the land that the Pilgrims occupied, and that the 90 Native Americans who attended the feast actually brought a substantial amount of the food.
Native Americans who greeted the early settlers provided aid and assistance to the newcomers. When the settlers did not return their hospitality, refusing to marry their women and disrespecting their spirituality with efforts to convert them to Christianity, they began to rebel. The early settlers from England viewed the natives as savages rather than equals to be respected.
We all know what happened next.
The idea of holding a celebration to give thanks for the harvest is an ancient one. The ancient Greeks and Romans held celebratory feasts to thank Demeter/Ceres for the year’s bounty, from which comes our “cornucopia,” or horn of plenty. In ancient China, a Moon Festival celebrated the harvest moon with feasting. Ancient Egyptians gathered in thanks to the goddess Min who presided over fertility and plenty.
In our modern American culture Thanksgiving has become associated with the excess that is destroying its spiritual fiber. We eat too much, we drink too much, and then we sit around and watch football. The day after Thanksgiving we converge at the mall where we spend too much money and buy too much stuff, for which we then need to hire professional organizers.
I propose that we make today a day of gratitude and sincere thanks to the Universe for the true bounty that has been given to us. Some days we can find little to be grateful for: genuine trauma and despair fills our heart and it seems there is no light to be found. It is at those times when more than any other we need to look deeply into our life and find there the seeds of opportunity that wait to be discovered. Like the silver lining found in every cloud, each disastrous event holds within it a tiny light of potential rebirth and regeneration.
It is an essential truth that the aspects of our life on which we place our focus will continue to grow. If we find within our hearts the ability to be grateful, we will be rewarded by increasing abundance and plenty. I leave you with this beautiful quote:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/astrologicalmusings/2007/11/thanksgiving-musings-and-the-e.html#HRTBFRoHtkBlsRTo.99