Solstice Cosmogonies


A little time passed,     a little bit passed quickly.

A goldeneye came, a straight-flying bird     it fluttered about

Seeking a place for its nest,     considering a place to live…

So then the mother of the water,     mother of the water, virgin of the air,

Raised her knee from the sea,     her shoulder blade from a billow,

For the goldeneye as a place for a nest,     as an agreeable dwelling place.

…On it she builds her nest     laid her golden eggs,

…Suddenly she twitched her knee,     make her sinews tremble;

the eggs tumbled into the water, are sent into the waves of the sea;

the eggs cracked into pieces,     broke into bits.

The eggs did not get into the ooze,     the bits not get mixed up with the water.

The bits were turned into fine things,     the pieces into beautiful things:

the lower half of one egg     into the earth beneath,

the top of half of another egg     into the heavens above.

The top half of one yolk     gets to glow like the sun,

the top half of one white     gets to gleam palely like the moon;

any mottled things on an egg,     those became stars in heaven,

Anything black on an egg,     those indeed became clouds in the sky. 


Feral Friends,

Every year to welcome the Solstice we gather on a pond or near one (sometimes a river) to read from the Kalevala, the compendium of ancient Finnish creation stories. Solstice is the perfect day and the beginning of the new solar year; this year doubly so, as the new moon comes tomorrow. A far-north cosmogony works well in Iowa when our glassy pond moans and cracks to give birth to something new. May we find ourselves cracked open and blessed and the frozen soul freed – brightened and warmed – under the mottled sky.

A yolk for the sun and eggwhite moon,

Jack Phillips

***Photos by Kristin Zahra, Fremont County, Iowa.