How Did Ancient Religions Honor Life Cycles?

Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu (6th century BCE)

Ancient Religions and Natural Cycles

Ancient religions have always taught reverence for life and respect for the natural cycles: the ebb and flow, winter and spring, yin and yang that comprise all existence.

Examples of Natural Cycles

  • Egyptian mystery cults equated cycles of life with the myth of Isis and Osiris and the annual fluctuations of the Nile.
  • Druids celebrated the changing seasons, lighting bonfires in the darkness of winter, and affirming the return of spring with the fires of Beltane (May Day Celebration).
  • Native Americans had ritual celebrations of the seasons and held hunting grounds sacred, offering prayers before taking any animal life.

Tao Te Ching and Nature

The Tao Te Ching (6th century BCE) teaches that all life is process. Like all living systems, we and our world are continuously evolving. Lao Tzu’s essential lesson is that we can gain greater power, peace, joy, and inspiration by following the principles of nature. 

The Tao of Inner Peace

Diane Dreher

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