Halcyon days. That’s what’s on my mind lately. I started thinking about the meaning of halcyon days because I’ve been in a funk lately.
I’ve been thinking about better times and better days in my past. In truth, I’ve been wondering if my best days are behind me.
Like most folks, I referred to those better times as ‘halcyon days’ and never gave that phrase a second thought. But as I pondered, I started wondering about the symbolic meaning of halcyon days. Where did that term come from? What does it mean? I discovered some pretty interesting tid bits…
General Meaning of Halcyon Days
Technically the phrase ‘halcyon days’ refers to ‘the calm before the storm.’ Specifically, in terms of weather. Halcyon days describe those calm moments during winter when the storms are at bay and peace seems to spread across the land.
On a more metaphorical note, halcyon days are about those moments in our human lives that are beautiful, tranquil, and joyful. These are the days we (ideally) think back upon when times are tough. Halcyon days describe a sense of nostalgia as we look back on better times with winsome fondness.
Halcyon days are those times in our lives that seem so enchanting, almost perfect. Summers at the beach. That first magical kiss and young love blossoming afterward. Playing baseball with dad. Feeling passion and purpose and riding a high wave of good juju.
Meaning of Halcyon Days in Greek Myth
The term ‘halcyon days’ first got started by the ancient Greeks. Myth has it that a Halcyon is actually a bird…a type of kingfisher, actually.
As the story goes, once upon a time there was a woman by the name of Alcyone, and her husband was named Ceyx. These two were very much in love. They were also pretty well off and lived a seemingly dreamy, awesome life.
As much as I wish I could say this couple lived a life of bliss and unicorns…unfortunately (as with most Greek myths), their story ends in tragedy.
Apparently, Ceyx and Alcyone got a little too big for their britches. They enjoyed their prestige and privilidge so much they started referring to themselves as Hera and Zeus…claiming they were the new biggety-wiggety’s on the block.
As you may know Zeus is the head-hancho, top-notch god of the Greek pantheon, and Hera is his wife (who was also extremely formidable and powerful).
Zeus caught word about Alcyone and Ceyx impersonating him and Hera, and was mightily displeased. Which isn’t saying much…Zeus was known to have a tyrannical temper. So, Zeus sent a lightning bolt into the sea that Ceyx was sailing upon. This demolished Ceyx’s ship, and rendered Ceyx ‘dead in the water.’
His wife, Alcyone, heard about the death of Ceyx, and was shredded with grief. So much so, she threw herself into the sea and drowned from a broken heart.
The Greek gods (Zeus and Hera not included) took pity on Alcyone and resurrected her in the form of a bird…a halcyon bird, which is a type of kingfisher who prefers a water environment and are often seen around sea sides.
The Halcyon bird created by Greek gods from the spirit of Alcyone was not like ordinary birds. The mythical Halcyon bird was featured as a truly magical creature but it did share normal behaviors, such as laying eggs like average birds.
As the legend goes, the Halcyon lays its eggs in the winter months. As you can imagine, this can be a tricky time for baby-birthing considering bone-chilling cold conditions upon tumultuous seas. So as an extension of the gods’ compassion, they mandated stellar weather conditions to the Halcyon while she laid her eggs as a sign of grace.
Further taking pity on Alcyone, the Greek gods extended a boon of blessings to the Halcyon bird. Every year when egg-laying time looms, the gods conjured a tremendous peace which settled upon land and sea. This was an assurance that the Halcyon bird’s eggs were safe from storms and well protected.
As the myth goes, this gentle lull in the weather lasted for about two weeks (around the winter solstice). This was a window in time of incredible tranquility while the Halcyon bird tends to her nest.
These favorable conditions promote healthy egg-laying and hatching and happy Halcyon baby bird births. These were extraordinary days in which everything seems picture-perfect.
Over time, this legend morphed into a phrase, and folks started saying…”Those were our Halcyon days” to describe a time in life that was serene, prosperous, and blissful.
Take-Away Points About the Meaning of Halcyon Days
So, if you’ve been feeling like me these days…a little low and wondering if your best days are buried in the past…re-consider the meaning of halcyon days. Here are a few ideas to get you back in a favorable mood and start embracing your future halcyon days.
1) More Eggs in the Future: Remember that Halcyon bird in Greek myth I mentioned? Well, the Halcyon bird didn’t lay one egg and call it quits. Nope. According to the legend, this powerful bird lays eggs for more than one season! That means there must be a future season of joy on the horizon. So if we think our best days are over, just remember the Halcyon bird has more eggs to hatch in future seasons!
2) Attitude of Gratitude: When it seems like the ‘good ol days’ are behind us…that is the perfect time to be grateful for the blessings we were fortunate enough to experience. The funny thing about positive energy is it grows when given a proper environment. The more grateful we are (whether for good times in the past or the present), the more good juju tends to get glued to us. It’s true…when we plant the seeds of joy and appreciation – joy and blessings return to us.
3) Promise Are Present: Even at the height of feeling insignificant and ineffective…that’s the time to be present and seek the beauty right in front of us. Sure, it’s great to savor the bright moments in our past. However, in order to encourage better times in the future – it’s a good practice to savor what’s going good in the present moment.
I hope this rings some bells for you and helps in some way. Maybe if you find yourself in the same boat as me..a bit blue and wondering if the best is in the past…this article on the meaning of halcyon days might give you the reassurance that good times will roll once again.
As always, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this article, I would be delighted if you would consider sharing this on your social networks!
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