At the End of the World

We have come to the end and peer into an abyss. What do you see? The world, as we know it, is gone. What has changed? You and me?

Have you heard the story about the little boy who cried wolf? Whenever he held watch over the fold of sheep, he thought it was hilarious to watch the whole village run out to the fields when he would shout, “WOLF! WOLF!” He ignored the rebuke of the village elders. When he thoroughly trained the village to ignore his cries, a wolf finally appeared and that was the end of the child. In the end, he did not laugh.

What can be said of this generation of ours? Which is more foolish: the childish mind that sensationalizes doomsday prophecies for viewership and advertising dollars, or the childish mind that has not learned to ignore false alarms? While the former loses credibility, the latter appears to get what they deserve. Who knows the meaning of these words:

Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me!

We have heard many prophesies of doom in this generation, but countless are such prophesies in the annals of humankind. Some wail that this may be the one time the proverbial “wolf” actually appears. The analogy breaks down here, though. What do you think you can do if the end of the world is truly at hand?

cemeteryAt the end of the world we peer into an abyss and what do we see? We see folly and fear. How can anyone truly live when all they do is worry about doom and death. The answer is simple: they cannot. They exist in the endless darkness of an abyss created with fear and folly. To some, the passing of the Mayan Apocalypse without a physical end to the world may simple mean they are condemned to continue with a miserable existence. After all, we still have to deal with all the other seemingly impossible problems facing humankind. Of course, these problems are bound to appear impossible when you peer out from the dark abyss of fear and folly. It is time to step into the light.

The Lady of Rains recently wrote about gratitude. Gratitude seems to be a trait of the light. When we do not appreciate what we have, we are left wanting more. The relationship between gratitude and greed seems inversely proportional: the less we appreciate the things we have, the greater our desire for more things. It is this very lack of gratitude that is depleting our planetary resources. It is greed that precipitated a global economic collapse four years ago. The fear of losing worldly treasures drives us to accumulate to excess, and does not allow time to be grateful for what we do have. Gratitude is the antithesis of greed, and it is not too late to step out of the darkness and into the light. The bard sings:

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

There are signs that more and more people are rejecting the abyss. I suspect the stress of the Mayan Apocalypse may have been the “straw that broke the camel’s back.” No, this world did not meet a cataclysmic end on December 21st, 2012. However, the question remains as to whether the “world as we knew it” ended on that day. One thing we should know for certain is that the doomsayers are very negative people.

 

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The Long Night

The darkness of the longest night of the year has fallen upon us. Like a comfortable cloak, it wraps itself around me. I am standing watch through this night to the dawn of new light with a kindred spirit, Lady Imbrium. This is not much of a chore as I like the night for its peace and quiet.

The candles and the colorful lights of the Yule tree give the room a warm glow. It isn’t the same as sitting around a hearth fire, but it’s close enough. The weather forecast is calling for strong winds by early morning. Howling winds would complete the wintery atmosphere often associated with this time of year. It is a good time to stay inside and rest… rest like the earth.

I hope the winds come from the north or the west. Daughter RavynStar told of a Chinese goddess called Xi Hou who is the mother of ten suns, in her blog yesterday. She also tells of a Chinese belief that winds from the east or south at this time are considered an ill omen, but winds from the north or west are favorable. The prevailing winds where I live come out of the southwest which has often brought mixed blessings, so maybe there is something to this Chinese lore. Regardless, any wind at this time of year in northeastern Vermont is generally cold and best accompanied by a hot cup of tea.

The dark cycle of 2012 seems darker than previous years. Perhaps it is due to the so-called Mayan doomsday prophesies. I have been surprised at the number of people who seem to have succumbed to the media hype. It is rather reminiscent of the Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds.” It was a well known story when I was in school, but it may have been forgotten by the modern purveyors of media. A lesson forgotten does NOT qualify as a lesson learned.

While there seems to have been a subtle “madness” in the behavior of the general population this year, there was nothing subtle about the madness that created tragedy in Connecticut seven days ago. The public response to this real-life episode out of a horror movie has been (naturally) emotionally charged and reactionary. Unfortunately, the preventative measures being suggested seem unlikely to succeed because they appear to be addressing the symptoms rather than the causes of the underlying problem: our society is ill.

If this seems far-fetched to you, consider that these things are layered on top of the on-going effects of an economic collapse four years ago, concerns of global climate change and “peak oil,” and the endless rhetoric of ridiculous politicians pressing towards a “fiscal cliff.” People are simply stressed-out… extremely! Why wouldn’t they be?

Irresponsible and unscrupulous media sensationalizes anything that might make money, including alleged doomsday prophecies. Irresponsible and unscrupulous leaders want to tax the poor and suffering to solve our economic problems while protecting the rich (even when some of the rich admit that they should be taxed more!) These leaders have the same profile as King John in the Robin Hood tale, and they do not even try to hide it. How can anyone fail to recognize that our society is ill?

The dark cycle of 2012 does seem darker than previous years, but it is time to prepare for the dawn and the reversing of this trend. How can we reverse these trends? Let’s discuss that… the day after “doomsday!” Blessed be.

As we approach the ominous winter solstice of December 21, 2012, this is a ritual which will bring peace to many, and (therefore) into our world.

Dancing Shadow Reflections

Winter Solstice approaches, and I’m in the mood to plan a celebration. Last year’s Winter Solstice/Full Moon/ Lunar Eclipse was an unparallelled success. This year, I’m bringing back my favorite party activities. In this post, I share the Ritual of Burning Regrets. This ritual is non-religious, non-sectarian, and completely optional.

Winter Solstice marks the time of year when the Earth, here in the Northern Hemisphere, is farthest from the sun. Many ancient cultures developed rituals to recognize their need for the sun, which seemed to abandon them every year.  From the point of the Solstice (around December 21 by the Julian Calendar), each day would get longer. The sun would return to warm the Earth.

New Life. New Year. New Chances…

In order to make room for the abundance in store, we clean house. Most cultures include some sort of purification or cleansing ritual in preparation for a new year…

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