Monday, December 20, 2010


A year ago today I wrote this:

"December 21 is the day the sun dies and is still, but only for a day. He's reborn on December 22, and begins his new life, working toward full fruition on the other side of the year, 182 and 3/4 days up ahead. His death and rebirth were observed and anticipated by humans watching the skies even before history began, and holds the secret of the origin of our most important religious beliefs, rituals, and celebrations.

"They've been telling two myths around the shores of the Mediterranean since time began. One is about the soldier hero who fights in an overseas war, then gets lost with his men and runs into a bunch of snags attempting to sail home, and wanders around the sea for years. The other is the story of a god who dies and then comes back to life, and that one originated in the winter solstice."

The Winter Solstice is always a symbolically significant event, but its portentousness this year is amplified a thousandfold, due to of the ominous and foreboding nature of recent political and economic developments, and also because it coincides with the occurrence of a total lunar eclipse of the full moon, occurring in the pre-dawn hours of tomorrow morning.

The last time this happened is not quite certain. Most sources say 1638, but I've also seen 1554 offered as a possibility. It's very hard to determine whether long-ago lunar eclipses were full or just nearly so, but this one will be total, and if the moon is not obscured completely by clouds here in the northwest it will shine blood red during the time of its full shadowing.

Eclipses were feared in premodern societies as harbingers of doom, and this one's simultaneous appearance with the death of the sun is truly momentous and ominous. But the sun is reborn on December 22, and if our current regime of financial and political secrecy, duplicity, and ineptitude is doomed, it's sure to be replaced by something new and presently unforeseen. Civilization is tougher than the clowns of the political circus assure us it is, when they bluster and claim civilization would collapse without them.

Still, the day of the blood red moon occurring on the day of the sun god's death is a moment filled with astonishment and dread.

1 comment:

Joe said...

The turning point in the sun's journey is a symbol of hope.