Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Solstice!

Yesterday was Winter Solstice, an event worthy of celebration no matter your spiritual affiliation (or lack thereof) for the simple reason that it marks the return of the sun. Lengthening days are something I appreciate a great deal as I experience a Northern Winter, especially after three winters in a row spent in sunny, tropical environments that are many degrees closer to the equator.

Yesterday was also an historic event, though one widely misrepresented in Western civilization: at 11:12 UTC (03:12 PST), there was a planetary alignment that was explained in the Mayan long count calendar. Unlike popular lore would have us believe, the Mayans of old did not "prophecy" the "end of the world." Rather, in that particular calendar, there is a series of ascending cycles. December 21, 2012, as we designate the date in the Gregorian Calendar, marked the end of Baktun 13 and also, the end of a 26,000 year cycle. In other traditions, this was known as the Kaliyuga (I can't remember the name of the new yuga) and today begins "the Age of Aquarius." If you're interested in the Mayan long count, there's some good info here:

Perhaps you had been expecting an apocalypse, a solar flare to knock out the whole grid, the arrival of the Mother Ship to take you home, the Rapture, or just another cold winter day. Me, I awaited the day with interest, because rarely have I seen any campaign of information (and misinformation) spread as widely as the various ideas put forward about the end of the Mayan calendar. Many of my dear friends have travelled to (and within) Mexico to celebrate the Solstice at the various Mayan temples, in Palenque, Tulum, Chichen Itza, or at the most ancient site, Teotihuacan (which is not Mayan, but that's a whole other post).

Sam and I were content to be cozy in our northern BC abode and mark the day without much fanfare. We let our fires in the two wood stoves go out and carried the coals to the fire pit outside, where we burned away the last of the old cycle. We started new fires for the new cycle when we came back inside. And so with that simple ceremony, we acknowledged the new season - and also cleaned all the ashes out of the wood stoves, which was a task that badly needed doing. No reason why ceremony can't have practical aspects to it.

And now it's a new day, winter is here, and the sun will be making it's long journey back to us, with increasingly longer days. Though you wouldn't know it by looking outside our windows. The snow is falling and the outdoor thermometer reads somewhere around -20 C. Sometimes I can't remember why we're not in Mexico...though this picture Sam took of the lake at sunrise a few mornings ago is a good reminder.

So between keeping the home fires burning and the cat and ourselves well fed, I am attempting to write something that may one day resemble a book. Or something. It's slow going, I confess, but I have got several short blurbs that may end up being useful. Or not. Part of the problem I've got is that I recently read a memoir that should have been very interesting - the story the author was telling was worth writing about, I thought - but it was just one long chronology, really - and so ended up being hard to get through. It was kind of a boring book, even though the story wasn't boring.
After reading it, I thought: oh bloody hell. I can't write one of those! And now, I'm trying to figure out what I can write, if not one long chronology that fills in all the fascinating details of my life and the lessons I've learned along the way. I'm thinking about throwing in some aliens and making the story science fiction. I'll keep you posted. (And lest you think I'm slacking entirely, here is a picture of our Christmas tree, with physical evidence behind it: my row of flip charts full of notes, outlining the book.)

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