Solstice Greetings

Just a brief post to wish you all a peaceful holiday season. If you’ve wondered what happened to the old site, it’s being redesigned and will be back in the new year.

In these darkening days, as we prepare to either enjoy or endure the winter season, let’s remember that it begins with a celebration of the winter solstice. Through wars and peace, good times and bad, people in many places throughout the world celebrate, not the darkness, but the return of the light. Some examples are 7 Winter Solstice Celebrations From Around the World.

Our celebrations spring from our human needs for hope in dark times and for social contact, both of which are being denied to many because of lockdowns. I will celebrate with my sole approved visitor. We’ll probably go to the roof to observe a celestial phenomenon not seen since 1226 A.D. Just after sundown, Jupiter and Saturn will appear to be less than one degree apart. Astronomers are calling it “The Great Conjunction of 2020” (and if you don’t want to go outside, you can see it live at this informative site). In our current circumstances, it’s easy to lose perspective.

As you enjoy the show this month, keep in mind that Jupiter appears brighter because it’s bigger and closer than Saturn. Jupiter sits just over half a billion miles away, while Saturn is roughly double that distance. So, as you look out at the two, you’re really staring down the barrel of our solar system and out into interstellar space.

This cosmic perspective is a precious reminder of our place in the solar system. And hopefully, it makes us all feel a bit closer and more connected to the outer planets, even if the pandemic has us feeling farther apart than ever before.

My hope for all of us in the coming year is that, through trying times, we will find a common purpose in creating, as the Zapatistas describe it, “a world where many worlds fit.” We seem so far from that goal, and we would do well to remember that it’s in the interest of our rulers to keep us from reaching it. But we must also remember that another world is possible. Although we inhabit diverse worlds, can we imagine a possible world in which we all fit? What would such a world look like? What would it require of each of us to bring it into reality? What stands in our way? There’s a lot to think about during this sombre season.

Stay healthy and safe. Enjoy the company of loved ones if you can. Do small acts of kindness whenever you can. Show your solidarity with oppressed and suffering people everywhere, and especially with those in your community, in any way you can. See you in the new year.

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