Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MidWinter Nearing

Some Beginnings...

Over 20,000 years ago Ice Age hunters may have already begun recording the timing and positions of celestial bodies. Accurately tracking and anticipating the cycle of the seasons became vital with the domestication of food crops around 11,000 years ago, and although the first calendars may not have been developed until 3000 BCE,
primitive does not mean stupid.

In all societies, rituals and ceremonies were held to mark significant occasions on the seasonal calendar. When is the shortest day, and when is the longest? When was there warmth and light enough to plant the seed, and when was it time to harvest? How much longer would the cold and darkness last, and do we have enough stored to avoid starvation? Perhaps our songs and our sacrifices will assure that the holy cycle continues with predictable regularity, perhaps our masks and noises will ward off evil influences, perhaps our play-acting will resonate hermetically with the Universe so as to meet our needs - 'As above, so below.' It worked?!? Let's keep doing it!!

Northern European societies formalized these occasions, the solstices and equinoxes, and the points between, in a system of archaeoastronomy. Pagan names include Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Eostara, Beltane, MidSummer, Lughnasad, and Mabon. A variety of public rituals marked these occasions, proclaiming, The Great Wheel Turns.

A youth raised in a different, more Catholic, culture, would not have that full depth of comprehension then. But, as they say, 'by chance,' he discovered a children's tome in his public library, one translated from it's original Finnish : Moominland Midwinter authored by Tove Jannson. He read it, and was inspired.

So, in the Mid of Winter, in the cold and the darkness, he went outdoors in his Northern Jersey yard and celebrated. Improvised horns bellowed out. A rude torch blazed and lit up the night, "The Sun's coming back! No darkness, no loneliness, anymore." That lad conducted his observance alone, but his Fire Ceremony blazed a path to the future. That lad became Ur-father to our little Tribe.

Though MidWinter ceremonies had been planted, the seed lay fallow for fourteen years before sprouting again into the Modern Era in 1982. It was a bleak MidWinter, cold and dark, and I was filled with the stings and bruises of bad experiences. And my nach-BrĂ¼der, our Artificer, was feeling much the same. Fortune did not seem to particularly shine upon us, and though we didn't yet know it, we had the MidWinter Bluez. We would have to do something about this...

... more to come ...

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010


I'm not as young as I once was, and truth to tell I've never been the most burly of fellows. Now, in the midst of Winter, with temperatures in the 'teens, the PetroLords gleefully watch their stocks and profits rise upon the shivering people of the Northeast.

Carbon-footprint be damned, I have a fireplace insert, and as I examined my last few year's of utility bills, I find that I saved six-hundred and fifty dollars last Winter through the immolation of dead trees. Well, fact of the matter is that there is no inherent value other than warmth attached to that cellulose fed into Moloch's furnace. Otherwise it's time, and effort, and sore muscles soothed with ibuprofen. But last year, the grunt work saved me $650. in Black Gold. Not too shoddy! But, as I've noted, I am aging, and the joints, tendons, ligaments and muscle are not as forgiving as they once were, oh no.

Fortuitously, I have noted that our "humble" domicile faces due South and we are in the process of re-financing for substantial renovations. Glass walls and Black metal! This is a formula for nearly-free heat, and we will make use of it. If we wish to become just-a-bit more sophisticated, we can store some of the Day Star. Maybe down the road a piece...

Warmth and relaxation for aging bones sure seems the way to go. No heat-leaking McMansion for us, just a Cozy box.

Such a Paradise will perhaps well suffice,

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