Thoughts on the winter solstice
December 18, 2010
All cultures have a ceremony of some sort around Dec. 21st—Hanaukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzza, Christmas. The term “solstice” is derived from two Latin words:”sol” meaning sun and “sistere” meaning to stand still. It occurs when the earth’s axial tilt is furthest away from the sun. The Mayan culture would sacrifice a virgin to get the sun to increase its photoperiod. It was an honor for the girl & her family to be so sacrificed.
We will celebrate the Winter Solstice at 3:38 pm, December 21st in Nipomo Native Garden, meeting in the parking lot at 3 p.m. to visit an ancient oak. It is one of my sacred places and it symbolizes the oak-woodland habitat that once covered the entire Nipomo Mesa—join us.
Nipomo Native Garden is a natural area which was once proposed for more houses. I led the fight to protect this 12 acres — thus “my” tree. My community designated the largest, most twisted, oldest oak with a plaque which reads: The Bill Denneen COAST LIVE OAK “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately…..” H.D.Thoreau. I hug my oak often to get “grounded” with Mother Nature.
It seems our culture at this season goes into a “corporate-feeding frenzy” to buy, buy, buy — collecting more “stuff” —making the corporations richer and leaving us with depleted natural resources. Hopedance started a “buy nothing day”. This concept must spread if we are to become sustainable — the only hope for our future.
I do not believing in the Jesus legend/story. My “god” is Mother Nature—–the natural world is my Church with Point Sal my “Cathedral”. Pope Benedict XVI in his second encyclical which is the highest papal teaching and is 76 pages long states:” A world without God is world without hope”. Does his reference to “God” include my “Mother Nature” or the sun or a tree or Point Sal ??—- doubt it. I would guess his “God” relates to the Bible & Jesus which to me are interesting but not part of my belief system.
Each day when the sun shines I stop, feel its warmth and give thanks for its presence —much like the Maya & Aztec cultures before the invasion from Europe (my ancestors). Does the Catholic Church thus call me an atheist??
Another area of conflict between the Pope and I is with the current “population explosion”. I feel the Catholic Church is a major cause of this explosion. We have added 5 billion more people to our small crowded planet since I was born. Ignoring this problem will not make it go away.
The Pope has no objection to keeping people alive as long as possible and with our medical advances this has caused the average life expectancy to double in the past century. This is the basic cause of the “population explosion”. If everyone died at 40 (on average) like they did about 1900 instead of living to be 80 (on average) there would be no “population explosion”. The Pope is opposed to reducing the birth rate with contraception—–condoms, IUD’s, Plan B, the pill, emergency contraception, vasectomies, tubal ligation, diaphram etc. Why?
Europe has a birth rate equal to the death rate. Even Italy which is 97% Catholic has a birth rate so low they are not even replacing themselves and the government will give women a bonus to have a second child. My goal is to have all females do whatever the Italian women are doing to achieve such a low birth rate——-abstinence only?
It took Homo sapiens 2 million years of evolution to reach our first billion in about 1800, but only about a 120 years to add the second billion in 1925 (my birth year). We have now “exploded” to almost 7 billion. The Catholic Church does not object to prolonging life but officially objects to contraception. An example of this is the group of about a dozen people that pray across the street from Planned Parenthood in Santa Maria.
What amazes me is they are not only opposed to abortion (I am too) but are opposed to contraception & vasectomies as well.
Contraception was against the law prior to the activism of Margaret Sanger starting in 1927. She was arrested innumerable times and was constantly harassed. She did the ground work that established Planned Parenthood with clinics throughout America. This gave women control over their reproduction resulting in equal status to the male. The average age of first intercourse in America is about 17. How old were you?
The goal of Planned Parenthood (and mine) is for every baby to be born wanted, planned and loved. It is tragic that over half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended (accidents). My favorite bumper-sticker as a realistic biologist is: MAKE LOVE NOT BABIES.
Bill Denneen is a long-time environmental activist living in Nipomo.