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.



  1. rferris says:

    Bill and the culture that celebrates kwanza are truly deep thinkers that all insightful people should revere and worship.

    Yep a made up holiday for people that are such deep thinkers that there is no real holiday for them to celebrate. Religious people like Bill worship at the alter of mother earth because they have such a broken and dysfunctional world view that make them unable to appreciate all the forms of beauty around them or all the blessings that we now enjoy.

    Our planet is not overpopulated, we do like to live near each other in congested urban areas, but if all humans were housed at the same density as Hong Kong we would all fit inside the state of Georgia.
    How many working citizens could our country really do without?? It has taken humanity a long time to reach a population that would support the type of dynamic, prosperous civilization that we all would kike to see. If the truley rotten governmental systems that mire so much of humanity in misery could be “liberalized” all people willing to work could be prosperous

    (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
    • justme says:

      Rferris, let me offer my view, The Earth has cancer, you and I are the cancer cells, is what the Earth needs are more of us? If you could hitch a ride on the shuttle, look down on the Earth and find the brown dead smokey spots amongst the green areas, those spots represent the “prosperous, dynamic” areas you mentioned.
      Bill, overpopulation is the problem, but I don’t think the young ladies were into getting their beating hearts ripped from their bodies by the nutcase Mayan holymen of the day. There are over 150 psycedelic plants, mushrooms, etc. down there that they partied with before they started the murder. Just more mind-control of the masses thru the fear they could be next.
      Keep goin’ though, Billy, you help keep peoples minds “soft and pliable”.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. thinkaboutit says:

    Why worship the creation when you can enjoy the gift of creation and worship the Creator instead? (Not meant to be a slam, only a suggestion.) When I consider the mind-boggling beauty of creation, I can’t help but wonder and even exclaim, “There’s must be more where that came from!”

    As for preventing conception… For one who seems to appreciate nature, it seems puzzling as to why you wouldn’t want to regulate human conception, but none of other species, like the excess ground squirrel population or feral cats and dogs. Where are their remedial contraceptive options?

    If “the goal of Planned Parenthood” (and yours) truly was “for every baby to be born wanted, planned and loved,” as you contend, then they would not subsidize any method of abortion. Anything less is hypocrisy.

    You said “it is tragic that over half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended (accidents).”

    Really? What happened to personal responsibility? Humans were born with the ability for self-control along with the ability to reproduce. If we choose not to practice in the action of procreation, guess what? “Accidents,” as you call them, won’t happen.

    Just how many human life forms are allowable in your nature church, anyway?

    (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
  3. Cindy says:

    What the heck are people complaining about? Bill is right, there are too many unwanted babies being born and the pope does object to contraception and believes that God sends the babies. Even when woman have what I call a “liter” (thanks to fertility drugs) , they claim that God sent the babies. God didn’t make those babies. God didn’t intend for a bunch of starving unwanted children to be born on this planet only to end up spending their lives in prison as often happens. I was raised a Catholic and I recall my aunt being in tears because she was refused communion by the priest and almost excommunicated for confessing that she took birth control pills. So what did Bill say that is an insult to the religion that I was raised in?

    I also disagree that Bill sports a “continual public promotion of “free love style” sexual activity, as if it were some panacea”. He is realistic. Teenagers are going to have sex. Abstinence is a joke to most of them and unfortunately many of the Catholic girls don’t use birth control.

    Happy Winter Solstice, God Bless Mother Nature

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
  4. WiseGuy says:

    Bill, please consider that you could celebrate and promote your spiritual beliefs without attacking the beliefs of others.

    We do not have an over-population problem in the world, as much as we have a greed problem. The world as it is provides enough resources to sustain the current population, and a lot more. This is a fact.

    There is not a single starving population in the world that could not be relieved if enough of the non-starving people sacrificed ever-so-slightly to do what it takes to get food and other resources to those in need.

    But if we want to ease population growth, the best way is making education and healthcare increasingly available to those who otherwise cannot afford it.

    Attacking people’s religious beliefs is fruitless and only exacerbates problems.

    As far as I know, God does include “Mother Nature”.

    Furthermore Bill, your continual public promotion of “free love style” sexual activity, as if it were some panacea, or the route to lasting happiness, seems misguided and counter-productive, and ultimately at odds with some of the more worthwhile values you sometimes promote. And you “anti-motherhood” campaign which you bring up each year seems particularly perverse.

    (0) 26 Total Votes - 13 up - 13 down
    • Robert1 says:

      Fresh water is a real problem in the world, and getting food to those that have none would costs 10 times its value.We have provided health care to those that had not had it and now there is 10-12 million illegals in the country and the Hispanic teenage pregnancy rate is off the chart.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        What’s your point? That we don’t do anything because it’s too much trouble or work? What is more worthwhile than helping alleviate suffering in our world? None of these problems are insurmountable. It’s all a matter of will and intent.

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
      • smartypants says:

        Actually there is more like 20 million illegals in the country. You are correct about the teenage birth rate. It is the obligation of illegal hispanic girls to have as many babies as possible. These are anchor babies and it does not matter whether one or both parents are illegal. They get free medical care through emergency rooms or the community health centers. The health centers are paid by the federal government to take care of the illegals.

        And mr Deneen explain this: When you feel the warmth of the sun and give thanks. WHO DO YOU GIVE THANKS TO? Did you ever consider that nature is part of God’s kingdom and for you to call it mother nature and turn it into a separate god, is a little misguided.

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  5. SLORider says:

    Denneen’s photo depicts himself illegally trespassing on a closed archaeological Chumash midden site. There’s video of this as well, which is pretty entertaining if you’ve never heard a white guy beat a drum, and also shows the artifact site being rummaged and disturbed.

    (3) 25 Total Votes - 14 up - 11 down
  6. Goyo says:

    Hey, Bill, you missed that there will be a lunar eclipse on the solstice, a rare occurrence happening every 456 years.

    But fingering the Pope for the population explosion, and then describing how Italian women are not producing enough children for replacement, was a real treat. You were so far off on the first part, relating population explosion to Catholicism rather than to poverty, that you have virtually dispelled any credibility you might have had with regard to the real world.

    (10) 28 Total Votes - 19 up - 9 down

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