“O Wind, if Winter
comes, can Spring be far behind?”
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
I always look forward
to solstices, and equinoxes too, but none of them in my lifetime
heralded the end of the world, so last week was really special.
As you know by now, the world didn’t end on Friday. The sun did stop
its journey south but turned around to eventually bring us summer
again. Well, technically, the sun doesn’t move, the earth … never
mind, this is not a science column, which is why we can romanticize
the event and discuss the apocalypse rumors too.
I read somewhere that one out of 10 people worldwide believed that
because the Mayan calendar ended last week, the world would end too.
I don’t believe this statistic for a minute, primarily because most
of the people in the world, including a lot of Americans, never
heard of the Mayans, and who polled the Chinese anyhow?
My favorite Bizarro
cartoon of 2012: The Mayan stone carver is showing his boss a round
stone calendar, telling him “I only had room to go to 2012.” His
boss says “Ha! That’ll freak somebody out someday.”
My Llewellyn’s 2012
Daily Planetary Guide tells us that while Friday was indeed the
winter solstice, with the sun entering Capricorn at 6:12 am, the
moon was in Aries, the sign of new beginnings, not endings, though I
suppose they’re the same thing if you think about it.
Llewellyn writes that
“the Sun and our entire solar system will enter the dark rift in the
center of the Milky Way Galaxy … but strictly speaking, this merger
takes hundreds of years to occur … it is our belief that the Winter
Solstice 2012 is not the end of the world, but that it is the end of
a very long cycle…” perhaps to become “a very dark moment in
I find this analysis
from astrologers somehow comforting. Living in a present that makes
very little sense, it’s nice to hear that there’s a reason for
recent events that can be blamed on the solar system instead of our
own failure to make the world a better place.
Think back through our
lifetimes. At my age, I can say that the world is a better place
since I arrived, just because I arrived in the middle of World War
II, when it was threatened by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Hard
to think how terrible our lives would have been if they had won, and
people older than I say that this could have happened — if America
had been less strong.
After the greatness
that was America took the lead in destroying that fascist threat, we
moved into the dark shadow of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
When we emerged triumphant from that shadow in 1992, we had almost a
decade of a better world until Islamic extremists surged onto the
scene. In that decade, maybe because there was no external threat to
unite us, it seems that our culture started to fall apart.
I’ll put forth the
proposition that life in 2012 is not better than life in 1992. I
like television, computers and other technical advances that arrived
in my lifetime, but something isn’t working, better-world-wise.
A thing called
“political correctness” has displaced part of our First Amendment
right to free speech, while somehow we’ve allowed other aspects of
that right to become license for cultural ugliness. The sense of
community that held us together as melting-pot Americans has been
replaced by racial, religious, sex and age-related division;
communication among family and friends has begun to be replaced by
short shallow blasts of contact with collections of barely known
“friends.” Personal responsibility is becoming a quaint foreign
concept, while government expands its intrusion into every area of
our lives, giving power-hungry people the power to bully us and, if
we don’t strenuously object, control us.
situation would be enabled by erosion of our Second Amendment right
to bear arms, specifically created to protect us from the bullies.
Appallingly, while good people mourn the tragic loss of innocent
life in Newtown, Conn., last week, the gun-control zealots are using
it to advance their citizen-control agenda.
Meanwhile, the growing
national debt and unfunded liabilities increasingly threaten the
resources needed to achieve the good things government was created
to do: defending good people from evil, maintaining infrastructure,
dealing with environmental disasters.
If we don’t find our
way either backward or forward to a “better world,” we may well be
entering that “very dark moment in history” about which astrologers
Llewellyn says that
there will be “a totally new era that will be completely unlike the
one we are living in at the present time.” It remains up to us,
while still the most free people in the history of man, to determine
the theme of that new era, to bring light to counter the darkness.
This winter solstice weekend is as good a time to begin as any.
more wood! — the wind is chill.
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.”
— Sir Walter Scott