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December Solstice 2009

Sunflower Solstice wreath on my front gate

Reflections from the RainbowWeb

"The Earth is capable of replenishing herself and supplying every living thing with a home and sustenance"
Sarah King

If only we were all content with a home and sustenance!

But our human nature seems to drive so many of us to excess in every possible direction.
A poet once referred to "a divine discontent", but it seems to me quite the reverse of "divine."
It is precisely because most of us are never satisfied that we are responsible for our planet's present predicament.

Another human characteristic is the power of choice; yet what does it take to encourage us to choose wisely?

While optimists had high hopes of the Copenhagen conference, being among the realists I am neither disapppointed nor surprised at the outcome.
But whether or not personal activism and committment makes a difference in the long run, we must not despair and give up.
A commentator on The Lord of the Rings says (and I paraphrase) that
only those who can accurately foretell the future have any right to despair.
"There is always hope."

The secret is, I believe, to act, not from fear, but out of love.
Love for our Mother Earth, for all that she is and contains, for all sentient beings.
So I would urge you to re-visit the page I made at the September Equinox in 2005

I should also like to offer you a gift, courtesy of the ABC.
Last Sunday they re-broadcast a delightful and inspiring series of interviews with a number of people
who have a deep spiritual commitment to living simply in response to the current environmental emergency.
Please go to: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/encounter/stories/2009/2752064.htm
where you can listen online, or download a transcript or podcast.

Summer flowers growing

In spite of an extraordinary 10-day burst of heat, accompanied by damaging winds, early in November,
we have had average rains, and most gardens are doing well, especially since the relaxation of watering restrictions.
We can now water from the mains, using drippers, or a hand-held hose with a trigger nozzle,
for 5 hours each week, on any day, between the hours of 6-9am and 6-9pm! Watering with buckets and watering cans is allowed at any time.
And mains water is far less saline this year, because most of the water in the dams is from our own catchments,
rather from the poor River Murray, which is becoming increasingly saline.

Because the RainGoddess has been so generous, I've been able to manage on rainwater
from the beginning of April until mid-November, including the heatwave.
As you may know, I always use rainwater in the house, and for personal use,
and I'm doing my best to make further savings on mains water in the garden this year.
I'm experimenting by using only deep watering spikes fed by 2 litre soft drink bottles, or buried 1.25 litre plastic bottles -
plus, of course, watering the pots and hanging baskets by hand. But I do it early every morning, unless there is significant rain that day.
This, of course avoids surface evaporation completely, and the mulch keeps the surface from drying out too much after rain.

The newly painted gate, and Solstice Wreath

In the Northern Hemisphere there have already been record-breaking snowfalls, and major disruptions to holiday plans which involve travel.
My thoughts, though, go particularly to the homeless, and those in remote rural areas.
But these events, like extreme heat and drought, are what we may expect for centuries to come -
I just wonder how bad things have to get for people in the developed world, before they are ready to take definitive and effective action?


The December Solstice this year occurs at 17.48 GMT on December 21st.
(Adelaide time 4.18am on 22nd.)
In the Southern Hemisphere this is our Summer Solstice,
and after the third day of the Solstice, the days will begin, almost imperceptably, to draw in.

In the North, Winter is well-established,
and the lengthening days to come hold the promise that Spring will come again.

Although a time can be calculated for the Sun passing into Capricorn
(Tropical or earth-centred Zodiac)
Solstice actually means "Sun stands still"
and it does just this for about 3 days
when it reaches either the most Northerly
or most Southerly point on the Ecliptic. (Apparent path of the Sun)

Something for all of us to look forward to is the
Full Moon on December31st./January 1st.
So New Year's Eve is also a Full Moon eve, and time for a double celebration.

Full Moon occurs at 19.14 GMT on December 31st, at 10°15' of Cancer.
(Adelaide time 5.44am on January 1st.)
a partial Lunar eclipse will also occur about the time of Full Moon,
and if the sky is clear, will be visible wherever the sky is dark enough at that time.

See Seasons and Calendars for detailed information.

Balance of the hemispheres

Why observe and celebrate the interactions of the Earth, Moon, and Sun?

The Festivals, Feasts, and Fasts of most human belief systems originated in our observations of this Cosmic Dance and it's effects.
Everything is affected by the changing seasons and the rhythm of the tides.
Why not commit yourself this year to celebrating in tune with these natural rhythms?
You will benefit physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
It will help you to truly re-earth.

For those who think such practices are mere superstition here are some relevant quotes:

from "Permaculture - A Designer's Manual" by Bill Mollison
"We cannot know more than a fraction of what exists. We will always be a minor part of the information system"
Methods of Design - 3.10.3

"Nothing we can observe is regular, partly because we ourselves are imperfect observers.
We tell fortunes, (or lose them) on the writhing of entrails, or cathode ray graphics;
on the scatters of dice or bones, or on arrays of measures.
Are the readings of tea-leaves any less reliable than the projections of pollsters?"
Pattern Understanding - 4.1


Seasons and Calendars
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