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Seeking solace beneath the harvest moon
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
September 23, 2004
"The dangers of life are infinite, and safety is among them." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The Autumnal Equinox, in the Northern Hemisphere, is the point at which the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator from north to south. Also known as Mabon, the fall equinox occurs in the middle of September. It is the main harvest festival of the Wiccan calendar and marks the beginning of autumn. It is also a time of rest after toil.
Boy do I need a rest.
As we enter autumn, in this year of 2004, it seems to me that the results of a hundred years of American progressivism is unraveling at the hands of corporate Neocons bent on world domination. It seems to me we have entered the rabbit hole of a global chaos where nothing is certain, and everything suspect. It also seems to me the people of California are powerless to do anything about it.
Watching the national news one no longer knows what to believe. Television has become a market place of ideas, perfectly packaged for mass consumption. Advertisers and those seeking favor within the Bush Administration decide what constitutes news. Sadly, the truth no longer matters; in a culture that demands convenience above all else, comfortable delusion is preferred.
During this election I have talked to many folks that say they oppose every thing the Bush Administration is doing on the domestic front, yet will still vote for Bush, because he is going to keep them safe from "terrorists." One, a navy veteran, laid out a laundry list of disagreements with our commander in thief asserting that where he agrees with me on environmental and social issues, he still feels we must stay the course in Iraq because "they attacked us first." Reality for him ceases to matter when there is a flag to wave. As if in Pavlovian response, this intelligent human being has been conditioned to respond on cue to the whistle of fear.
If corporate warmongers wholly manufacture this fear, no matter. In regards to the war on terror, truth is better denounced for the specter of "what if," and the justice of superior firepower.
Fall is now a time of fear.
Traditionally, in agrarian cultures, the beginning of autumn was a time to balance the action of spring with harvest festivals and other bacchanalian endeavors. By now the second harvest would have been gathered, and folks would soon begin preparing for winter. Unfortunately for industrial man, this luxury of rest after labor no longer exists, as the corporate industrial machine allows no time off, less the momentum of mindless plunder is lost to the riches of community.
Cultures from around the world recognize the passing of summer. The Chinese celebrate the Harvest moon Festival, Bavarians began the tradition of Oktoberfest with a wedding and lot's of beer, In Ghana their harvest is celebrated as the Yam festival. The corn harvest of Native Americans, referred to as "Ripe Corn Festival" was customarily held in September under the nut moon or Duliidsdi to acknowledge Selu the spirit of the corn. Selu is thought of as First Woman. The festival respects Mother Earth as well for providing all foods during the growing season.
The "Brush Feast Festival" also customarily takes place in this season. All the fruits and nuts of the bushes and trees of the forest were gathered as this time. A wide variety of nuts from the trees went into the nut breads for the various festivals throughout the seasons. Four Jewish holidays are celebrated in September: Rosh Ha-Shanah, or New Year; Tzom Gedaliah, a fast day; Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement; Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. Hindus begin the 10-day celebration of Durga Puja, or the Festival of the Divine Mother, in September.
The point behind these musing is the need to step back from my usual observations. After nine months of railing against a federal administration at war with the world I am physically and mentally exhausted. An avid reader, it is hard for me to pick up a book or newspaper with out feeling an overriding despair. Fiction seems frivolous, as non-fiction is as unreal as it gets. Never in my wildest imagination, did I believe the unraveling of the United States would be at the hands of situational patriots, armed with weapons of mass distraction, rhetoric and mindless faith.
With this in mind I will be taking a two-week vacation, river rafting through the Grand Canyon. As usual I will be using this "nature break" to recharge by spiritual and psychological batteries. Once back I will be using the two weeks before the November 2nd election to comment of the local and national races.