By R.S. Bailey
The solstice is behind us and the days are getting longer, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Most religions commemorate the event with some sort of festival. Christianity celebrates the birth of Jesus. Judaism has Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Pagans have Solstice Festivals. These festivals remind us that as the light increases, our world is constantly revolving through changes.
Prior to the 3rd century and Christianity becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire, Dec. 25 was reserved for the celebration of the birthday of Sol Invictus. Sol Invictus was also the banner under which Constantine became Augustus of the entire Roman Empire. He used it to show his sympathy with Christianity and after his victory, ended the persecutions of Christians. It was a smart political move at the time and temporarily calmed the furor of religious intolerance.
Sol Invictus also represented the sun and was associated with the Persian god Mithra who was very popular with the soldiers in the Roman legions. Mithra was born and died as a man, then was resurrected as the sun god. That became a good selling point in the marketing of Christianity. It was a time when Christians fought and martyred each other, particularly over the interpretation of what it meant to be the son of the one god. There were backroom deals to further the interests of each individual cause and to get an emperor who would support them and them alone.
Zealots of all sorts still conspire in dark corners to make over the world in the image they are certain is best. As always, there’s usually somebody trying to cash in on the situation. We’ve got frackers contaminating our water supplies and causing earthquakes in the name of affordable natural gas. Politicians are still claiming that global warming is a myth, despite scientific proof that it is actually happening, and accepting political contributions from the businessmen who profit by it.
Pharmaceutical companies, who are the largest political contributors, are pushing drugs backed by compromised research, and selling vaccines that will insure we need to buy them each and every year, and doing it with the aid of our government, who in turn enlists churches to further their cause. Radioactive waste from the Fukishima nuclear power plant is contaminating North America and our government has decided to stop measuring it, telling us the threat is over. More and more homes and businesses have gone into foreclosure and most working people have lost half of the value of their homes and invested savings.
Things have gotten very dark in the past year. And in the midst of it all we’re still trying to extract ourselves from conflicts with religious fundamentalists in the Middle East. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last weeks passage of the National Defense Authorization Act was a good example. I am still amazed at how an overwhelming majority of the members of congress were willing to send our freedoms, guaranteed to us through the Bill of Rights, down the drain. You’d think they’d pay attention when Al Qaida, who is struggling to keep democracy out of their part of the world, says it’s their intention to force us to spend our money tearing down our democracy.
Rather than stop democracy at their front door, they have embarked on a campaign to stop it here in the good old USA. The strategy is to get us to halt the exercise of our freedoms. Al Qaida can send a message about bombers on commercial aircraft, have it intercepted, and be assured the US will initiate a campaign of inventing and buying hardware to search each and every person who boards a plane. They relish the fact that we will spend billions of dollars to monitor every airline passenger we possibly can, and that American businessmen will eagerly cash in. It’s a good plan. Greed, one of the seven deadly sins, assures its efficacy.
But change is in the air. It’s an election year and once again we have the opportunity to express our will and initiate a new and better day. Or perhaps the Mayans were right and some cataclysmic change with solve all the current problems. Or perhaps the poll worker I met in a westside park last summer during a special congressional election was right when he said major change will come in 2012 and it will have nothing to do with predictions from the Mayan calendar. Perhaps a democrat will run for President. Who can tell?
At any rate, we can be assured of one thing. The days are getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere. Let there be light.
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