Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Celebrating the Sunturn

I used to have a first floor flat in Brunswick, Germany, in which the large kitchen window faced due east, and through which I often saw the sunrise, or noticed its position in the sky shortly after it had risen. It was here that I observed for the first time what my ancestors, without the distractions and bright lights of modern city life, must have been aware of at a much younger age: how the sun, in its rising (and setting, visible from the opposite end of my flat) wanders along the horizon from south to north and back again during the course of the seasons that make up a single year. In fact, it is this cycle which defines the year, from mid-winters day, when it rises at its most southerly point, back though the Spring equinox to mid-summers day, when it rises at its most northerly point, before turning back on itself and heading south again, through the autumn equinox and on once again to its most southerly point of rising, from whence the annual cycle beings over again.
We call them the Summer and Winter solstices, because at these points the sunrise stops wandering to the north or south and seems briefly to stand still (L. solstistium), before turning back in the opposite direction. I wasn’t a conscientious enough observer to actually observe it standing still (besides, at the time of the Winter solstice I was usually at home in England for Christmas, with no east facing window and other things on my mind), but I did notice, sooner or later, that it had TURNED. Thus, my decision to call it, as in German “Sonnenwende”, the SUNTURN, instead of solstice. Because that was my actual experience of this fundamental (for humans living at northerly latitudes, at least) natural phenomenon, which lies behind the solar year, the seasons we experience and the changing lengths of day and night, which I could really relate to.
Long before my discovery of the Sunturn, I’d had a problem with Christmas, because of its lack of meaning for me, as someone who didn’t believe in the Christian Gospels and was nauseated at its commercialisation. The principal purpose of Christmas seemed to be economic, indulging and encouraging the consumer mentality driving the unsustainable, growth-dependent economy plundering and spoiling our planet. On the other hand, I loved the “Christmas spirit” of peace and good will towards others, and also the way it brought my family together, which I lived apart from all year. There are also mountains of European culture and history inseparably associated with Christmas and Christianity in general, which, although I’m not a believing Christian, is still a very large and inherent part of my heritage and identity, both personal and national (i.e. as an ethnic European, since I no more identity with the mercenary, multi-ethnic British state than I do with the commercialisation of Christmas).
However, my ethnic European identity is not just Judeo-Christian, but also pre-Christian and post-Christian, stretching from the neolithic (including the builders of Stonehenge) to the present (including the those who put men on the Moon and created the Internet).
In ancient northern Europe, no one knew why the seasons changed and the days got progressively shorter and colder as the Sun sank lower and lower in the sky, as its daily rising wandered ever further south along the eastern horizon, until finally – hopefully! – it would stop, “TURN”, and begin to head north again. When it finally did, they knew the days would slowly lengthen, eventually getting warmer, bringing back the Spring and Summer, along with all their lives depended on.
That is why the Sunturn was so important to our ancestors They did not understand why it occurred, nor could they be sure that it always would. Supposing it didn’t, and the days went on getting short and colder? When their supplies of food ran out they would starve, if they hadn’t already frozen to death from the cold – or knocked themselves out by bumping into a tree in the perpetual darkness! They must have been fearfully aware of their dependency on the Sunturn, and prayed for its occurrence. What else could they do? When it did turn (and they’d need a few days to be sure that it had), they celebrated and gave thanks.
When Christianity came to northern Europe the bishops realised that there was no way to stop people celebrating the Sunturn – it was far too important a festival; but they didn’t want the natives (our ancestors) praising and thanking their own gods for it, so they declared it to be Jesus’ birthday and called it “Christmas”.
After more than 1500 years, and playing an integral role in the development of western civilisation, it is time for those of us with a more rational turn of mind to put the childish beliefs of Christianity firmly behind us, without giving up the rich cultural heritage (e.g. in literature, art, music and song) it inspired.
Let us return to our pre-Christian roots to stand in wonder at the Sunturn and all nature’s works, and also at what we have learned about them over two and a half millennia of European civilisation, so that we no longer have to fearfully pray for the Sun to turn and bring back Spring and Summer, but can be pretty confident that it will do so without divine intervention.
Let us use the Winter sunturn to connect with our ancient roots and cultivate an appreciation of what our ancestors achieved, not least by defying the Abrahamic god, i.e. the power-hungry priests who created him and would have kept their people in a state of ignorance (to facilitate their exploitation as a manipulable “human resource”), having God curse Adam and Eve for desiring self-awareness and of the world about them (“. . their eyes were opened and they knew that they were naked.“), filling them with guilt about their dawning consciousness and awareness of their SINFUL human nature, so that they could keep them under their control, rather than allowing them to take responsibility for themselves.
Instead of feeling ashamed of our human nature, especially our sexuality and tribalism (now demonised as “racism”), we need to become fully aware of and take personal responsibility for and control of them. The modern priesthood comprises mainly “progressives” and “liberal-fascists”, who would keep us under the control of capital and our pseudo-nation state.
Instead of allowing ourselves to be herded into proprietary and mercenary states (posing as nations), whose primary purpose is to facilitate our self-exploitation as a human resource and market, let us organize ourselves, peacefully and grass-roots-democratically, into genuine, “natural nations”, not defined by citizenship and boundaries determined by the priesthood of a mercenary state, but by the natural affinity for and identity with one’s own PEOPLE.
And on that note, in the Christmas spirit of peace on earth, good will to all, supplemented by my own, more tribal, nationalist (non-global, -universalist, -statist) sentiment of love of one’s own (nation) and respect for others:

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