100 Seconds to MIdnight

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In 1945, Albert Einstein and fellow scientists at the University of Chicago created the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. The cover of the first Bulletin published in 1947 featured a design by graphic artist Martyl Langsdorf and the Doomsday Clock was born. In 1947 the Clock was set to seven minutes before midnight.

One year ago, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published this warning:

“To: Leaders and citizens of the world

Re: This is your COVID wake-up call: It is 100 seconds to midnight

Date: January 27, 2021

Humanity continues to suffer as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world. In 2020 alone, this novel disease killed 1.7 million people and sickened at least 70 million more. The pandemic revealed just how unprepared and unwilling countries and the international system are to handle global emergencies properly. In this time of genuine crisis, governments too often abdicated responsibility, ignored scientific advice, did not cooperate or communicate effectively, and consequently failed to protect the health and welfare of their citizens.”

The nuclear powers of the world bear responsibility for their stupidity in continuing to develop weapons of mass destruction. At present this includes the United States, Russia, France, China, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea. Consider the dangers of nuclear war both on Earth and a few hundred miles above Earth’s surface in our Thermosphere and Exosphere as “developed” nations continue to rattle sabres. Throw in the consumptive greed of industrialized countries as corporate arrogance finances climate change denial. Combine that with the entitled selfishness displayed by the wealthiest nations towards the neediest nations during this recent global pandemic, and it is easy to see why the Doomsday clock has symbolically ticked five minutes closer to midnight in one short decade.

I have written recently about the dangers of ignoring the warning signs. Just like Cinderella at the ball, we are being warned that the party is over when the clock strikes midnight. In 1991, the Doomsday Clock was previously set back 17 minutes to midnight after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

If we are going to reset the clock back for the upcoming decade, then It is time for some significant local and global New Year’s resolutions and long overdue neglected actions, The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon


In the Beginning …

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Shab-e Yalda from Persia, Dong Zhi from China, Saturnalia from the Roman Empire, Toji from Japan, Yule from Scandinavia, along with the Anasazi’s Shalako from the Zuni and Soyal from the Hopi all have one thing in common. These sacred events all mark the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of a New Year. South of the equator where their winter falls in June, the shortest day of the year was celebrated as Inti Raymi by the Inca in Peru. These sacred days are  embedded in our reptilian brain stems and preserved in the collective consciousness of humankind.

These festivals all mark the seasonal tilt of Earth towards and away from the sun bringing the end to one season and the beginning of another. These are not to be confused with the artificial religious holidays that replaced them when the cult of Judeo-Christianity swept across the Roman Empire in 300 BCE, courtesy of Emperor Constantine’s mother. Nor should they be confused with culturally created holidays like the recent addition of Kwanzaa to the Winter Solstice wannabe list.

The scientific tilt of Earth does not care if you are black, brown, white, yellow, red, green or blue; it does not care if you are from the North, South, East or West. Every octant of Earth in this epoch is guaranteed the same regular passage of the sun’s energy over its lands and waters. It is the human storytellers who imbue these seasonal changes with ritual and myth.

All of the sacred days mentioned in the introduction have one thing in common. They all mark the solar journey from Shortest Day and Longest Night into a New Year. They are not dependent for their existence on the dedication of a temple or the birth of a godson or cultural neediness. Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are to the Winter Solstice what The Church of Latter Day Saints of Jesus Christ is to Christianity. Bridesmaids who came late to the party all acting like they are the bride.

Still, even if you are late to the party, you can have a lot of fun – tell stories, sing songs, dance, drink and feast. There are a thousand different ways to celebrate our origins born of Fire, Earth, Water, and Air as we honour The Great Mystery That Loves Life. The arts mythologize what science knows. It’s in our nature. Happy New Year!

The way I see it.


Skid Crease, Caledon

On Being Pagan

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I often get asked why I celebrate the Winter Solstice as a natural sacred day rather than the artificial holyday known as Christmas. I was raised in the cult of Christianity for many years, submerged as an infant, believing all the stories with the innocence of childhood. Gradually life experiences and meticulous research into the birth of religious beliefs pulled the holey wool from my eyes.  I threw off the cloak of liturgical oppression and returned to nature.

To quote Uhtred Ragnarson, “Destiny is all!” In this case, geography is all. What I discovered is that in the beginning, based on where the storytellers evolved, humans created gods. If your clan lived in a temperate climate with four seasons, there tended to be a cycle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth in the god myths. If your clan was in an equatorial community, your god myths tended to a two season mythology of wet and dry.

Early storytelling humans created “god” myths for almost every wonder of nature that we needed to explain. Thunder and lightning, rainbows, fire and ice, flood and drought, the powers of animals, the cycles of plant growth, and the great mysteries of the universe from creation to storytelling humans. Why we went from the spectacular diversity of this sacred pantheon to a single god created by a desert wandering, camel herding, goat breeding tribe from the middle east is probably one of the greatest mysteries of all.

And not just any god, but a spiteful, vengeful, sexist male patriarch who personifies Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump more than Albert Schweitzer or Herbert Hoover. The kind of god that exercises the horrific power of a King/god’s right to the First Night. That’s where a king gets to take a newly betrothed virgin bride and have his way with her, usually facilitated by a trusted general.

So when Michael visited Mary and told her she had a date with “god” she really didn’t have much of a choice. And Joseph had to suck it up, later arrange a trip to the stables, and accept a life raising the god’s bastard child. Mary’s only comment was to look skyward and say, “You did this to me!” The first #MeToo act of defiance. The “king” ordered the scribes to remove that incident from his tribe’s version of middle eastern history in those great anthologies known as the Tanakh and the New Testament.

What madness possessed us to allow Baal and Astarte to be replaced by celibate priests and cloistered virgins? The answer is simple. Party pooping, power hungry,  anally retentive, far right, ultra orthodox male conservatives and their zealous female acolytes!

That’s a long way of explaining why I went back to Earth’s natural cycles as my unwavering sacred days. Today, December 21, 2021, as the sun begins to set at 4:30 I will light the sacred solstice fire and keep it burning until sunrise and the return of The Sun King for a New Year. There will be a pot of wassail on the fire, and Loreena McKennitt in my ear, and like minded friends sharing stories about Dagda and Danu and the Great Mystery That Loves Life. 

Wishing a Wonderful Winter Solstice (and a Merry Christmas to all) until the next sacred day, The Vernal Equinox, brings balance back to the universe. That’s my story. 

And that’s the way I see it.


Skid Crease, also known as Harry son of Harry, First Born of First Born!

Geography is all!