The Weekly Watch

The Longest Night

(in the N. Hemisphere)

We are tied to the natural world in ways which we are unaware. Time is an odd concept constantly in flux....sunrise to sunset. As it passes the wheel of the year rolls ever faster...wearing ever smaller and gathering speed as it goes downhill. Perhaps it is our pagan past, but somehow this seems a time of year for reflection...like the god Janus looking forward and backward in time. For now the darkness passes and the light will grow. It is a time to celebrate across religions, cultures, and countries.

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“Solstice” comes from two Latin words: sol meaning "sun" and sistere meaning “to stand still” because it appeared as though the sun had stopped moving in the sky. Last night at 10:19 pm (CST) the sun shone its southern most rays for the year. Now the sun will slowly begin to make its journey back toward the north. The longest night of the year, followed by a renewal of the sun, demonstrates the cyclical order of the cosmos. In this way, celebrating the solstice creates a remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing.

The sun is our primary tool of time (we operate on a solar calendar), but we have another marker. The lunar cycle...a moonth so to speak. Many cultures continue to use lunar calendars. Lunar calendars differ as to which day is the first day of the month. For some lunar calendars, such as the Chinese calendar, the first day of a month is the day when an astronomical new moon occurs in a particular time zone. For others, such as some Hindu calendars, each month begins on the day after the full moon or the new moon. Others were based in the past on the first sighting of a lunar crescent, such as the Hebrew calendar.The average length of the synodic month is 29.530589 days. This requires the length of a month to be alternately 29 and 30 days (termed respectively hollow and full). The tabular Islamic calendar’s 360-month cycle is equivalent to 24×15 months minus a correction of one day. https://fullmoonphases.com/lunar-calendar-2019/

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Full Moon names here in the US date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is the Farmers Almanac's list of the full Moon names.

• Full Wolf Moon - January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January's full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

• Full Snow Moon - February Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.

• Full Worm - March Moon As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. The more northern tribes knew this Moon as the Full Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signaled the end of winter; or the Full Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing at night. The Full Sap Moon, marking the time of tapping maple trees, is another variation. To the settlers, it was also known as the Lenten Moon, and was considered to be the last full Moon of winter.

• Full Pink Moon - April This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month's celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

• Full Flower Moon - May In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon. Other names include the Full Corn Planting Moon, or the Milk Moon.

lunar cycle.jpg


• Full Strawberry Moon
- June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June . . . so the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry!

• The Full Buck Moon - July July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. It was also often called the Full Thunder Moon, for the reason that thunderstorms are most frequent during this time. Another name for this month's Moon was the Full Hay Moon.

• Full Sturgeon Moon
- August The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.

• Full Harvest Moon
- September This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. At the peak of harvest, farmers can work late into the night by the light of this Moon. Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.

• Full Hunter's Moon
- October With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt. Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can easily see fox and the animals which have come out to glean.

• Full Beaver Moon - November This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon - December During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

But this is a day of the sun, our star. (3 years in 4 min)

Humans have recognized the importance of the solstice for millennia. The stones pictured at the top of today's column are part of the Ring of Brodgar erected about 2500 BC on the island of Orkney in Northern Scotland. It is part of a larger complex of many neolithic monuments including Maeshowe, a chambered tomb that aligns with the sunset this evening. (3 min)

Ireland has many chambered tombs which align with the solstice sun. Perhaps the best known is Newgrange, which is also part of a larger neolithic site, Brú na Bóinne. Like the Orkney sites this tomb is over 5000 years old.

newgrange.jpg

Here's a 3 min simulation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CxtsbO9UWw
...and the real thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVXWZkwV0RQ (2.5 min)

Some are much smaller and remote...yet still align with the solstice sunrise or sunset.

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The best known of the neolithic time pieces is probably Stonehenge...
https://earthsky.org/human-world/gallery-the-winter-solstice-as-seen-fro...

Winter-Solstice-At-Stonehenge-sunrise.jpg

...where there's a party and gathering on the cardinal days of the year like the solstice. It is much newer than the sites on Orkney and in Ireland.

Here in the new world the arrangement and orientation of buildings were often used as markers. The fairly new (1300-1400) coastal town of Tulum is an example...

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The N. American ceremonial city in Chaco Canyon NM has buildings which align and petroglyph sun daggers.

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So around the world ancient peoples went to great lengths to identify the day of the solstice. No wonder there are so many holidays centered on this time of year....many of them focused on this day. In general, the themes of community, good health, and the return of sunlight are obvious patterns in every celebration of the winter solstice.

The ancestors of the people from Chaco canyon (above) are the Hopi.

In the Southwestern United States, several Native American groups, most notably the Hopi, observe a mid-winter celebration called Soyal. This 16-day ceremony includes a variety of events, and most of them mark the beginning of a new year as the sun returns to the world. During the winter solstice, it was believed that the sun god was furthest from the tribe. The Kachinas and other warriors from the tribe would dance to entice him back, and these activities are still part of Soyal celebrations today. Soyal celebrations are not typically open to the public.

In Japan, the shortest day of the year is called Tōji. Many Japanese people will participate in specific events to mark Tōji on the Winter Solstice, as it begins the winter season and colder weather that follows. Yuzuyu is One of the most popular Tōji activities; it’s a bath with yuzu fruit. Yuzu is an aromatic Asian citrus fruit that tastes similar to grapefruit. In cooking, yuzu is a garnish or flavor more than an ingredient. Yuzu is also thought to have cleansing properties and symbolizes good luck. On Tōji, some Japanese will draw a hot bath and add several whole yuzus to the bath, allowing them to soak in the water and the whole bath to become aromatic. It’s thought that this bath helps fight illness and ward off evil spirits. Similarly, it’s common to visit the Onsen (Japanese spas) for Tōji, as they promote good health.

In China, Dōngzhì is the winter solstice festival. Dōngzhì is associated with yin and yang philosophies. As the sunlight begins to return to the northern hemisphere, this increases the flow of positive energy in life. That sounds like a good reason to celebrate! Dōngzhì is a family holiday; family members come together to eat and drink together. One of the most common foods for celebrating Dōngzhì is tangyuan, balls of glutinous rice served in a soup for each family member. Tangyuan symbolizes reunion, much as celebrating Dōngzhì brings the family together. In some parts of China, dumplings are another popular Dōngzhì food. Some families will also visit their ancestral temples to worship, creating even more of a ‘reunion’ on Dōngzhì.

Yaldā, also known as Shab-e Yalda or Shab-e Chelleh in Persian, marks the winter solstice in modern Iran. Many people celebrate Yaldā night with family and friends, celebrating the passage of the darkest day of the year. It also occurs on the final night of the month of Azar, which is the ninth month of the year; winter begins as the new month (Dey) begins the following day. In some traditions, you should stay up at least past midnight on Yaldā to avoid the misfortunes of the year’s longest night. Yaldā celebrations are usually a small, social event where friends and family gather to eat and drink together. Fruits (especially pomegranate and watermelon) and nuts are common foods for a Yaldā night celebration. It’s also common to read poetry including the famous Persian poet Hafez. Sometimes, elder family members will share stories and anecdotes too, to help pass the time.

And the one we're familiar with is Yule...

Yule is probably the most well-known Winter Solstice celebration, because of its close ties to Christmas. Before the rise of Christianity in Europe, especially Northern Europe, Yule was a midwinter holiday to celebrate the midpoint in Winter. There is evidence that it was celebrated throughout northern Europe, from the Norse in Norway to Germanic peoples in what became modern Germany. Today, Yule is often celebrated in its more traditional forms by those who observe Paganism. It’s typically a day of gathering and sometimes gift-giving. Some Wicca also celebrate Yule with private ceremonies at home or with their covens. Most of us celebrate the modern, Christianized interpretation of Yule when we celebrate Christmas! Even the Yule log many people burn has its roots in celebrations of Yule, giving heat against the winter cold.

https://spacetourismguide.com/winter-solstice-celebrations/

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Today is the last day of Saturnalia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lsctaPJSvo (13 min)
From Solstice to Christmas is a journey of gods and cultures...
(the next portion is excerpted from a column few years ago)

Whatever your preferred holiday, chances are you are carrying on some traditions from the Roman holiday Saturnalia. a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture. (In 2019, Saturn is in the SW sky South of Venus just after sunset. Soon the moon will come between them.)

In the Roman world, Saturnalia was a time of merrymaking and exchanging of gifts. The houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. This week-long bacchanal also included lots of food and wine, dancing and music. Slaves got the week off work, courts were closed, and all kinds of debauchery took place. One of the highlights of Saturnalia was the switching of traditional roles, particularly between a master and his slave. Everyone got to wear the red pileus, or freedman's hat, and slaves were free to be as impertinent as they wished to their owners. However, despite the appearance of a reversal of social order, there were actually some fairly strict boundaries. A master might serve his slaves dinner, but the slaves were the ones who prepared it -- this kept Roman society in order, but still allowed everyone to have a good time.

Businesses and court proceedings closed up for the entire celebration, and food and drink were everywhere to be had. Elaborate feasts and banquets were held, and it wasn't unusual to exchange small gifts at these parties. A typical Saturnalia gift might be something like a writing tablet or tool, cups and spoons, clothing items, or food. Citizens decked their halls and even hung small tin ornaments on bushes and trees. Bands of naked revelers often roamed the streets, singing and carousing - a sort of naughty precursor to today's Christmas caroling tradition.

The Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger wrote, "It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business....Were you here, I would willingly confer with you as to the plan of our conduct; whether we should eve in our usual way, or, to avoid singularity, both take a better supper and throw off the toga."

This festival honored Saturn, and he was an agricultural god. To keep him happy, fertility rituals took place under the mistletoe. During the Saturnalia branches of holly were exchanged as tokens of friendship. Female holly plants cannot have berries unless a nearby male plant pollinates them. So, the holly wreath is a token of friendship and fertility.

To honor the god Saturn, homes and hearths were decorated with boughs of greenery – vines, ivy, and the like. The ancient Egyptians didn't have evergreen trees, but they had palms -- and the palm tree was the symbol of resurrection and rebirth. They often brought the fronds into their homes during the time of the winter solstice. Among the Druids the oak was sacred, among the Egyptians it was the palm, and in Rome it was the fir, which was decorated with red berries during the Saturnalia.

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An old tale from Babylon told of an evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump. The old stump symbolized the dead Nimrod, the new evergreen tree symbolized that Nimrod had come to life again in Tammuz. “Santa” was a common name for Nimrod throughout Asia Minor. This was also the same fire god who came down the chimneys of the ancient pagans.

Among early Germanic tribes, one of the major deities was Odin, the ruler of Asgard. A number of similarities exist between some of Odin's escapades and those of the figure who would become Santa Claus. Odin was often depicted as leading a hunting party through the skies, during which he rode his eight-legged horse, Sleipnir. In the 13th-century Poetic Edda, Sleipnir is described as being able to leap great distances, which some scholars have compared to the legends of Santa's reindeer. Odin was typically portrayed as an old man with a long, white beard -- much like St. Nicholas himself.

The German and Celtic Yule rites merged with the Roman traditions when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain and central Europe. To the food and good fellowship, greenery, gifts and greetings they added the Yule log. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian.

Because each type of wood is associated with various magical and spiritual properties, logs from different types of trees might be burned to get a variety of effects. Aspen is the wood of choice for spiritual understanding, while the mighty oak is symbolic of strength and wisdom. A family hoping for a year of prosperity might burn a log of pine, while a couple hoping to be blessed with fertility would drag a bough of birch to their hearth.

Season's Greens
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In legend, at the Winter Solstice or Yule, the Oak King conquers the Holly King, and then reigns until Midsummer or Litha. Once the Summer Solstice arrives, the Holly King returns to do battle with the old king, and defeats him. In some traditions, the Oak King and the Holly King are seen as dual aspects of the Horned God. Each of these twin aspects rules for half the year, battles for the favor of the Goddess, and then retires to nurse his wounds for the next six months, until it is time for him to reign once more.

Often, these two entities are portrayed in familiar ways - the Holly King frequently appears as a woodsy version of Santa Claus. He dresses in red, wears a sprig of holly in his tangled hair, and is sometimes depicted driving a team of eight stags. The Oak King is portrayed as a fertility god and occasionally appears as the Green Man or other lord of the forest.

The name for the festival of the Winter Solstice in Druidry is Alban Arthan, which means 'The Light of Arthur'. Some Druid Orders believe this means the Light of the hero King Arthur Pendragon who is symbolically reborn as the Sun Child (The Mabon) at the time of the Solstice. Others see the Light belonging to the star constellation known as the Great Bear (or the Plough) - Arthur, or Art, being Gaelic for Bear. This constellation shines out in the sky and can symbolize the rebirth of the Sun.

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This time of year is very cold and bleak, which is why so many celebrations are needed to help people get through the Winter months. It is significant that many civilizations welcomed their Solar Gods at the time of greatest darkness - including Mithras (the bull-headed Warrior God), the Egyptian God Horus and, more recently, Jesus Christ.
Somehow, I missed out on Mithra. I wonder if he is neglected because of his similarity to the Christ figure.

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"Mithra or Mitra is...worshipped as Itu (Mitra-Mitu-Itu) in every house of the Hindus in India. This Mithra or Mitra (Sun-God) is believed to be a Mediator between God and man, between the Sky and the Earth. It is said that Mithra or [the] Sun took birth in the Cave on December 25th. It is also the belief of the Christian world that Mithra or the Sun-God was born of [a] Virgin. He traveled far and wide. He has twelve satellites, which are taken as the Sun's disciples.... [The Sun's] great festivals are observed in the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox—Christmas and Easter. His symbol is the Lamb...."
Swami Prajnanananda

The Romans attributed Mithraism to Persians or Zoroastrians. Mithra is a judicial figure, an all-seeing Protector of Truth, and the Guardian of Cattle, the Harvest and of The Waters. Some claim Mithra represents the Sun itself, but the Khorda Avesta refers to the Sun as a separate entity – as it does with the Moon, with which the Sun has "the Best of Friendships," Mithraism has sometimes been viewed as a rival of early Christianity

In Rome, the worship of Mithra reached a peak during the second and third centuries, before largely expiring at the end of the fourth/beginning of fifth centuries. Among its members during this period were emperors, politicians and businessmen. Indeed, before its usurpation by Christianity Mithraism enjoyed the patronage of some of the most important individuals in the Roman Empire. In the fifth century, the emperor Julian, having rejected his birth-religion of Christianity, adopted Mithraism and "introduced the practice of the worship at Constantinople."

For the first three centuries of Christianity’s existence, Christ’s birth wasn’t celebrated at all. The religion’s most significant holidays were Epiphany on January 6, which commemorated the arrival of the Magi after Jesus’ birth, and Easter, which celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. In 325AD, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, introduced Christmas as an immovable feast on December 25th. He also introduced Sunday as a holy day in a new 7-day week, and introduced movable feasts (Easter). In 354AD, Bishop Liberius of Rome officially ordered his members to celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December.

Here's the History Channel's take on how Christmas evolved. (3 min)

So, to wrap up this longer than expected look at how we ended up with Christmas (which started with wiki and branched all over till I lost track of what I got where which is why I didn't source this piece). These December holidays are all about the return of light. Celebrations are found across most cultures. December 21st is also the festival of the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu, and represents her "coming out of the cave," a typical solar myth... Light and Darkness.

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Round we go. Year to year. Mostly blind to our connection with the cosmos. Do not doubt we are a star ship in space. The only water planet of which we are aware. This is the gift. This beautiful planet which we inhabit. The incredible intricate ecology that provides stability to the system is being eroded. Consider everyday a gift. It is. That's why they call it the present.

The happiest and best of the holiday season to you all!

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Raggedy Ann's picture

We celebrate the solstice. We have a solstice tree we decorate - actually it stays decorated all year! We built a bonfire last night and burned old records - out with the old...

I'm looking forward to reading your essay - I hurried down to comment because if I don't, then I don't comment due to getting lost for the day in the essay, lol.

Enjoying a Sunday morning and two weeks off work. Hope to make that a permanent situation by the end of the year if not sooner.

Have a productive Sunday, folks! Pleasantry

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"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

Lookout's picture

@Raggedy Ann

...and have several piles we need to burn, but it is raining. We'll just have to trust the light to return in its own time.

Wishing you the speediest of retirements! I keep saying I was born to be retired cause I enjoy it so much. Oddly I know a retired heating and AC fellow who hates being retired. Guess he just doesn't have much of a life outside of work.

Well the best of the season to you RA and Andy too! Keep on keeping on.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

This was very interesting and informative. Thanks!

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If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Lookout's picture

@Crazytimes

We've been to those ancient sites (and others) described in the piece. Human delineation of time is fascinating to me....largely because of the somewhat disconnected Lunar and Solar cycle. I didn't get into it in the essay, but our earliest ancestors were more tied to the lunar cycle when we were still hunter gatherers. The wildlife activity calendars you see around are a continuation of the moon's importance in this regard. As we became an agricultural peoples the solar cycle became dominant because of the need to know planting times.

Thanks for dropping in. Come back when you can!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I have read that Mithraism was very popular in the Legions. Probably because Mithra wasn't a pacifist like Jesus. Some author claimed that it was neck and neck which should be adopyed. IMHO, Constantine chose Christianity because of "Render unto Caesar...", i.e. surrender non-religious things to the civil authority.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

That Mithras was a favorite of the legions...
from https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-...

In Rome, Mithras had appeal to both the foot soldier and his ranking officers. Mithraism was a macho religion for men only—no women allowed. After baptismal rites had been conducted, the rugged legionnaires passed through graded ranks, such as Crow, Soldier, Lion, Courtier of the Sun, and, ultimately, Father. Boys as young as seven could begin their initiation as Crow, and neither military rank nor class distinctions differentiated those who followed Mithras. Those who declared themselves to be practicing Mithraists were valued as disciplined and temperate soldiers who had formed an unbreakable bond with their fellow worshippers. And those men who faced death in battle were assured that the rites of Mithras would guide them securely into a peaceful afterlife.

The powerful effects of Emperor Constantine's (d. 337) conversion to Christianity in the fourth century had a great influence on vast numbers of the Roman legions, and thousands of soldiers followed his example and converted to the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (c. 6 b.c.e.–c. 30 c.e.) and the Christian Church. Mithraism gradually faded into obscurity by the end of the fourth century, retaining only small pockets of followers scattered throughout what had once been the Persian Empire.

Somewhere I've got a picture of a small lead figurine of Mithras, but I can't seem to find it. Too many pictures, too little time. Oh well here's one that's sort of similar from the internet...
mithras figurine.jpg

Hope the weather up your way is kinder than last winter. Today is the first day of winter.

Always nice to "see" you.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
News commented yesterday: The High on Halloween was 33 (I really felt bad for the little kids). The High on Thanksgiving was 37. 51! predicted for Christmas!

I was actually able to dig peony bulbs for shipment to Alabama today. Chicago has decent soil, unlike the clay here. Nonetheless it was a bit stiff. Ruined quite a few with my shovel but some should survive.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Glad your situation is better than last year (so far anyway). Because variation will be our fate unless I'm mistaken. I'm looking and trying to plan for wild swings...hot cold...wet dry. Hope I'm wrong.

A wet day here, but only a gentle inch over the day...nothing like the 4-6" predicted (thank heavens or some other power - Chaac?). All the best!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
White Halloween but Green Christmas.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

Azazello's picture

Thanks for the history, and for the work you must have put in to produce this essay.
I flagged this for the WW. It's a Dore interview of Tulsi Gabbard.
Jimmy gets a little excited but he lets Tulsi get a few words in.

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It didn't have to be this way.

Lookout's picture

@Azazello

I always appreciate your contributions and links. Tulsi does a good job letting Jimmy rant. I think there are two other clips...Tulsi is lit (but not in the same way as Pelosi) in such a way she is shiny.
one is on the impeachment https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozPpQjLf_1M (15 min)
and the other on Megan McCain's support of her vote
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGNP4Skhk_Q (2.3 min)

Thanks for the visit. Hope all is well in your world. Thankfully we've gotten less than an inch of rain cause they were calling 4-6", but more due through the night and into tomorrow. A soggy solstice for sure.

Have a great week. Hope it is full of family and friends!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

@Lookout
with somewhat cooler temps and maybe a few drops of rain moving in.
It's been a warm, wet winter so far in the Sonoran desert.
Lit, did you say ?
I make this stuff every year. It's good in coffee or hot chocolate.
YOLO Coffee Creamer
2 pints heavy cream
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups Irish whiskey
2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
I'll probably make a second batch this year. I want to substitute dulce de leche for the chocolate syrup. That stuff is full of HFCS.

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It didn't have to be this way.

Lookout's picture

@Azazello

Our treat along those lines is a shot of Bailey's Irish cream and another of Jameson's or Bushmill Irish whiskey to a cup of coffee. Add more cream if desired. The other season drink we enjoy is Glühwein
- German Mulled Wine Recipe

Ingredients: Makes around 8 servings

• 1 bottle of red wine. Use an inexpensive full bodied fruity wine. You definitely do not want to use an expensive bottle and try to avoid one with oak aging. I think a Gallo Ruby Cabernet would be ideal. Or a red Zinfandel or Syrah - Shiraz.

• 2 - Cinnamon sticks – Cinnamon is very traditional. Break the sticks into pieces 1 – 2 inches each

• 16 Whole Cloves – again a traditional ingredient

• 1 Orange

• 1 heaped teaspoon mixed ground Christmas cake spices – or equivalent amount of any of ground allspice, nutmeg, coriander mixed together

• Orange juice – wineglass full

Method

Put OJ in large pan and place over medium heat.

Add cinnamon and spices.

Cut the orange into quarter lengthways, then cut them in half so you have eight pieces. Push two of the cloves into the skin of each piece and add to the pan. (I just throw it all in and strain at the end)

Pour in all the wine.

Bring the heat up. It should not boil so as when bubbles start rising turn the heat off

Let the pan stand for an hour or longer so the flavours develop.

I like to strain mine to remove cinnamon, cloves, etc. and then pour into cups to serve

Variations:

As mentioned, there are many variations to the basic recipe of warmed wine with spices

Some people like to add brandy to give the Glühwein more body, but of course that adds dramatically to the alcohol. Another way of adding body is to pour in a glass or two of Port.

Enjoy!!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

Amazing essay. Bookmarked. Such good info. I do solstice and solstice lights - a 9’, multi-stranded mess of lights. Some flashing and quite cheery. And I light a candle on the solstice. The lights stay up all year and go on from time to time as the as the nights get longer. Thanks for all you do. May peace abide...

xmas lights.jpg

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Lookout's picture

@magiamma

The pace of the year varies in the seasonal changes. The winter solstice has particular influence...long nights can trigger folks in different ways. Tapping consumerism as a seasonal impulse is effective isn't it? They are making use of our human nature just like they make (mis)use of the ecosystem.

Thanks for all you do my friend.

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magiamma's picture

@magiamma .
Really works. Mind boggling that it is so effective. I wonder what deep mechanism it triggers. It is so pervasive and successful. Must be deeply imbedded in our psyches but what primitive urge is it triggering exactly.

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Lookout's picture

@magiamma

That's my guess. Plus the dopamine pleasure response from consumption of all types. Consumerous is quite the psyop program. Using guilt and pleasure to drive the masses to purchase bunches of crap to give away in order to show they care.

It isn't too difficult to side step the show if you're aware. But awareness always seems to be the kicker.

All the best to you and yours in the true spirit of peace, joy, and the human family.

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Creosote.'s picture

@magiamma
to follow the point when the year's farming was done, and people could slow down a bit. Until the car, roads were also better for horse-drawn vehicles during freezing snowy weather.
Somewhere in an old book by Varro (116–27 Bce) he notes that this was also when harness was made or repaired (and that farmers talked about raising a type of bird that didn't taste all that good but was rare and therefore sold for a lot).
We've seen much progress since then they say.

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mimi's picture

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mimi

Lookout's picture

@mimi

Took me a few years into my career to realize I could not reach every student...too many externalities. You do what you can with what you have, and hope for the best.

And here's wishing you the best. Hope you've strolled the Christmas market with a cup of Gluwein!

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mimi's picture

@Lookout
in Germany the last time, as you seem to have fond memories of it.

For me it was a little bit of a shock coming back to Germany after over 35 years being in the US. It is so crowded in the cities and on the main stations you have to fight your path through the masses of people all being so much in a hurry they literally bump easily into each other.

Last week I visited the city of Free Hanseatic City of Lübeck (one of the three Hanseatic cities, which includes Hamburg and Bremen in the NOrthern parts of Germany. In Lübeck the quite famous Niederegger Marzipan is produced. There is a little Marzipan Museum, which I strolled through and had fun sitting down at the little cafe as well.

The marzipan museum takes the visitor on a long journey through time, which the almond specialty has covered over many centuries from its oriental origin to the Hanseatic city on the Trave.
The twelve life-size personalities made of marzipan are an unmistakable attraction in the Marzipan Museum: from Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen to Thomas Mann and Wolfgang Joop, all fans of the famous Niederegger marzipan. The Marzipan Museum tells you something about the origin of marzipan, shows the history of the Niederegger marzipan house and shows a wonderful film about the Niederegger marzipan production.

I spent a fortune on Marzipan and gave it as a gift to people surrounding me daily in my life. So, if you have a sweet tooth, I recommend visiting that little Museum, if you ever come into this part of the world... Smile

That was my only Christmas Market day for this year and it was fun.

Wishing you a very sweet holiday season.

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mimi

Lookout's picture

@mimi

Ulm, Baden-Baden, Uberlingen, Salzburg, Vienna, and after Christmas Regensburg. We thought the markets were lovely. Entire families bundled up. It was special for this Alabama hillbilly. We loved our visit to your country, and hope to return someday.

I hope you're happy and healthy there. All the best of the season to you!

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mimi's picture

@Lookout
USian hillibillies only love our Southerners, the Bavarians and Austrians and not the cool NOrtherners. But I forgive you, we are really quite stiff and unapproachable up here and are mum and don't speak easily in the cooler cities of Hamburg, Bremem and Lübeck. But in our defense I have to say that ...

... it used to be that if you shake hands with a Hanseatic guy it meant you didn't get cheated, no contract and no signatures needed. Fair trade and all that...

Merry, jolly and all of those things to you.
Bye

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mimi

Lookout's picture

@mimi

Was with my Mom, and we were visiting my sister who was teaching in Vienna at that time...hence the Southern route. Would love to visit the North of your country too. Perhaps someday. Next year we plan a Feb. trip to Costa Rica for birding and relaxation.

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janis b's picture

@mimi

Unlike me, my daughter born in Germany of mixed heritage, can't have enough marzipan. I never baked except for her birthday, and it was always a marzipan cake. I will definitely tell her about this museum!

My memory of the Weihnachtsmarkt in Munich is a precious memory. The atmosphere is indelibly printed in my mind.

All the best to you mimi, and all of your loved ones.

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mimi's picture

@janis b
ah, baking, I never baked in the US, because the 'Kaffee und Kuchen' invitations are not a custom in the US. I remember when I came to the US, folks didn't understand why I am not working and invited them for an afternoon coffee with cake. I felt a little inadequate and bad, because I hadn't a job yet and was 'lazy'.

My first batch of cookies I tried yesterday, pffft, they came out way too dry... Smile

Now I have to try another kind.

When I discussed how to prepare a Christmas Goose, when the goose is frozen and I have to wait for the goose to defrost etc, my sister asked me why I make a goose, we are only two people. Pfft ...

How to celebrate Christmas is a real conundrum and all the people just tell me they are so glad if it's over.

I plan now for Easter. I want a live lamb in our garden, but my sister wants a little baby deer and our gardener wants a pinky piglet. So we made a deal and will have a black and white dancing cow on our table to have something to laugh at in this misery.
Wink

PS I am still searching for Christmas carol, where a grandma ice scates over a sandhill or something like that. It made me smile back in the days.

Be jolly, folks.

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mimi

janis b's picture

@mimi

I plan now for Easter. I want a live lamb in our garden, but my sister wants a little baby deer and our gardener wants a pinky piglet. So we made a deal and will have a black and white dancing cow on our table to have something to laugh at in this misery.

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snoopydawg's picture

Hell indeed.

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In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Lookout's picture

@snoopydawg
PM Morrison
“Australia is taking real action on climate change and getting results,” he told world leaders. “We are successfully balancing our global responsibilities with sensible and practical policies to secure our environmental and economic future.
Morrison responds to Greta Thunberg by warning children against 'needless' climate anxiety

“Australia’s internal and global critics on climate change willingly overlook or ignore our achievements, as the facts simply don’t fit the narrative they wish to project about our contribution. Australia is responsible for just 1.3% of global emissions. Australia is doing our bit on climate change and we reject any suggestion to the contrary.”

He said Australia would invest $167m in a domestic recycling plan and create the right investment environment so that new technologies were commercialised, “preventing pollution entering our oceans, and creating valuable new products”.

The prime minister also restated that Australia would be investing in climate actions through the aid budget in its region rather than through the UN climate fund.

He rejected a view expressed this week by the UN’s chief, António Guterres, who warned the 74th general assembly that the world faced a “great fracture”, with the countries at risk of cleaving between the US and China

Too little too late. It never fails to amaze. Thanks for the sad news. We need to remain aware.

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snoopydawg's picture

Lmao..how she kept a straight face while talking about this I'll never know. Is there any bottom that she won't attribute to Russia Russia Russia? The stupid...it burns.

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5 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Lookout's picture

@snoopydawg

It is a Russian born virus that infects the brain deranging the person infected and eliminating their critical thinking skills.

Actually I think she knows she's pushing a line of bullshit as you suggested yesterday. But $30,000/day you'll say anything I guess. I would like to think I wouldn't, but...

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snoopydawg's picture

@Lookout

The reason her name starts with MAD is because she is madly demented. This makes as much sense as her selling out her integrity for $$$$.

I'd like to think that I wouldn't either, but after making millions being truthful why not just move on and go where you can tell the truth? I don't think she was just an act during the Bush years because of her time on air America. But boy has she fallen since then.

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3 users have voted.

In a free country civil liberties are not only for certain groups.
So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause.
The donor class doesn’t want it, and Americans elect the bribed. So suck it up.

Lookout's picture

@snoopydawg

Distorted videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across social media, highlighting how political disinformation that clouds public understanding can now grow at the speed of the Web

.

according to the WaPo
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/23/faked-pelosi-videos...

Uh, duh, she's a nightmare no matter how Bezo's spins it.

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janis b's picture

It set a very enjoyable mood to my morning.

The alignment of sun and stone is so enchanting. These man-made structures of reverence to the life-giving power of the sun and other cosmic forces are just astounding.

Watching the time-lapse of the sun, while listening to the beautiful musical piece that accompanied it inspired an idea for a card I will make and bring to my friends tomorrow to celebrate the holidays.

Thank you for all of this Lookout, and to all, a warm and heavenly holiday season.

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Lookout's picture

@janis b

Having the exact opposite experience of the height of summer in NZ. That is if you're there at present.

So ironic on the same planet to have such different seasons N & S, but so it is and we must accept. As always wishing you the best. Especially in this season of peace and joy...if only we could infect the world with the spirit throughout the year!

The best of the holidays to you and yours!

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janis b's picture

@Lookout

but summer hasn't decided whether it's ready to settle down yet. Truthfully, I'd be happy if it continues to be fickle, rain one day and sunshine the next.

During the past couple of weeks NZ has been receiving some of the Australian smoke. I noticed it first in an unnatural, uniform looking grey above the harbour. My friend who lives very close to the Waipoua forest saw it while walking through the forest, thinking at first it was a fog rolling in. How disconcerting.

Maybe we can put that spirit into a vaccination that everyone must take ; ).

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Lookout's picture

@janis b

that's like CA fires blowing smoke in my eyes. Wow! It has gone too far...this destruction we create. In the 30's dust from the midwest made it here, but we have not seen CA smoke in AL....yet. Whatta mess we've made of our ecosystem!

Glad you're getting rain. Every day should be treasured!

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janis b's picture

@Lookout

but ocean?

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Lookout's picture

@janis b

The Australian fires are a shame. So is the collapse of the great barrier reef.

The Australian government has openly admitted that the Great Barrier Reef is on the brink of collapse. But that doesn’t mean they are going to do anything about it.

While the federal government’s “Reef 2050 Plan” acknowledges that climate change poses a deadly threat to the largest reef in the world, the key targets of the plan do absolutely nothing to curb the nation’s steadily climbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Instead, the plan is composed solely of Band-Aid solutions. And that includes the government’s recent pledge to spend nearly half a billion Australian dollars on the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.

https://savethereefs.org/2018/06/14/hello-world/

The idea of blowing smoke up your ass comes to mind.

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janis b's picture

@Lookout

but the air feels and looks blanketed with a combination of humid and smokey, as if the sun wants to break through but can’t. The sky would under normal conditions have an illumination that is naturally bright despite the clouds. I could post a photo, but it wouldn’t expose the real look and feeling of it.

I just made some red beet hummus, and the colour and sparkle of it is much more pleasing.

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Lookout's picture

@janis b

.....Australian smoke not so great. We've had smoke blow in from far away, but the smokiest episode I remember is the Florida Folk Festival a few years back. In fact one year they canceled the festival because of fire...

More than once the park has been inundated with wildfire smoke, and in 2007, the event was canceled due to the largest wildfire in Florida and Georgia history, the Bugaboo Fire, named because it began with a lightning strike on Bugaboo Island in the Okefenokee Swamp. More than half a million acres were scorched and parts of I-75 and I-10 were closed. Not to be deterred, organizers rescheduled the festival to Veteran’s Day weekend in November, and T-shirts were emblazoned with “I’ve been bugabooed.

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/life/2017/05/20/indomitable-florida-fo...
Pretty good article about this special festival

Hope you have a special holiday filled with peace an joy!

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janis b's picture

@Lookout

Sorry

Your folk festival atmosphere sounds a little like the Womad festival here, of world music. I’ve never been, mostly because I am somewhat averse to crowds.

Beet hummus - a roasted beet, chick peas, garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, oil, s+p.

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wendy davis's picture

what a brilliant compendium of cultures, the cosmos, and time.

i wrote up this tragedy for chaco canyon in july of this year: 'ignoring court ruling, BLM gives Big Oil permits to drill Chaco Canyon/

it's long, but it needed to be, imo. ; )

as a very side note, i'd seen a headline at RT.com recently: 'Pole dancing: Earth’s magnetic north is racing towards Siberia at fastest pace in 400 years, perplexing scientists', Dec. 19, 2019, and on the left sidebar is a piece about the earth's magnetic field 'acting up'.

cool you have a farmers almanac; long ago the local bank gifted them to customers. the old woman we farmed for liked to plant garden crops by the signs...so we did, too; can't say i remember if it made a difference or not.

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Lookout's picture

@wendy davis

When we were there in 2014? we saw plenty of wells in the area. Chaco was the largest city in NA before the invasion of the Europeans.

The magnetic field has shifted and even reversed many times. It was discovered when they ran a magnetometer across the Atlantic. The seafloor is iron rich basalt which reflects the Earth's magnetism. This led to understanding seafloor spreading.

This is post WWII, 1st they see this reversal...
seaflor2.gif

and then come to an understanding of plate movements.
seaflor1.gif
https://istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/earthmag/reversal.htm

Now "the why" is still a mystery to be solved. Some think it has to due with the behavior of the Earth's core of iron and nickle. http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=64
The metal core spins at a different rate than the mantle and crust because it is surrounded by a liquid of molten metal. This is infered by using earthquake waves like sonar wave to create a picture of Earth's interior.

The magnetic field of Earth also interacts with Sun and this Iron core generator...

A new study co-authored by University of Maryland physicists provides the first major results of NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, including an unprecedented look at the interaction between the magnetic fields of Earth and the sun. The paper describes the first direct and detailed observation of a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection, which occurs when two opposing magnetic field lines break and reconnect with each other, releasing massive amounts of energy. The discovery is a major milestone in understanding magnetism and space weather. The research paper appears in the May 13, 2016, issue of the journal Science.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160512145509.htm

So no one understand why the field reverses...just that it has.

Wow, didn't really mean to go so far down the rabbit hole with that other than it is fascinating. I don't plant by the moon. I use the weather particularly soil moisture and temp. to plant.

Well, wishing you a wonderful gathering with family and friends during the holidays! Your part of the world is so lovely...so different from the woodland ecosystem here.

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wendy davis's picture

@Lookout

and yes, maybe a decade ago i'd read of exposed geological evidence of the north-south flips, one in the continental US. thanks for the digging.

but i hope you might read the link i'd given you on chaco; i'd done a lot of digging on chaco below the fold, some of which you may not have known. also, chacoans who'd fled seem related to not only hopi, but zuni and all other puebloan villages.

thank you for the good holiday wishes for gatherings, but it's not to be as far as family, so we're feeling a bit on the wistful side. we will have one neighbor for dinner, though.

blessings on your holidays, as well, lookout.

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enhydra lutris's picture

a ton and a half of work. Loved it & clipped it for future reference and use.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Lookout's picture

@enhydra lutris

Glad you liked it.

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