Acheron, Christmas, December Solstice, Emu, Forgetting, Frivolity, Hell, Lethe, Mental Health, Sagittarius New Moon, Woe
You can’t get there from here. Urban Dictionary.
Myths identify contradictions that are not easily reconciled and relationships where social balance is tenuous. Dorothy Counts, Snakes, adulterers, and the loss of paradise in Kaliai, 1993.
Did you know that 90% of the dust in the world is made up of dead human skin? How do you feel about that? You think you’re dusting your house? You’re not you’re just moving your grandmother around. Dave Allen. (Read the one about the Demon Drink!)
As someone who has nestled in gender dysphoria and the lethargy of opprobrium for three score years and ten, and possibly developed borderline personality disorder as a result, who has no doubt been judged as an evasive scoundrel for promulgating the belief, on the political spectrum right of Genghis Khan, that we should value country above territory, resilience above compensation, self-reliance above compliance and perseverance above healing, I have been trying to bend my indolent imagination, being born a Cancer in the Southern Hemisphere on Christmas Day, to some understanding of the psychological landscape of Christmas, in the wet concrete of Mental Health repeatedly added in 2019 to the renovation of Our Global Temple of Everlasting Safety, and the possible significance for the traditional Christmas celebrations of the celestial background beyond its daylight, consisting of a host of invisible stars towards the centre of a galaxy plotted on an unconscious history of hell.
New Moons are metaphors for those brief moments when the genders coalesce, when the cultural rules make perfect sense and animosity makes none, and for good or ill, we just know we’re all in this constant change thing together. You will uphold and believe in the result, although your vote has gone to the loser, right? The Moon is a man? Yeah, right! Equilibrium is not equanimity. Can we at least agree that the world we all live in was not spawned by dreams, asterisms, gods and myths, which were designed to leave us courageously where we were, at home, in intergenerational struggle and competition for honour and eventually truth, but by the mathematics of eclipse and the scientific investigation of superstition, the coalescence of resentment and responsibility par excellence, and the farewell of ignorance thwarted by knowledge never cherished?
At the end of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (the Summer Solstice in both hemispheres is midyear), the Sun has crossed the Acheron in December since the days of Charlemagne, and within a week either ‘side’ of the Solstice since 1500 CE and until the end of the 26th Century. But what is a calendar, if not a mechanism for making time stand still? Thirty generations takes us back to the late 14th Century; in another 30 generations, the Sun will cross the Acheron after the beeps of New Year. What changes will Homo Sapiens Sapiens have managed by then? Will they be celebrating Christmas in a solar calendar of a different star system, or perhaps be gone altogether?
The Moon, obliged to pay the highest price to climb onto the Emu with the remorseless blind boatman Antares, crossed the Acheron unnoticed while your gifts were being wrapped and unwrapped. Now that it’s New, it is about to emerge once again on the right side of its monthly initiation into the timeless mythology of resilience, on the downward slope of conscious and righteous history, to briefly illuminate the sunset of you and me and our momentarily reunited families as we enjoy the break which commences our annual journey to global nowhere.
But what of the wrong side of history? Is there a ‘before’? Is there a ‘now’? Or is ‘now’ merely the right and wrong on either side? The body, the ego, the family, the culture: it’s pretty hard to be here now, without, in the immortal phrase attributed to H.L. Mencken, sitting on the fence with both ears to the ground. So many tragedies have unfolded—not only my fault, or yours, my judges—during my three score years and ten, and it does not necessarily indicate mental illness to spend hours each day in inconsolable grief. The lugubrious wailing of indigenous peoples is a healthy way for sadness to conquer equanimity confronted by the awful truth, the horizon of country. If you want proof that space is made out of time, return to somewhere you’ve been. Imagine, the next time you weep, you had a shoulder to cry on. Wouldn’t that make ‘why’ redundant?
December, the month of the Vagabond, was the month of Grandpa. Father Christmas (Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas) is your indulgent grandfather: have you never understood the child in your parents? What follows is the month of the parent in the child, the equanimity of the rider of the emu: the astrologer and the philosopher arm themselves with woe when they confront the future, because they have countless times been on the wild emu chase of grief and joy. The Veteran on the other hand, Full Moon in Gemini, is the sorcerer who observes the Gate of God in its Underworld, when the black hill to the north splits Taurus and Gemini at midnight. It was the water clock which enabled hundreds of sorcerers across the world to discover equinoctial precession at the same time, by calibrating midnight Gates with midday shadows. Now any witch can tell you, when Betelgeuse transits at December Solstice, it’s witching hour.
You might search the heavens in vain for the Knecht Ruprecht and the Krampus, but your grandparents are up there, right next to your parents’ grandparents, in various symbolic mazes of floor, forest, chapel, shed, cage and dusty kitchen, the talismans against deprivation of capital, status and kin. I shall join them soon enough, but you will never see me at Christmas, even if you’ve been good, because my haunt is the Gate of God. Idolaters, tip your hats to the barmaid who serves at the Gate of Man. To quantify the Woe opposite Forgetting is the mission of the narcissist and the fool. What the boatman takes all across is yours to remember, so let us toast the spirits of Christmasses past, present and emerging, they who intone, “Welcome to Country”!