Signs of the Old Gods: The Winter Solstice

Written by Simon Mitchell

Once againrepparttar Earth turns aroundrepparttar 147748 sun and we come torepparttar 147749 shortest day, conspiratorially hidden right next to Christmas - on Dec 21st. The Longest Night is an opportunity to make 'Deamon Fire' - find out how. In pre-Christian timesrepparttar 147750 solstice was an important time whenrepparttar 147751 sun miraculously alters its course andrepparttar 147752 days shift to becoming longer,repparttar 147753 nights shorter. In a World without electric light this was a profound reason for thanksgiving.

People got nervous asrepparttar 147754 days got shorter, because they could see perpetual night coming. They didn't understandrepparttar 147755 rotation ofrepparttar 147756 earth and how it makesrepparttar 147757 days shorter and longer. The Celtic priests and other leaders of early faiths in Northern Europe would promise to use their 'power' to re-igniterepparttar 147758 sun. Inrepparttar 147759 old Celtic traditionrepparttar 147760 evening ofrepparttar 147761 longest night involvedrepparttar 147762 local 'priest' orderingrepparttar 147763 burning of a pine tree onrepparttar 147764 nearest 'high hill' - a precursor to 'beacon fires'.

Local people would be told to drag a pine tree torepparttar 147765 top ofrepparttar 147766 highest hill around December 25th. With great ceremonyrepparttar 147767 priest would assert his power and control overrepparttar 147768 sun by commanding it to return to full brilliance inrepparttar 147769 following days, and firingrepparttar 147770 tree. In this way he was assured that his power was also recognised byrepparttar 147771 people he controlled. In a cunning reversal of burning a pine tree outside, we now bring them inside and sacrifice them through lack of water.

Christianity was spread most effectively by subsuming 'ancient' beliefs to its own ends. The practice of blood sacrifice common in ancient times, is replaced by wine and wafers, a metaphor for flesh and blood. The ancient celebration ofrepparttar 147772 longest night is subsumed inrepparttar 147773 ever more materialistic dash to Christmas, now a Saturnalia of materialism where evenrepparttar 147774 Christian message is lost.

Traditionally, at least in Dennis Wheatley novels,repparttar 147775 longest night 'Walpurgisnacht' is associated with dark magic and lots of naked romping about and making homunculii and other horrid things. Here is confusion between Christian images ofrepparttar 147776 devil and those of earlier Celtic 'Pan' like entities,repparttar 147777 'genus locii' of special places. Hernerepparttar 147778 Hunter of popular myth andrepparttar 147779 like. Also this time of yearrepparttar 147780 sun is in Capricorn, a horned goat, contributing to another cultural mish-mash with many strands.

Thirty positive actions for a sustainable Earth

Written by Simon Mitchell

There are many ways we can use our human energy to lightenrepparttar load on natural resources and tread lightly on our home planet. Check how many of these you do already:

1. Recycle and re-use Wherever possible, separate waste into compost material, bottles, tins, paper, clothing etc and make sure that these get recycled. See if your local council has a policy for recycling, food reclamation to fuel or even methane extraction from waste. If they don't - start one. Ask your neighbours to contribute to a local composting station.

"The UK has one ofrepparttar 147747 worst recycling records in Europe (12.4%) compared with 64% in Austria, 52% in Belgium, 50% in Germany and 47% inrepparttar 147748 Netherlands. Inrepparttar 147749 UK we bury 80% of our rubbish in landfills, compared torepparttar 147750 Swiss who only landfill 7% of their rubbish." (The Observer 2004)

2. Shop locally or order a veg box Give your local farmers a boost by buying direct - either by visiting farms, farmer's markets or through vegetable box schemes - which are usually organic. This saves transport costs in 'food miles' and guarantees, fresh, local, un-polluted and healthy, in-season food. Try and avoid supermarkets and shop locally when possible to enhance your own local micro-economy.

"The average household [in UK] spends 470 a year (or one sixth of its total food budget) on packaging. In a typical Asda or Tesco shopping basket only 26% ofrepparttar 147751 cost is accounted for by food;repparttar 147752 rest is packaging, processing, transport, store overheads, advertising andrepparttar 147753 mark-up of supermarkets which is sometimes as high as 45%." (National Farmers' Union)

3. Make more of your own food from fresh Stop buying ready-meals and throw away your microwave. Takerepparttar 147754 time to make healthy, balanced and delicious meals and condiments from wholesome raw ingredients. Be likerepparttar 147755 French and live to eat - rather than eat to live ! Eating food isrepparttar 147756 only activity apart from sex that involves all of our senses.

4. Promote community exchange If you can exchange skills, items or energy direct with other people withoutrepparttar 147757 use of money - this makes your activities more efficient. If you can share resources with people around you - then you don't have to earn so much to buy things and you don't have to work as much.

5. Improve local diversity of nature See what you can do to providerepparttar 147758 right ecosystems to promote local biodiversity. Bring butterflies, moths, birds, wild flowers and so on into your local environment by providingrepparttar 147759 resources they need.

6. Review domestic energy use Check whether you can save energy by cutting down consumption or being more efficient. There are government schemes inrepparttar 147760 UK to help with heating efficiency and insulation. Even switching off atrepparttar 147761 plug at night saves power -those little red 'power on' lights add up to over 4 million of electricity used inrepparttar 147762 UK each year ! Look at how your home uses energy and where it can be saved, even if it means putting a jumper on occasionally.

7. Start a local investment scheme If you want to save for a future - doesn't it make sense to invest in something you can see and touch - like a local investment system that brings a return on your money and improves your own locality ? Invest money where you can see what it is doing - and where you can lend a hand if needs be. Community companies, local co-operatives and credit unions are a growing resource for sustainable local investment. What better way is there than to invest your energy directly into your local micro-economy where you can cherish it ?

8. Use an ethical banking system Just what does your money do when you invest it a bank? Do you invest inrepparttar 147763 land mines that blow off children's legs ? Do you support armaments manufacturing,repparttar 147764 over-exploitation of rainforests, globalised cartels intent on rapingrepparttar 147765 planet ? Does your default investment in a bank endorse child slavery and prostitution, international drug running and money laundering ? Checkrepparttar 147766 investment policies of your bank to see just where they are putting your energy as an investment. If you don't like what you see, at least consider using an ethical bank that might invest in things you want inrepparttar 147767 world. Even better - reach for a lifestyle that doesn't include a bank account at all.

Did you invest in this ? "Japanese physicist Professor Yagasaki calculated thatrepparttar 147768 500+ metric tonnes of depleted uranium (DU) thatrepparttar 147769 US unleashed on Afghanistan wasrepparttar 147770 radioactive equivalent of 51,875 atomic bombs ofrepparttar 147771 size dropped onrepparttar 147772 Japanese city of Nagasaki. Duringrepparttar 147773 2003 Gulf Warrepparttar 147774 amount of DU used wasrepparttar 147775 equivalent of 103,750 atomic bombsrepparttar 147776 size of that dropped on Nagasaki. DU fallout will travel fromrepparttar 147777 Middle East torepparttar 147778 UK, US and parts of Asia." (International Physicians forrepparttar 147779 Prevention of Nuclear War)

9. Review car use and petrol consumption The real price of petrol, if you apply economic principles to its production - that includesrepparttar 147780 timerepparttar 147781 earth has taken to make it - comes in at over 1 million per gallon. Its use produces awful chemical pollution and extreme noise. Most internal combustion engines run at an incredibly low efficiency (usually about 20%). The logic of having something that weighs over a ton to transport a single person defeats me. Yes, I know they're incredibly convenient compared torepparttar 147782 alternatives and that many motors have cult status but - come on - there has to be a better way than this ! Boy am I looking forward to hydrogen / oxygen fuel cells. Cycling is great!

10. Start a local energy collective Your roofs are a resource ! Take a look at some ofrepparttar 147783 rooftop energy panels available today. Chat with your neighbours about a collective approach to local energy needs. Sell your excess energy back torepparttar 147784 grid ! Intermediate technology combined with modern technology in wind, solar or water power has come of age so start your own power supply.

11. Learn more aboutrepparttar 147785 nature in your local environment Which wild animals and plants live in your environment? Share some time with them and see what they can teach you. Become a direct 'friend of nature' and explore how other species seerepparttar 147786 world we share. You could even adopt some wild nature near you and 'look out' for it.

12. Make things from found or recycled materials Do you rememberrepparttar 147787 fun you had whittling wood when you were younger? Keep an eye out for interesting wood you can prepare to make useful things. So much stuff is just thrown away or destroyed that could be useful again given a little T.L.C. Wild wood can make attractive coat hangers, boxes, shelves, even furniture. Waste skips often have objects that can easily be given a 'new life'. Working with your hands to make things 'new' can be a deeply satisfying experience.

13. Make your own Christmas and birthday presents Take time out to make things that you enjoy and give them away to people you love. These have a value way over anything you can buy. If you have a creative hobby - use it to make gifts instead of buying them. If you don't - find a hobby or activity that puts you in touch with natural things.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
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