Happy holy days, everyone! I hope you are all shopping like crazy, and consuming far more than your share of the world's wealth, because if you aren't then you could be accused of disloyalty to the United States Amalgamated Universal Corporation Inc. Your name could even be turned over to the "consumption squad," a new division of Homeland Security. And is it not true, friends, that Jesus was a shopper of souls?
But let us remember that the source of all our mid-winter shopping, partying and praying is the sun, El Sol, our father who art in orbit, hallowed be thy rays. Every year around this time the northern hemisphere of earth becomes tilted away from the sun in a bow of respectful submission, passing through the winter solstice, and calling on us to reflect on our cosmic dance. Again we become aware of how gracefully the sun and earth waltz with each other through the ballroom of space-time, eliciting awes and hallelujahs.
Just think, friends, we are all riding on this little rock through space, spinning madly around the earth's axis at about a thousand miles an hour and in our orbit around the sun at over 60 thousand miles an hour -- and you don't even have to hold on! What a ride! Can't you feel that space-wind on your face?
And you've got to love our sun, even though it is a tiny one compared to many in the universe. But size does matter, and our sun is perfectly proportioned, just the right size to fertilize the hot loins of the earth mother, the goddess Gaia, giving birth to all life.
Many of our ancestors worshiped the sun, as in Egypt where people prayed to Ra, the sun god who created all things. Some say this worship was the origin of the popular chant, "rah, rah, rah."
I believe that the sun is still at the center of all our winter religious holidays. Hanukkah, Christmas, the Keltic Druid festival of the stars, the Katchina night dances in the Hopi pueblo -- all of these celebrations involve turning on a lot of lights and then eating and drinking too much, which happens because its cold and dark outside and everyone has cabin fever, and the solution is to find a good excuse for winter bingeing.
So maybe we should start deliberately worshiping the sun again, bringing our attention to its power. Otherwise we are going to over-cook our goose, and nobody will be dreaming of a white Christmas because it won't be cold enough for snow, and therefore no sleigh-bells ringing or jing jing jing-a-ling too.
More and more people I know are celebrating the winter solstice and the fact that right around Dec. 21 the sun starts shining stronger and the days start growing longer. The pagans have always prayed that this will happen, and maybe if there weren't any pagans a-praying the sun would just fade away and die.
So for the sun's sake, I encourage everyone to celebrate the solstice, the birthday of the sun. Not only will our prayers insure it's return, but they will remind us of our interdependence with all of nature, and reconnect us to the great cycle of seasons and planets.
And whatever deity you honor, whatever traditions you follow or invent or mix and match, may it all be merry and bright and meaningful to you. Remember, as Mahatma Gandhi once said, "God has no religion." And as John Lennon sang, "Whatever gets you through the long winter night, its alright." And this is Scoop Nisker reminding you, once again, to stay high but keep your priorities straight, and if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own.