A CELEBRATION OF NATURE AND OUR COMMON HUMANITY
It’s the holiday season. Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,… Muslims celebrate Ramadan. In China, it’s the new year according to the Chinese calendar. Some of these traditions are rooted in the winter solstice…the shortest day of the year. Thousands of years ago, in the pre-historic human era, hunter-gather clans shaped their world views around the rhythms of nature. The winter solstice happens at different times of the year, depending on what hemisphere the observer is in. In the Northern Hemisphere, it happens in December. In the Southern hemisphere, it happens in June.
For about 90% of human history on Earth, the rhythms of nature were our guidepost. Women were revered and treated as equals in hunter-gatherer societies, because it is from women that life emerges.
The traditions of most of the world’s cultures are rooted in the rhythms of nature. Then, came religion, and with it, male dominance. The Bible is rooted in misogyny, with pronouncements that man shall have dominion over the land, nature, and women. The Koran, the Talmud, and other texts that define religious dogma are also built on a foundation of male dominance.
The world we live in now has little resemblance to the world that existed thousands of years ago, when the religious traditions that shape modern human culture were first formed. If I had my way, we humans would marginalize the dogma from two thousand years past. Instead, we would build a new ethic, based on kindness and tolerance, and respect for all life. For most of human existence, nature and the rhythms of life were the way we humans defined ourselves. We need to get back to that. The road to a sustainable future begins with gender equality and an equal place at the table for all.