Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Talk Thursday: Equinox

In this benighted and far-from-our-agrarian-ancestors society we live in, you might have to go to considerable lengths to find someone who knows what the hey an equinox actually is. For the record, it's not a new dance craze, a third-world nation or a Chinese food (though it is the title of a fascinating album by Jean-Michel Jarre, French composer of all things electronic and totally cool, and yes, for the record, he is the son of Maurice, who composed the soundtrack to Lawrence of Arabia. See? You learn something new every day.)

An equinox, kids, is the day in the calendar year when the day and night are exactly the same length. In autumn, that means the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. After today, night will start winning the race, at least until December 21 when things turn around again. The equinox is one of the four quarters of the year, the other ones being the spring equinox, the Winter Solstice and the Summer Solstice. The ancients marked these turnings of the calendar and used them to pick the best times to plant and harvest their crops. They also partied like only the ancients can party. Unfortunately, there weren't any video cameras back then so we don't know how hairy things got.

The equinox has certain astronomical and astrological significance, but it's actually most important in a religious context. I know this because, like Christine O'Donnell, I once "dabbled in witchcraft" between running with my Lutheran street gang and hanging with the Buddhists in the Bible Belt. Unlike Christine O'Donnell, though, I actually know what that means. Most importantly, I know that you can't "dabble" in witchcraft. In fact the whole notion is ridiculous. The idea of "dabbling" in witchcraft is like showing up at church on Christmas and Easter and blowing off the whole Christian religion the rest of the year. Oh, wait, people do do that, don’t they?

Look, I hate to disabuse anybody of the notion that they can cast spells on their neighbors whenever they want somebody cutting a tree down or some such thing, but being a witch takes work. You better have a firm grip on your own mind before you start messing around with reality. You better have a highly developed sense of ethics, and it's really not a good idea to jump into the religion without at least a little instruction - preferably with another human being who actually knows what he or she is doing. Read a book lately? If you're a witch, you're going to read a lot of them. About witchcraft, sure, but also about stuff like psychology, sociology, history, religion, and all the reasons it's a bad idea to leave a lit candle unattended in an empty room. Casting a spell (witches do cast spells) sounds cool and all, but if you knew it might take you several hours to get the ingredients together, set it up, do the actual spell casting and then clean up afterward, it wouldn't sound nearly as appealing, would it?

In short, it's a lot of work. That's why I quit and became a Buddhist. It's much easier to just sit there. No wonder Christine O'Donnell just dabbled in it. She probably wasn't cut out for anything that required that much thought.


Cele said...

You forgot the whole Witches Karma thing, what fun is casting a harming spell if you get it back tenfold. Ouch. I still believe in the power of the earth, the elements, peace and belief.

I still haven't figured out how I'm going to address this topic.

Jen said...

There's ways around that little problem
-like casting a spell that the annoying
neighbor will get the dream job of a
lifetime on, say, the other side of the
planet. :)