Between dangerous Xmas shopping and zombie mall Santas it’s easy to forget the real danger lurking between you and all that Christmas turkey. We’re talking about the Winter Solstice. This year the longest, darkest night of the year – for half of the world – will be 8.5 percent longer and darker due to the convergence of a full lunar eclipse. (Note to any Southern Hemispherians at this point – Please read this article upside-down.)
Whether you call it Winter Solstice or “Alban Arthuan” or “Yule” December 21 in the northern hemisphere is always pretty dark, both literally and figuratively. Normally a full 18 hours of dark, scary thoughts like, what do I get her for Christmas? What did I get her last year? And where’s that crazy Icelandic Yule Cat and why does he always attack me ? Add to it this year an extra 1.5 hours of terrifying awareness like, Why is the moon turning red? Is it bleeding?
The answer is yes. No. Maybe. This solstice December 21 brings with it a full lunar eclipse. The first solstice lunar eclipse since 1554, according to NASA. Beginning around 1:30 am EST which is around 5:30 Universal Time, the shadow of the earth will swallow the full moon for some 72 minutes of celestial mayhem. I don’t want to alarm anyone but the last time this happened it wasn’t good! Remember 1554? Me either. NOBODY DOES! Sounds like a total blackout to me. A dreaded Year of Darkness.
So how can we prevent this happening again? Well Oldentimers knew what to do in this situation. Those decorations are not just about annoying your neighbors. They have roots in survival – and preventing another year of darkness. Start by decorating your holiday tree appropriately. A traditional tree is not just a convenient gift stand, it’s a trap for dangerous spirits. You use it to lure the spirits of darkness indoors with a happy green tree decked with edible. This is very important. Traditional decorations included nuts, apples, muffins and long strips of bacon draped over the branches. In short, everything a spirit needs to stay warm and happy and out of trouble! Compare that to the Christmas trees of today. How many spirits will starve in those boughs, hung with glittering plastic balls and synthetic garlands? Do we really need to be reminded that any spirit with the MUNCHIES is a NASTY one? Take my word for it. Pop some damn corn, slap it on a string and get it up there *STAT!* You family is depending on you. Better yet, break out some bacon and drape it over the branches. That will keep them busy longer. Where do you think tinsil comes from anyway?
After you’ve fed the spirits, it’s time to pitch in on the annual Luring of the Light. Unless you really WANT to live in darkness for 12 more months? If not, then get out there and cajole the sun like your ancestors did. Remember, electric lights don’t count. Dust off that Yule log and haul it in and if you haven’t kept one from last year? First of all SHAME ON YOU! With the annual fate of the whole world at stake all you had to do was save a piece of log. Was that really so hard? Now what? Maybe light a candle, preferably two. There’s no hard data on how much light our star requires to make its encore, so every flame counts.
Take this advice and all should go smoothly again this Solstice. Spirits stay happy, the sun will return and we finish Christmas shopping on December 24 like the triumphant seasonal survivors that we have always historically been.