TO THE DYING OF THE LIGHT
With just four days to go to the solstice, the sunset comes before one is ready. (Or even out of bed.) Of course, I am in LA, not Helsinki or Oslo, but the gloom can still be felt and the primeval question nags. Will the light ever return? Our ancestors made every effort to ensure it did, all the way, it’s recorded, to human sacrifice, but, at the same time, they held the Saturnalia of the solstice in order to eat, drink, merrily fist fight, and fornicate like there was no tomorrow. Today, of course, we have Galileo, Copernicus and Newton to assure us that the sun will continue to rise in the morning east, plus our Chanukah candles and Christmas ribbons, maybe some aid from Odin to stave off the twilight, and the Maya at least guarantee us until 2012. This year, though, I have a certain nagging pagan doubt. This has been a year when death has dogged me too hard. Will the sun really return? Or will this be Ragnarok, and should I embrace simply the darkness?
But here’s a bit of background…
Ragnarok ("Doom of the Gods"), also called Gotterdammerung, means the end of the cosmos in Norse mythology. It will be preceded by Fimbulvetr, the winter of winters. Three such winters will follow each other with no summers in between. Conflicts and feuds will break out, even between families, and all morality will disappear. This is the beginning of the end. The wolf Skoll will finally devour the sun, and his brother Hati will eat the moon, plunging the earth into darkness. The stars will vanish from the sky. The earth will shudder with earthquakes, and every bond and fetter will burst, freeing the terrible wolf Fenrir.
The secret words are Cheerful Bastard