This year’s Winter Solstice was ushered in by an incredible astronomical event called The Great Conjunction. The Great Conjunction, as it was termed by NASA and other scientific communities, noted the close proximity of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in a way they have not converged for over 400 years and it has been 800 years since it could be seen so clearly by earthlings. In reality they are still millions of miles apart but to our humble human eyes, they will appear as one giant celestial body in the night sky. This natural phenomenon has captured the imagination of scientists and spiritual seekers alike. It is called the Christmas Star as many believe it was this very natural event that prompted three wise men to travel east to visit a baby, The fact that it is inspiring joy, awe and hope at the end of this incredibly challenging year can only be a good thing.
Throughout history these amazing celestial marvels often coincide with some massive human event and 2020 is no different. A global pandemic. A contentious election. For the first time since I began this blogging journey six years ago, I missed almost two months of publishing a blog post. November and December 2020 has been one for the history books and one we will talk about for years to come. November was a month of profound hope and one of profound sadness too. The close of 2020 continues to be a time of great division even as it promises to be one of great excitement for the future.
I adopted this country when I was in my early 20s and moved from my beloved Canadian home to a place of hopes and dreams. My own hopes and dreams. Hollywood was beckoning, the change to start fresh, be someone new, find my tribe, be free to grow as the odd woman out I often felt I was. Los Angeles, a sprawling city, a city where fantasy and make-believe and magic play out on film and on the streets every day. It was easy to believe and easier to dismiss that some of the magic was just smog and ultimately the fantasy allowed many to hide who they truly were. What I left my home to find there evolved into love and family and new hopes and dreams.
But what I have always loved and admired about this country was the promise. That it was possible to come here and make a life and yes maybe become successful or own a business or a home and send your kids to school and give them a chance to freely grow into who they were. It’s the reason millions have flocked to these shores, the Statue of Liberty a beacon and a star in the sunrise to so many seeking refuge and hope and a new life.
This November left us all bruised and subdued. This November revealed just how incredibly divided my chosen country is. Half of us voted to bring back calm and sanity and that promise of a better life for whoever was willing to come here and work hard. After four years of misinformation, mishandling of a deadly pandemic, a resurgence of the issue of systemic racism and economic inequality, hate, and the absolute denial that all of us with the exception of native peoples are immigrants to this country, we were tired and ready for something different. But half of us voted to keep the current beliefs, the policies, the division of the past four years. Half believe in the dangerous rhetoric, the lies, the rolling back of protections for the environment, the disregard for human life. Half!!
There was no victory in November and I feel a sense of profound sadness. What has been revealed is the depth of the fissures between us. This has truly been a fight that all of us have engaged in. We are clearly on opposite sides in what we believe in, what we pray for, who we listen to. What we can all be convinced of. How easy it is in this environment to turn to your neighbor, the one you’ve talked to and laughed with, whose children played with yours, who has shared in good times and bad, and see suspicion and hate in their eyes, and maybe violence in their hearts. Who are we? We have had no star to guide us.
We are all exhausted and it is not over. There are enemies at the gates. This pandemic, worse than ever, more dangerous than ever even with vaccines and help on the horizon. A denial of truths, the spreading of lies, the misguided notion of what freedom is. We took for granted that inclusion and diversity and sanity and democracy were values we all held dear but that is not what is playing out. We focus on differences instead of commonalities. And we are deaf to each other’s arguments. We don’t discuss anymore, we yell at each other. We have no north star and we are floundering in these stormy seas.
The stars have always served as a beacon and a compass for mariners and land travelers alike. The heavens are mapped to set a course for journeys on land and sea. Maybe the Star of 2020 can be a beacon for us now too. There has been a changing of the guard these past few weeks although it has felt like moving through molasses. Each day, more barriers are set up to block that change, more lies fueling those already angry and mistrustful and some who are dangerous. My hopes and dreams continue to evolve as we await the birth of our grandchild. The next generation. When I was close to giving birth to each of my children, I would rub my tummy and try to coax them out, telling them we couldn’t wait to meet them and that the world was safe. But as my own child reminded me, the world is not safe right now. Still, if we are to right this ship, to overcome, to save the natural world and the human race, we need the next generation, maybe one born in a turbulent world to look at the situation with new eyes and new hope. With new ideas and new strength and a new star to guide them. I will ever be the dreamer and maybe the naive one. But I fully believe in the inherent goodness of people and that we shall all overcome. And that this too will pass. Once we get to January. I make my wish upon a star. Namaste.