Saturday, July 28, 2018

Beware of the Blood Moon!

The Blood Moon 1
Most of us missed the dramatic lunar eclipse last Friday  – or “blood moon” as it has come to be known. And those of us who did see it on TV, probably viewed it as a trendy event to chat about on social media.  

But be forewarned!  Since ancient times, the blood moon has been associated with danger, “a rip in the fabric of order.”[2]

Astronomer, Ed Krupp who has studied folklore about the cosmos, found cultures all around the world believe that a red moon eclipse signifies a carnivorous creature devouring a celestial body.

Today it is warning us about a carnivorous creature devouring our own planet. And that creature is us: Humans, who have abused and tortured Mother Earth to the point of no return – but yet still claim no limits on what we may do. 

In response, the gods of the universe are giving us what we deserve – along with, unfortunately, all the other innocent beings who dwell on our little blue planet– by raining down "fire and fury” in the form of raging forest fires, hurricanes, floods, and Donald J. Trump.

I don’t see this is as a declaration of Armageddon, but a final warning shot, beseeching us to change course before it is too late.

The fundamental question we have to come to terms with is: Do we accept limits on our behavior as an essential part of the natural order, or not?

The fight in its present form has been going on since Earth Day celebrations began in the 1970s. On one side we have the conservationists, ethicists, scientists, and traditional conservatives who say we must accept limits as a fundamental aspect of who we are and as a recognition of where we stand in the grand scheme of things.  

On the other side, we have the fossil fuel industry and libertarians who scream that we must have the freedom to do whatever we want.

Unfortunately, our old Earth Day ethic has been consistently losing ground under the onslaught of big money propaganda. Until 2016, that is, when we hit rock bottom.

It was then we elected a man-child as our president who is all impulse with no boundaries, who thinks climate change is a hoax and wants to double down on fossil fuels, particularly the dirtiest of the lot: coal.

At almost 73, I have come to embrace limits, not as confinement but as spiritual liberation, as I learn how to give up the need for control in order to live harmoniously as a tiny cog in the infinitely majestic, interwoven mystery of life. 

Trump, who is my age, has gone the other way, reveling in defying any limits on himself or our country, which he is piloting like an obstreperous, bumper-car driver consumed with road rage.

“On the contrary,” as Wendell Berry has reflected,” our human and earthly limits, properly understood, are not confinements but rather inducements to formal elaboration and elegance, to fullness of relationship and meaning.”[3]

How much better to see the imposition of limits, not as a drawback but as an inducement to the development of fullness in all our relationships.

This sentiment was perfectly expressed by the Dartmouth professor, Donella Meadows, who wrote the best selling book Limits to Growth; she was also on the Board of Contributors for the Concord Monitor, at the same time I was:

“The ideas of limit, sustainability, sufficiency, equity, and efficiency are not barriers, not obstacles, not threats. They are guides to a new world. Sustainability, not better weapons or struggles for power or material accumulation, is the ultimate challenge to the energy and creativity of the human race.”[4]

In memory of Ms. Meadows, one of the most influential environmental thinkers of the twentieth century, may we recognize this recent blood moon eclipse for what it portends: A final wakeup call we can’t afford to sleep through. 


[1]Photograph of the
 blood moon from,+public+domain&client
[3]Faustian Economics: Hell hath no limits by Wendell Berry for May 2008 Harpers Magazine.
[4]Beyond the Limits: Confronting Global Collapse: envisioning a Sustainable future by Donella Meadows, Dennis Meadows, Jorgen Rangers. Chelsea Green Publishing Co.: White River Junction, Vermont  ©1992