I’m really looking forward to 21 December. It’s Yule, the Winter Solstice, one of the main Wiccan sabbats, right at the top of the wheel of the year. After Samhain – Halloween – it’s my personal favourite. It falls this year on a Friday. I have a party planned, all the better because mother and father will be away for the weekend. My close friends and associated hangers-on will be there. I’m taking lots of trouble over the food and the drink. For me it is the best or nothing.
Alas, I fear that I am wasting my money and my time. As I pointed out here recently (The Last Three Weeks), 21 December also marks the end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar. I do not know any Maya and I hadn’t anticipated any coming to my bash, but they apparently intend gate crashing! Oh, well, I shall just have to be extra vigilant, making sure that things go with a bang without going with a bang.
Around the world there are people so much wiser than I am. They are getting ready too. But unlike me they are getting ready for the end, not for a party. Actually I’m not quite sure what they are getting ready for. The end it seems is the end for everyone but me, not meaning me but you, or whoever and so on and so forth. The bells of hell go ting-a-ling-a-ling for you but not for me!
I’m reminded here of Bob Dylan’s Talkin’ World War III Blues, which concerns a dream of personal survival. Perhaps you know the words? If not it concludes thus;
Well, the doctor interrupted me just about then
Sayin’, “Hey I’ve been havin’ the same old dreams
But mine was a little different you see
I dreamt that the only person left after the war was me
I didn’t see you around”
Well, now time passed and now it seems
Everybody’s having them dreams
Everybody sees themselves
Walkin’ around with no one else
Half of the people can be part right all of the time
Some of the people can be all right part of the time
But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time
I think Abraham Lincoln said that
“I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”
I said that.
That’s what the count to the Long Count comes down to – the survival of number one, which I personally think is a lot of number two. Apparently there has been panic buying around the world of candles and survival kits, which suggest that some people have a highly relative view of just what the end means. As I say, the bells of hell and so on.
In Russia people are sweeping up torches, thermos, kerosene and other supplies. Some enterprising shopkeepers are taking advantage of the situation, advertising “Meet the End of the World” kits, which apparently include a tot of vodka along with a bar of soap and a piece of rope. OK, I can understand the vodka, but the rope and the soap?! The situation is so bad that Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister, has tried to calm the panic, saying that he does not believe in the end of the world, “At least not this year”, he added reassuringly.
In America Ron Hubbard (that’s without the L), a manufacturer of hi-tech underground survival shelters, has seen sales explode. Oh this is not a mere sales opportunity on his part. He’s taking the whole thing seriously himself, going underground on 21 December and not emerging until two days later. I won’t bother sending him an invitation to my party.
It gets worse. In the French Pyrenees the mayor of the town of Bugarach has banned UFO watchers from climbing the nearby heights of the flat-topped Pic de Bugarach. Apparently many consider the mountain to be a sort of alien highway. There all the ETs among us will gather on the final day, taking the humans to happen to be around along with them as an act of charity. It’s a fair return for past hospitality, one has to conclude.
On that very point I’m going ahead with my own hospitality regardless, no candles, no kerosene, no rope, no soap and obviously no aliens, since they will have previously decamped to the south of France. Quite frankly I would rather share Yule with a lot of twenty-something loonies in Knightsbridge rather than lunatics underground or on bare mountainsides. There is one thing I will never be accused of – not knowing how to party.