The wonderful thing about being human is that we are conscious. Well some of us are anyway. The awful thing about being human is that being conscious, we, alone among all animals, know that our death is inevitable. This knowledge is maybe the Apple in the Garden and it is the basis of most religions.
Religion, a formal and institutional concept, appeared along with our adoption of agriculture. That great moment when mankind withdrew from participation and membership with the natural world and looked to a Sky God to place them above nature. For, if you farm, nature is your enemy and you need a God to help you establish a place of dominance over all your enemies.
But the challenge for all who obey the Sky Gods is that there is no evidence that the Sky God will look after you when you are dead. So you have to have faith. Faith is hard. Many devout members of religions die in fear of their faith being misplaced. Most people live their lives denying death or acting out against the unfairness of death. Eternal life based on faith is a slender hope.
But on this day of the Winter Solstice, I am reminded again of why, for millions of years, humans needed no faith to live with the knowledge of death. For when we live with Nature. When we live as a member of her family, and not as a presumptuous ruler, we see everyday the cycle of life and death play out.
We need no faith, we just need to use our eyes.
We see that all things are born, grow, mature and die and then are born again. From an ant to a mountain, from a sun to a galaxy. We see how all things are connected. We see that our brain has the same structure as the universe. We see the energetic connection between all things. We observe that as science expands how science and this observation of connection come together and note with sadness that science and religion drift ever further apart.
We need no literalism to see that all things are stardust connected eternally in the universe.
So on this great day, when the sun returns to give us all life, blessings to you all.
Nature waits for you. The planet needs you to come home soon too. You know why don't you?