Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Oct. 26, 2006)
One of the perimeters faced in our Western society is that our concept of time is
linear, only viewed through the lenses of the present with the past placed behind
us and the future imagined ahead. Our industrialized world accepts this belief.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
|Brightly colored fall leaves
float along a gentle mountain stream.
To view our system of life as cyclical is considered primitive
thinking. If most people were asked if theyre aware that we just passed
the Autumnal Equinox, they would respond with, No. Who notices?
Were a progressive society unhindered by such things as seasons and sunsets.
The sun comes up and the sun goes down and our lights automatically click on to
fill in the darkness, as our world is artificially illuminated all hours of the
day. We live in an unnatural world.
In Florida were still more removed from these natural cycles by our year
round tropical climate producing a veil of green foliage. Most citizens are aware
of the visual changes. Time is measured by the numbers upon our computers
toolbar and the TV guide schedule.
Yet, it hasnt been so long that civilizations based time upon a cyclical
calendar centered upon celestial events, planets and what may seem to the untrained
eye as a random array of stars. But this random array of the stars visible to us
today has essentially remained unchanged since the time of the first written
One of the earliest complete lists we have today was compiled in about 120 B.C.
was written by Hipparchus, the Greek mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. All
the stars that he described can be found with the same brilliance in essentially
the same place as in our skies today.
The 12 constellations of the Zodiac, that were painstakingly researched by the
Greek, Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Chaldean, Hebrew, and Chinese astronomers, create
an imaginary belt in the heavens. These constellations along the ecliptic were
given special significance and became known as the signs of the zodiac.
The Zodiacal circle formed by these constellations is close to being aligned with
our celestial equator. When the suns plane crosses the equator on the first
day of spring, we could ask ourselves which of these same 12 constellations is out
behind our brilliant sun.
Since Biblical times, the months and years of the Jewish calendar have been
established by the cycles of the moon and the sun. The traditional law prescribes
that the month shall follow closely the course of the moon, from its Molad (birth,
conjunction) to the next new moon. Furthermore, the lunar months must correspond to
the seasons of the year, which are governed by the sun. (Spier, pg. 1)
Time keeping and the creation of calendars are among the oldest branches of
astronomy. Up until very recently, no earth-bound method of time keeping could
match the accuracy of time determinations evolved from observations of the sun and
the planets. Since antiquity the beginning of the year has been regarded from the
start of spring, called the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox and the autumnal
equinox are the two days twice each year when day and night are equal in length as
the sun crosses the celestial equator.
An imaginary line through the sky appearing directly above the equator divides the
earth into the northern and southern hemispheres. The vernal equinox is one of the
two points where the sun crosses the celestial equator. While the earth orbits
around the sun, the position of the sun changes in relation to the equator. Since
the sun is on the celestial equator at the autumnal equinox, it has a declination
there of 0°. Between March, or vernal equinox, and September, or autumnal
equinox, the sun appears north of the equator. It appears south of the equator in
the time between the September equinox and the March equinox.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the autumnal equinox will occur either on Sept. 22 or
Sept. 23, depending on the earths position in a given year. This day also
marks the beginning of autumn. The word equinox is derived from the Latin word
aequinoctium (equal night). This season is also known as fall.
Until I researched this subject I had assumed this referred to the falling of the
fall leaves, but on further pondering that phenomenon would not take place
everywhere in the world, so what did this expression refer to? It seems that the
ancient reference to fall, which is found in most cultures around the world, was
pertaining to the sun falling below the equator.
Ancient and modern cultures associate this time with religious and spiritual
connections. The season to reap what weve sown, good or bad, from our spring
planting is also the time for thanksgiving. Since day and night are once again
equal, this cycle is considered a time that is in balance, but in this balance may
also bring with it a time of disturbance.
This year the autumnal equinox has also been marked with a full moon. Many
cultures around the world consider this a powerful time. The abundance of the
harvest is present, but so are our senses in preparation for the dark winter and
the death or deep sleep of nature and the arrival of a new millennium. It is a
cycle of change.
Imagine our world without change. Our planet could not exist without change.
Volcanoes and earthquakes create our atmosphere and are the birth places of a new
earth. Imagine all our days and nights being the same length of time. As we proceed
along our linear path of ideology in pursuit of progress we create visions of a new
world upon space stations and villages. It will be necessary to reconsider time and
our perceived reality as we have understood it: linear.
Unless were prepared to accept alternate concepts of time we will be unable
to embrace alternative realities. How will we adapt to life as we continue to push
further from our known natural elements into a world of the
unknown? Our ridged concepts of time must be altered to accept new
worlds, new philosophies; something akin to the rethinking of the world is round as
opposed to flat.
We have only been on this planet for a short time, yet weve managed to
pollute its waters, cut down its trees, drive whole species of wildlife to
extinction, soil the air we breathe and poison our bodies. Our Western society has
difficulty accepting other levels of reality. For example the ant goes along
building his world, living within his world. He is not aware that his ant mound is
on Mr. Browns front lawn and Mr. Browns front lawn is in the city of
St. Petersburg, in the county of Pinellas, in the state of Florida, of the United
States on the continent of North America, on the planet of Earth as a part of our
solar system, universe and beyond.
For the sake of humanitys future, it might be wise if we all stopped for a
moment from our linear duties to watch the cycle of the sunset and the full moon
rise. We can try to understand and predict the forces of the universe, but we are
only humans. The universe continually reminds us, through the awesome power of
nature, that we are not the equalizers. The power of nature will eventually win out
over us, our sanctified concepts and preconceived ideas. Humanity is in need of a
fresh new outlook. We are but a blip upon the universal measurement of time.
As another season comes upon us its a reminder that no matter what we do or
build or how many calendars we print or appointments we keep, the earth and all the
planets and stars within our universe and beyond will always return
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.