Last night I went out to see the eclipse and to stand in the cold driveway, gawking upward until my neck hurt. I saw a a shiny sliver of the full moon earlier, but clouds rolled in and blocked it out. I went back out again, foggy now, but what first looked like dense, black, low-floating clouds were really gaps in white clouds, and as these windows sailed by they gave me a momentary peek at a pink moon beyond. Meanwhile, hidden geese were flying and honking. What a winter night! And it’s nice to know many of my friends were out cramping their necks too, looking at the same event, same moon, from their own angles. (Did it look a bit like a newborn hamster to anyone else?)
A winter solstice lunar eclipse (accompanied by a meteor shower) doesn’t happen every day. Maybe we are rounding some kind of orbital bend. The last one was 372 years ago and the next in 84 years, so it’s not a nice, even cycle like those of the complex, elegant astronomy mapped out by the Mayans. But still…
So we gaze skyward, looking for some auspicious portent, hoping for Grandmother Moon to turn and gravitationally shift our course – not because the astronomy event is so significant but rather because we really need things to improve a bit right now, take a better direction. I for one feel more like those geese flapping around in the fog (and boy are my arms tired – ba-dump-bump.)
But there has been a little bit of positive cosmic shifting going on in terms of people overcoming discrimination. It seems that some Native Americans will be compensated for stolen land and revenues, although not nearly enough to undo the cultural, spiritual, environmental, intellectual, and economic damage done. And African American farmers will finally be compensated for being denied loans. (Aren’t African Americans still getting approved for loans less than lighter toned applicants? Correct me if i’m wrong…)
President Obama announced that the US should finally sign on to the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People and also that an apology is due to Native Americans along the lines of the national apology for slavery. And even though the UN appeased some homophobic African countries by taking homosexual human beings off the protected minority list, at least the US has finally started to repeal its prohibition of openly gay people serving in the military. Good riddance. I’m not thrilled about more people of any kind being sent off to war, but I am pleased about reducing job discrimination.
Together these (qualified) improvements have made the legal rights allotted to human beings a little more universal.
Not everything has been righted for victims of discrimination. After all, the list of offenses both monumental and subtle could, if laid end to end, probably reach from the sun, through the earth and to the moon. And the promoters of fear, hate, and inequality have met with no consequences (but let’s not be vindictive right now.) Still, there is a little constellation of improvements, a one degree axial shift, so it is an event. Perhaps it is a glimpse though a gap in thick clouds of something wonderful. And we can certainly gawk and gaze and “oooh” and “aaaah” and wonder if it means something bigger.