Once again there is public furor over possible apocalypse. September 28, 2015 is the last of several “super-moon” events, which, according to many spiritually minded people, are supposed to herald fundamental changes in world events. Because of the eclipse that will be visible throughout much, although not all of the world, this event is also referred to as a ‘blood moon’ and as such, is considered especially significant.
Certainly from an astronomical perspective, a tetrad of visible full moon eclipses, separated as they’ve been at about six month intervals, is unusual. The last time it happened was not quite 400 years ago. A similar cluster, though not a full tetrad, will occur in 2033. So, it is a rather unusual event. Natives in the Americas have taken notice because the last time such a cluster occurred their lands were in the early processes of what amounted to truly apocalyptic colonization. They have more reason than most to be triggered by this event.
In speaking to many natives, it’s become very clear to your author, that this ‘blood moon’ means something quite different to them than it does to many apocalyptic and conspiracy minded non-natives who have taken to the internet and airwaves proclaiming, yet again, the advent of coming catastrophe.
According to Etaoqua, an elder of the Mahican nation who currently lives in New Jersey, the so called calamity and end has already come and is continuing. She, of course, is referring to the disaster of holocaust-like proportions that began in N. America in the 17th century with the coming of Europeans to the shores of N. America/Turtle Island, bringing disease, treachery and destruction in their wake.
For her this ‘blood moon’ signals the possible beginning of the end to these patterns as more and more “European children begin to wake up to the truth of Spirit.” She sees these signs as proof of hope against the headlines that weave narratives of violence and despair. This is also true for many other natives who have seen more hope in these signs than anguish.
Although the idea of the eschaton is common to Christianity, Judaism and Islam, each religion really saw it quite differently, and it wasn’t until the Reformation that the idea of the end of days really began to develop in the manner it’s currently understood. Furthermore, even though many other religious/spiritual groups have maintained the idea that the world could or might end, they certainly didn’t seek it out or look forward to it with the same avidity one finds in the blogosphere.
Many Algonquin peoples in N. America/Turtle Island maintain a tradition about the 7 Fires Prophecy, based on a series of prophetic utterances that were given to them in a time preceding European contact. They interpret the prophecies in light of that contact and the desolation which followed and insist that the 8th Fire of Prophecy is still to come—and whether it will be destructive or a rebirth is still pending. They do not believe that a final destruction is inevitable—it is UP TO US.
Similarly, Hopis, Lakota and Maya people, and many other natives speak about the end of days in a very different way. There is nothing foreordained, there are only choices each one of us must make. Natives have absolutely no doubt that the planet will take care of itself in some fashion. The open question is whether humans will be around to participate in her healing.
According to scholar Lorenzo DiTommaso, the obsession with the end of the world, or what in Greek is referred to as the eschaton, stems not from religious beliefs, but the loss of beliefs, or even faith of any kind. The word apocalypse is from the Greek and means unveiling, revelation or prophecy. His research has indicated that people who don’t really know what to believe in anymore seek for solace in the notion that something/one somewhere has control over the fortunes and fate of the world and they seek out their comfort in conspiracy theories and apocalyptic thinking.
In many ways this approach is not really different from that of fundamentalists who are so disgusted with a world they can’t control that they seek to destroy it in order to save it. DiTommaso argues that this is a way to avoid personal responsibility while at the same time shoring up faith in something. It’s an attempted cure for a sense of powerlessness. Religion, science, economic and political systems have all apparently failed to produce a ‘heaven on earth,’ or, even a better human being, so it really is time to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
It’s funny how First Nations people seem to simply be more realistic about all this, to know better. Maybe it is because of all they’ve been through and what they’ve been witness to. To sum up Etaoqua’s thoughts at the Neetopk Keetopk Harvest Equinox celebration, Sept 23, 2015: “Nothing and nobody needs to be saved, we just need to pay attention to what we’re doing. No system is going to make the world or human beings perfect. We are who we are and were brought here to be of service not to have everything just handed to us. Everything we need is already given to us. Our purpose is love, just love. When we remember that, it changes everything. Then we don’t need a God in heaven because God is right here with us….well, God is in heaven too, but then so are we. What will it take us to remember that? Only we can say.”
So, your author is opting out of apocalypse, thank you.