Cyclemas is the season during which the days decline to their minimum and then turn around and start getting longer again.
This pattern is similar to the decline of civilization, due to our pressing against planetary limits, and its eventual turn around toward a new prosperity based on living within those limits.
The first step is to realize that there is a positive future that we can create. Sharing the notion of Cyclemas is one way to accelerate the transformation. It may be years yet, before our political structures recognize that the human family has now grown up and that it is no longer possible (let alone desirable) to continue with the goal of Growth everlasting. The alternative, however is being clearly expressed and demonstrated by more and more people. Each person who realizes that there is a positive alternative moves us closer to the necessary shift in society's goals.
Background of Cyclemas
Technically, Cyclemas runs from when the afternoons start getting longer, on December 10th, through the Winter Solstice when the days overall start getting longer, until Little Christmas (Epiphany), on January 6th, when the mornings also start to lengthen. Practically, it begins when the declining days start to play on our moods, and continues until the lengthening days do the same in a positive manner.
Why we can expect humankind to regain a positive future is outlined here.
For a very long time the goal of growth has been effective. We have been so successful at growing that we have doubled our activity practically every generation since the Industrial Revolution. Today, however, the entire process seems to be stalling around such issues as diminishing natural resources and the accumulation of problematic waste. The Earth may not offer sufficient foundation for even one more doubling, let alone doubling again and again as our present economic structure requires.
Sooner or later, the problems of confronting planetary limits will clearly out weigh the possible returns from trying to do so. As the evidence of problematic limits rolls in and the demonstration of solutions rolls out, the purpose of society will shift from perpetual expansion to sustainability. It is a Question of Direction.
Growth for growth's sake is a relic from humanity's collective childhood and adolescence. As we accept responsibility for the now mature strength of our civilization, we will apply our knowledge, ingenuity and creativity toward recreating human culture to exist well within our planet’s long-term capacity to support us.
We humans are a versatile bunch. As we recognize that our children and grandchildren depend on changing direction, we will start applying our broad knowledge, abundant skills and enormous creativity toward integrating the human presence with and within the natural capacities of the Earth.
It can be done. It will be done. Keeping this possibility in mind is the purpose of noting Cyclemas.
The Earth is Abundant
Vast quantities of biological materials are constantly flowing almost everywhere, powered by the mega-energy dynamo, our Sun. Throughout time, all life has succeeded by integrating itself with those flows of material and energy. Humans need only rediscover those flows and sensitively reintegrate our societies within them.
During Cyclemas, imagine that after civilization declines to its minimum that it will resurrect in a new form. A form which acknowledges and respects both the limitations of the Earth and the needs of all.
One can only make a peanut butter sandwich if one first imagines it. Once the image is in mind, one can start gathering the necessary parts, take the appropriate actions and "Presto!", a peanut butter sandwich.
Whether or not it has yet to become the purpose of our societies, we can imagine acknowledging the present challenge, applying our ingenuity and building a world that can serve the interests of our children and grandchildren long into the future.
Shifting Society's Goals
(To clarify the shift that must take place and how such change comes about, see our mini-course.