Father’s Day is here again and it may be no coincidence that every year it falls within a week or so of the Summer Solstice, a time when pagans like me celebrate the masculine energy of the sun, the s-u-n, our father who art in orbit, hallowed be thy light. On the solstice you can usually feel the penetrating rays of El Sol, as the Northern Hemisphere of the earth tilts toward the sun in a great bow of respect, calling on us to reflect on our cosmic dance – the fact that we are all riding on this little rock through space, spinning madly around our sun at over 60 thousand miles an hour. Can you feel that space wind on your face?
And you’ve got to love our sun, even though it is a tiny one compared to many in the universe. But size does matter, and our sun is perfectly proportioned — just the right size to service the hot loins of the earth goddess Gaia, giving birth to all life.
Many of our ancestors understood that truth, and for a long time worshipped the sun as god, like the Egyptians who used to go out into the desert, and chant “Rah Rah Rah!” (Sis Boom Bah was added later. The native peoples of Northern California held wild celebrations on the summer solstice, with the shamans of the Chumash and Pomo tribes consuming the psychedelic herb datura, leading people in dances to celebrate the sun and the fertility it brings. Meanwhile in Europe the pagans celebrated the summer solstice with feasts and mock weddings, with the young men and women heading into the fields of tall grasses to have the traditional hot fun in the summertime.
So maybe we should start worshiping the sun again, which would hopefully bring our attention to its awesome power. Otherwise, we are simply going to cook ourselves. And would you like fries with that?
While we are paying some seasonal attention to the sun, let’s not forget the fathers, who have had a rough time in the past few decades and deserve some props. Because after many centuries of wearing only the pants in the family, we were suddenly asked to try on an apron. Then we were told that we were supposed to have an authentic emotion every once in a while, and even be willing to talk about it. So fathers are now expected to be tough and competitive in the economic jungle, and then come home and be tender and nurturing — doing a complete yin-yang switcheroo from alpha male to girlie man just on the way home from work! Evolution did not prepare us for this.
Of course the number one problem for all fathers is that they are “men,” which, in spite of the impression we like to give is not an easy thing to be, mostly due to a particular trait that is found in the male of nearly all species, and that is extreme horniness. Mostly it’s a biological issue. Scientists now estimate that the average human male creates 12 trillion sperm during a lifetime, which means that every man could theoretically populate an entire galaxy with his offspring. Man, talk about delusions of grandeur! But we should also note that every human male ejaculation contains 150 million individual spermatozoa, which indicates that we don’t put much trust in the little fellows. “Hey, everybody swim for your life. One of you will make it.”
Finally, I suggest that we make father’s day a time to honor not only our own father, but also the great fathers of humanity. We could start with our common biological father, who deserves some respect. Because while scientists have traced our human ancestry back to an ape woman who they named Lucy, “the mother of us all,” they hardly ever mention the father of us all, who we must presume was Ricky. Hat’s off to the first dude!
On Father’s Day we can also give a bow to our poet and storytelling fathers, like Homer, Rumi, Blake, Dickens, Whitman and Dylan, who reveal our common destiny and universal heart. We could also offer a bow to our philosopher fathers, such as Plato, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Camus and Wittgenstein, who tried to figure it all out for us. And deep bows to our scientific fathers, like Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and Hubble. And a few bows to all our engineering and inventing fathers who discovered cures for nasty diseases and built great bridges and whose labors and genius have made our lives today a relative luxury. And of course we can’t forget our political fathers like Adams and Jefferson who trusted the people to rule themselves and who seeded democracy. And deep bows to those giant fathers like Gandhi, King and Mandela who ignited politics with spirit and soul so that we could all rise above ourselves. And on father’s day we might also honor those super fathers, the archetypes who set the standard, such as the Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed, who pointed us all toward our true nature which is perfectly human, and perfectly divine.
So at this moment of the year, find a way to celebrate the masculine, honoring all the fathers and suns, the boys and the men. And this is Scoop Nisker saying “Go man, go!” And, if you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.