It seems like synchronicity of the highest order that, while we here in NYC are still talking about the earthquake, while we’re running hither and yon like Chicken Little fretting over a hurricane, on this date in 1883, many thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean, the entire island of Krakatoa was obliterated in an explosion, one of the most powerful ever seen on this planet, producing a noise that was heard 3,000 miles away, and a tsunami 120 feet high that raced at 300 mph to nearby Java, obliterating coastal towns and slamming up to 15 miles inward. The island vanished, leaving a crater 1000 feet deep in the ocean, its five cubic miles of rock being blasted in all directions. An estimated 36,000 people were killed.
In a perfectly hideous example of the delicate web of cause and effect that is nature, a previous explosion in the year 535 may have been literally less devastating, but in the end caused far more deaths, since scientists believe that the eruption, or rather the period of cooler temperatures that resulted in nearby Africa, due to the ash in the air, may have caused the local fleas to become exceptionally ravenous. We know that when temps cool, fleas cannot digest well, and they become driven to feed on as many creatures as possible. These particular fleas happened to be carrying the black plague, and since Constantinople had a thriving ivory trade with Africa, it wasn’t long before the plague was being spread far and wide.
I have mentioned before the inexplicable need that monotheists have to explain the universe, especially nature; this week there were several exciting discoveries in the field of astronomy, including a brown star cool enough to stand on, and a planet that may be as dense as diamond. Such amazingly unusual stellar bodies prompted one fundamentalist minister to actually upbraid the men and women of the space sciences, whose research brings us these things, saying. “I think they’re wasting their time trying to comprehend God’s universe.” No, Skippy, the waste of time is feeble fools like you who are content to say, “God’s will” every time something happens, or you’re confronted with something you can’t explain. I’m sure somewhere some preacher is howling that the impending hurricane is God’s revenge for legalizing gay marriage, and I know that the quake in DC, specifically the damage to the Washington monument is being called God’s ire against the Obama administration by some preacher. The hypocrisy of this situation never fails to appall me; these blockheads are so adamant about their “God controls everything” fantasy that they have to twist all natural occurrences to suit their agenda, always absolving their god of any responsibility for mayhem, always demanding he get the credit for anything good. Of course there’s a reason why God smites towns with hurricanes and floods, killing dozens (some of whom must have been cheating on their wives or skimping on the collection plate) and displacing hundreds…ummm, just give us a second…bigamy, homosexuality, gingivitis…
Don’t misunderstand, as pagans we have no desire to be in an earthquake or a hurricane, we don’t pretend (well, not most of us) that we can predict, ameliorate, or control such phenomenon of awesome power, but we don’t waste our time trying to fit the vagaries of Nature into some pre-conceived mold of how things have to work. We accept that such understanding is not for mortals, and we don’t try to bend our Mother’s ways to suit us, but we revel in her power, respect her choices, and try to get out of the way! The futile and fatuous attempts of priests and ministers to “explain” the Natural world proves that the arrogance of a male God who has to control everything and get constant praise is matched only by his human ministers who want to frighten you into blind obeisance.