There is hope at the end of this long winter…

Photo by Christian Vanden Bilcke, "Winter in Meerdaalwoud, near Leuven", Belgium, 2020.

Winter, as the coldest of seasons, where it exists, may be in danger because of climate change and resulting higher temperatures. But the winter that our souls have experienced over the past year has been powerful and chilling for the most part of humanity, the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere alike. In the magic forest of our collective unconscious, where humanity traces its past, this winter has been dark and cold, in the grip of the evil spirit of COVID-19 that has been wandering around terrorising people with the death rattle that accompanies it.

The virus may be the big bad wolf, or crocodile, in our enchanted wintry forest of 2020 but by no means the only source of evil in it. It joined forces with a coterie of orcs, goblins and other demons, some frighteningly unhuman and some completely human-faced. Their collective achievements: increasing poverty and hunger, inequality and insecurity among people, spreading destruction in the natural environment.

Where have the good elves gone, the angels and the kind witches? Have they all been killed by the virus or other assorted evils, or have they already moved to other planets on those new reusable space rockets, leaving the rest of us to our fate?

As we gather on the big opening in the middle of our forest to welcome another year of our planet’s solar calendar – with masks on, of course, just in case, even if we mostly now meet through digital means – the anxiety about the future is palpable. There is, though, here and there, an inkling of hope. The promise of recently approved vaccines, for example. The mobilisation to support people whose livelihoods froze because of the pandemic and the increasing support for a universal guaranteed income for all. The realisation of the importance for our survival of the medical professions but also of the humble supermarket workers, garbage collectors, farmers and truck drivers. A rediscovery of what matters most, the essence of physical and mental survival, and the solidarity for one another, in the physical space and in cyberspace.

In our wintry forest of 2020, as we cross into 2021, there are enough good spirits active or awakening to bring the forest back to its spring and summer glory and to warm up the poor souls of all those creatures that inhabit it. At Katoikos and FOGGS we try to empower the good spirit that resides in each one of us, encourage active citizenship and positive involvement in what is happening, and help create the framework for a more hopeful tomorrow.

May 2021 be the year in which we realise our best potential and make a decisive step, individually and collectively, towards the better world we long for.

Katoikos

The editorial team of Katoikos

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