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Bulletin 40 (Jan 2022)

Editorial Chris Duke

New Years: new ambitions and aspirations, resolutions as well as apprehensions; and rising awareness that not all ‘new years’ begin on January 1st, but at different times over some weeks, notably in different parts of Asia and leaving aside the alternating seasons of the two hemispheres. Some ‘new years’ are historically long-abiding, with old belief, ways and wisdoms stirring, rediscovered, noticed with new interest and serious respect – lifelong learning across the millennia. Thomas Kuan’s Waxing Learning Cycle is one such.

Mid-winter in the North passes with celebration of the passing of the year’s darkest day and longest night, echoing deep anxieties revealed in medieval European folk and nursery tales, so-called pagan rituals rolled into the still dominant Christian calendar matching the northern seasons. Australian First Nations (Aboriginal) communities in far North Arnhem land, however, have a six-season year matching the behaviour of the weather, and so of all life-forms, not the four neatly quartered calendar into which behaviours, hopes and fears are shoehorned.

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