Today is the Midsummer Solstice, which has been celebrated as a holy day by most religions throughout human history. and is also recognized by science as one of the four special days in the solar year.
Kopimism is one of Sweden’s newest religions. On or about the winter solstice of 2011, the Swedish authority Kammarkollegiet — blessed be its name! — officially recognized Kopimism as a religion, just like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and others.
The Kopimist faith takes it starting point in Science’s description of how life on Earth came to be, through the process of evolution. Kopimism aims (among other things) to reunite Science and Religion, so instead of fighting the scientific counterpart to a creation myth, we accept it and try to learn from it.
Looking at the history of evolution, including the evolution that human societies have experienced, we identify four Fundamental Principles that we think are worth highlighting. These are the four Kopimist K’s: Creativity, Copying, Collaboration, and Quality.
These four fundamental principles are worth celebrating, and meaningful rituals are an important part of any religion, new or old.
In the book A Kopimist Gospel — Book 1: The Creation (pdf 85 pages, but with quite big letters), I suggest that it would be natural and fitting for the Kopimist faith to name the Midsummer Solstice as one of its holy days, in honor of the fundamental principle of Copying.
In Chapter 16 of A Kopimist Gospel I write:
Kopimist Holidays For the Four Seasons
One of the great things with being a religion is that you get to suggest holidays, which the state can then turn into days when you don’t have to go to work. Although it may take a while before the first government in the world recognizes a Kopimist holiday in this manner, we should be ready. Holidays are an important part of the rituals of any religion.
Kopimism is based on science, and from a scientific point of view, there are four days in the year that stand out in objective terms: the summer and winter solstices, and the spring and autumn equinoxes.
These four days in the year are not only highlighted by modern science. They have also been seen as holy and special days by most pre-Christian religions, from the Stonehenge druids and the old Norse vikings to the Babylonians and the Aztecs and the Chinese.
Since both modern science and scores of ancient religions agree that the four special days in the solar year are special, we can follow both traditions by declaring them Kopimist holidays. This is extra welcome considering that one of the goals of Kopimism is to bring Science and Religion closer to each other. If we can copy from both of them at the same time, that is perfekt.
And since there are four seasons and four Kopimist K’s, we can devote each of the four holidays to a different Fundamental Principle. But which Kopimist K should be celebrated in which season?
Interestingly, it turns out that we can do a quite straight-forward and natural mapping between the four seasons and the Four Kopimist K’s:
- Spring — Creativity. Springtime is when all of nature is bursting with new life. As humans we can feel it too, when light returns and finally overtakes darkness. The spring equinox is a suitable holiday to celebrate Creativity, and the joy of living in a creative universe that is bursting with life.
- Summer — Copying. Summer is when the seeds that have fallen on good soil grow up to yield a crop a hundred times more than was sown. This is the miracle of Copying, which sustains life itself. A Kopimist summer solstice ritual should be a tribute to Copying in all its forms, including sex. Fortunately, we have solid old Norse ground to stand on here. Most of the traditional Swedish way of celebrating midsummer, from the phallic may-pole to the games you play around it, have their origins in old Norse summer solstice fertility rites. Although we could turn Swedish midsummer into a Kopimist celebration of Copying without really making any changes at all, perhaps we can improve it even further by going back to the origins to see if there are any old Norse rituals that we could revive in a more original form.
- Autumn — Collaboration. In the old peasant society, autumn was when everybody collaborated to bring in the harvest. We can probably find find inspiration in old harvest festivals to celebrate the autumn equinox in honor of Collaboration.
- Winter — Quality. At least in the old society, before central heating and electric round the clock lighting, winter was a quiet time when not much was going on, and a time for reflection. This fits well together with Quality, which is something we need to reflect on in stillness at times in order not to become blind to it. In nature, in a more grim and direct way, winter is when the Quality of organisms trying to survive is tested, and natural selection weeds out the ones that are found wanting. This last aspect is maybe not the most cheerful starting point for designing rituals for winter solstice parties, but our need for reflection from time to time is definitely something that deserves highlighting by a yearly holiday.
With this, we have the beginning of a Kopimist religious year with holidays.
Although the mapping between the Kopimist K’s and the four seasons is not necessarily a central aspect of the Kopimist faith, it is still an encouraging sign that we can do the mapping so easily if we want to. They even get in the right order.
If the world was just a series of meaningless coincidences, this would be one of them. But since we believe there is a lot more to the world than that, we are free to see it as yet another sign that we are on the right track with our faith.
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