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Article Specs

Article ID: 8861

VoxAcct: 151679

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 3,377

Times Read: 5,538

It Never Rains, But It Sometimes Waves…

Author: Jemma Hawtrey
Posted: January 16th. 2005
Times Viewed: 5,538

Happy Muggle New Year,

Boy, do I hope 2005 will be a better year! My partners grandmother died the Thursday before the dreaded Xmas, my job is boring and miles away (70 each way to be exact) and I need to sell my car before it eats all the oil in Saudi (21-26miles per gallon) .

But at least I am not looking for a son or daughter in Thailand...

26/12/2004 – A Richter 8.9 earthquake causes Indian Ocean tidal waves that hit coastlines with no warning whatever. Total casualties at time of this writing (03/01/05) are upwards of 150, 000 with many of those being children. Many families have been wiped out and entire islands and towns smashed out of existence. But you knew that…

Every single one of those 150, 000 people has left behind a shattered family. I know how that feels; I spent a 'holiday season' with one. Theirs was only one loss and a grandparent, a person who I cared very deeply about, and that a natural death. Imagine the feeling of a mother who has lost her entire family, including the partner that would be the person she'd turn to.

The most conspicuous thing I have noticed is that there are to my knowledge no Pagan agencies dealing with this sort of work! Yup, that’s right, not a single one.

This is a problem that needs to be addressed and as soon as possible.

Its not going to be an easy task getting a whole lot of Pagans together and functioning coherently, its going to be hard enough getting them to the same place at the same time (aka Pagan Standard Time) but it needs to be done.

These catastrophes, and the Tsunami is the worst in my lifetime, are something that could unite the disparate Pagan groups and also enhance our reputation amongst other faith groups. Notice how it’s the Christian Aid Agencies and the Muslims that get the news coverage? Its not because other traditions aren’t doing anything, its because they, and we, aren’t known about.

I have heard it said that you should give with your left hand and not allow your right to know what you are doing, in English that means give and be quiet about it. All very well, but why waste an opportunity to tell those who would hate us that we, those "godless pagans", care the same and give the same and love the same as everyone else?

I, as usual, am extremely short of money. I know many who are. So I thought I would offer my time and my expertise in volunteering. I find that I am not wanted, I don’t have the right skills to be able to help. I can hold a crying child. I can help search (I have two eyes, even if they are a little knackered) . I can drive and I can even successfully skipper a boat, but I am "not needed". So what can I do?

I don’t know if we can do it and I have very little clue as to how to start but I think January 2005 should be the time that the Pagan community in general gets together and starts to organise. There are myriad local groups working quietly in the background run by people with energy and talent, the only difference between these and agencies such as Christian Aid is one of size and time and budget.

I know we have the numbers, and its not as if we don’t have the time! Now all we need to find is the inspiration, the people and the perseverance to see it through and we’ll get the budget as people see we are there to help.

When I think of all the different Pagan communities throughout the world and all those gifted individuals I cannot see a way such a community could fail at anything we set our minds to. It doesn’t have to be time you spend, it can be a small amount of money a year, or using your ability with computers or accountancy to work behind the scenes, almost every major tradition in the world has a dedicated network of Aid Agencies and the like. The speed Paganism of all flavours is spreading isn’t it time we had something similar?

Don’t get me wrong. I am under no illusions that this is going to be in any way easy. I know from bitter experience that some people and even organisations will throw up every possible barrier and make us jump through every hoop and loophole they can find, but we as Pagans are used to that, right? We’ve all been there before and something so worthwhile is worth fighting for!

And I know about the ‘we don’t want faith-based giving’ spiel as well. The one that goes on and on ad nauseum about how Pagans shouldn’t give as Pagans, we should give as people. Yeah, that works for me, if we want to say in that nice cosy broom closet with the little blue blanket over our heads. People howl when some journalist or pundit writes an article on Pagans so far off the mark it could be a script for Hex or Buffy, but did you ever think to yourself why they do? You can’t find out what people refuse to tell you (and journalists these days get into so much trouble if they use that old rack that’s just lying about…) . If we are going to be accepted, we are going to need to be open. We don’t have the luxury of 2000 years of theology (and those nice useful armies) to back us up. Our legitimacy will come through our actions, both those that help and also how we deal with those that have & will cause others harm. That’s all there is to it.

I have also heard it said that life is something that should be grabbed with both hands and experienced to the full. Maybe that’s true, I know for one that I haven’t experienced anywhere near as much of life as I could. But you know; it could be that the person who first penned that statement got it ever so slightly wrong. Maybe it should have read something like this

“Life is something that should be given with both hands”.

Because then you can experience just the simple look of thanks in a persons eyes, or that brave little smile of that young child who will have hot food and shelter because you helped.

I know whatever aid is given and however much counselling and support is provided those who have been lost can never be brought back. I know the pain for those left behind will never go away. But at least while they learn to adjust to it they can be provided safe shelter and friendship. That’s got to be worth something…

I think we can do it

In fact, I know we can do it!

So, Pagan gentlepeople, shall we start now?

Copyright: Copyright Durin ab Iceni (Jon Marriage) 2005


Jemma Hawtrey

Location: Colchester, England

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