What's Past, Is Prologue: Post Election Thoughts From a Maven
Article ID: 8799
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,812
Times Read: 11,973
Author: Sia@FullCircle [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: November 20th. 2004
Times Viewed: 11,973
Whatever your feelings about this last U.S. election, the fact remains that there is still a great deal of work to be done by anyone who cares about justice, liberty, and Mamma Gaia. So take a bit of rest, take stock, and then decide what it is you care about, because there are causes close to home and many people still suffering abroad who need our hearts, hands, and voices in 2005. As Terry Pratchett notes in his book, A Hat Full of Sky, "A Witch speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves, " and our work on that front is far from done.
So forget the "pundits" and the scorecards and the gloom and doom contingent. As I look ahead, two facts stand out:
This is our time, folks, so let's get busy.
- Never before have so many people become active, organized and involved.
- The world needs Earthwise ethics and philosophy now, more than ever before.
We Pagans are here to help connect and heal the world. We are here to teach (and learn) about tolerance, responsibility, and honor. Did we think it was going to be easy? If so, perhaps Earthwise people were not paying quite as much attention to The Lord of the Rings saga as we had thought.
Myths and history all teach us that each generation has tests and trials to endure. My parent's generation, for example, grew up during a worldwide depression, and then they served and suffered in World War II, only to encounter the 50's, the Korean conflict, the McCarthy Era, the Cold War, and Vietnam. Let us also not forget the social and political upheavals caused by the arms race and the nuclear threat. They also lived through the struggle for Civil Rights and the Second Wave of Feminism. Oh, and did I forget to mention oil embargos, the energy crisis, drug wars, rampant pollution, political assassinations, and a deep recession? And that's just in the U.S., a place of comfort, safety, and wealth. In other parts of the world, people struggled in ways most of us can't even imagine. So let's stop whining folks, and get on with the job of meeting our challenges, living well and creating meaning. It's up to us now to leave behind something lasting and uniquely ours. This is our time to work for the Highest Good of all, as our foremothers and forefathers did before us.
This new era brings with it many possibilities and much hope. It may also be our turn to be tested, as well, and why not? Who are we to escape the burden of being human? It is part of our Path to struggle and fail, get up again and go on. We may feel hopeless or fearful or desperate and still we have to go on.
"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stay with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something."
"...What are we holding onto, Sam?" said Frodo
"...That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo...and it's worth fighting for."
When it comes to it, some of us will choose to become more Solitary than ever, while others will come even further out of the Broom Closet. No one has the right to judge how we choose to let our light shine, but it is vital now to stand for something beside mere personal gain or individual growth. We can choose to be a quiet force for good in our own neighborhoods or join our voices and speak out loudly and strongly for what we believe. How we shine that light is our choice, but shine it we must, or let the darkness come again.
Never before has it been so important that we reach out to those who share our values. To that end, we offer a bit of hope from organizations like the ACLU and UNICEF, the Sierra Club and websites like The Witches' Voice and Religious Tolerance, to name just a few. Many groups are working hard to make the world a better, safer place and they need our support.
Don't give in to despair. Frankly, there has been a bit too much wailing of late on the Pagan airwaves; too much victimization, finger pointing and blame. Enough of that, now. We have work to do. And speaking of the work ahead, this is not the time to claim one issue in importance above all others - all are connected and each affects the whole. This is what our Path teaches us, yes? So let's see a little less competition, please, and a lot more cooperation in the days ahead.
This is also not the time to claim (as Hitler did, as Pol Pot did, as the Witch Burners did) , that "The end justifies the means, " while we wait, Gollum-like, nursing a hate along, plotting revenge. We have seen the true Enemy and it isn't one religion, political party or group or even that-Witch-down-the-street-who-offends-you. The true Enemy is a lethal combination of prejudice, fear, lust for power, ignorance, and fundamentalist ideology1.
If we look carefully, we can see that the Enemy sits, like a canker, in the rose heart of every world religion, every spiritual path and political movement, every new Enlightenment and in every age and culture. We are not free of it, we Pagans, but we can be. Now is the time for each of us to reject that negative impulse in ourselves and to reach out to "the other, " those Great Hearts who can be found in every religious, spiritual and secular community. We will know them by their works and by the fact that these people reject the real Enemy, even when they find it (like Saruman, like Wormtongue) hiding amongst their own. These like-minded people will join with us to create peace and justice - all we need do is ask. Will we waste yet more time arguing that a Dwarf cannot possibly work with an Elf or will we stand together and fight side by side, as friends?
It is our time, our Quest, and our choice to make. We might not win the Shire back for ourselves, but we can keep it safe in the end.
1 Isaac Bonewits states: "I've spent years trying to come up with appropriate cross-religious terminology to use to refer to particular religious phenomena. 'Fundamentalist' is the best term I've been able to find to use as shorthand for 'ultra-conservative, rigidly dualist, deliberately ignorant, force approving, religious fanatic/extremist.'" And he also notes "The term 'Fundamentalist' has since been extended by the mass media to refer to 'Fundamentalist' Jews, Moslems, and even Hindus. In each case, the inference is that some people refuse to budge from the most conservative version of their faith that is available to them and resist, even to the point of violence, all competing worldviews, including scientific knowledge about the origins of life and of Earth not really being the center of the universe. ...Nontheistic examples would include many Marxists and Secular Humanists, as well as other fervent atheists." (I would include certain self-righteous Pagan mindsets in this definition, and a vast array of political and academic types in both the red and blue states, as well.)
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