Max Dashu:

In memory of all the ancestors who were burned, tortured, imprisoned, drowned, exiled, fined, enslaved, flogged, slashed or shunned on diabolist accusations during the witch hunts, earlier persecutions and pogroms, and later colonial persecutions too. We remember and honor you, vowing to demolish the cultural legacies that still carry these poisons.

(as posted on facebook)
 
(photo by Mary Ann Glass)
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Happy day of the dead, Samhain, or Winternights. For many of us, tonight (and the next few days) are special days given over to celebrating and honoring our ancestors. While it's important to connect with your honored dead throughout the year, it is a nice thing to have one special holy day or series of days, where they can be especially celebrated.

So at this time, think about how you can better honor your dead. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Share your life and blessings with them. Don't be shy! Set out food and drink, candy and pastries, and anything else you think they might like. Look at their pictures, tell their tales and in all ways large and small celebrate their memories and impact on your life.

You're here because of your ancestors. You are your ancestral line walking; and that is a great and glorious thing. Celebrate it, now and always.



 
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All of the cosmological, elemental Spirits must be in their full energies and in balance for the greatest amount of abundance and harmonious empowerment to be manifested.  The universal balance and health of All That Is is dependent upon the unfettered interdependence of these elemental energies.  If any one is held back, blocked or otherwise constrained, then those forces in nature must be brought back into balance.  If these energies are out of balance in human community or within an individual, it may be necessary to do ritual to bring the energies back into harmony - but something must be done or ill health, disease and dangerous imbalances for all will become deeply ingrained in the people.

The Dagara cosmological worldview from west Africa is extremely helpful in understanding the call to uproot and destroy racism, sexism and the classism that capitalism and colonialism engender.  When we look at the fundamental interrelationship of all the energies, it provides us with a powerfully functional metaphor for the interrelationship and call to unity of all people.  The dynamics of unity in diversity come into focus here.  Out of the presence of many different energies, forces and philosophies in any society or in the world, we understand that there must be a functional energetic balance that allows all of the people/energies to be in their fullest fruition, emotional balance and spiritual expression.

The pathologies of racism, sexism and classism, along with the negativities of white privilege, heterosexism and religious imperialism are all dangerous blockages to the full fruition of individual and communal human energies, let alone a serious disrespect and affront to the flow of nature's energetics.  When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their Ancestors and abilites of vision, their full dream life and warrior traditions, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Vun, the element of fire.  When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their purpose, their birthright, their ability to know their history and reason for living, we create serious imbalance and blockaage of the Spirit of Kusir, the element of Mineral ("stones and bones").  When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their own abilities to heal, to be in reconciliation, to peace and unity with themselves and their people, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Kuon, the element of Water.  When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to their true nature, their ability to fully manifest abundance and material reality in their lives and truly transform themselves for the advancement of culture, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Wie, the element of nature.  When we stand in the way of a person or people connecting to each other, to being seen, being protected, to knowing their identity, their cultural identity, to being truly nurtured and held in compassion, to the very fundamental gift of being touched in love and respect, we create serious imbalance and blockage of the Spirit of Tenbalu and Tingan, the element of earth.

The destructive, dismissive, divisive and unjust social and spiritual pathologies of racism, sexism and classism and all the structures and behaviors and social systems that sustain them or are sustained by them must be summarily dealt with and wiped out if we are to be looked upon as respectable adults and then Ancestors by our children and their children's children.  Future generations will look upon as unworthy of reverence if we do not seriously apply our spiritual technologies to the most vexing problems of modern society.  They will inherit our social diseases and will have no faith in our Ancestral traditions.  And just maybe they will see beyond our tragic mistakes if we don't set ourselves firmly upon the road to social liberation and the creation of universal systems of justice.  Maybe the Ancestors (and we will someday be in that spiritual realm) will come burning through the polluted mist of modernity's oppression to speak truth and clarity directly to them if we have not successfully paved the way and their way on this challenged earth.

But we must fight these systems and structures of oppression like there is no tomorrow, unwilling to settle back into our morass of ignorant bliss and comfort.  We cannot risk being an accomplice to the energetic imbalance that puts so many of us, women, people of color, gatekeepers in the LGBT community, indigenous peoples, oppressed peoples, in jeopardy, in ill health and spiritual, psychological and physical danger.  If we love our goddesses, gods, spirits and the earth, if we love nature and our mandate to live in harmony with All That Is, with EVERYone that is, if we love our Ancestors and the traditions they have left for us to advance into a bright and beautiful and empowered future, we must seek out and destroy every small, every persistent, every gross presence of social, spiritual and energetic oppression so that true love, compassion, respect and joy can course powerfully and sustainably through the fibers of the Tree of Life, through the bloodstream of humanity, through every dimension of our sacred and universal presence in this multi-dimensional world.

May the coyote run free.  May the warriors be reintegrated into the body of our communities, with stories of success upon their lips, able to lay down their weapons with confidence because we all did what we were truly sent here to do and have reinstated the unity of humanity in the spiritual complex of All That Is.

Ashe!
 

 All of the genetic diversity found within humanity across the globe stems largely from our environment. We are designed as human beings to adapt physically to the land on which we live. We are in ongoing relationship with the earth. This gives us the breathtaking physical diversity found in our world, from Africa, to China, to Scandinavia, to the Americas and beyond. It is a mark of our engagement with the land. It is a magnificent example of partnership in action and has, over the past fifty thousand years, made our world a richer and more beautiful place.

 So, if we are patterned to respond to the land, and we have desecrated, abused, and genetically modified our land, what kinds of adaptations will that breed in us? If we are slowly killing the land on which we live,  (and we are) and weakening it, what does that mean for us, who, whether we wish to acknowledge it or not, depend upon the land and its fruits for our survival?

Since industrialization, and especially within the last generation, we’ve seen a tremendous growth in cancer, learning disabilities, autism, allergies (severe allergies, enough to imperil children’s lives) and many other diseases and issues. 25% of society suffers from some form of mental illness (a percentage simply not seen within indigenous cultures). We have seen humanity grow weaker and weaker as they engage less and less. We have seen humanity embody and adapt to a diseased environment, one of its own making. This is what we are bequeathing to our children. We feed them poison as surely as if we were putting it in their mouths with our own hands.  What we do to the land we do to ourselves.   

Fundamentalist Christianity does not care about the land. They believe that their scriptures teach that Jesus will not return until no trees are left standing. They have enshrined destruction of the natural world into their dominant creed and have set about seeing that destruction brought to fruition with a vengeance. This is the birthright that is being left to our children and our children’s children. It goes beyond having abandoned our ancestors’ relationship with and obligation to the land, and into active destruction.

We must open ourselves to the agony of our world. We must learn again to hear the pain of the land as it is slowly being poisoned. We must learn to hear its cries and to re-develop the type of compassion that spurs us to respond. We must stop pissing on this treasure that was left to our care. ..not just for the earth itself but for ourselves, our children, and their children’s children too. Because in the end, that’s who we’re harming the most.

What we do to the land we do to ourselves.

 
Having heard our call for prayers to Goddesses, particularly those carrying the title 'Queen of Heaven,' Alan Leddon responded with this lovely prayer to Epona, a Celtic Goddess Whose worship is slowly being restored in the modern day. Praise Her.

Prayer to Epona

(Epona was the Celtic (Gaulish) Goddess of Horses, Sovereignty, and Soldiers. She was popular with both Gaulish and Roman soldiers and mercenaries. In some parts of Gaul, a new ruler started his rain with a hierogamy to a horse standing in place of Epona; if the crops or land failed, it was assumed that the ruler had failed in his duties as Her husband!)

Goddess of Soldiers!
Wife to the rightful Ruler!
Queen of the Land!
We salute you!

In perfect order, we await your commands!
We ask your blessing on those Warriors who are true to their oaths.
We ask your blessing upon the land and its rightful rulers.
We ask your blessing upon those who oppose the foes of the rightful rulers.
We ask your blessing on those who oppose the usurpers of the land.
As Warriors have ever done, we stand asone to protect our homes, our kin, and our path.
We ask that you look upon us, Epona, and find favor in our struggles!
We who fight salute you!
 

By  Alan Leddon


 
For those of you who think that the depredations of monotheism are a thing of the past, think again. A few days ago, I was sent this website: http://tribune.com.pk/story/278333/under-threat-conversions-threatening-pakistans-macedonian-tribe/. It talks about the attempts by militant Muslims to convert members of the indigenous, polytheistic Kalash tribe. It hasn't come to violence...yet, but the article clearly draws the parallel between conversion and the destruction of indigenous culture, as well as monotheistic brainwashing.

May our ancestors reach out and support those of the Kalash who are staying strong and true to their ancestors and their Gods. May this tribe never, ever give in to the push and sway and coercion of their monotheistic neighbors. May they be protected and may their luck and lives flourish.
 
There is a tenderness with which the spiritual human body engages the spiritual body of earth.  The metaphor of the divine mother is not simply symbolic, but deeply energetic and dynamic.  The beauty of our relationship with the sentient body underneath our feet is palpable in the quietude of our devoted and living embrace of that which birthed our human being and the hope for our modern redemption.  Our Mother calls us to the intimate closeness, the grounded unity of our Ancestral bond with our fundamental connection to Spirit.  We cannot forsake her, even in this our hour of greatest need.  It is in deed her hour of greatest need.  Her enemies would have us look into the heavens blindly searching for the apparition of our own fears...written in a book desacrated by a priesthood of charlatans and con men, by the worst sort of thieves who would steal the legacy of our own spiritual abundance, the birthright of the family of humanity.

But she awaits us, in patience, in anger, in depression, in anxiety, in the hopes that we will hear her voice, hear her sacred call to arms, the modern rebel yell from the womb of life, that which speaks life, sings life, is life and dares us to affirm life, courageous, indomitable, earthen timeless life.  Our Mother, feminine divine casts her gaze upon us, still patiently awaiting our gaze upon her, our sacred touch divine in our own childhood of wisdom, here, now....awaiting our feet upon her belly, in the living dance of spiritual intimacy.

As the chill wind continues across the land...let us stand with her, for her, for and with all of her beloved children.  Maybe it is in deed and assuredly we who can wait no longer.  Let your voices ring out, your hands open with the gift of blessed reciprocity...let your drums beat in empowered love for her and for all who would, who will live in Her energy's embrace.
 

As part of their agenda of spiritual impoverishment, groups like the New Apostolic Reform (the people behind the DC40 campaign) also find the idea of female Divinity immensely threatening. In recent months, there have been murmurings and even a book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1585020168/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=thewildhunt-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=1585020168) attacking the "Queen of Heaven." Goddesses are commonly venerated across indigenous traditions, and that certainly holds true for the European polytheisms that the spread of Christianity destroyed. In the ongoing onslaught against indigeny and contemporary indigenous restoration, it's no surprise then, to see female Divinities coming under attack. This is nothing new.

In light of this, however, we encourage readers to send us your prayers and invocations to the Queen of Heaven (be it Isis, Inanna, Astarte, or any other great and gracious Goddess who bears that name). Let us spend the last couple of weeks of the Turtle Island initiative giving praise to these Deities, pouring out offerings to Them, and sharing poems, prayers, and invocations of adoration. Let the praises of the Queens of Heaven be sung loudly and high, and one day soon, perhaps Their rites will drown out the turgid buffoonery of monotheism.

So send us your prayers: krasskova@gmail.com or ukumbwa@gmail.com and we'll post them here, that the Queen of Heaven --every Goddess who ever bore that title--may again be praised and honored. We'll post them here as we continue this virtual offensive against the poison and conquest-born agenda of the DC40 program.

(As to the bible, the authority so often called upon in condemnation of various Goddesses: As educated and multi-lingual human beings, we find this misogyny utterly ridiculous. The very bible that these groups so enshrine (often over and above their own God--Jesus said love your neighbor, folks, not bludgeon him into ideological submission) uses terminology in the original Hebrew that translates not only as male AND female, but as a plurality of divinity ('elohim,' the word used for 'God' in Genesis comes to mind). Humanity is said to have been created in the image of God "male and female they were created, in the image of God, they were created."  Moreover, the Bible is a polytheistic text. It nowhere denies the existence of other Gods, rather giving the mandate to the Hebrew tribes that they ought to have no other Deity before YWHW. That's henotheism, not monotheism. Monotheism came later. It wasn't until Christianity began to gain political power that other Deities were actively and successfully demonized. It was part of the early Christian agenda in co-opting Pagan spiritual language and turning Latin and Greek into languages of conquest. I think what it comes down to is that the concept of a female divinity or divinities is one that cannot be so easily twisted to support the paternalistic, (often white), male privilege that these people so often enshrine as holy). 
 
Today, the DC40 campaign attacks Florida, home of the Seminole Tribe. Think on this: a few months ago, a friend told me a story. Years ago she had attended a gathering at St. John the Divine Cathedral in NYC. It was a gathering for peace, and there were members from indigenous nations from all over the Americas. The organizers had even brought in (i believe) aboriginal tribes and Tibetan monks. The purpose was peace through diversity and participants, after a day of prayer and presentations, were going to make a prayer wheel of stones. (I may be getting some of the smaller details wrong, because so much of this was washed away by the power of what my friend told me next).

As attendees were speaking, this very old woman, a Seminole, went up to the podium supported by a young man, possibly her grandson. He was translating for her because she refused to speak English, which was, to her people, a language of conquest.

She began by saying that it was a good thing to see so many different peoples and tribes coming together for peace. but then she went on to note that no reparation had been made by any government toward the native peoples; and she said that she would not be going on the morrow to lay stones. HER people had never surrendered. HER people were still at war.

Even as i write this, I had to pause for a few moments at the wash of emotion the memory of those words generated in me. We can learn from this mighty elder: never give up. never surrender. It's a less we should take to heart, given that so many in our community, as we further the restoration of our own indigenous ways, seem to want us to collaborate, to lesson our spiritual devotions, to fit them into a mold comfortable to the majority. We can and should look to women like this Seminole elder and contemplate: just what would this woman do, when asked to spit in the face of her ancestors?

She would, I think, remain at war. We could learn from her, and we should.
 
In this world of polytheism, indigenous spirituality/energetics and monotheism -

"G-O-D" is the 1%.