What *do* you stand for? Which side of the equation do you support and favor? I hear many Pagans and even Heathens talking about peace. Peace does not come through non-involvement. Peace does not come through closing one’s eyes and accommodating the status quo. Peace does not come from swallowing injustice after injustice. Peace is the outgrowth of engagement. It rises up from the hearts of men and women deeply, compassionately, fiercely engaged with the pain and suffering of their world. It rises up from the efforts of those engaged to change their world for the better. Peace is the child of those who stand up and say ‘no more. No more.” It is not complaisance. It is not ennui. It is not un-involvement.
In this world, the very act of reconnecting with our ancestors is a vital and revolutionary one. We are in a war and it will be won not with bombs and guns and armaments but with the force of thousands and thousands of minds, hearts, and spirits turning back to the nourishment of their ancestors, reclaiming the filter of their own inherent indigeny, and casting off the mental and spiritual chains of monotheism and conquest. Those chains run deep. They hold us tightly. They have wound their way through every aspect of our modern world. They are imbued with the poison that threatens even the process of reconnection. Let us be its antidote. Let each one of us, supported by our dead, in line with our Gods, be the antidote to two thousand years of spiritual oppression. Do not compromise. There is no room for compromise here. Do not sell yourselves into mental slavery. Do not collaborate with those who would and who do.
That is precisely what people like the DC40 group, the New Apostolic Reform movement, and many members of our Republican controlled congress (who, as of this writing, have just passed the ‘let women die’ bill, because obviously in their dominionist inspired world, women don’t really count) are doing: they are enslaving us, chipping away at our rights and freedoms little by little. We have all, as Americans, been sold the idea of freedom. We’ve never been taught, however, or encouraged to ask what that really means, and what safeguarding it on a personal level entails. While our government is sending us overseas in defense of “liberty,” we’re losing what few liberties we have right here at home. We are being kept so numb and dumb that far too many of us don’t even know when the chains are tightening about our spirits, our minds, our civil liberties. We do not realize that we are slaves to the machine. We do not realize that we have no more liberty than a cow being led to the slaughterhouse.
I end many of my emails with a quote from the great abolitionist Frederick Douglas: "Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without planting up the ground. They want the rain without thunder or lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
He was right. We are living in exactly that kind of struggle. We must be harsh. We must be uncompromising. We must never, ever, ever stop speaking truth to power. Most of all, we must never retreat, not a single inch, not a millimeter in this fight because no matter how hopeless a fight it seems, not a single one of us is in this alone. Our ancestors are gathered behind us urging us on; the spirits of all those who will come after us are desperately begging us to never give up, and across this sad and sorry world, more and more people are waking up. Resistance is our hope. It is the gift we give to the future.
We live in a world that requires revolution. Resistance starts by the willingness to examine one’s filter. How have you been taught to see and engage with the world? What have you been taught to value? To whom have you been taught to pray? Why? Resistance begins by tearing down the mental bricks and mortar of that filter and seeing the world clearly. Reject the filter of conquest, most especially your own. THIS is why connecting to one’s ancestors is crucial: they can and will help each and every one of us do just this thing. They are aching for the opportunity because we were not meant to be slaves.
The Saxon polytheist who laid down his life rather than convert, the European Pagan tortured to death rather than abandon his ancestral ways, the Taino woman who took up arms to protect her people, the Apache man who fought the white soldiers to keep his people free, the African woman ripped away from her people and forced into the terror of the middle passage who kept alive the sacred stories of her tribal Gods, and thousands and thousands of men, women, and even children just like them did not sacrifice and suffer so that we could go to our deaths not knowing who we are and where we come from. We not only owe them better than this; we owe it to ourselves too.
Because persecution of indigeny did not stop with modernity. It is not a thing of the past. We are not only still reaping its consequences but it continues today more hidden perhaps, but on no less detrimental a scale. How many evangelists went to Haiti after the recent earthquake, bullying survivors into accepting their God? How many times have tele-evangelists referred to indigenous peoples as ‘savage’ and in need of being ‘conquered for Christ’? How many Pagans have had their children taken away in custody cases for no other reason than that they were Pagan? These are religions struggling to reconnect with their indigenous traditions. They may not be *there* yet, but they’re trying and in many cases experiencing a backlash. I could fill pages with contemporary examples.
The only requirement to change this is courage and a willingness to act. Look upon the world we have inherited as it is without flinching, and decide for yourselves if it is the kind of world you wish to leave your children.