Planting Flowers

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Well hello from Northern Ireland – Belfast to be exact. This trip to the northern section of Ireland has been quite interesting. Our trip into the divided sector of Belfast was designed to show us – a group of American tourists – a currently dormant struggle that is embroiled and entwined across political, religious, and class borders. Our guide, self-acknowledged to be biased to a greater degree to the Republican sphere of influence here, did a wonderful job of showcasing both aspects of the struggle or rebellion (depending on your perspective). Shortly before lunch, during on of his longer monologues, I began to look beyond the down-trodden, urban jungle that lay before me. I reached out for Spirits of Place, and found very, very few. I reached out for Spirits of Ancestor, which were more difficult fo me – an American of Germanic heritage – to locate. I reached out for the Gods and Goddesses. What I found was similar to a cold, barren wasteland.

For me, I found so few of the traces of the old Gods. The feeling was of something balanced on the edge of a knife. All that was needed was a slight push to one side or another, and rage would re-bubble to the surface. The wounds so recently closed and sutured would eagerly split and chaos would easily resume with a new vigor, fueled by young souls thirsty for the combat that they idolized of their elders. This isn’t the desire to serve the old Gods or the newer Christian Trinity. Rather, it is a desire for might through violent power. The rule of the Strong over the Weak.

img_0236All of that is easily seen in the “Peace Wall” a barrier that physically separates those advocating for British rule on one side, and those advocating for revolt against the Crown on the other. And even more emblematic than that is a set of gates which close at 6pm automatically – keeping cars and foot-traffic from crossing into one sector or the other. Separating two warring factions from one another during the night. It was while viewing this gate – as my tour bus passed through this demarcation point, I felt that hand on my shoulder, and felt soft lips lightly caress my ear with a faint whisper.

This is a very possible future. Heed it. Study it. Understand it. Be there to help stop it.

It took a short lunch nearby, for me to figure it all out. The whisper is all too familiar to me these days. Fliodhas. She has been whispering to me constantly throughout Ireland. This is Her land. Her forests. The animals are Hers. She has been a constant part of my life these days. Soft whispers about this or that. Some of it, I have understood. Some of it I haven’t. Not until recently. With a backdrop of Ireland, a lot of it has started to make sense. Like this…Fliodhas’ message isn’t about me trying to change the tide here or even about me joining the struggle here. Her words are whispers of watching for what happens at home.

img_0238Unless you have not been paying attention, the United States is going through its own division. Its a deep, scarred division over individual rights, expressed in the form of gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, racial, class, and a lot of other aspects rolled into the guise of political subterfuge. Just as the fight for rights and freedom have manifested themselves here in Belfast, Ireland in the form of the so-called “Peace Wall” – the same could happen just as easily within the United States. The culmination of which could devolve into the back and forth bombings that occured between the Irish Republican Army and the Ulster  Defense Association from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s. And the true loser in all of that will be the rich Spiritual Lives we all lead in the United States. For instead of focusing on our Spiritual Lives, many would focus on how to retaliate to last weekend’s bombing of a grocery store or a Spiritual gathering.

The election of Donald Trump has certainly given rise to many people who have hidden in the deep, dark underbelly of the United States (as well as elsewhere). Those who teach of exclusion based on gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, skin pigemtnation and many other aspects of everyday life…feel that they have been given a mandate to separate all of us from another. They feel they have been given a mandate to build walls….Peace Walls….between us all. All because an individual who barely comprehends what freedom is beyond the spending limits of his credit cards, has been elected as President of this country.

I am a Pagan. I will not be pushed into a place to live because it is a “Pagan” zone and over there is a “Christian” zone. My neighbors are Christians of one sort or another. And they are fine people. I know several people in the Pagan community. And they are just as fine a set of people as the Christians. Their skin pigmentation….their sexual orientation…who they are fucking or how many at a time…none of that matters. They act ethically towards one another. In other words, they treat one another the same – as human beings. They do not need exclusion zones to separate them from one another. And honestly, neither do the folks here in Belfast. And in all cases, this is possible when we stop letting politicians, clergy, or anyone else dictate who we should treat other people based on some idiotic descriptor that was decided by some narrow-minded fool.

No matter what Donnie does as President, it is not going to change how I approach this new calendar year. I read a cartoon on Facebook that had two individuals taking about 2017. The first asks the other why 2017 is going to be great. “Because there will be flowers,” he replies. “How do you know there will be flowers?” the first asks. “Because I am planting them,” said the second with a smile.

2017 can be a really shitty year for you. If you let it. 2017 can be a really great year for you as well. I already have my goals strapped into the year. I have gatherings that I have planned for throughout the year. I plan on talking with people at these gatherings about how their years is going. About how we can band together, despite the distances we have. Finding ways to make our community webbing stronger. Even if that webbing is only strengthened by one person here and one person there. In short, I am working towards planting flowers….

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