Tag Archives: #Storm

We Have Survived #Storms Before

The video I’ve added here is what might be called a protest song by John Mellencamp. For me, its a bit more than that. Its a reminder of what tough times look like. Tough times, where the American tier of governments were expected to help out, and couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. But definitely didn’t.

During this time, families lost their farms, their homes, and even their families. Some stuck to their way of life, and persist in this style of living to this day. Its not extremely lucrative, but its what they know. They are close to their land. And they battle large corporate efforts that pay pennies on the dollar to the farmers that have been forced into this way of living. Its a sad, and quiet fact of life in the “fly over country” of the United States. But there’s a lot of strong lessons here.

Many people have felt the ebb of the #Storm when it was coming. Many feel the effects of the leading edge today. Many more will feel the effects in the near- and far-reaching future. These farming families have felt the effects of their own #Storm for a generation-plus now. Their survival to this point has been nail-clawing tenuous. Some have slipped under from the pressures. Those maintaining have done so by seemingly sheer determination.

Much like the girl standing in the path of the charging bull on Wall Street, this determination is a sheer act of will power. A rebellious moment where an individual dares to stare down the machine. We saw that in Tiananmen Square. We have seen it throughout history. The desire to be free, to determine one’s own Path in Life, or as many other Pagan bloggers have expressed it: the desire to seize our own personal sovereignty. To be ourselves. To choose our own Path in Life.

Growing up, my mother had the same desire for me that many other mothers have – she wanted me to be a doctor. Both of my parents worked in the medical fields, and my mother say the wealthy aspect of the medical professions back in the 1980s. Given that my parents were all about chasing the almighty dollar, and through that consumerism so that we – as a family – had the same nice things that other families had, I completely understand her desire for me to be a doctor. Wealth = purchasing power = nice things = social stature. The problem was that none of that really mattered to me, at least not in the way that my mother thought.

I don’t have the healing touch of a physician. My strengths lay in the arena of finding connections between concepts, exploring those connections, and utilizing the resulting data to provide some explanation of what I find. In some quarters, its called “Social Sciences” and in others its “Data Sciences” or “Information Sciences”. For me, its just something I understand. I provide data to people who make decisions, try to show the connections that I see, and then get out of the way so that they can make decisions based off of it. I am not good at spinning data to create my own narrative. Rather, I look at the narrative that the data provides, and provide what is stated there. In some manner of speaking, its a lot like reading the entrails of sacrificed creatures to determine the future. Except there’s not as much blood and mess.

I know, it seems that I am flying off the point here, but really – I’m not. See, there’s a string that attaches today’s environment and issues to the times of trouble within the farming communities in the late 1980s and early 1990s. We have been through #Storms before. Yes, people suffered. Yes, people today suffer as well. Back then, the independent farmers did things like banding together into social cooperatives, in order to survive. Today, we will need to follow that same lead. We will need to band together for our survival. That means we will need to set aside a lot of our differences, and grasp hands together.

Like any other community of people, we Pagans squabble amongst one another. This person doesn’t match up to what I think a Pagan should be. That person doesn’t do their rituals the way I think rituals should be done. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yadda, yadda, yadda. We can squabble about shit like that until the cows come home. None of that changes the fact that we need to band together, so that we can survive the onslaught against our civil liberties. Not just here in America, but everywhere throughout the world. Nationalism is on the rise. Racism follows closely on the heels of that. Everything that we have fought to achieve is up for grabs. Equality of any sort is being brought into question by lawmakers.

Soon, we will need to decide if we will stand against the tanks in the square. Some are already making those stands. Some are already paying the price for those stands. And others cannot make those stands. We don’t need to judge people over whether they can make the stand or not. Those that can make the stand need to be supported. Those that cannot need to be sheltered. Those that have made the stand and have paid a price, need to be comforted and protected as they heal. Sooner or later, we will need to decide if we will make the stand. However, right now, we need to quit our petty squabbling and find the common threads that connect us.¬†And once the #Storm passes – and it will – we will need those common threads to weave our community-at-large back together.

We have survived #Storms in the past. And many, many times the cost was enormously high. The devastation wrought was difficult to experience, but we have made our way back from each time. We will do it again. And again. And again. The price will be unimaginable high, but the promise of the future is worth the cost – at least in my mind. And like “Fearless Girl”, like “Tank Man” in Tiananmen Square, like the independent American farmers….I’m willing to stand. Who takes my place if I fall??

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Resisting Against the #Storm

This is the time of year where my travels typically stack up like overseas flights coming in for a landing at the airport. I have a retreat in south-central Texas for ADF Imbolc, then Pantheacon the weekend after that, and a professional trip after the following weekend to Houston. And a couple of weeks later, on to Louisiana for the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering. Last night, I firmed up the details to attend CalderaFest in October. And there’s my first trip to Washington State….ever…to attend Many Gods West. That’s a lot of time away from home. And a lot of time away from my Stone Circle.

I am thankful that I have a job that can provide enough monetary resources for me to make travel like this, as well as the vacation time to do so. And while I am frightened to near death to fly, I am still thankful that I have the ability to do this as well. But every so often, I wonder what in the Nine Hells I am doing? By nature, I am a full-fledged introvert. I can be social with the best of them, but I prefer doing so in a group of people that I know. Why am I travelling to music festivals and conferences where I will encounter far more strangers than I have ever seen in a place before? And with my distaste of large crowds, I am placing myself into the middle of a maelstrom of people. Have I lost my fucking mind??

Actually, I have not. And while I have a distaste of crowds, and tend to pull myself into my shell – there is a need that needs to be met. No. Not glory. Not to become some Big Name Pagan (a semi-humorous and semi-scornful descriptive that I find not only distasteful but disgusting). No. Its because of the #Storm. Its because we, people who find themselves staring down the spear-point of a potentially dictatorial government, held by a spiteful, hate-filled element of society that would keep those that are different from them out or under the soles of their jackboots pressed against our necks – we need to know we are not alone. And not just through words on a computer screen. We need to be able to touch one another. Hold hands. Speak directly to one another over a cup of coffee or tea. Because we make it through the #Storm together.

Its also for the old Gods. I have the interest of three. There are far many more. At the conferences, the gatherings, and even the music festivals – we gather together in fellowship with one another. We honor the old Gods. We give thanks to Them for being a part of our daily lives, even the Ones that we do not interact directly with. We gather to be the Pagans and Polytheists and what else have you – that we are. Together. We fellowship with one another. We talk, we discuss, we respectfully debate and disagree, and we learn. We get all of that from one another, and from our respectful honoring of the old Gods.

So why do I travel? Why do go to these crowded events? To be there for others. To listen. To sympathize. To lend a shoulder where it may be needed. To find others who can be there for me. For those that can listen to me and sympathize. To find shoulders that are being offered as support for me. Because we are in this together. Because in being who I am, and not letting the Pagan that I am, the Priest that I am, the Polytheist I am be buried under the onslaught of issues coming from the actions of my United State government under the control of Donnie.

I resist. In the words of Malcolm Reynolds, I aim to misbehave. Not just through protests, not just through petitions, but by being who I am. By living the way that I should, as a Pagan, as a Priest, as a Polytheist…without apology. Without flinching. I do what I know how to do, being the Pagan that I am, the Priest that I am, the Polytheist I am. I resist by not conforming to some cookie-cutter vision of what an American is. I resist by being who I am. I travel to fellowship with others who also resist – who also live as they are without apology. Without flinching.

Together, we will make it through the #Storm. At times it will not be easy. It will seem hopeless at others. But we work together. We band together. We resist together. We will survive the #Storm together. And we will honor our Gods as we do so, by continuing to be who we are. In the manner that we can. By living our lives without apologies and without flinching. By being what we are. By being who we are.