Each day, I read news events that continue to reinforce the arrival of the edges of the coming Storm. The individual attack in Nice, France. The attempted overthrow of the elected government in Turkey. And with the upcoming Republican convention in Cleveland – I have no doubt that there will be more to be heard. But that’s just a fact of our hyper-sensitive media coverage of events that happen around the world.
There’s no bone of contention from where I sit. The Storm has arrived. My Dream Crows continue to remind me that this is just the start, that there is more to come, and that it will be worse. How bad? I’m not completely sure. I don’t think anyone can be. Besides, trying to determine what is “bad” and the level of measuring that “bad” versus other “bad” depends greatly on individual perception.
But I have had dreams, which I hope do not come to any degree of fruition. In one, I found a Pagan family on my doorstep, running from the authorities who were going to prosecute them over not practicing a Christian faith in their particular state. The feel of the dream was very similar in feel to the over-arching story in the Gods-awful “Left Behind” books I read well over a decade ago. In the dream, I took the family in, and then stood my ground in my own front yard against these “authorities” with nothing more in my hand than my staff.
How true the reality of all that is, I am not sure. But it certainly brings to mind times such as the late 1930s and early 1940s, where families risked everything to hide their Jewish neighbors from the Nazi Gestapo in mainland Europe. It even brings to mind, the concepts of the Underground Railroad, where slaves were brought from the South into northern states during the period just before the American Civil War. And I began to wonder, how many Pagans would hide others from the claws of an oppressive regime that would utilize religion as a litmus test for “desired” or “undesired” status.
Think I am overblowing the situation? Consider this: late this past week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich made a statement on a television show about providing a litmus test against all Muslims here in the United States. If an individual professed adherence to Sharia Law, Gingrich suggested that the individual and their family should be expelled from the United States. Even if they were lawful, tax-paying citizens here. Mr. Gingrich is a very astute student of World History, and I respect his knowledge and interpretation of historical events greatly. However, I have difficulty finding respect for a statement like this, particularly when it smacks so closely to the pogroms that Adolf Hitler instituted against the Jews throughout Europe. Removing people from a “desirable” pool of citizens, simply because they adhere to the laws contained within their own belief systems is – dare I say – completely un-American in nature.
America is a land built upon the idea that each individual has inherent worth. America is built on the idea that you can think differently from others, and voice that difference publicly, without fear of being injured or killed. I will submit that Mr. Gingrich is certainly entitled to his opinion on what should be done about the potential threat of “sleeper-cells” of Muslims here in the United States, but that his call for actions can be limited under what is correct in our laws – particularly those that are built in within the Constitution of this country.
Would you take in a persecuted family – pick any faith or reason for their persecution – and protect them from the authorities? I know that I would. My Druidry teaches me that every individual has value in our environment. That the loss of one individual will affect the world around me in a way that is not replaceable. And that protecting those that need protection, and providing aid to those that need assistance is the right thing to do. Protecting their right to practice as they need to under their Spiritual beliefs is the ethical thing to do. Would you do that as well??
Before you answer, let me provide one more voice of thought. My friend, John Beckett, wrote a blog post concerning some of this a while back. I will quote him from that post:
Build your tribe. You aren’t going to survive this alone. And at the risk of sounding like a Libertarian, do not assume the government or government-run programs will take care of you. For centuries, families and communities took care of each other. Not nuclear families (a mid-20th century American perversion designed to make every man a king so he’d buy a “castle” in the suburbs), but extended families – several generations living in the same house, with other relatives living close enough to drop in on a moment’s notice.
The automobile and the rise of hyperindividualism killed the extended family. We aren’t going to undo that in our lifetimes, unless the curve of the Long Descent is a lot steeper than I expect. If you’re part of a good, well-functioning extended family, consider yourself fortunate… and don’t alienate them. For the rest of us, find the people who will be your family of choice and start developing those close ties now. That means you give your share toward the collective good. Ideally, everyone gives more than their share.
Include your spiritual allies: the Gods, ancestors, and spirits of your tradition, your family, and your location. This isn’t complicated: honor them on a regular basis, and when they speak (in dreams, in divination, in intuition, in synchronicities…) listen to them.
–John Beckett, “Something Bad Isn’t Coming, It’s Here“
John is very, very right. My family is scattered far and wide throughout the United States, Europe and the Pacific Rim. Some of them, I can reach easily enough. Some of them, it would take a lot more effort to get there. But they are my family. They are my tribe. When they have need, I will be there as best as I can for them. Just as I would be there for a stranger that had a similar need. For me, the only way that I need to divide the world into an Us v. Them grouping, is if you wish to harm people solely based on whether they agree with what you believe or not.
Now, more than ever, we need to reach out and support our family – however you define it. If we are going to weather this Storm, we have to do it together, not individually.