I am doing my usual thing for a weekend blog post. Trying to figure out what to write. In the meantime, I’m drinking coffee, listening to music, and reading Facebook posts from friends digging out from the recent snowfall in the Northeast. We’ve had no snow here in central Texas. Only a few days of freezing weather. All of which sucks, because I love the snow. Not the shoveling part. Not the driving on the stuff part. I love taking walks during the time of snowfall. I love how sound is muffled during this time. How the world quiets down. It does the same thing during fog as well, just not as dramatic. Yeah, the cold is never that pleasant, especially for me. I prefer the warmth. But cold, snowy days do allow for nice fires in the fireplace, sitting in front of the crackling flames, drinking steep cups of hot cocoa, with whatever passes for entertainment of the moment filling the room with the symphony of its noise.
Most people I know down here in Texas hate the winter weather. Unlike those much further north in longitude, Texans freak out when water falls from the sky – in any form. Rain, snow, aquarium water thrown from a second-floor window…its all apocalyptic. The next expectation tends to be frogs raining from the skies, and there is the occasional threat of fish falling from the sky. Honestly, if I saw fish falling from the sky during a storm, my next expectation would be that Sharknado (Gods, what a crappy movie!) was about to happen. 😉
The Alpaca Lips. The end of the times. That moment when the earth stops spinning on its axis and we are all flung into space. Or aliens arrive from space to claim our resources and cleanse the Earth of the plague known as “human-kind.” Or when the tectonic plates shift radically, or the climate shifts to quickly that we all freeze instantly. Or the apocalyptic moment of my generation – two world powers launch nuclear weapons at one another, creating an environment that can sustain none of us. We’ve all seen the notations of death and destruction from so many angles, so many lenses.
Even Pagans see coming doom and destruction through the lens of the culture wars raging between Conservative and Liberal politics here in the United States (and elsewhere). The coming “Storm.” Some say its already here. Some say the worst is still yet to come. At one point, I agreed with that perspective. Now, a few years down the line, not so much. I see the continuation of a cycle. A repeat of a lot of things I saw back in the 1980s, and historically moments that happened in the 1960s and 1970s. We’re in the grips of a cycle that continually occurs.
Yes, there is imminent danger in what is occurring, just as there was back in the 1980s. When I started down my Pagan Path in 1986, Evangelical Christians were in the grips of seeing Satan everywhere. Anything that did not resemble a Christianity that they knew, “observed” in their daily lives, and desired within their own hearts was suspect. The time also lent credence to the charlatans of their cause. People who utilized those fears to sell books, tickets to their concerts and gatherings, and ply their “stories” on the radio and television. Mike Warnke, a Christian “comedian” who peddled tales of joining a massive Satanic cult that was infiltrating America through governments and the United States military. Warnke claimed that he had been indoctrinated during his time in Naval bootcamp, and eventually rose to a “high” position in this organization. Nearly a decade after he first arrived on the scene, a Christian magazine “Cornerstone” uncovered his story as a complete fraud, debunking his claims of a widespread organization. Many others, who had written books and created careers around their false claims, were debunked and discredited as well. But not before families were torn apart, having charges of Satanism, child ritual abuse, and other allegations levied against them. During that time, many preachers and Christian leaders whipped up the fury that was known as the “Satanic Panic.”
Oddly enough, loose-knit “organizations” such as QAnon are working from that same playbook. Whipping up allegations of ritual abuse, human sacrifice, and even cannibalism against the other side of the political spectrum. Much of that has led to a resurgence of the “Satanic Panic” with Warnke (and many others) being touted as having survived all of this and forced to go underground. Publicly, we’re seeing a resurgence of Christian Evangelicals hitting their “panic” buttons and pointing fingers directly at Pagans again with their charges of Satanism, depravity, and such along with a new twist: Pagans apparently want to destroy the American government.
So, is this aspect of the “Culture Wars” here in the States the so-called coming “Storm?” Well, maybe. I’m not one for prying into Crystal Balls, consulting runes, or reading Tarot cards to find that future. Much like when I want to predict the weather, I look to my surroundings, and compares that to what I know has happened in the Past. Sad as it may seem, humans are predictable. We do love an Alpaca Lips. Our collective appetite for novels, movies, and tv shows of that variety are a case in point. So is our society’s collective desire to embrace the most outlandish fears of death, destruction, and widespread chaos. We see our fellow human beings as wild, savage, and capable of the most incomprehensible acts against others.
Me, I prefer to think better of people. But that may be a foolish hope at this point. Story after story of people raining down mental and physical abuse on others – over such things as political preferences – may be the start of the nails in that coffin. Everywhere I look here in central Texas, I see people lining up into two sides. Creating their “Us v. Them” lines of demarcation. Yes, I’ve seen this before. Yes, that was the Satanic Panic at its height. Thankfully, stories were debunked in a manner that brought everyone back to a point of level-headedness. But I truly must wonder if that can be managed this time? At this point, I’m not so sure.
So, what to do? How do we collectively survive all of this? Is this really the so-called “Storm?” Well, we survive together, not apart. If things do hit that apocalyptic moment, be prepared to help others. Most people hate what I am about to say because it doesn’t fit into what they perceive at this time. But those people who are the “Them” in your ‘Us v. Them” paradigm – they are people too. And if the world is going to come crashing down around our ears, they deserve mercy and help as well. I know that’s not a popular mindset, but its where I come from. Most folks know that I am a huge Grateful Dead fan. I happen to do my best to live by something that Mickey Hart, one of the drummers for the Grateful Dead, said at the end of their ‘Fare Thee Well” concerts:
I’ll leave you with this: Please, be kind.Mickey Hart, 05 July 2015, Chicago, Illinois