How do you deal with all the craziness in the world? Is there something special that Pagans do during times like this?
Well, this is an interesting question. There are all kinds of directions to try and take – some serious, others fairly sarcastic…but this gets into concepts of how humans deal with uncertainty. So, some of this is Psychology, which I’m not the right person to respond to that. I’ve had – maybe – four Psychology courses in the breadth of my three college degrees. But I’ll try my best to answer this without carving into that dinner.
First, I realize that there is very little I will be able to do to steer the issues happening around the world. All I can do is thank the American public for electing President Biden into the position. But that’s politics and is not exactly a helpful perspective. Secondly, I can lean back into the prevailing philosophy of my life: be kind to others. That means anyone, including those Trump supporters and right-wing nut-jobs who have a strong dislike of me, simply because of who and how I choose to handle my life spiritually. I can’t change their minds, but I can certainly treat them with the kindness that I would prefer. Third, I can spend some time petition the Gods for guidance towards a need for peace and understanding.
In other words, I continue with my life the best that I can. Yes, the issue in Ukraine is horrible. Yes, there are divisions here in the United States – and elsewhere around the world – where people are being killed, persecuted, and slammed in unimaginable ways. Yes, the nuclear Sword of Damocles is again suspended over our planet. None of that should dissuade us from remaining calm and continuing to find ways to be of service to one another. Those in the path of peril need our help. They need us to stand our ground. To continue being the bastions of freedom, both for the present and for the future. I can’t stand in the way of a T-72 battle tank in the streets of Kyiv. I can’t be there when the Matthew Shepards of the world are beaten and broken over who they love. But I can be there for those that are near to me. I can be there to stand up to their oppressors. I can be there to hold them and let them cry on my shoulder. I can bring them to care-givers who can do far more for them than I can.
We should all do what we can to help others. Financially, I’m skint. But I’m more than the money I make (or in this case, that I don’t). But being there is more than just money. Its effort. Its being empathic. Its showing that we care about one another. Yes, that even goes for the delusional Trumpers out there. You’re not just measured against what you do for your own friends and the people that align with you politically. Being there to assist those who are different from you needs to be considered as well. So long as you don’t feel like you are endangering yourself. I grok how being around Trumpers or right-wing Christians can be triggering for some. In all of this, the point is to be kind.
What about ritual? Well, there are some Pagans that this is the first step for them. For me, its an additional step. Nice to be done, but if you can’t get to it – its not a killer. We certainly do have our Gods to call on. In the instance of Ukraine, we could call down the Gods of War on the Russians. We could call down the Trickster Gods to wreak havoc on the Russian military. Anything to hamper their war efforts. But I would also note that we need to call on mercy from the Gods on those who are killed, maimed, injured, displaced, and torn from their families in this conflict. I’m all for seeking retribution against the Russian leadership – both physically and spiritually – for what they have brought to fruition in all of this, but (you heard that coming at the front of the sentence, right?)… I’ve seen enough of war in my lifetime. What I would love to see is not just the Gods standing between Russia and Ukraine and saying “no more” but efforts to come in and help the people that are dealing with the death, destruction and displacement.
The Gods will make Themselves manifest in the ways that They choose. We, the people who worship Them, work with Them, pray to Them – I would hope that we are beseeching Them to intervene in ways that not only bring the conflict to an end, but also directs the necessary comfort and aid to those that need it.
How do I deal with all the craziness in the world? Well, I remember my place in all of this. I’m just a single individual who has not been elevated to a position of power and influence (and wouldn’t want it in the first place). In turn, I try my best to continue living my life the best that I can. I practice kindness and empathy for others – regardless of who they are. I do my best to put all of that into motion by being of service to others. In my neighborhood, I offer to work on computers and help people with their technology…at no cost to them. Small acts of kindness go a long way. Being of service is contagious. In fact, I dare you. Do something for others without expecting a single thing in return. Want to know how to make human beings better? Do that. Then dare others to do the same thing. Challenge yourself to find ways to be of service for others. Even if its just to provide a shoulder to cry on and hugs to shelter and comfort someone.
And what if you’re not in a position to do such things? That’s ok too. You do what you can, when you can, how you can. No judgment. Some other aspect of how you can be supportive will show up. Just be patient…and be there. Ninety percent of everything starts with showing up. Right?