Nature’s Advocates or Arm Chair Philosophers?

As many of you know my life has been devoted to understanding the fabric and mystery of nature while trying to grasp living within that framework. Decades ago I discovered, at least for myself, that this appropriate mode of behavior was not a theoretical model of a futuristic possibility but could be found in our most ancient history. Then humanity stepped softly on our Mother, the Earth with humility and a deep sense of sacred purpose. This was an attitude that stood in stark contrast to the concept of Manifest Destiny, the very mechanism that after centuries has utterly destroyed the human family as well as the beauty and abundance of nature. We are faced with a global ecological collapse and mass extinction on a level not seen since the extinction of dinosaurs. You might be asking, in the context of pagan spiritual practice, “Verda, what is your point?”

Unlike many other faiths the heart and soul of paganism is nature with its extraordinary scope that spans everything from tangible biology to the deepest, mystical expressions of spirituality that have ever been conceived. Practicing a pagan faith without an encyclopedic knowledge of nature is like taking a drug and not knowing what ails you. And while many of us despise politics, politics is the right hand of big business; the very perpetrators of the most ruthless pillaging to which our Earth has ever been subjected. Their abysmal plundering of resources has poisoned our food, our water, our air, and our minds while our human family dies appalling deaths from starvation, exposure, disease and war. These circumstances and countless others can be directly attributed to habitat destruction and the complete devastation of ancient, sustainable, local and traditional methods of farming, water management and medicine in the interest of capitalism. And yet in economic terms described in Prince Charles’ new work “Harmony” the loss of what nature provides can be estimated as high as $4.5 trillion annually. Compare this the all-in estimate of the recent banking system collapse at a mere $2 trillion. Awareness of things such as this destroys whatever feeble argument capitalism is gripping to justify their flagrant and irreversible devastation of our planet.

Historically paganism was never an armchair philosophy. The revival and reconstruction of it shouldn’t be either. Pagan cultures were community and tribal oriented. Translated, that means putting the needs of others ahead of our own; which is precisely how one behaves in the best interest of his or her community or tribe. This is pagan at its core. Long ago this could have meant sharing the harvest equally. Today it often means education and politics in order to grasp why your neighbor is starving, what action must be taken and how. The mechanism for permanent and lasting change more often than not requires a working knowledge of the governmental structure in which you live, such as ones constitution and how that constitution works. And that is politics.

It can be an overwhelming thing to consider the endless list of what has gone wrong and what we can individually choose to do about it. As a pagan, standing beside many other concerned pagans, I have only one thing to say, just do something. It doesn’t need to be grandiose, it can be something small, something seemingly insignificant. It doesn’t matter, just do something. There are food banks, food delivery services to the elderly and compromised, feeding the homeless. There are uncountable organizations that take on everything from complete ecological global collapse to planting community gardens, parks, and restoring local habitats. We can work with animal shelters, foster kittens and puppies, look after feral orphaned animals, and demand of governments that factory farming and industrial fishing be banned. Insist upon tougher laws to protect endangered species and their essential habitats. Insist that, like the abuse of women and children, animal abuse be found criminal too. When these laws exist, demand that they be tougher and have tougher consequences. Plant a garden in your yard. Don’t have a yard? No excuse, plant containers. Look out your front door, I assure you something that requires immediate attention will be looking back.

If the Earth Mother is the foundation of faith as pagans we are poor ambassadors if we do not act. In contrast to that if every single pagan worldwide picked a cause, large or small, amazing things could be achieved. We might hold widely diverse views but we are formidable in number, the very thing recognized in the 21st century as actually having more power than money.




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