One of my earliest teachers and favorite writers regarding Paganism is Starhawk, author of the classic publication The Spiral Dance, which is generally considered required reading for anyone wanting to develop a better understanding of Paganism and especially Wicca or Witchcraft. Starhawk has been a well-known and well-respected leader in the Pagan Community for over twenty years, and is the co-founder of “Reclaiming” – an activist branch of Neo-Paganism. During the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, Starhawk was asked by the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog what message she might have to send to others. Below is her response – as always, her words are filled with wisdom, truth… and love.
Time to Become Pre-Emptive Peacemakers
On this tragic anniversary, I’d like to remind us all that whether we say God or Goddess, him or her, however we depict the divine, the ultimate essence is love.
Pagans believe that we are each an embodiment of the Goddess. Other religions speak of the divine spark in each human being, or the incarnation of God on earth. They are all telling us to treat each person as if she or he might be God walking around, perhaps begging for a meal or a kind word, perhaps hitching a ride as Pele the volcano Goddess is said to do in Hawaii.
If we treat each human being as if she or he might be Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or Gaia herself, if we cherish that spark of creativity and compassion in all, then we might create a world in which we see our differences as facets of the jewel of truth-something to delight in and cherish, not a reason to divide ourselves and destroy. If we strive for a world based on justice for all-not just those we agree with, but all-we will diminish the causes for hate and despair that lead to acts of violence.
And I’d like to remind all of us, here in the U.S., that if we respond to violence with violence, if we use our own grief and wounds and fear as an excuse to unleash the horrors of war on others, if we are complacent about sacrificing the innocent civilians of other nations in payment for our own, then we have abandoned the moral high ground. If we let fear open our ears to lies, if we stop questioning and seeking truth and demanding accountability from those in power, we contribute to horrific acts of death and destruction. Retaliation and revenge have a grim logic of their own, that can never be satisfied by more of the same, and can never bring us true security.
If we want peace and security, we must address the causes of war. If we want a world based on spiritual connection and humanitarian values, we must become pre-emptive peacemakers. The Shambala warriors of Tibet are said to have two great weapons with which to dismantle the weapons of destruction: insight and compassion. Let us all wield those weapons. The earth is crying out for us all to use all our powers of mind and heart for her and our healing. Let us listen to that call.