Sunday, October 9, 2011

We the People

Alright so here's the thing. I love this country. I was raised in the middle of nowhere Ohio and every spring I marched in the Memorial Day parade. At the end of that parade I would listen to veterans tell stories of freedom, war, and peace as the microphone sent waves across an almost forgotten cemetery full of fallen local men and women. They would play taps which echoed through the town and no matter where you were you could hear the chilling reminder of the sacrifices these men and women made for freedom.

My grandfather was in the Navy during WWII and barely survived a torpedo attack on his carrier which left him floating in the south pacific for almost two weeks. I have cousins in the military, friends who I grew up with who I have not seen in almost six years as they are serving with the armed forces.

The truth is, I never thought of myself as much of a fighter. I am a lover. I love to love mankind, and the mere idea of causing another human bodily injury or death makes me shiver at the base of my spine. For a long time I thought I just was not cut out to be a military boy. Too much discipline, too many rules, too many fears. I had even plotted an escape to Canada in 2001 after 9/11 when talks of another draft were all over the news.

Some American I had turned out to be. I found my own wars here at home as I grew into my priesthood. Men and women in horrible situations in life, fighting to survive, fighting for their dignity. As a priest, it is my job to open my arms to them, help them find clarity so they may rise up against that which keeps them so small. I learned that we only live once- sure you may be reincarnated, but there will only ever be one of you, one being who walks the path you walk, so life is precious, it is finite, it is all we have. I discovered that often those who I helped merely needed someone to tell them it was OK to want more for themselves, it was OK to fight for a better life.

The American dream felt dead to me when I became an adult and shortly after the first waves of economic turmoil began to quake the country. Everywhere we looked we found out even more disturbing news regarding the rape of our planet, the disrespect from those who could change things. I grew to realize that if it was not profitable it had no importance.

I became active in the green movement, AIDS awareness, and advocacy. I drew inspiration from other spiritual faiths, their leaders, and their own causes. I looked deep into the myths and the stories of my own spirituality and I found a gem that I must have read over a million times. This has all happened before. The rules have only changed slightly, but the past is the best prophet.

In the The Book of Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland Diana gives specific instructions to her daughter Aradia; She was to go to the poor folk, the escaped slaves who fought for their freedom, the outcasts and undesirables. She told of peace in the after-life, of struggles that would come, but of the need to fight for their freedom as human beings regardless of wealth or influence. This was the battle cry of my matron- to overturn the oppressors and let them see that we are all created equal.

My life's work up to this point has been about empowering those who seek me out. To help them find a means to an end of the perpetual cycles of life that only bring disenchantment, fear, anxiety, and exhaustion. I have tried in every way I can to live by the principles given to me as religious cannon: Empower the masses, give them freedom from the demons that persecute them, help them to find peace, because only in peace can we find true freedom.

Last week the news of the Occupy Wall Street movement finally broke. The media it turns out had been covering it up as much as possible. News leaked onto the web of a supposed cover-up attempt by the wealthy, those who own the media corporations. We became aware as a people that we had been taken advantage of, abused, and enslaved by the lies of the rich. We became enlightened as to how bad things really were, that this was an issue on both sides of the debate, democrat, republican, it did not matter- all lies. We had been tamed, made slaves of by the system. We had lost our freedom.

This nation, this great nation that held so many promises, that called out from it's shores not 300 years ago for an end to this. We won our independence through blood. We fought for our freedom until we overcame the persecution of a king. We erected a statue to sit outside one of our largest ports that cried out for the unwanted, the lost, the weak, the poor -declaring to them that America was the land of opportunity. This land was free, this land was fertile, this land was sovereign.

Now the poor, the unwanted, and the lost are pouring out into the streets of every major city in America crying out for justice once more. Our ancestors- no matter who you are as an American – fought to come to this country because it promised so much. Unless you are of the native people, your genetic sequence was brought here by someone else. The greed that our ancestors fought to find a better life has finally knocked on our doors and its deafening roar and putrid stench has made its way into every home.

We are the oppressed, we are the tired, the uninsured. We have become a people who have been told the preservation of our own livelihood depends on the generosity of big business. We have been told that even though we have worked our entire lives to better this land that all the taxes, all the money has simply been not enough. We have been told that our planet is not worth saving because the ruling class places its faith in an unknowable God who may or may not come back to save them from their sin. We have no true freedom, only shackles. Shackles forged in the flames of greed and gluttony as the rich look over their balconies and open bottles of champagne as the masses gather below them and cry for freedom.

Make no mistake- you have been lied to. You have been taken advantage of. Your ancestors have been taken advantage of.

As a people, where do we turn to in these times? We can not put our faith in those who would see us die of infection before signing a bill for universal health care. We can not place our hope for freedom in a president who is too scared to stand-up to the bullies of corporate America. We can only place our faith within ourselves. To quote one of our most beloved teachings, the Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente - “ And ye shall be free from slavery....For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit,
and mine also is joy on earth; for my law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside. For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth, and mine is the cup of the wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen,which is the Holy Grail of immortality..... And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery; that if that which thou seekest thee findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

I believe in love, the power of the unconditional heart, the mighty human spirit which rises to claim the birthright inherit to every man, woman, and child on our world. I believe in freedom, I believe in empowerment, I believe in the potential to do many great things within our universe. I do believe we are a chosen people, created to learn through struggle, to move through our fears of what would happen if we challenged our own limits. But the changes needed to make this planet a better place, to create an infrastructure that supports the growth of a peaceful and advanced people must start within the individual. One day you too will be someone's ancestor, your legacy will be told by your children and their children, your students and their students. Ask yourself, what is your legacy.

It is you who has to create a change in the way things are done. It is you who must look inside yourself and push away the distractions of the mundane world that have been built to keep you from focusing on how truly great you are. Ghandi said, “ Be the change you want to see in the world.” It all starts with you.

As I pondered over all of this, as each day more and more people flock to our capitals and major cities, each day we discover more tyranny, more lies, more oppression I feel I have been called, like so many others, to fight for what I believe in.

The answer is not to place blame, but to create result. We the people must create these results by coming together in mind, body, and spirit and by looking at one another and being able to say, “ I love you.” But before any of that can happen you must look upon your own life and say, “ I love you too.” True love is unconditional, it is powerful and unyielding, it is the power of the Goddess. "Love thyself" is not the answer but rather, "love thy neighbor as you would love thyself." It is not the 1% that threatens us but our own unwillingness to stand side by side with our fellow Americans and declare our love for our own communities, our own country. 

We are a people who have the opportunity to claim our voice, claim our power but make no mistake power can never be given. Power must be taken. As creatures of love it is our responsibility to take that power with love and for love for that is the only way that we will be able to do what is right.

I love this country. I love what it stands for. I love what it is capable of being. I do not understand why greed has taken power, but I do know love is the answer- it always has been.

The Goddess Columbia, found Goddess of America, the emblem of our ancestors struggles for independence and freedom sits atop the capital building looking out upon this nation as its protector. She was born from the blood, sweat, and tears of our grandfathers and grandmothers, and I believe that we too must rise to her call. As witches, priestesses, priests, shamans, healers, and medicine people it is our responsibility to fight for a better way. It is our responsibility to stand up for what we and our ancestors fought for- our independence.

We may not have the ability to fly to the capital, but we do have the ability to send our magick. We have the ability to unite as one people under Goddess to send love to our nation so that we can open communications, we can unite to send healing and warmth to those who stand in protest in the cold nights, we can unite to bind the oppressors for a better tomorrow. I have heard this call.

I created the Covenant of Columbia- a network of free practitioners who wish to join the cause by sending their energy. As information comes to us, we will target specific demonstrations through-out the country to send magick, healing, love, and peace. It costs nothing, only your energy. You can find a link here.

Join me Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers, Friends, Loved Ones, fellow Humans. Join me as we return to the words of the Goddess and look within. Find the power that has been denied to you and let your light shine. This movement is going to require aide on all sides, from many directions, from the collective will-power of the oppressed. Without our cry for freedom and our united love of the promise within our spirit, we can not live the words of the Goddess.

I love you. I love you because I know you too struggle to make it through the long winters, the threats of failure, the feeling of being powerless as all that you know is taken from you. But I know you are not powerless, the Goddess knows you are not powerless. You were meant to live a bigger life, but what will you do to ensure that you have that bigger life, that your children and grandchildren have that better life. Let us end this now and not do what our fathers have done to us, let us end this war, the rape of our planet, the proselytizing of the Goddess and her many gifts. Let us create a peaceful end to this struggle for equality.