A Pagan Response To Terror

Starhawk has a new column up at Beliefnet about Pagan responses to terrorism.

“But if we reject the concept of evil, how do we respond to horrific acts? Is there a specifically Pagan response to such violence? There is no central Pagan authority, no Pagan Pope to issue bulls, no Pagan rabbinical authority to say who does or does not have the right to interpret for us. We have no sacred scriptures to interpret, anyway. As Pagans, we are each our own spiritual authority, each with our own connection to the Goddess.”

For Starhawk the answer seems to be a world that embraces the bigger socio-political picture:

“What would happen, how would the world change, if our hearts went out with compassion to the children of Iraq, of Africa, of the Brazilian favelas, of the inner city of Los Angeles? If we were as quick to condemn the perpetrators of endemic economic violence as we are to condemn bombers? If we were as horrified at the oil company executive who suppresses evidence of global warming as we are at the gunman? A Pagan response to violence might say there’s enough death, enough drama inherent in nature, in the course of life and the changes of the seasons and the cougar’s pursuit of the deer. Let’s not add to it. As human beings, we’re put on this earth to develop those things the cougar does not have: compassion, gratitude, conscious appreciation and wonder at the beauty and mystery of life. Let’s stop killing each other, and get on with it.”

Starhawk also talks about being in the UK during the terror bombings in her G8 journal on her website.

” Personally, I was saddened and sick at heart. I?m here protesting the G8 because I?m against the killing of innocent victims for political goals. Hell, I?m even against the killing of guilty victims. I just want to see us evolve beyond the stage where we think that killing people is a good solution to problems of any kind. I also don?t much like hypocrisy?which the G8 leaders and process exemplify. I believe the London bombers have committed wrong and immoral acts, and should be prevented from doing more of the same and brought to justice. But I don?t see some great moral divide between them and the G8 leaders such as Bush and Blair, who are also willing to murder the innocent in order to achieve their political and personal goals. I would like to see them also brought to justice for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in Iraq alone. I would like to see them prevented from killing again. I especially dislike the hypocrisy that accords them all the power, respect and resources of the state to back their violence. That?s why I come to these things, to protest, to make visible the inherent violence in the system, to demonstrate a different possibility. And yet when people are in shock and grief, when the violence of a violent system hits close to home, they don?t need political analysis or larger perspectives?just expressions of shared sorrow and compassion. And I wish we had been able to somehow do this.”

Jason Pitzl-Waters

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