“6-3-6: The concept of politics has then become completely absorbed into a war of spirits.” —Nietzschemanteion
Or as Diane di Prima wrote, “the war that matters is the war against the imagination/all other wars are subsumed in it.” The enemy is despair, but secular ideologies of progress will never be enough to keep the enemy at bay. It takes a certain kind of sympathetic magic to counter despair. The seeds of what one is fighting for must be contained in one’s actions. If you want to live in a world where the relationships between the gods, the ancestors, the land and human beings are in harmony, then you have to put effort into strengthening and balancing those relationships right now.
In January 2014, Pope Francis—the Pontifex of Rome—released a pair of white doves after a prayer for peace in Ukraine. The doves were immediately attacked by a crow and a seagull. It doesn’t take a weatherman to see which way the wind blows. Nor does it take an augur to interpret this omen, especially in retrospect. Almost two years later, the Institute for the Study of War reports that “Russian-backed separatists intensified attacks along multiple frontline positions in Ukraine in early December 2015,” and the war shows no signs of abating.
Earlier this week I pointed to the fact that modern Paganism is now a global phenomenon. That we aren’t simply a small religious movement isolated to North America and the UK, and that we will increasingly be affected by issues we thought relegated to “over there.” Things that “aren’t our problem.” When I wrote that piece I knew that “Yana,” a Syrian Pagan, and friend of Pagan Newswire Collective Managing Editor Cara Schulz, had been killed, but it wasn’t my story to tell, my obituary to write. Today, at PNC-Minnesota, Cara tells the story of her death, learned through another Middle Eastern source that she considers reliable. “What happened to her is so ugly I’m struggling to … I can’t even finish that sentence.
Top Story: Today is Veteran’s Day, and we here at The Wild Hunt would like to give our thanks to all military personnel and their families for their service and sacrifices. Today is also an excellent time to think of the modern Pagans and Heathens currently serving in the military and offer them our support. A great way to do that is to support Operation Circle Care. “For the fourth year in a row, Circle Sanctuary is honoring and supporting active duty Pagan service members through Operation Circle Care. This year, we are widening our focus and sending Yuletide care packages to active duty Pagan troops serving in any overseas theater of operation, including Germany, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, or on board Navy ships. The success of this program is due to the generous support and donations from Pagan community members from many paths and places. With your continued support, it is our goal to honor and remember each and every Pagan US military service member we can with a special personalized gift for Yule, just as we have in years past.”
The “On Faith” blog asks its panelists about keeping faith in times of war. Amongst the various monotheist perspectives comes the views of Wendy Doniger, a professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. Doniger, an expert in Hinduism and mythology, ventures into polytheist views of war.”Some religions avoid the moral ambiguity about war that Christianity wrestles with by having a god who is frankly warlike, who drinks hot blood and is precisely the sort of person you would think could have thought up a place like the detention camps in Guantanamo. Hindus, for all their philosophical idealism (or perhaps, more precisely because that idealism frees them to think the very worst of apparent reality), are much more realistic about the relationship between god and war. They worship gods like the goddess Kali, who has a necklace of human skulls and a girdle made of childrens’ hands, or the god Shiva who, like Nero in Rome, dances/fiddles while the universe burns–indeed, whose dance is precisely what makes the universe burn.The Bhagavad Gita, one of the major texts of Hinduism today, is a conversation in which the incarnate god Krishna persuades the hero Arjuna to fight in a war against his friends and cousins, a war from which Arjuna had recoiled.”But lest one begins to think that polytheism wholly condones making war, Doniger points out that for every god/dess of war, there are divinities dedicated to peace, healing, and tranquility.”But some of the Hindu gods (and even these same gods, in another mode of worship) also promise a deeper, more philosophical peace, not the sort of peace that comes when you’ve won the war by massacring hundreds of thousands of people whose land you wanted to take over, but the peace that comes when you’ve figured out that there is no reason ever to have war at all.