The Wheel Grinds

My friends,

It has often been said that the season between Hallows and Yule is often one of chaos and confusion. As we look at the world around us, the Goddess principle is going dormant, and the God energy is in decline, and so both Goddess and God can be seen as being in retreat. Since Hallows, we’ve seen an election filled with hope, a worsening financial crisis, we’ve seen the surfacing of old hatreds in state elections, terrorist attacks in Mumbai and an unfolding global economic slowdown. Normally, we pagans celebrate the Turning of the Wheel but many of you have shared with me feelings of halting, of being stuck. The wheel doesn’t feel like it’s turning; it feels like it’s grinding. But despite how we perceive the presence of the Gods in the natural world, we must remember that the lesson is that they never leave us for the Gods are part of us.

Lessons are not always easy, but they are divine gifts and so we must look for them in everything. One of the most important lessons in the last few months is that reminder that we are all connected symbiotically, not just conceptually. We live in a global community and what one part of our society does affects another without fail. Here are a few reflections on how we are being reminded of that connectedness.

Gay Marriage: Regardless of anyone’s views on the religious definition of marriage, the desire to remove rights is the wrong approach to expressing religious beliefs because the motivation is not to stand up for your own beliefs, but to separate and isolate a small group. Nature teaches that no matter how hard you try to contain the freedom of any being, to put up walls, to separate “us” from “them” results in unintended consequences. We’ve already seen the backlash against various churches for their attempt to do so. No doubt these churches were surprised. They should not have been: their approach was one of drawing boundaries between themselves and gay people. This created polarization and invited a fight and, likely has weakened their cause in the long run.

Terrorism: One of the dangers of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai is that it evokes a desire to isolate Muslims. This is the exact opposite of what is needed since the cause of terrorism is ultimately isolation. We must protect society and yet at the same time, we must work toward global understanding across cultures, languages and religions in the long run. We must prosecute terrorists, but not their religion. Embracing this paradox is extremely difficult. But this is the only way forward in a connected world.

Recession and Financial Crisis: Economically, our connectedness as a planet has never been more apparent. It brings strengths but also weaknesses. Remember, connectedness is merely a defining characteristic of any living system. And, as such, the human economic system is experiencing pain and sickness. For individuals, sickness often teaches us what fundamental structures in our lives might need to be changed. For example, constantly getting a cold might remind you that you should slow down and rest more. Sickness can be vital information. We’ve already seen people begin to reject unfettered consumerism and begin to save more as they “de-leverage” themselves. This might bring about a reorientation of what we consider valuable in society. When a person is trampled to death in a Wal-Mart on the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping frenzy, we must look at the symbolism of this tragedy. Perhaps recession is the lesson we need.

We must also have hope. For living systems can also heal. In order to do so, we must act as if we are in a system. This means not trying to set up false separations but embracing the oneness that we are all part of, as a country, a people, a planet, as spiritual beings.

How can we do this, when all of these problems seem beyond our individual power to effect change? I think that Mother Teresa summed it up best when she said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”

Perhaps the lesson of the season is that the God and Goddess are not front-and-center at this time of year precisely so that we can hold them in our hearts and live up to our own divinity by accepting the lessons of the world, learning from them and seeking harmony within our selves and with the world around us – just as nature teaches.

Bright Blessings for a Blessed Yule, filled with Love, Joy and Beauty.