If you’ve been paying attention to the current state of the planet, you may be struggling with a pervading sense of doom. Not only do all signs point to dangerous heat, crazy storms, drought, famine, fire, and pestilence—now, not in some future world of our grandchildren’s—but there is an added layer of pain for Pagans. This blessed earth, our sacred Mother, is hurting. As Pagans, we feel this pain. We cannot hide behind the idea that science will save us. It might. But in the meantime, our sacred earth is in turmoil. Nor can we hide behind an idea that our religion will save us. Doomsday is the end of the world. Not of spirit, perhaps, depending on your beliefs, but this beautiful, sacred, precious world. Really sitting in that knowing can overwhelm us with sharp anguish.
So what do we do with this pain? What are we to do when politicians play their games of money and power, as each day the planet melts and churns and rises around us? At first, we might want to crawl in a hole and give up. Throw up our hands and say, well, at least I can be a hedonist. But this attitude over a long term can lead to insanity and soul sickness. Can you feel it in your body? There is a sense of pressure and darkness when we give up. When we decide instead to commit ourselves to the task, no matter the eventual outcome—I will try, because I care so deeply—there is a sense of relaxing, surrender, peace. We give ourselves to our commitment to the sacred Earth.
So are we to never drive a car, grow and raise all of our own food, build our own composting toilet out of a bucket and sawdust, and cook that home grown food in a solar oven (stock up for those rainy days!)? Maybe. If those lifestyle choices feel right, grounded, and even fun to you. But when we are honest with ourselves, some of those choices feel just as crazy making as watching politicians repeatedly muck it up. The reason it feels just as constricting and insane is that we feel alone. We feel like the future of the whole planet is up to little old us. And that is insane.
We’re in this together. And while we can’t always affect the gyrations of Big Oil, neither do we need to go off the deep end. We need to work together as a community. We need to make the choices we can make, like leasing solar panels for our house, living closer to town so we can sell the second car, set up recycling programs and gardens at a local school, sign petitions—take on projects that inspire others, spread to new projects and communities, and give us a sense of efficacy and hope. We can also have faith in the magic of the land and sea, which can repair and renew. For example, check out The Death & Life of Monterey Bay by Stephen Palumbi and Carolyn Sotka. People who care and the power of the Earth can create healing. Sometimes it takes anguish to push us there, to places we never believed in before. When all there is to do is put one foot in front of the other, allowing the power of Life to unfold.
Our thanks to Clea for her guest post! For more from Clea Danaan, read her article “How a Devotional Practice Can Deepen Your Spirituality.”