9/11: A Pagan Reflection

Elsewhere on the web, you’ll find a variety of thoughts and reflections today on the events of 9/11/2001.  I remember that I was walking home from class and passed a housemate of mine who told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center towers.  I imagined a small plane, perhaps a Cesna, and was momentarily struck by the thought of such a horrible accident before I continued home.

The idea that it was a plan executed by religious extremists never entered my mind.

Now, however, in the years following 9/11, it seems that every time tragedy strikes, I fear that the event has religious motivations.  I remember learning about the Ft. Hood shootings in November 2009 and my first thought was not for those who had been shot but rather fear for my Muslim friends and colleagues.  I feared that we would see a backlash against Muslims, and other minority faiths frequently confused for them, simply because this event was perpetrated by a Muslim.

That worry I feel for others when events like these happen leads me to act, leads me to get involved with interfaith activities, to share my point of view with others, and to help them understand that different is not the same as depraved.  We need to become even more vocal in our support and our solidarity with other religions to help keep them from being othered even as we seek to do so for ourselves.  We saw this sort of solidarity in August in the wake of the Oak Creek shootings at a Sikh gurdwara.  But, our attention span is short and soon those events, like others before them, will fade in our collective memories.

Two sticks of blue incense burnt before the statue of freedom.This morning, I lit two sticks of incense placed before my scale model of the Statue of Freedom which I use to represent Columbia on my altar.  I lit them to remember that day eleven years ago and the deaths that took place.  I prayed that those who died had found peace and that Columbia would help us all to work together despite, and because of, our differences rather than seek to do violence, physical or otherwise, on our neighbors.

It’s hard to not to respond to violence with violence.  We know this; we’ve seen it happen again and again whether it be retaliation against a school-yard bully or against international terrorists.  But, I know that we can do better, and I suspect that we need to do better if we’re going to begin to move forward into this new, increasingly connected world.

It’s a relatively recent phenomenon in our history that has so many people living and working with people of different cultures, faiths, and backgrounds, and we’re still trying to learn how to handle that reality.  Pagans can help others with this as we have so many differences within our community.  Are we perfect?  Do we always get along?  No.  But I think that we’re more adept at dealing with a heterogeneous population that some other groups may be.

The Huffington Post has a series of prayers for 9/11 on their site today, one of which is Pagan from Grove Harris.  Here are her words:

By the Earth that is Her body
By the Air that is Her breath
By the Fire of Her bright spirit
By the Waters of her living womb
Let the Peace of the Goddess grow in our hearts.

Peace as we honor our dead with undying memory.
Peace as the tears of grief are shed.
Peace as we remember the world sharing our pain.
Peace as the flood waters are receding.
Peace as we understand that we are all mostly water. Literally.

Let the waters of compassion flow.
Let the healing continue.
We are whole.
Blessed be.

This post was written by
David Dashifen Kees is a mild mannered web application developer currently living in northern Virginia. He's been developing online systems since 1998 and, coincidentally, been a practicing Witch for almost as long. For many years he's considered himself simply an Eclectic, but more recently he's begun to think seriously about the integration of modern technology and modern magic on a path that he calls technocraft.

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