Corruption

As earth’s caretakers, it is necessary to get involved in politics. This is where laws and protections are introduced, hashed out, written, voted on and argued over. Protecting the environment against greed, pollution, mass extraction, and capitalism falls on each one of us. This is our home and the state of the earth’s environment affects how we treat each other. As anyone can see ,the state of the environment is in a very fragile place. The fighting, killing, and division of humans is also in a fragile state. We must figure out how this came to be before we can fix this problem.

How did we get here? Get where? To the politically corrupt atmosphere we find ourselves in today? To the complacency of and attitudes of Americans that have allowed this corruption and loss of freedoms to happen right under our noses and without a fight? How did we become so divided?

As Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, stated in his speech Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in Atlantic City to the 1199 SEIU Unity & Power conference, we HAVE been here before. We’ve been here before lots of times. This should be no surprise.

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, is the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, NC; and the President of the North Carolina NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).

The NAACP is a civil rights organization and is the oldest and largest in our nation since 1909. He is also involved in the social movement Forward Together Moral Movement. In addition, Rev. Dr. Barber has been the keynote speaker to hundreds of conferences, conventions, and events.

This was the first time that I have heard of the Reverend and I was prepared to just get through this “christian speech.” Instead, I was blown away! It wasn’t “preachy” like I was expecting it to be. He spoke of the real social issues going on now and in the past. How the issues are related and he outlined the key reasons for how we got in this political mess that we find ourselves in. His speech was educational, informative, and inspiring. He spoke with conviction, passion, and truth that moved you to want to dive right into action.

Action to what? Action to help educate and transform the social, moral, ethic, and attitudes of complacency that we find ourselves in.

During the Reverend’s speech, he brought out the different policies that if taken singularly would not seem like a big deal. But, when put together and realizing what people specifically they affected, you began to see there was an insidious plan that led to our sorry state of affairs today.

Below are a number of reasons that Dr. Barber brought out in his speech that led us to the political atmosphere of today.  This is in no way the only issues or reasons that are to blame. The main points are paraphrased and the explanations are in my words.

Political & Religious Corruption

Do I need to explain this? I’m sure we all are aware of what bedfellows the politicians and religious leaders are.  Despite the notion that there is to be a separation of Church & State. The two entities have been mixing company for centuries. As a result, the people and their issues no longer matter. For them, it’s all about the money and power, and keeping the masses in control.

Refusal to use Political Power for Good (complacency)

Because of the above explanation, politicians are complacent on issues and policies that negatively affect the very people that they claim to help. This means that bills and policies that get voted into law, that directly hurt millions of people, are put through without much resistance.

We the people have also become so complacent that we don’t even notice this happening and do not put up any resistance. And if there is any backlash from the people or organizations, they are discriminated against as to dismiss their causes as being irrelevant.

Inequality

The inequality of Americans is getting steeper and steeper. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.

In order to control the masses it is necessary to create division and keep us fighting amongst ourselves. Therefore, we are so distracted that we do not blame the real culprits for our problems.

Racism

This is another tool to keep us unequal and fighting amongst ourselves. In fact, the governments very policies directly effect whole sectors of people to keep them down and out. This includes policies that keep communities unsafe, polluted, and incarcerated.

Voter Suppression

Good ole Gerrymandering. The process of manipulating a districts boundaries so as to have a political advantage. This either helps or hurts the citizens of the district.

Included in voter suppression is Voter ID Laws. You can research why ID laws are a way of targeting a demographic so as to limit votes.

Incarceration is also a big suppression. The crackdown on laws concerning drugs and alcohol target certain demographics more than others. Mass incarcerations keeps the “riffraff” locked up and when and if they do get out, they are prevented from ever voting again.

Undermining Any Resistance Efforts of the People

What is involved in resistance? Besides the violent kind, we have protests. strikes, boycotting, letters to editors of newspapers, letters to our government officials, etc.

When the people rise up and let their voice be heard, they are undermined by derogatory coded language and others are convinced that their cause is not justified so as to dismiss their concerns as nothing. This has been an effective tactic which causes many to not want to act in the first place.

Not Understanding History

Many people have forgotten their recent history. Therefore, they do not realize that events have been repeating themselves and we keep making the same mistakes over and over. Read and educate yourself on the history of the United States of America. See for yourself how events have repeated.

Racially & Derogatory Coded Language 

This is a big one. Snowflakes. Crybabies. Liptard. Social Justice Warriors. Feminists. The list goes on and on. These are the words to describe any liberal, Democrat, or left leaning people. We are so delicate as a snowflake. We cry about issues. Social Justice Warrior is a big one that I have an issue with. Why is being concerned about social justice a bad thing? Why is standing up for human rights wrong? Why is protesting for women’s issues wrong? Women will even discriminate against other women and feminists and make it seem that we do not have any issue at all to be concerned with.

These are a few examples of how the establishment has used these tactics to keep all of us divided and under their control. These are some of the reasons that have led us to this moment in time. This is how we got here. Have we had enough of this yet? How are we going to undo it and right the wrongs?

Who will be brave enough to Rise and Resist? 

Beltaine Ritual

The procession down the path to the stone circle was an ancient sense of déjà vu. It felt so right and I had a sense of reclaiming my heritage at long last. I felt the ancestors and God’s and Goddesses there witnessing and joining us in celebration of Summer. The nature spirits were twinkling and sparking in the fields letting us know that they were there too. The fields were full of magic.

Once there, our Senior Druid briefed us on what was going to happen. We sang our opening song and proceeded to join in a circle amidst the stones. An offering was made to the Outsiders in exchange for leaving us alone.

The ritual began and it was satisfying to be outdoors in nature with the nature spirits and the earth mother beneath our feet. I kept my shoes off for much of the ritual to connect with mother more fully.

The Two Powers meditation was fulfilling. Using the powers of the underworld and the upperworld and joining them to create a more magical, grounding, and powerful experience was effective.

I had the privilege of welcoming the Earth Mother to our ritual and I offered her cornmeal. I had the opportunity to welcome her in a virtual ritual but this was so much more. Being with my grove members in the physical plane and amidst the stones was a magical experience.

Also, I took part in adding the silver to the water during the portal song. That was unexpected as it was just decided upon right before ritual. I was not sure how and at what moment to do so and was premature in the implementation but it all worked out.

In addition, I welcomed the ancestors. I have done that a few time now and I love welcoming them and feel deeply connected to them. I offered them something different at the suggestion of a grove member and it seemed right. I offered the ancestors coffee. I heard they can get thirsty.

So to me, this was a very special occasion and was filled with emotion. Not only was this my first Beltaine celebration, but it was my first time at the stone circle. Plus, I had three roles in the ritual: welcoming the Earth Mother and ancestors, and adding the silver to the water. To me it was magical and the best ritual I have witnessed in the whole year of participating in ADF.

After, the offering to the Kindreds, the main deity was honored: An Dagda. Our senior Druid told the story of him and who he was. She is a good storyteller and makes me want to delve into the stories of the deities.

I mentioned earlier that I had three parts in the ritual. I actually had one more. During the magical working, I publicly dedicated myself to Danu. She is a mother goddess. This part probably did not mean much to the others. But, to me it meant the world. For some reason, that I cannot fully explain, it was important for me to do this publicly and in ritual. Originally, I had planned on making an offering to her and silently saying my dedication in my mind. I was not sure how or when that was going to happen. As it turned out, there was unexpected changes the morning of the ritual and the opportunity arose during the magical working. So the way opened up and I was scared to death, but forged ahead.

As always, the return flow was powerful and the toast and boast helped build connection with the other members..

After the ritual, was our “feast” I brought a jello fruit salad. I made and brought that in honor of my physical mother who always made that during my childhood.

I am grateful for my grove and the opportunity to participate and help them celebrate. I know I still have lots to learn and lots more practice needs to be done for the roles during ritual. But, I am up to the task.

 

Beltaine Festival

The temperature is getting warmer. The grass is greener. Birds are everywhere chirping their songs and greeting us in the morning. It’s time for the flowers and vegetation to shoot up from mother earth again. The excitement of summer and the possibilities are in the air.

It’s Beltaine Time

Beltaine is a Gaelic seasonal Spring festival mainly celebrated in Ireland and Scotland around May 1st. It’s a cross quarter day meaning that it falls between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. It can be spelled in a variety of different ways from Bealtine, Beltain, Beltane and is derived from a Celtic word, belo-te(p)niâ, meaning “bright fire.”

Spring  marked the beginning of summer or the light half of the year. In ancient times a pastoral life ruled the day. Therefore, this was the time to put the livestock out in the summer fields. Many traditions of new beginnings, cleansing, and fertility rites were observed. As usual stories were told from generation to generation to help remember traditions, rituals, and to remember the Gods & Goddesses of the land.

Bright Fires

As the name implies, fires were a main aspect of this festival. After being cooped up for the winter both livestock and dwellings were symbolically cleansed by the sacred fires. The Druids who led the people in their rituals and festivals would make two bonfires side by side on a hill.

It was thought that fires had protective magical powers and they would lead their livestock between the fires to be “cleansed.” Afterwards, the townspeople would pass between the fires or jump over a fire to insure good luck. Each household would light a torch which they then used to relight their hearth fires and candles.

I can’t help but think about how the Indigenous tribes used sage and tobacco for it’s cleansing properties. This cleansing with smoke is still carried out today with sage bundles, sweet grass, incense, etc.

The fires may have also symbolized the sun which was needed in plenty to help ensure the growth of the planting season.

Ashes

After the fires died down, they used the ashes to rub on themselves, the livestock and the ground for good luck for the growing season.

Fertility Rites

One popular fertility rite is the May Pole Dance. A large pole was erected in the ground symbolizing the Green Man (nature) fertilizing Mother Earth (land). As we usually do, we like to have fun at festivals and the May Dance was born. Ribbons were tied to the pole and the unmarried men and woman would alternatively dance around the pole thereby wrapping the ribbon around the pole in a woven design.

I’m sure this served to help get the men and women together and interacting for their own personal fertility rites

Feasting

Part of the festival included feasting. Feasting is something that has carried over in the celebrations of today.

Today’s Celebrations

This festival marked the beginning of the summer with fertility rites that ensured the success of the growing season. The livestock was put out in the summer fields after they were cleansed. The hearth got cleared out and fires were relit for the season. It was a time of great joy and celebration and the promise of new successful beginnings.

In modern times, we still celebrate this festival with rituals, feasting, dancing, and much joy. Although, our life has shifted from pastoral life to town life, it’s important that we keep our focus on nature and attune our lives with it to help us stay grounded and connected to the earth, ancestors, and the nature spirits. After all, we are all connected. This assures a more fulfilling satisfying life.

What are your Springtime Rituals? Please share.

 

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltane

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maypole

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/30/beltane-2015_n_7182440.html

About Whispers of the Land

The Earth and Humanity needs us now more than ever. We are the caretakers of the Earth thus preserving the human race from extinction.

Caring for the Earth and our well-being as humans is vitally intertwined. I believe that over the centuries, since the world has become more and more industrialized, we have gotten so far away from the natural world and the vital lessons we obtain from the land. This separation has caused the death and destruction of not only the earth but also the state that us humans are in at this time.

I don’t need to remind you of current world affairs and the social issues we face in our day to day lives. I don’t need to go on about all the environmental issues. There is enough of that information everywhere.

This blog will be about reminding us to get back to the land and the lessons obtained from our home. These lessons and insights are vital to not only the Earth (our home) but are vital to our human existence. Hopefully, this will be thought provoking and will instill in you a spark that will help you to align your life with the rhythms of nature for a truly satisfying, joyful, grounded life.

Advocating for the earth and social issues are a part of taking care and preserving life as we know it also. So yes, you will be reading about that as well.

How we take care of the Earth is directly related to how us humans interact with each other.

Are you willing to do your part? Any little bit helps.

~ Michele O’Donnell