Eleven years after the September 11th terror attacks on New York and Washington D.C. the tragedy still informs our lives. The Democratic National Convention placed the killing of 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden on the forefront of our current president’s achievements, and of course the war in Afghanistan, started because they sheltered Bin Laden, is scheduled to be waged until 2014. Indeed, one could argue that geopolitics in the Middle East was irrevocably shifted after September 11th, leading to the current tenuous situation of post-revolution politics. In short, we haven’t placed 9/11 collectively behind us because we are still dealing with the aftermath of our reaction to it.
September 11th was one of the things that started me on the path towards Pagan blogging and journalism. Years before The Wild Hunt I had a small proto-blog called MythWorks where I tried to find Pagan reactions to the madness that had just occurred. The 9/11 attacks awoke a need within me to find the stories we were ignoring or overlooking, to stop sitting on the sidelines of my faith community and become an active participant. I don’t think I could have realized that we would still be grieving, talking about, fighting over, and sadly exploiting, this day nearly a decade later. Some have tried to contextualize the tragedy by comparing it to larger events in wars past, perhaps in hope that it will bring perspective, but I don’t know if such a tactic can ever really work. I don’t think we should deny the ongoing importance of this event in our collective psyche.
We all exist in a changed world. As Pagans, as people who understand the power of words and actions, of the consequences of will, we have each responded in our own ways to this new reality we now inhabit. Every day we are now faced with the responsibility of how we will shape the world around us in a climate of war, fear, silence, drone strikes, and pain. Will we work to transmute our basest instincts into something nobler? We can never return to a time before 9/11, but we can work to change our culture and how we respond to tragedy. We could be a part of a conversation, a spell if you will, that brings out the better angels of our natures. I hope, that in the years to come, we can finally end the wars we have started, care for our wounded, change our priorities, and rebuild ourselves from the brokenness that so many of us still encounter.
The responsibility of existing in a world changed by horror and terror is to make sure it keeps changing, so that healing and peace can finally return. That is my small piece of magic and intention for this day. Below you’ll find some links to how other Pagans have responded to this anniversary.
- This evening (8pm CST) on Circle Craft Study, Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary will hold “a Circle of Remembrance & Healing, followed by sharing of experiences & viewpoints by some of the Pagans impacted by September 11, 2001 attacks on the USA.” Selena has also started a Facebook page called ‘Pagans Healing Remebering 9/11’ where you can share you photos, memories, or stories about this day.
- Phoenix Paganism Examiner Blake Ford Hall composes a remembrance for 9/11 that invokes the 9 Muses. Quote: “Today let us honor those lost eleven years ago, by using the energies of the nine muses to bring words of memory, remembrance and of hope.”
- PNC-Minnesota writes about a visit to the memorial created for the Heroes of Flight 93 by two Iowa Pagans. Quote: “Even before ground was broken on the memorial in 2008, Pagans were making trips to the site to leave offerings.”
- Here at Patheos Star Foster writes about how she is weary of the anniversary, despite her patriotism. Quote: “11 years later, I think I know less about 9/11 than on that first horrible day. I’ve had over a decade of misinformation, jingoism, and illogical cries of war hurled at me, and every anniversary of that terrible date begins to wear on me more and more.”
- At the 4 0f Wands blog Hellenic Pagan Aj Brokaw stresses the importance of remembrance on this day. Quote: “We need to remember this day because it reminds us that we are mortal (“Think as a mortal” is another Delphic Maxim along with “Help your friends” and “Control your anger”. Actually, many of the Maxims are especially appropriate for this day.) and that life can be cut tragically short. Treasure every moment of your life. Show appreciation for your loved ones. Say what you mean and do what you say. Do what you love and love what you do. Be the best that you can be. Live, love, laugh, learn and harm as few as possible.“
- T. Thorn Coyle offers up a prayer for the living and the dead. Quote: “Together, may we continue to work toward that which heals us all.”
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you today. May we build a better world.