When, as modern humans we speak of the world, we mean this physical place. This reality of a blue marble caught in a slingshot rollercoaster ride, pulled between the sun’s gravity and the desire to escape that gravity. This world is sacred to us and we cannot escape that fact. Set apart from all other known planets for a specific reason: we can live here. This, our home, is our entire existence, except for a few metallic and ceramic feelers we have sent forth in a fragile attempt to see with clear eyes.
Escaping From our Hurtful Fantasies
I have heard so many people, at so many times tell me that their ultimate answer to climate change and resource depletion is space travel. They trot out dilithium crystals and tell me that eventually humans will colonize other planets and we will be fine. Earth worshipping, dirt loving pagans tell me this. Not only do I find this problematic from an ethical perspective, I find it foolish from a pragmatic one. Depending on the survival of humanity through an imaginary power source that is just as magical as any spell in Harry Potter is foolish indeed. Warp drive, crystal engine power, or zero point energy: we have not done any of those things yet. From a risk management perspective, depending upon them for our very existence is dumb. Don’t get me wrong. I think as a global society we should be spending time, energy, and physicist’s brain power on solving that imaginary equation. But we shouldn’t assume it’s our best plan. Our first plan needs to be one that we can actually accomplish with the resources we have on hand.
I see how even pagans who claim to love the earth shy away from this reality with space saga fairy tales. This is psychological escapism. We are acting like teenagers who don’t want to own up to the fact that our room is a mess and we haven’t been doing our homework. We have simplified our ideas so that we can offload the responsibility we all claim in this mess we have made. It’s corporations fault. It’s the government’s fault. It’s Becky down the street who never recycles. She’s why we can’t have nice things. But it’s okay. We will colonize Mars because Robert Heinlein told us so.
I adore his work, I really do, and I believe that the modern novel is where we find our most accomplished modern philosophers and visionaries. However we are at a point where we cannot afford the luxury of leaning on idealized visions of the future that involve deus ex machina or magic storytelling devices to succeed.
Human reality, and more broadly living reality, is more complicated than that. We have difficulty comprehending our own insignificance in the wide vistas that our scientific eyes have opened upon us. We live in a much larger world than our pagan ancestors did, though no less complex in terms of social and economic realities. We also live in a much smaller world that we imagine ourselves to have access to. We live in a world of rivers and mountains, of oceans and woods. Few people have had the experience of seeing even most of this tiny world let alone stepping off into the worlds beyond.
So what do we actually have?
We have the world of our immediate place. This is the world of Walmart and local parks. Our childhood homes, schools, and workplaces all create an internal map of comfortable reality. The places we know how to walk, bike, and drive to all live in an internal landscape much different than that image of a blue marble hurtling through a diamond studded landscape.
We have our social world. This landscape of the mind is no less real to us. We are social creatures living within the confines of our evolutionary biology. By looking at our cousins the Bonobos and the Chimpanzees we can see clearly our own heritage of social bonding and interaction, the lines of competition and cooperation, and the bonds of love and hierarchy spelled out for us in our relatives.
The social landscape is infinitely complicated. The diversity of opinion and social strata can be overwhelming to understand and yet most humans do this processing with ease. We have economic worlds: blue collar, white collar, the 1%, the 99%. This influences social interactions: schools of choice, soccer moms, hipsters, yuppies (are there yuppies anymore?) There is the landscape of family that influences us, the landscape of workplace, and the landscapes of politics.
We limit ourselves in these worlds. We must. There is a price for everything. The person who sees the four corners of the world must therefore be always moving, never settled. The person who knows each plant and rock on their land likewise is limited, though I would argue that their knowledge is just as vast as the travelers. We do not mock the particle physicist for not being an astrophysicist. Size matters not.
But this leaves us as materialists, seeing only what is touchable, knowing only what is recordable. There is also the world of religion and spirit. I’ve heard many people talk about the universal truths of all religions. But that is not what I am talking about here. I’m not talking about the written teachings of other peoples interactions with the worlds of spirit. That can be useful, but there are fantasies and untruths there as well. Anything written by human hands is fallible, and that’s okay.
The Gift of the Spirit Worlds
We are looking at the wrong fantasies.
My kids hate Harry Potter. They refuse to read it. They say it’s because the magic is fake and wrong. I was kinda heartbroken. While I was pregnant I dreamed of reading those book to my kids, but they never wanted them. It hurt for a long time. Now that they’re old enough to explain I realize what I did. I gave them a gift far greater than Harry Potter ever could.
I gave them real magic. I gave them my truth. It was profound when I realized what I had done.
As a practicing priest and spirit worker I had shared my skills and knowledge with them as they grew. I presented them with a model where magic is real and it is not about crystal powered spaceships or magic wands. It’s about connection. It’s about speaking with the wind and sharing a joke with a tree. It’s about love.
This is true magic: cracking open the paradigm we live in as a way to create cultural shift. I argue that the modern shaman or spirit worker can do more than enter into non-ordinary reality to bring back souls. The modern spirit worker should enter ordinary reality to bring back this world’s soul.
We don’t need false magic. We have true magic. There are a great many people developing and rediscovering these techniques and this is one of the true frontiers of our overlapping worlds. It is so easy to sink into the swamp of despair when it comes to finding solutions to our modern problems. Finding hope in false narratives is not a luxury we can afford. But after a lifetime of following the guidance of the spirits I believe there are answers. They are just not the ones we expected. It’s why listening to the spirits is so important. I would never have become an artist/farmer/writer/priest without my oaths to the Gods and Spirits, and I truly believe that if I had done the more reasonable thing, I would never have been able to see our modern paradigm the way I do.
We are powerful if we choose to share it, and the world needs our answers. We cannot keep these things to ourselves. I must do this for our children. I must do this for other peoples children. Most of all I must do this for myself. I need to need to share ideas, words, and art. Not in order to be immortal, not even to be respected. But to be in relationship. To share and create a flow.
I am giving an offering of thought and action and deed. Let this offering be my life’s work: the creation of a paradigm of relationship with self, with spirit, and with other. I see now the fire burning within us. I see the change upon me and upon us. It is only to fractalize what was already there, because we all have tiny pieces of the same story. Our task is to go deeper into the microcosm until we have reached the point where we influence the macrocosm. I am a priestess. This is my work. Let this be your work too. Let us find and create a reality where our children no longer need to grow up depending on playing pretend in order to survive. Let us find a way we can be proud of.
If you are interested in supporting my writing and my work, please consider setting up a donation at my Patreon. You get cool perks and the knowledge that you’re supporting activism and deep thought about how we can overcome the modern challenges of society within a magical pagan context. It’s like you’re funding your very own think tank!