There was recently drama in the Pagan community. What it was about is no matter, as we have gone through an entire eclipse season, a Mercury in Retrograde that has seemingly affected everyone, and a planet full of upheaval. All we can do is observe at this time, right?
Having lived a decently long life, I have seen chaos and drama in many communities. I grew up among Europeans who couldn’t hold a calm conversation to save their life. I have seen it time and time again, in different communities, and know that humans are striving to be heard. When someone doesn’t listen or respect what is being said, drama ensues. A simplistic explanation, to be sure. Humans are complex, and in communities, it seems like we rarely get along.
I viewed the latest drama with sorrow, as I know some of the people involved. I don’t have much to add to the conversation, so I kept quiet. What I usually do in these cases is disappear into a movie. They have long been my salvation, and this time was no different.
The movie of choice was Disobedience, with Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, and Alessandro Nivola. It takes place in an Orthodox Jewish community in the UK. Rachel Weisz is the rebel who ran away to New York City, and comes back when she learns of her father’s death. She is an only child, he was a widow, and they were estranged. It’s an engrossing movie, and through it all there was a sense of familiarity. I didn’t grow up in the UK, nor Orthodox, but I know of rebellion and estrangement. It’s always been a comfort for me to be able to see the commonality in people. Having had a vagabond childhood, I’ve had to learn to adapt in more than one kind of community. It’s been a gift to see what is held dear in various communities, but honestly, it’s usually the same: food, love, celebrations, and life events.
This movie was no different, and I was in awe how it could apply to present situations, and to life in general. As humans, we want to be unique, yet we want to belong. We want to be heard, but rarely listen to others. We want to feel important. We want to feel as if we matter. And when we don’t, we lash out, we use hurtful language, we retreat, we hide, we become estranged, we suffer loudly or quietly. Through it all there is a hunger. A hunger for what is lacking.
Many people talk about shadow work, yet I sense most people shy away from it. It’s much easier to cast aspersions rather than do the painful work of truly looking at yourself and your darkness. How much easier it is to lash out at others than examining your own faults? A quip is easier than sitting with grief or anger. We all do it. Why go for difficult when there is an easy way to deflect? Why sit down and take a long look at who you are and why you react that way? In the movie, the rabbi father and his daughter are estranged over differing views on her sexuality. If he had to do it over, would he have spoken with her, or welcomed her back home? If she had another chance to speak with, and be with him, would she? The final shot is haunting: Rachel Weisz, a photographer, takes a photo of her father’s grave. She had lamented earlier that she had never taken a portrait of him. So she was left with that final photograph. And there she said her good-bye to him.
We all feel passionately about what we believe. Each of us is on a unique journey, and we truly don’t know what another person has gone through. Take some time to examine the darkness in yourself before you react. Be at peace with who you are and what you believe in before you sally forth with passionate dialogue. And take a deep breath. We are all human. We want to belong. We want to feel heard. Let that be your mantra. So mote it be.