We think Basra can teach us a bloody lesson in helping our community survive.
Under British control, Basra was a scene of calm. The city and its docks worked. The oil flowed. Then the British withdrew. For over a month the city continued to function “normally” … whatever “normal” may mean in the Middle East. Then for reasons best known to itself and to the imams, the central government decided that a city with a “different” sect and its own militia could not be allowed to exist.
Chaos ensued–hundreds of deaths.
The Basra no-win situation can be compared to what heppens when one self-appointed section of our own pagan/Wiccan community decides that another section is wrong. Our community combines a vast spectrum of people. There are those who waft around in pretty robes and gossamer wings, calling themselves Lord Everup and Lady Candy-Ass. Such a worldview shades over into more mature behavior when those individuals begin journeying on to La-La Land.
Beyond La-La Land we find more serious practitioners of the Arts on a more serious path, who spend years in putting together well-thought-out magical systems and cosmologies. In some ways these two activities are diametrically opposed. Cosmology in general is concerned with beginnings and with spirituality. Magical systems in general are intended to influence events in this horizontal dimension.
Everyone is on a progressive ladder. Those in their kindergarten-level dress-up phase will graduate–at least that is our hope. Thus we should embrace their activities, just as we should try to support the activities of those who would like to move to higher levels and to expand the boundaries of Wiccan spirituality and technology. The community cannot afford to bite and claw at each other when people out there are lined up to dance on our graves, people waiting to elect stealth candidates to school boards and to government at every level, itching to make this nation into a theocracy on their terms.
So please. Let us take our heads out of our … centers of gravity … and administer to ourselves a reality smack. If we don’t lock our shields, the fanatics will not need to destroy this community; its own members will do it.
Why did the British succeed in Basra when the American offensive elsewhere was such a dismal failure? The answer lies in their respective attutides and assumptions: The British went in expecting to meet friends. The Americans went in expecting to meet enemies. Why don’t we turn our heads around, you good pagans, and start believing that other members of the community might just become our friends instead of our enemies?
In the hope that we can all lighten up, Blessed be each one cuts the others a little slack. Gavin and Yvonne