So Many Things Wrong With This

So today I found out that this is happening.

At first I thought, I don’t want the Hudson River ritually linked to the Jordan (all respect to the spirit of the Jordan river). This is purposeless. This serves neither river. Not only is there no practical reason to do this, but it massively elides the individuality of each river spirit. Then of course I looked at the groups doing the ritual and realized that I can put my mind at rest. Competent ritual work has never been a hall mark of the interfaith agenda.

Still, w.t.f? The clear implication is that by linking the Hudson to the Jordan that the Hudson would participate in some derivative divinity. Setting aside the obvious Abrahamic religious underpinnings of wanting to specifically connect to the Jordan River this way, what about we start by recognizing the existential locality of the sacred? Why don’t we honor the individuality of each of these river spirits? The Hudson does not stand for all rivers. The Jordan sure as hell doesn’t stand for all rivers (again, let’s consider for a moment the Abrahamic religious underpinning of such an idea, keeping in mind that “interfaith” usually just means chatter amongst Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities occasionally adding Westernized Buddhists if they’re feeling particularly tolerant and the occasional Native American). If someone is Jewish or Christian, I can see that person relating to the Hudson as a mirror of the Jordan quite well but what does that have to do with the rest of us? Moreover, what does that have to do with either the Hudson or Jordan rivers in and of themselves? It’s obscene. Has any divination been done to see if the rivers consent? And no, I’m not being facetious. We’re animists. The world is sacred and alive and sentient. There are even countries that have recognized the rights of the river as if it were a person. So what this interfaith group is doing with their aggressive and dare I say it colonialist guilt driven hate magic is essentially stripping that personhood away. It’s obscene. 

The Jordan river should have its due. It should be honored with regular songs, offerings, with care, with attendance. So should the Hudson. So should every river in the entire world. Pointless rituals like this, designed for nothing more than assuaging western guilt at the devastation we’ve wrought on the world (largely by abandoning our sacred traditions first in favor of Christianity and then of post-modern pabulum) do not make up for that lack and they never will.

 

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on September 23, 2019, in Ancestor Work, Interfaith, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Poorly planned ecological rituals seem to abound lately. I had to stop attending a local witch group after a particularly poorly-planned “earth healing” ritual for an ecosystem in another hemisphere that barely accounted for any unique characteristics of that ecosystem, with no divination and no contact with land spirits or even spirit workers familiar with that part of the world. My frustration is mildly assuaged by the knowledge that the ritual probably didn’t accomplish anything except perhaps some emotional catharsis for the attendees.

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    • What gets me is if folks leave things, or utilize items that are actively bad for the environment. I tried fairly early on to use what the most recommended offerings were through books/blogs, etc (re: “give to the land spirits; pour a saucer of milk or alcohol” etc) and found I was met with immense resistance and annoyance. I had the sense that milk was benignly incorrect and alcohol came off as offensive. I finally found a better offering, but ever since I’ve tried to follow what the spirits say over generalized advice (not that suggestions can be bad, inherently, but the milk & alcohol seemed to come from a more European suggestion, which just didn’t match up to the local swamp-marsh lands I was living in, which preferred “bone, blood, and flesh”). Just shows the importance of personal work and paying attention.

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  2. My first thought is – how did they get the water from the Jordan there? I’m guessing perhaps one of the EcoPeace Middle East folks brought it with them when they flew halfway around the world for this? International flights have one of the worst carbon footprints of anything out there – seems kind of ironic for something purporting to be about environmentalism.

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  3. Oh how sweet. But they forgot the Ganges!

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  4. That very important point – honoring the LOCALITY of the sacred… What does the Jordan River have to do with upstate NY?

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  5. You hit the nail on its head. Excellent article.

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