I spent most of the day watching the news about Munich and then I found out about an attack on an indigenous holy site (by Christians) and an attack on a Wiccan Church and I actually felt as though the chaos and hatred were seeping into my veins. Every time we turn on the news it seems like there’s another attack. I think that we should be aware and engaged, but I also think we need to take care that we tend to ourselves as well, otherwise we will be consumed by the poison. It is poison, pollution, I would go so far as to say miasma. That being said, I know that I need to be much more careful how much time I allow myself to read the news. I’m only now realizing how much of an issue this is. Let me tell you a story.
Someone recommended a book to me last week. I got it and read it in one sitting and it infuriated me. It was the story of a girl who fled poverty and a bi-polar mother and alcoholic father (at the very least in terms of diagnoses) to the city only to have them track her down to “reunite the family.” it angered me so much I wanted to string the parents up and inflict upon them he same type of brutality they had inflicted upon their child through their own incompetence, unacknowledged mental health challenges, and unresolved issues. The story was autobiographical to the author which gave it that much more power. I was just wrathful after reading it and after I’d raged for awhile, Sannion told me to go do a cleansing. He’s got really good instincts so I did and afterwards I realized I’d absorbed miasma from the story that I’d been exposed to. It’s almost like virulent second hand smoke. The ideas, images, and emotional impact got in even though I was just reading words on a page. It shifted my internal world, my emotions and psyche around in a way that I was no longer centered or clean. I was no longer in a state of proper spiritual receptivity. I had to do a cleansing. If reading a book — however good and evocative it might be–can do that, how much more so can the constant barrage of hate and violence that is filling our world: black men being shot, cops being shot, terrorist attacks in major cities the world over, destruction of sacred places, and more on and on and on every single day. We can be affected by what we take in.
Tonight, I ended up getting my ass offline and going to dinner and a movie with my husband. I needed to cleanse my mind of the violence that I was imbibing. I had a ton of work I wanted to do, but having that moment where I could reset myself was more important. I can’t do clean work if i’m not clean myself. I can go back and read the news and ponder these things and write and engage later but for my own spiritual health, i needed to step back. I think it’s important that we do that from time to time. Get offline, read a book, watch a funny movie, go spend time with family and friends, go make offerings to the Gods, go for a walk in the woods — whatever restores your soul.
I also think that we can do something else. A long time ago, Sannion posted his “laws of Sannion” and I was amused and read them and thought ‘damn, that’s pretty good advice.” One of them is to redress the balance. How can we do that when there is so much horror in the world? I don’t know what answers each of you will come up with, but for me, i’ve decided that every time I see or read or hear something horrible, I’m going to go out and do some unexpected kindness for a random person. It’s a small thing, but it is a way of redressing the balance in myself and in my world at large — my territory if you will. I think that these things create ripples and those ripples expand outward, circles within circles and they do affect the wyrd.
That is all. Just…learn from my experience and don’t internalize the fear and hatred. We can address it most thoughtfully and efficiently if we do not in the end bow our heads and hearts to it, and that takes constant effort.