I just watched a documentary on YouTube called "The Burning Times." It's an important film for anyone who would like to understand how the misogynistic society we now live in came to be. And, the first step toward changing something, is to understand it as deeply as possible. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance and denial only perpetuate the continuance of ignorance and denial. It's time to climb out of that rabbit hole.
Many of us lament the current state of things and wonder how we got here. There are reasons, and all of them are based in fear. Fear of the thing that is unknown or different. Fear of an idea. Fear of being wrong. Fear of not having enough. The list goes on and on. Fear has managed to gain quite a strong foothold.
The mystical, from which Christianity arose, and from which all organized religion has arisen, has been desired and feared and misunderstood by the majority. Those who have mystical experiences and then try to explain them to others, have often misconstrued and mistranslated such events. Or, the consciousness of the one who has the mystical experience, is different enough from those around them that, no matter the language they choose to use, they are bound to be misunderstood. We can not bottle mysticism, it is individual to each of us in ways that are very personal. We can only teach or share that which is of personal value to us, which doesn't mean that it will be of value to another, or that another will be able to understand it or put it into practice and get the same result that we have gotten. And, real mysticism is alive and growing and changing all the time. Real mysticism is of the now and connected into Life as we live it day by day.
Those who want what the mystic has had--a connection to and experience of the Divine--will often attempt to organize the experience into steps that are achievable for others to follow. We try to make rules for the mystical. Ten Steps to Happiness, The Five Things That Will Bring You Peace, Keys to Success, etc...these are not real book or video titles, they are titles I've made up to make a point, that we're still trying to capsulize what is essentially an individual experience. And, once enough people believe our version of "how to get there," then anyone who tries another way, or believes another way, is often made wrong. Such is the way organized religions begin.
We're coming up to the time of Samhain, All Hallows Eve, or Halloween as most of us now call it. Many will choose to pretend to be witches when they dress themselves for Halloween. Many children will be frightened, yet again, by people costumed as witches, pretending to cast evil spells on those around them. This interpretation of a witch comes out of the Inquisition. It is misogynistic, and creates a negative connotation of women based out of fear of women's inherent connection to the Earth and to Life. And, however innocently, continues fear and misogyny for generation after generation.
Witches were, historically, those who were connected to the Earth and to the Divine. They understood the laws of nature. They used herbs for healing. They birthed babies and tended the sick. They comforted and served those of their tribes. They were wise and were honored for their wisdom. At the time when witches were honored as wise members of the tribe, the tribe was more connected to the Earth in general and followed the seasons, and lived by the natural cycles of Life. Their rituals and traditions arose out of the organic celebration and honoring of their connection to the life they were living. Sacredness was connected to all of Life.
Christianity has historically brought about more death and destruction than possibly any other belief system. As it has been co-opted by those who want power over others, who are afraid of belief systems different from their own, and who seem to want absolute control over those within their domain, it has turned into a vehicle of limitation and abuse, especially of the feminine. Yes, there are those, in spite of everything, who have found the Divine through Christianity. And, we have much to be thankful for because of Christianity and what it has wrought. But, it is necessary to look at and accept the wholeness of its influence, which includes many horrific things done in its name and the name of the one who inspired it.
As we need to see and accept all aspects of ourselves in order to be whole and free human beings, so we also need to see and accept all aspects of our institutions and belief systems. In the same way that personal shadows control us, historical and institutional shadows control us in a larger sense. If we are not able to look at the horror of our past, and accept and understand what has caused us to be truly evil to one another, then the horrific behavior will continue. What are the fears and misconceptions that drive us to abuse and kill each other today? Why, when we know better, do we continue to abuse our Earth and all of the species who inhabit her? Why are some people driven by a lust of power and greed that is insatiable? The answers to these questions lie within each of us and are individual. But, they also lie within our societies and our collective histories, and must be addressed by all of us together.
How do we do this? We do it by being open to each other and communicating honestly. We do it by being curious of our differences and by being desirous to learn from them. We do it by finding our own authenticity and then by sharing it through our vulnerability and willingness to reveal ourselves to each other. We do it by lifting each other up instead of trying to control each other. We do it by listening to each other and honoring each others' experience and perceptions. We do it by agreeing to disagree and by allowing each other to live freely. We do it by celebrating Life and its seasons instead of trying to control them and frightening each other because of it. We do it by walking into the unknown and expanding ourselves instead of shutting down in the face of it. We do it by being polite with each other and treating each other with respect. We do it by remembering that we are all one and that we each carry the hearts of our brothers and sisters in our hands. We do it by each act of kindness, understanding and compassion we are able to give each other in every moment.
We've all seen and experienced enough horror to last many generations. It's time to say no more. It's time to say enough to fear and death and destruction. It's time to turn this runaway train around and take back the connection and sanctity of our lives. Let's do what we can, each and every one of us, so that we can look at our world and not lament "how did we get here?" But, so that we can look at our world and be proud of what we've created.
Our governments, our corporations, our institutions and belief systems are us. They are not separate from us. Things are the way they are because we've made them that way, or allowed them to be that way. It's up to each one of us to create the world we want. It's time to stop complaining and get busy. It's time to grow up and accept responsibility. It's time to stop blaming others and expecting someone else to do what needs to be done. It has obviously taken the state of things the way they are to wake us up. But, now we've got to get out of bed and get moving. We are on the abyss. No one will save us but ourselves. We can do this. We were born for this. It is our destiny.