Categories
Critical Thinking Spirituality

It’s not cool to want someone to die

We are now 7 months into a global pandemic. And a certain political leader has come down with the infection. There’s been a lot of sentiment online of joy/excitement/anticipation over this:

screenshot of twitter searching for "is he dead yet" and displaying the excitement people have of this sentiment. Someone claims to be excited like a kid in a candy store.

And I understand the sense of, “Karmic Justice” in what has been a really stressful year. I personally felt a little excited about the news. But I want to say: It’s not cool to wish or desire the death of someone. No matter how narcissistic or horrible you think someone is:

No. One. Deserves. Death. Threats.

Even twitter has taken action to prevent this.

I have this other blog post on free speech if you’d like to read more on how social media companies are implementing their own censorship rules.

Spanish Flu – Analogy

The 1918 Spanish flu, despite its name is said to have started in Kansas as a version of the swine flu. It went to Europe before it evolved and became even deadlier. It’s only called the Spanish flu because Spain was fairly neutral during world war I and was one of the few countries openly reporting about the pandemic. None of the warring countries wanted to let the other know they were struggling with a killer pandemic.

The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans.

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic

Some states responded differently and introduced fines for not wearing a face mask. Philadelphia had one of the worst outbreaks, by March 1919, over 15,000 citizens of Philadelphia had lost their lives.

Citizens in San Francisco were fined $5—a significant sum at the time—if they were caught in public without masks and charged with disturbing the peace.

https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/1918-flu-pandemic

The President came down with the Flu

The president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson was in the process of negotiating a peace deal between the prime minister of France, Georges Clémenceau and the League of Nations (kinda like a pre UN) which they wanted to send to the Enemy; Germany. Wilson wanted to give Germany a break, Clémenceau wanted tough measures. Wilson wouldn’t budge for months until he came down with the flu in April of 1919, afterwards he caved and those implications may have put in motion the creation of the Nazi party which resented having to pay the high World War I levies and wanted to return Germany to their former glory.

Listen to this podcast by RadioLab if you want more of this history.

The President downplayed the flu

Sound familiar? Wilson never publicly acknowledged the flu. In the US (and most of the world) there was never a clear response from leadership with how to deal with the Spanish flu and millions of people died because of it. Just like in the US today there was never a clear message from leadership in how to respond to today’s pandemic and this has contributed significantly to the huge amount of deaths in the US (despite being one of the wealthiest countries with some of the best health care in the world and was potentially the best prepared for a pandemic):

I have some hope

It’s utterly awful that anyone has gotten infected from this pandemic and it’s even worse when people have died. I hope people don’t suffer in vein because of this. When leaders come down with this I hope it highlights how serious this pandemic actually is. No one is invincible. I hope the many mask averse wearing characters out there take heed and see this as the serious threat it is.

Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, practice social distancing and I hope we can all get through this alive.

Here’s an Australian History version of the Spanish Flu:

Categories
mental health Paganism Spirituality

Why Paganism appeals to me

I don’t often write about spiritual or religious ideas on this blog but I was recently listening a 99 percent invisible podcast on Yokai (Japanese Folk Lore Spirits):

And the idea of personification of spirits resonates with me. This blog post is a reflection on my spiritual beliefs.

What is Paganism

Paganism is a Christian made up word to mean non Christian, or a non believer of the Christian God/religion. It was used during the Roman Catholic expansion through Europe to describe many of the other spiritual beliefs they encountered. Witches and Wiccans are a small part of the broad Pagan label. The witch hunts weren’t a pleasant time of history.

Many Christian holidays are based on pagan traditions. Easter is a spring time fertility celebration and Yule (aka Christmas) is a feast during the dead of winter to help ward off things like disease and famine.

Paganism is an un organised religion. There’s not a big building that all Pagans congregate at like a church or sinigogue. It’s also a very flexible religion where you can shape it to your own beleif system.

Game of Thrones uses a lot of pagan rituals. Robb Stark and Talisa get married and there’s a handfasting ceremony where their hands are tied with cloth. Bran goes back in time and witnesses this handfasting wedding:

Bran Azor Ahai The Dragon Has 3 Heads Rhaegar Prophesy
https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/09/170646/bran-prince-who-was-promised-prophecy-finale

If God has a gender

One of the things that irked me the most about Christianity is the fatherisation of God. God is a He, Him, the Ultimate Father. Where as when I think of the magic of how life is created, the female form is generally more involved (sea horses being the exception).

If I was to give God a gender, I like to think of it as a motherly figure. God is beyond gender but many pagan traditions associate the goddess of creation with the moon. Mother nature in a way. May the goddess protect you on your journey. And all that jazz.

Anthroporfism of spirits

One of the benefits of the Yokai is the personification of things that go bump in the night. Heard a spooky noise at night? It’s a mischievous little monster. When you personify something it becomes easier to deal with.

One of the benefits of Christianity is the externalisation of life’s randomness. You don’t get as stressed about life when you can tell yourself it’s all part of God’s plan and everything happens for a reason. I prefer to think of many spirits causing these problems, not just one or two apposing forces (i.e. God vs the Devil).

Druidry

Druidry resonates with me, having the ultimate respect for nature. Why not believe there’s a wise old spirit in the big old tree that you could seek guidance from. It also means I can bring in elements of the aboriginal dream time because living in Australia there are elements of respect to country.

Anyway, if you are interested in connecting with Druids Down Under, there’s this facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Druids-Down-Under-160405097356025/

And there is this book on Australian Druidry that I read at the beginning of the year:

Magic is preyer

When a pagan practices a magic ritual, either solo or in a group, it’s all about putting positive energy into the cosmos. Much like how a Christian might make a preyer before going to bed, the act of putting positive energy out there is a great comfort.

It’s the same sensation when joining in a group song at a sermon. When you put enough faith into it, you can feel a part of something that’s bigger than you. It’s a really up lifting experience.

Practicing magic

At the start of the year I gave myself the goal of doing 4 magic ceremonies and I haven’t done one yet. I should do a basic initiation ceremony, I would welcome the goddess of creation into my life and ask her to keep me safe and to watch over some of the people that I care about. I might even create an Amabi Yokai character to represent the water part of the magic circle.

Wiccan magic circles

A wiccan magic circle is often part of a ceremony, you can orient the circle with the 4 cardinal directions (North, East, South and West). Each direction can represent an element or a spirit. You evoke a spirit to help protect your magic circle before you start the ceremony.

For a basic enchantment they could be earth, air, fire, and water. However in the southern hemisphere we may swap things around and if you have a big ocean to the east of you might use that direction for water. You might use a candle for air or fire, a plant for earth, a feather for air. Something that has meaning to you and helps you focus.

Practice time

I’ll put some of these ideas into practice and do an initialising magic ritual one night and I’ll let you know how I go.

What’s involved with your spiritual/religious practices?