I made a post on our social media account recently, pertaining to the horrific mass murder that recently happened in New Zealand. This monsters' warped view of other human beings, based on their belief system, made him no better than the Isis extremists who have spent years doing the very same. That he was unable to fathom this before carring out his vile act is beyond comprehension. It wasn't then suprising to me that he was capable of going a step further and live streaming his actions.
What was suprising is the fact that there seemed to be such a public thirst to view this type of disgusting footage. For the past few days I have seen nothing but links, all over the internet, which claim to take you to the footage that 'the internet doesn't want you to see'. I obviously never clicked on them so can't be sure that the links did lead to the footage but I imagine that they did based on stories that I've read in regards to the murders.
Several days ago I was scrolling down my Google news feed and was astonished to see yet another link claiming to lead to the footage. The picture used to promote the link was of a group of men gathered around a phone, laughing and smiling. It was a trending link and I was disgusted. How desensitized to horrific acts of violence have we become, that we can simply scroll past such inappropriate headlines and images when they are attached to such tragic circumstances? I immediately took a screen shot of the link and posted it to both our Facebook and instagram accounts and was heartened to find that hundreds of our followers and customers reacted in the same way as I did, with disgust and disbelief.
Unfortunately, the majority of the comments I see on these news websites are filled with hatred and blame. Too often it spirals into religious intolerance and creates further division. This takes us further away from a solution and even further away from our humanity.
I have, for many years, invited a variety of Deities from varying pantheons to my rituals and know of many others who do the same. I have never been struck down by any of these Gods or Goddesses for daring to believe in the others.
When you embrace the beliefs of others, no matter how different they may be to your own, you simultaneously embrace them. Through these practices we are able to move forwards together.
It’s time that we all began plugging our ears to the divisive language used by the media whenever there is a tragedy. We are not defined by our religions, they are but a piece of the puzzle in our lives which give us faith in times hardship, lift us up in times of grief and give us hope for the future. The very reason that we follow our paths comes from the basic human need for emotional comfort. Why then do we allow our belief systems to become the reason for our discomfort with each other?
Acknowledging the existence of all gods and goddesses doesn’t dilute your own belief system, it enriches it. My own home is filled with statues of deities from many belief systems, as I choose to acknowledge the existence of all. The Earth Goddess sits on my fireplace, Pan sits alongside Shiva on my bookcase, Ganesha sits alongside Buddha on my bedside table and the list continues as you move around my home. Certainly, The majority of my belongings pertain to Paganism, as that is how I identify but that doesn’t mean, for me, that I’m unable to embrace and weave the beauty of other religions into my own practice.
When we practice our religions, crafts and belief systems with love rather than hatred, we lead by example, whilst simultaneously blessing ourselves with the priceless gift of inner peace, enlightenment and a sense of togetherness. Yet so many opt instead for a mindset built of turmoil and division.
There will never be an end to religion and there shouldn’t have to be. Religion isn’t the problem, our mindsets relating to it ARE.
It’s time that we all began practicing a belief system of coexistence, acceptance and love. A polytheistic mindset is the only way that we will ever truly find peace with each other and within ourselves. This isn’t to say that we all need to revere or pray to each God and Goddess but we do need to acknowledge the belief of others and not just accept, but embrace them! Through this practice we will in essence create a spiritual powerhouse which will enrich our lives and that of our children to come, beyond measure.
How many holes do we need to blow in each other and our beautiful Mother Earth before we realise that we are fighting a pointless battle?
How many more precious lives need to be lost before we acknowledge that our differences are our strengths, rather than our weaknesses?
May those who have needlessly died, rest in peace. May they also inspire peace in others and encourage the much needed change that we should all be striving for, together.
Love and Blessings,