As a matter of course, I try to keep as emotionally uninvolved with current events as possible. It doesn’t help my mental health to throw roots into whatever mess is manifesting in the world at any given time and, if I am brutally honest, I deal with enough of the horrors of humanity at my day job and I am all full up on human suffering these days.
The murder of Michael Brown last weekend was the first time in a long time where I sucked some serious air through my teeth and felt my heart drop. He was shot down with anywhere from two to eight bullets while his hands were in the air and while he was complying with an order to lower himself to the ground. Since his death, Ferguson has been in a state of complete chaos and breakdown. The militarized police force [for a small city/town of 20,000] has used illegal and discriminatory actions to attempt to quell the civil uprising that has filled the streets. Civilians in positions of peaceful protest—seated with their hands raised in the air—have been shot with rubber bullets, subjected to acoustic weaponry, hit with tear gas, pepper sprayed, and chased down by police in riot gear. Members of the press were assaulted, arrested and held illegally, or physically removed from the town.
Today, five days after Michael was shot and killed, the Missouri governor finally responded to this utter abortion of justice and civil rights by stripping the Ferguson police department of any authority and charging the Missouri State Highway Patrol with restoring lawful order to Ferguson, which means assuring that nonviolent protests are allowed to continue without the illegal and brutal interference of Ferguson’s ‘peace’ officers. It seems that, as of this writing, this has turned the tide a bit as it appears that protestors are no longer being fired upon or arrested for simply being present.
The situation has made me physically ill and I have not allowed myself to spend more than five minutes at a time looking at coverage of this disaster for fear that my anger will slip it’s leash. I’ve purposefully stayed out of discussions about this and have spent less time perusing social media and my usual internet haunts because, until today, there has been no hope in this situation—none at all. It has been a terrible, fatal mistake that ripped open a wound that turned septic immediately and there’s just no swimming in that.
I have watched what other religious and spiritual bloggers have had to say, though, and reading those thoughtful and meaningful words has led me to feel like a bit of a freak. There has been quite a bit of writing about what people’s Gods might have to say on the matter or what Their response might be or what these polytheists or pagans will be doing on their own to try and quell the awful spectacle in Missouri. All of this has made me want to tuck my Gods into my pocket and shuffle towards the door while whistling Yankee Doodle in the hopes that no one will notice me sliding along the wall.
My Gods, by and large, are Destroyers. They rend, tear, crush, shred, pulverize, and otherwise destroy those things that do not serve the larger picture that us meatsacks don’t get but tiny glimpses of. They all have blood on Their hands and They make absolutely no attempt to hide that or clean it up or pretend it’s not there. They are not peace-loving divinities and They value the power and necessity of spilled blood. Each of Them has done terrible things in pursuit of achieving what They or Those to Whom They answer believe to be right and just. If my Gods were in a super hero movie, They would be the definitive Bad Guys.
I was incredibly reticent to approach Them on this at all. At first, I was concerned I would get Their anger in full force, which would break my head and likely destroy me, but when I dug deeper into those feelings, I realized my tiptoeing around the topic was because I knew I wasn’t going to get righteous indignation from Them or a desire for things to settle into what us meatsacks see as an acceptable peace. They are not human and They don’t view things as we do at all, so there would be no human response from Them.
Some parts of me wish I had been wrong on that, but I wasn’t.
When I approached Them individually, I was largely met with an impassive gaze and a general sense that They would not stop this destruction because, in some ways, it was productive and useful to Them. That’s not to say that They were gleeful over Michael Brown’s death or that They are pleased that people are frustrated, grieving, and deeply angry. However, it, like all things, serves a purpose. Blood spilled nourishes a barren wasteland so that something new might grow and They will not stop that. The closest any of Them got to the human expression of outrage was Sekhmet and I believe that’s because of the aspect She comes to me in, as the Protector of those who cannot protect themselves. Michael Brown and the protestors being harmed very much fall under Her jurisdiction there, but She is also a Destroyer Who does not hide the fact that She is covered in blood and, as such, She paces and views the destruction alongside Others.
The Mister chastised me gently in a you-already-know-the-answer sort of way and remained distant with His attention focused elsewhere, and several other of my divinities followed suit.
I approached my Father last and He heard me out in my very human sorrow and anger without a word while we stood on some sort of hill above what might have been Ferguson. I asked Him why things were so terribly unfair and why things were like this, and He chose not to give me any reasons, likely because there are no answers to those questions that would satisfy my human emotional response. Instead, He looked at me, looked at the town below, and simply said Perhaps you don’t understand before heading off to wherever He was bound.
He’s not wrong. In fact, He’s very right. I don’t understand, really, despite how hard I might try. I am limited by the fact that I am largely human with a mostly human outlook on humanity. I can’t for a minute pretend I have the worldview of my Father, Who ordered the slaughter of an entire village and anyone who passed the village gates that day because they offended Him, Who sat and watched this, and Who then ate dinner. I am not that big or wise. I get glimpse of how They see things when They see fit to show me and as I grow to know Them more, but I will never see this world through Their eyes, ever.
While this is a distasteful reality, it is one I accept as being true and it’s part of the price of admission with my Gods. If I dig deep, I’m somewhat okay with this. It makes sense to the parts of me that are not human and the parts that have been machined by my Gods. In the end, I can’t change it so I might as well get comfy with it.
Of course, being who I am, it’s not just Their worldview that I get to content with. I also work under Their Will and, in this case, it means have a torn logical viewpoint over my part in this. On the one hand, there is the spiritual worker who knows that he can throw some of his brand of spooky at this mess in the hopes that it will stop the proverbial bleeding for at least a second. On the other hand, I am a child of the Crossroads and the Mister’s boy and I fucking well know better than to do anything more than watching it unfold. In fact, since They were well damn aware of how strongly I feel, I was Told on no uncertain terms that I was absolutely not to lift one magical finger to sway this situation in any direction. I know better than to believe that I am Alex The Great and Powerful and that my noodlings would stop things in their tracks, but I am not to contribute even one drop to any of the buckets involved here. It must burn and burn out on it’s own, as, in the worlds that I walk in, trying to put a hand in the water to change the flow of the river would be unethical and directly against whatever has been decided upon for this spot in time.
It makes sense. It follows what I have been taught. It doesn’t, however, make me happy. The part of me that is the Mister’s boy and my Father’s child absolutely knows that sticking my hands in this situation would be an undertaking that I cannot see all paths out of. There’s been a lot of talk of spiritual contamination and boy HOWDY would stepping into that arena provide a huge amount of that. Still, it doesn’t make me happy because I dislike feeling powerless.
When I brought that up in protest of the memo that says I would keep my magical stuff inside the ride at all times in regards to Ferguson, I got The Look from my Father and a terse statement of I am not being active right now. Am I powerless?
No, Papa. No, you are not.
So, I watch. I stand as the Sacred Observer who witnesses what unfolds so that it is remembered and not written off as a misunderstanding or an occurrence that was blown out of proportion. My Gods have not turned away from Their people and, as I love Them, neither will I turn my gaze from their suffering and sorrow. It may be the least that I can do right now, but it is about the only thing I can do.
I won’t pray for peace because peace is a scab over a wound that is full of pus and rotting flesh. Instead, I will pray that we learn from this and that this resolves to the best possible outcome, whatever that may be. I pray that the man who lit the match that started this fire via firing bullets into Michael Brown’s body is judged justly by his Gods. May the Gods show those suffering mercy in their grief and grant them strength in their hearts.