If I’ve been amazed by anything resulting from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s been the persistent anger of Far Right-Wing Christians to any suggestion that the ecological disaster that’s been created by BP’s stunning recklessness is a serious problem. Most of the Christians I have talked to have stuck their heads in the sand, preferring to continue to believe that there’s nothing Mankind can do to seriously damage the planet. Their God simply wouldn’t allow it. So they wind up spouting incomprehensible bull like “the Earth is perfectly capable of healing itself without our help”.
This is not to say that there are not reality-bound Christians out there who are doing everything they can to help stop the oil spill in the Gulf, or Christians who are praying that the apparently Biblical extent of the damage might be limited before we can kill off all life in Earth’s oceans. There are certainly Christians out there who understand that this is a man-made disaster, and that God isn’t likely to swoop down on a blazing chariot to save us from ourselves. But as much as I keep this in mind, the first good news I’ve heard in regard to the spill in the Gulf comes not from Christians, but from Pagans. This doesn’t surprise me (just as I’m sure it doesn’t surprise other Pagans).
I read an article by Nicole Neroulias, writing for the Religion News Service, which opens talking about the bonfires, drum circles, dancing, candlelit meditation and other ceremonial rituals which will help usher in the summer solstice at Circle Sanctuary’s annual Pagan Spirit Gathering in Salem, Missouri, which is now in its 30th year in the United States. Along with celebrating the longest day of the year on Monday (June 21), this year’s weeklong festival at Camp Zoe in Salem will also feature prayers to help the Earth recover from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We always do planetary healing prayers, meditations, and ceremonies on Solstice day itself, and we will be continuing our prayers about the oil disaster,” said Selena Fox, high priestess at Circle Sanctuary, a Wisconsin-based pagan resource center. “We will explore ways that the various organizations and traditions represented at our gathering can support relief efforts.”
You’d be amazed at how much vitriol has been unleashed upon this effort by Christians, who apparently believe it’s rediculous that Pagans could be praying for anything. It’s disheartening to know that a lot of people would rather sit by and do nothing than accept the well-wishes and prayers of those outside of their own narrow religious path. But I hope and pray that Pagans will continue to rise to the occasion. I also hope that many of them will, unlike a lot of their Christians friends, put their money where their mouth is and head to the Gulf to volunteer and help make a difference.
The Missouri festival, which runs June 20-27, will be the largest organized event in the U.S. Nearly 1,000 people are expected to attend from North America, Europe and Asia, including practitioners of Wicca, contemporary pagan, Druid, Celtic, Native American, Afro-Caribbean, and Taoist faiths.
The main Solstice ritual will feature chanting from 18 Circle Sanctuary ministers, intended to “help heal the wound in the earth,” Fox added.