The Burning World and the Hope of Hopelessness
‘‘Your hope is the most beautiful and the saddest thing in the world.’’
~ Naomi Benaron, Running the Rift
The world is dying right in front of our very eyes. We have front row seats as the shit show unfurls before us. Tragedy after tragedy, the years increasingly marked not with our achievements but with our defilement of the Earth and each other, the degradation of nature and of peoples. It feels like we are in a pressure cooker and with every passing day, week, month and year, that pressure is building.
The latest blow is the burning of the Amazon, not a wild fire, but sanctioned by Government at the behest of Capitalism, as has always been the case, or at least in modern history. And here in the UK, you’d have never have known the rain forest often dubbed ‘the lungs of the world’ are burning, if not for the internet and social media. Already many comparisons have been drawn between the burning of Notre Dame and the burning of the Amazon. The rush to save the beloved Cathedral, the billionaires who pledged so much money and the seemingly silent response to the Amazon.
I have however seen a response from everyday people and the pagan community, and though the pagan response may not be my flavour and despite the criticisms such events often come under, I understand the want, the need to do something, to at least try and reach out, to help if only in a small way, even if it’s in the only way you know how.
As the pressure builds, we know we cannot carry on as we have been doing. We, as a species, will reap what we have sown, in one way or another, for I feel we are too far gone for anything else. And I say we for we are all complicit, to varying degrees, whether we think we can escape our guilt by ‘offsetting’ the damage we do by flashing the cash, an elitist idea if ever there was one, or whether our compliance has been been forced as we’ve been herded along by a system that has enslaved us all. A system where the poor and oppressed are forced to live on the efforts of other poor and oppressed peoples because they cannot afford otherwise. A system that makes everything a resource and that makes consumers of us all.
What choice have we really had?
And yet even as we acknowledge the truth of this, we cannot deny that we have not tasted the poison of the system, more than that, we have been drip fed it our whole lives. Was it F. Scott Fitzgerald who said something about being able to recognise the hopelessness of things and yet be determined to make them otherwise?
And so we weep for the state of the world, at the hopelessness of it all, and still we try. Perhaps this is truly the human flaw, the human condition, that we hope even when there is none. As the Amazon burns, as doom and darkness threaten to engulf us, so many of us try and do something, anything to help, to reach out. We take our hope, as small and guttering as it might be, and we shield it from the storms that would snuff it out. Let us seek out meaningful connections with others. Let us take time to enjoy the sound of the wind through the leaves and the warmth of the sun even as the darker months draw closer. Let us begin to foster solidarity, to help in any little way, anyone we can, to spread kindness wherever we find it because that shit is seriously lacking today. And along with prayers, love and light, let us also take direct action wherever we can, whether magickal, mundane or both. Right now, you can help by finding out who’s organising where you live. Are there any local or even national organisations you can get involved in in some way, even if the only thing you have to offer is your time. Secondly, lobby your politicians and governments, whether you believe in the political system or not, any pressure they can offer might help, even if it’s only the loosening of the noose.
Let our hope be action.
“Any fool can hope when success lies plainly in view. It wants genuine strength to hope when matters are hopeless.”
~ Micheal Flynn, Eifelheim
My name is Emma Kathryn, my path is a mixture of traditional European witchcraft, vodou and obeah, a mixture representing my heritage. I live in the sticks with my family where I read tarot, practice witchcraft and drink copious amounts of coffee.
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