Peace on Earth… but How?
At Solstice, we travel deep into the darkness. In that quiet, fertile space we plant the seeds of the light that emerges more visibly in Spring. This Solstice – the still point on the parabola of change – the energy of turning is even more powerful as we move from the end of one Mayan calendar to the first day of the next. Day 0.
A week ago, we journeyed collectively into darkness here in the US as we began to hear news of the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. These killings evoked for me the massacre of 16 civilians and the wounding of 6 more in Afghanistan last March. Nine of the dead in that shooting were children, and eleven people were from the same family. Two acts of war. For whom were the shooters at war, and against whom? What brought them to the point where they were able to do what they did, and what might have prevented this?
What does “Peace on Earth” really mean?
In my last blog entry I referenced ancestral dreams I have had around Samhain. On November 2, 2011, I dreamed:
There’s a brutal custom in a group that includes slaughtering some of their own children. I work with a different way. I am involved in bringing this way to this group, invoking a new code that will protect at least the members of the group. I think about the safety of my own son. It’s a tense period – will the new code really be observed? A bagpiper is playing. That is part of the new way.
Those of us who have children and grandchildren thought of our own the day of the Connecticut shootings, as I did in the dream. And the children who have been slaughtered are all part of our larger community. We need a new code, a different way.
It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of this need. Here in the deep darkness, we begin to incubate the seed. Each of us can hold the question, “In what ways am I at war, and with what or whom? What is the new code I can begin to live by? How can I do this? How can I help spread it to others?”
Here are just a few examples:
Through Family Constellations work, my attention has recently been drawn to the fact that I am in some ways at war with my body. Part of my mission in life is to help others become more deeply attuned to the Earth – and yet I ignore some of the messages that come to me from the little bit of Earth that is my physical self. That is a war I’m determined to end, by taking actions as seemingly simple (but, for me, complex) as resting when I am tired.
All of us have been affected by war in our ancestral lineages – sometimes in our or our parents’ generation, sometimes further back. We may unknowingly perpetuate the energy of war – in subtle and more obvious ways – in our relationships with beloved partners/spouses, children, family, friends, community, work colleagues. Another method that can help is Nonviolent Communication training; there are many resources for this in the Seattle area (click here for one of them).
The land we live on in Seattle (and everywhere in the US) was taken by European-American settlers, using many methods including extensive violence, from the tribes who had lived here for thousands of years. The terms of the treaties that the Native nations were forced to sign have not been kept. The war against the Natives, though it ostensibly ended a century and a half ago, goes on. For example, the Duwamish Tribe, from whose Chief the city of Seattle took its name, still lacks federal recognition. To learn more about the Duwamish or to contribute to their legal battle, click here.
We know that easy access to firearms contributes to events like the one in Newtown. And yet as a nation we have been unable to pass, maintain and enforce laws that restrict such access. One barrier is that the NRA has succeeded in stifling basic research needed to convince people of the dangers of widespread gun ownership and to determine what are the best methods to reduce these dangers (see this article in the New York Times from almost two years ago, after the shooting in Tucson). There are many things you can do to contribute to changes in gun laws, including encouraging your representatives and senators to vote for bills being introduced in Congress.
Bagpipes have been used extensively in war – and they are also, in their many variations, folk instruments capable of expressing the full range of human creativity and emotion. How can we use our voices – our “pipes” – to sing a song of healing and peace rather than war? Start with something simple and relevant to your life, just one small step. And go from there.
What seeds are you planting on day 0?