Miscellaneous Roundup of “Stuff” and a Reminder about Veteran’s Day
Well, my last blog post certainly prompted a rather heated discussion and that’s good: these things need to be discussed. It’s important, I think, for people to realize that there are polytheists for whom the destruction of a sacred shrine is an act of conquest and the continuance of centuries old war, and those Pagans who cannot conceive of a shrine being anything other than a symbol, and thus not important. We are that deeply divided, and it brings home the fact, that there is no one Paganism. We are many and we don’t always (perhaps rarely) agree. There are many different religions falling under the “pagan” and even “polytheist” rubric. Obviously, it should be clear to my readers which side of this equation I come down upon. In fact, this discussion prompted me to write an article on anger. You can find that at my personal blog:
This follows on the heels of my article on reparation, which ties into the question of anger vs. vengeance, and when anger might be appropriate:
In other news, I am running an ‘Odin Project” for the month of November. In July, I did the same thing for Loki: each day I posted something (a prayer, a poem, a recipe, an article, an image) about Loki. Well, of course I had to do the same thing in November for the God I love above all others: Odin. The most recent post can be found here:
If anyone has any material that you’d like to contribute, I will happily profile guest contributions. But even if you don’t want to send your stuff to me to share, consider doing something for the Old Man this month. It is His month, and the time when His Wild Hunt rides, and a month wherein we honor fallen warriors, and a time that presages the coming of Yule. It’s a good time to keep Odin in mind.
Finally, November 11 is Veteran’s Day. In the US, this is a day established initially to honor veterans of WWI, and later changed to honor veterans of all wars. One custom is to wear red paper poppies as a symbol of remembrance. This is due to a very popular war poem “In Flanders Fields”
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
(the full text and information about the poem may be found here: http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/flanders.htm).
My tradition teaches that it is right and proper to honor our military dead. Every single one of us has ancestors who were military. We have soldiers and fighters and those who made the hard, bloody, and agonizingly necessary choices so that we wouldn’t have to. I’ll be writing more in depth about this on my own blog (as part of the Odin Project actually) on November 11 proper, for now, suffice it to say that it’s a good thing to pour out offerings to the military dead, to visit graves, to go to those veterans living in your families or communities and thank them for their service. It would be better if this wasn’t something we only thought about twice a year: Veterans Day and Memorial Day. It would be better if this were an everyday act of respect. For some of us, it is.
One of the things my House does throughout the year is contribute to various military charities. For those interested, I want to give a shout-out to the following groups. They’re doing amazing work. If you’ve been wanting to donate someplace but weren’t sure where, please consider one of the following:
Disabled American Veterans: http://www.dav.org/
Fisher House Foundation: http://fisherhouse.org/
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation: http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/
The Wounded Warrior Project: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
American Women Veterans: http://americanwomenveterans.org/home/
Paralyzed Veterans of America: http://www.pva.org/site/c.ajIRK9NJLcJ2E/b.6305401/k.BCBB/Home.htm
This, by the way, isn’t about agreeing with any particular conflict; it’s about honoring the men and women who faced horrors that non-combatants cannot begin to imagine for us. It’s about honoring sacrifice, valor, courage, duty. It’s about honoring human beings: flawed and hopeful, courageous and terrified, old and young, who did their best and who are in the end, our forebears. May they ever be hailed.
So give a thought to our Veterans living and dead this November 11. Every ancestral line has them.
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