I have a compulsion to seek justice and equality.
It’s not as noble as it sounds, believe me. I hate doing it. I’m about as lazy as a cat in the sunshine on a summer afternoon. I’m a complete coward – I avoid conflict as much as I can. I’d rather not have the discussions that I have to have, to try and persuade people what equality means and why it’s important. Mostly, I’d rather pull the bedcovers over my head and ignore the world. But still, I fight.
When I was a Christian, I thought of this as God’s work that I was doing. Jesus was my model for social justice (yes, the Bible stories can be read that way – as long as you ignore most of the Old Testament and a fair bit of the New…) I’m not sure I ever knew the Christian God all that well, but I was certainly inspired by Jesus and his work and message (not so much the ‘saviour’ bit as the ‘feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed’ bit).
Teo Bishop has been talking today about the dilemma of believing in the Christian god, as a Pagan. He seems to be wondering whose work he is doing. I sometimes wonder the same thing, but now I tend to wonder which Pagan gods are pushing me to do things. Just because I had a heart for the marginalized and oppressed before, doesn’t mean my Pagan gods aren’t involved in this work now. In some ways, I’m being pushed more, now. I can no longer ignore injustices that I used to. It’s getting harder and harder to argue that I’m too tired, or too busy being disabled, to fight for equality, either on my own behalf, or for others. (And this is a real concern – being disabled is exhausting, and involves a lot of work…)
I made myself very vulnerable in a discussion on Facebook today, calling out privilege and calling for equality despite being mocked and having little support. A few years ago, I would have backed off, got angry, or retreated into myself and just become bitter about the whole thing. Instead, I’m still working. It’s the right thing to do, regardless of religion or deities – but still, Someone is pushing me, giving me strength for things that I used to know were beyond me.
There are those goddesses of the tribe who I met early on, the Crow and the Well, with such different approaches to social justice, but both with social justice on their agenda. The balance of their different approaches – war and peace, struggle and surrender, death and life – is becoming increasingly important to me. When to stay silent and when to speak out – that’s a serious lesson to be learnt. But it still feels like they are in the background, giving me strength for Someone else’s work.
I don’t yet fully understand what Bheara is doing in my life – why she’s here, what she wants from me, how she expects me to serve her. All I know is that she is, and that she does want service, of various kinds, that I haven’t unravelled or understood yet. She’s a goddess of the margins, and the life that lives there, and she’s the one who gives us consciousness – the ability to make choices, to understand each other, to be a community…
Which is why my next post will be on Urban Druidry. She calls me to the edges, just beyond the hedge, where life that no one notices still endures. Life on the margins is a struggle. Someone needs to recognise and honour that struggle.
If not me, who?