Scary news coming out of the Near East, friends — or rather, not coming out at all. An eerie silence casts a pall over the lives and fate of Pagans and Polytheists living in these countries, the lands where many of our religious traditions were born.
What anyone outside Egypt, Syria, and other countries can do is uncertain. It is certainly hard to sit back and watch; prayers feel inadequate. If praying for our brothers and sisters trapped within these horrifying circumstances is all we can do for now, however, then we have little choice, and must. They need all the love, support, and protection we can send their way, tangibly or intangibly.
And, if anything, this should serve as a reminder as to why Pagans and Polytheists in the “free world” (if there is such a thing) need to stick together and support one-another in spite of superficial, aesthetic differences.
Sure, I may disagree with most over Theology most days of the week. You might view all deities as One, whereas I view Them as separate entities. You may decorate your shrines and altars lavishly, whereas I am slightly more minimalist in my approach and can’t hide my appreciation for Feng Shui principles. And we may differ in regard to what historical “camps” we subscribe to, which scholars we prefer to get behind (if any at all). But know that despite these differences, I support what you do as a Pagan or Polytheist or whatever you identify as. When and if the time comes, I will speak up for you, and I will fight for you. We either swim together, or we sink and drown together. I’d rather we all swim.
Areas where there is political turmoil or fighting are often difficult places for even those in the mainstream of a culture to live in. It’s even harder for people on the fringe of society as they face confusion, uncertainty, deteriorating living conditions, and daily fear for personal safety. Those set apart by ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, political views, or religion are the most vulnerable to loss of property or even loss of life. In Syria and Egypt, two countries currently experiencing political turmoil or civil war, one by one Pagan voices have fallen silent.
There are eight Pagans, three in Egypt and five in Syria, that I have regular contact with online. They had always been cautious about revealing their religion to people within their country and expressed dismay over their isolation, but they were happy to talk online and wanted to know what American Pagans, especially those who practice Mesopotamian or Kemetic religions…
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