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Haiyan: how to help

The Pagan community is stepping up to help in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan's landfall in the Philippines.

  • To assist the small Pagan community directly, Pagan Federation International is making an appeal for donations.  Donors are being thanked directly on the PFI Philippines Facebook page.
  • In its own round-up of stories about the storm, The Wild Hunt reports that Peter Dybing is challenging Pagans to give in this time of extreme crisis, and even suggests a few organizations he thinks will do a good job at it.
  • Pandora's Kharis, the charity circle of Hellenic polytheists, is rising to that challenge, although I say so more poetically than literally.  Yes, it is likely the group's next round of donations will focus on Haiyan relief, but no, I don't think that decision was motivated specifically by Dybing's call.
  • Circle Sanctuary is echoing that call (is that less poetic?), asking for donations to the Philippines Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, which also happen to be Dybing's recommendations.  They are also calling for the sending of healing energy to the survivors.

The devastation from this storm is, I'm sure, nearly incomprehensible to those of us who only see pictures and video from the scene.  The logistics of getting around and communicating on this nation of countless islands is always complex, and trying to reach all of these places with roads and communications destroyed is incredibly difficult.  No government designed, no preparedness plan written, no technology built by humans hands is quite enough to make the aftermath of an event like this any easier.  

The hard work of moving rubble, finding the living and the dead, and giving them the care and supplies they need is only just beginning.  The storm made landfall on November 7, and a major relief effort from the United States only just reached there yesterday.  Over a week without shelter, clean water, sanitary facilities, medical care, or a way to deal with the dead.  There will be a lot of need.

In fact, I anticipate so much need that it would not be inappropriate to plan to continue to give to these efforts.  Not all of us are Bill Gates, able to write a six-figure check, but many of us can afford ten dollars now and another ten next month.  If this tracks anything like Haiti did, there will be need long after the bulk of international aid has been received and spent, so those small contributions could be even more important down the road.

The fact that so many Pagans and organizations are speaking out in favor of this relief effort shows that our values overlap quite a bit when it comes to easing suffering.  What I hope to see the Pagan community do, above and beyond giving of their money and healing energy, is to do so as Pagans.  Make the offering in the name of a deity, or an ancestor, or a woodland spirit.  Include the name of your temple, grove, church, or circle.  We are acting according to our values and doing good work, so there's nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact.

And above all, I hope that we do not need more and more frequent disasters of this scale to discover how best to live in balance with our world.

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Terence P Ward is a business writer and journalist who blogs under the rather cumbersome moniker of True Pagan Warrior.  He can generally be found at home, tending to his gardens and the many demands of his cats; in the alternative, follow TPW on Facebook. 


  • Jamie
    Jamie Tuesday, 19 November 2013

    Mr. Ward,

    Thanks for sharing this!

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