This and my previous essay explain how we can better understand the dangers and benefits of power by combining both secular and esoteric traditions. Part one explored power’s nature, and why power is both necessary and often destructively addictive. It also laid the foundation for an esoteric understanding of power by developing a model of thought forms.I made the case for their reality once views shared widely within the Pagan community are taken seriously.This present essay explores Power as a thought form deeply destructive to human well-being – and what we can do about it.
One of the reasons so may thoughtful people -- including quite a few Pagans -- are reticent to use money money is because it's such an effective tool of war. Money can be used to house, equip, and pay military personnel; it's also the primary weapon of economic sanctions and in trade wars. Could there be war without money? Of course. A more hopeful question to ask is, "Can there be money without war?"
What makes money so powerful and so dangerous is the fact that it can be wielded by anyone, for any purpose. Indeed, the world we live in was largely shaped by our collective-yet-undirected use of money. When we spend to fill a desire, but not with a spiritual intent, the results we seek are often tied to consequences long after the fact.
For this week, I pose the query: how is our relationship with money influenced by our relationship with war?
It's not an easy one to consider for Pagans. Some of us are devoted to gods of war, or otherwise acknowledge it as a fact of life, but many others work relentlessly for peace on this planet. My own relationship with war is complicated: my family was supported by work at a defense contractor when I was a child, so the Cold War put food on our table. I consider myself a proponent of peace, but I have a relationship with Ares. I also believe that population reduction is the only solution for the many problems facing humanity and the Earth, but no one has come up with a way to make that happen which is nearly as thorough as the horrors of war.
I have always rejected the idea that TV, movies, video games and other forms of entertainment media cause us to become more violent. I believe that we can face imaginary scenarios without attaching ourselves to them and examine hypothetical situations in ways that encourage us to think.
In Canada we call November 11th “Remembrance Day” and it’s a pretty big deal for us culturally. It’s not just a bank holiday, like Veteran’s Day in the US. Though it is that, we also take time as a culture, in our schools prior to it and at our daily grind otherwise, to observe a moment of silence for the dead of our many World Wars, to which we now must add the Gulf War and the War in Afghanistan. As children in school, we make construction paper poppies and listen to the stories of soldiers. As adults, often we stand in the rain as our veterans stand solemnly in their uniforms and their medals, and we try to give their experience meaning and find hope in a time of darkness.
I think as Pagans, it is especially important that we engage in this practice of remembrance. Whatever your view on war (some traditions strongly respecting the warrior path, such as the Asatru; some being adamantly opposed to war, such as Reclaiming Witches,) our empathy for the experience of it is a valuable service we can contribute to our culture and the world. The many reasons connect to the uniquely Pagan experience of our spirituality. Now granted, these are all generalizations; and as such, not everyone will fit these moulds. But we seem to have these commonalities that make remembrance, especially of powerful and terrible events such as war, much more immediate and intense.
Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best intentions do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen; may it happen for you.