As we approach the Solstice, it feels as though the nights are closing in on us. As the ancients did, we lift our spirits with bright lights, decorations, and fellowship, enjoying ourselves as we wait for the return of the light.
But no amount of colored lights can compensate for the shock, sadness, and fear we all felt when we heard of the dreadful events in Connecticut, where 20 little children, with their lives fully ahead of them, were mowed down by a young man who, we assume, was mentally deranged. Who else could do such a thing, we ask?
Some folks see this event as the result of some prince of evil running amok in the world, but others, including us Pagans, have a different view. For Druids, there is no all-good god and all-evil god fighting over our souls. Rather both good and evil exist in us all, and in all of nature. What is 'good' for me may be 'bad' (or evil) for you. Life is like that - many shades of grey, and not black and white. And this means that we all have to take responsibility for our own lives, and support the lives of our families, friends, and neighbors.
The cult of individuality has taken strong root in the western world. In the United States, the lone stranger is an enduring motif - he may be the loner, the man who rides into town and saves the day. He is the Individual who attends to his own needs and cuts himself off from the community. In days gone by, folks didn't behave this way. Instead they all looked to help one another, concerned with promoting the health and safety of the group as well as the individual. And while these ideals still exist for many, the pressures of our busy and crowded lives tend to make us blind to what may be around us ("it's not my problem!").
Tragedies, such as the Connecticut school shooting, will not be prevented by banning guns, or by turning our schools and malls into fortresses. They can only be prevented by reaching out to each other, by paying attention to our friends and neighbors, our groves and solitaries, and by caring. This may be a time of looking for tolerance and acceptance of everyone, and of not isolating ourselves or others.
So as the sun begins Her return this Solstice, let Her arrival bring us new hope and new commitment to our communities. Let us all remember that none of us are in this life alone, that we are all in this together. And together we shall succeed.
May the healing blessings of the Kindreds enfold the survivors of life's tragedies, granting them peace and comfort. Our heartfelt condolences and blessings go out to all who were touched by this sadness. And may these blessings enfold us all, showing us how we may help ourselves by helping others.
Bright healing blessings,
Rev. Kirk Thomas