World News

103 Days of Prayer

(This post was originally published on the Venacian website and has been reprinted here with permission.)

 

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Everything is connected. The growing conditions in Washington enabled you to buy a delicious apple, and keeping yourself healthy ensures that you live a long life so that you can tell your grandchildren how proud you were to see the election of the first black president of America. Those children grow up to demand the inclusion of minority voices in every area of their lives, and one day you look around your dinner table and are surprised (and delighted) to see a diversity of loving faces. The sun shines on another apple. Everything is connected.

By now, you will have heard of the sickening tragedy which occurred in the Pulse nightclub, where one hundred and three of our LGBTQ siblings were killed and injured as an act of hate. You will have heard the name of their murderer, one which we will not give dignity to by speaking here. Instead, we will be mindful of the one hundred and three victims of that night… Edward Sotomayor Jr., Stanley Almodovar III, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Luis S. Vielma, Kimberly Morris, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Darryl Roman Burt II, Deonka Deidra Drayton, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, Amanda Alvear, Martin Benitez Torres, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Enrique L. Rios Jr, and many others yet to be named.

Look at those names. Let them seep into your skin and become a part of you. These were your neighbors, your lovers, the guy who loaned you his notes during class, the girl who laughed at your joke in the checkout line. They were our family. Our siblings have been stolen from us, not because of any crime they committed, not because of a twisted interpretation of a God’s desires…

Our siblings died for a kiss.

Witnessing an act of love between two men, a simple thing which we so often take for granted as a basic sign of affection, spurred one madman to irreparably destroy countless lives and unravel all that we thought we had accomplished in this country.

Because we are all connected, we know that this did not begin and end with a murderer. This was the result of innumerable choices and behaviors which have been occurring in this country for far too long. This is the result of our failures.

We have failed our siblings when they are beaten in their schools for daring to love. We have failed our siblings when we question whether they are fit to love the children others have abandoned. We have failed our siblings when we let others tell them they are not “real” men and women and exclude them from our events. We have failed our siblings when we care more about the bathroom they’re in than demanding employers treat them fairly. We thought the fight was over with the right to marry…we were horribly wrong.

We are all connected, and we can no longer afford to pretend that their struggles are not our struggles. The cost is simply too great.

Because we have been saddened to see people speaking of “abominations” and “sins” when they should have been offering love, we will begin one hundred and three days of prayer to deities that recognize life as sacred and embrace homosexuality as one more glorious type of love to be celebrated.

 

Prayer to Dike for Justice

Prayer to Dike that Justice Be Done

Wise and watchful Dike, daughter of thundering Zeus

and Themis in whom order resides, goddess

never forgotten, we know you now as Justice,

sword and scales in hand. Before the court you stand

in silence, keeper of truth, champion of the right,

upholder of integrity; you reward the honest man

and punish the wrong-doer, the wicked and the false.

Blessed Dike, the court is your temple

and to you do I offer my prayers for justice.

Grant to all concerned your honorable spirit,

O goddess; may all words spoken under oath

be whole and true. May all those who hold mastery

and might be of good intent, may they be fair-minded,

may they deem reason and righteousness to be

most grave and weighty matters. Dike who knows

the guiltless from the errant, I pray to you.

(This prayer was found on Underflow)

Honoring al-Asaad

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Just a few short weeks after Galina Krasskova’s impassioned call for prayer on behalf of the ancient city of Palmyra and Tess Dawson’s article at Polytheist entitled “The Horror of Palmyra”, noted Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad has been beheaded and his body tied to a Roman-era column at the site.

This killing was the work of Daesh, a brutal militant group which has previously destroyed several other historical sites of ancient worship as well as an ancient lion statue that once guarded Palmyra. Sources say Daesh targeted the retired archaeologist, Khaled al-Asaad, when he refused to give up the location of Palmyra’s treasures, many of which al-Asaad had helped to hide from the terrorists.

Khaled al-Asaad was 81 at the time of his murder. Maamoun Abdulkarim, the head of the Antiquities and Museums Department in Damascus, said of Al-Asaad that he was "one of the most important pioneers in Syrian archaeology in the 20th century." A self-taught archaeologist, al-Asaad made uncovering and cataloguing the Unesco World Heritage site of Palmyra his life’s work, spending over four decades there and eventually retiring so that his son, Walid, could carry on in his place.

As reported to the BBC, Amr al-Azm, an archaeologist and former Syrian antiquities official who knew al-Asaad, said of the murdered man that he was an “icon of Palmyrene archaeology”.

“If you needed to do anything in Palmyra with regards to the archaeology or the monuments, you had to go through Khaled al-Asaad. He was essentially ‘Mr. Palmyra’,” al-Azm said.

If ever Pagans were to count a man amongst the Honored Dead, we must surely count Khaled al-Asaad as one of them. Martyred while trying to preserve the sanctity and retain the few relics left to places such as the temple of Ba’al and al-Lat (an alternative name of Ereshkigal), this is a man truly deserving of honor and praise.

Margot Adler's Legacy

Margot adler 2004Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Margot Adler died 10:30am Monday, July 28, 2014 in her apartment overlooking Central Park in New York's Upper West Side. She had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer in early 2011, which metastasized over the next three years. Her son, Alex Dylan Glideman, cared for her in the few months before her death when she began experiencing more serious symptoms.

Margot Adler's influence resonates through every Pagan community and Pagan path. In her 68 years she authored several books and worked at National Public Radio (NPR), being a general assignment reporter, and her reports were featured on NPR's broadcasts of "All Things Considered", “Morning Edition,” and “Weekend Edition.” She was also the first to interview  J. K. Rowling on U.S. radio.

Her spiritual path always played an important role in her life and she was an elder in the Covenant of the Goddess. She also worked in the Unitarian Universalist faith community and was a very well respected Wiccan priestess in the Gardnerian tradition.

Her preeminent book, "Drawing Down the Moon" was first published in 1979 and has significantly influenced Paganism ever since. This seminal book was the first extensive study of modern American Paganism. Her sociological standpoint in the book along with groundbreaking interviews of everyday Pagans was refreshing and insightful at a time when legitimate materials about Witchcraft, Wicca and neo-Paganism were scarce.

Her other books include:
"Heretic's Heart: A Journey Through Spirit and Revolution" (a memoir), "Our Way to the Stars", "Out for Blood" and "Vampires Are Us". She contributed to many other works.

Adler was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and received her BA in political science from U.C. Berkeley. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and her master's degree is from New York's Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her love of New York continued throughout her life.

References & Resources:

Drawing Down the Moon has been updated and revised several times:

  • Original edition 1979, hardcover, ISBN 0-670-28342-8 (Viking, New York)
  • Original edition 1979, paperback, ISBN 0-8070-3237-9 (Beacon Press, Boston)
  • Revised edition 1986, paperback, ISBN 0-8070-3253-0 (Beacon Press, Boston)
  • Revised edition 1996, paperback, ISBN 0-14-019536-X (Penguin, New York)
  • Revised edition 2006, paperback, ISBN 0-14-303819-2 (Penguin, New York)

Additional Websites for Margot Adler:

This article was reprinted with permission from PaganPath.com: