While cleaning up my hard drive the other day I came across a load of old posts for a Pagan/Magical user group I briefly subscribed to just before the Iraqi invasion. A friend and I were on this post for a little while trying to muster support for my effort to promote magical action to stop the war on Iraq. We had no success at all. Our efforts did not just crash and burn; they conflagrated in a fiery blaze of failure I had not experienced since my 1986 invitation to Perth pagans to join me in healing for AIDS victims – no one turned up.
What amazed me was not only the reluctance of Pagans and Magicians to pray or work ‘political’ magic but the almost complete ignorance displayed on political matters. To me and my peers it was as obvious as dog’s balls that the Iraq ‘situation’ would be a fiasco and the troops would definitely not be home by Christmas. Myself and my friend ‘predicted’ this, confidently stating the war would drag on for years. We were shot down and flamed and ridiculed, mainly by North Americans who seemed unable to see past their Government’s rhetoric.
I take no pleasure at all in being ‘right’ here. The cost of the war is huge. 700 000 Iraqis and 4000 US soldiers killed. Fiscal cost at last count: $488, 451, 456, 155 USD (how many billion?). That’s $275 million dollars a day, not to mention the human misery, environmental damage and cultural destruction. I visited the Cost of War homepage while writing this. The site is well worth looking at. Graphic representations of the same data can be found in these two YouTube videos: here and here.
Active political magic is one thing, though very much part of the Western Tradition (for example see Gareth Knight’s The Magical Battle of Britain). The inability or unwillingness to look beyond the obvious is another. Esoteric after all means ‘inner’, occult means ‘hidden’. As esoteric students, pagans or magicians we should be looking beyond what our media and our governments dish up. Otherwise we are not being conscious, which is the essence of all authentic spirituality. And once we become conscious of what is actually occurring, we must be moved to act against it, in some manner. After all, another hallmark of authentic spirituality is compassion.
I really hope that magicians, pagans and other esoteric students will learn from this ongoing evil in Iraq. Then next time, when any ‘coalition of the willing’ starts flexing its schoolyard muscles we will, as a community be conscious and we will have concerted magical action to counter them and promote some form of justice.
The test of a spirituality is in its justice making;
does it create justice? – Fr. Matthew Fox.