I'm a witch (or shaman) who, on Sept 11, organized a global interfaith-prayer meeting for the victims of the plane crashes. This isn't what folks usually think of when they hear witches. But now more than ever we need to understand each others' religions and that those who seem different may be thoroughly devoted to compassion, good acts, and America.

I am also teaching people rituals to heal themselves from trauma and to find the power within to make a better world. This witch is a full time grass-roots spiritual activist.

When we squarely face life's challenges, no matter how great they are, we find inner power to stand up and make a difference. That is an initiation. This initiation page, which is part of The Wiccan & Faerie Grimoire of Francesca De Grandis will be regularly changed as I create new material to help us stay strong during our international crisis. However, the above introduction will stay the same.

Entry #3: 1/04/02

Musings on How Spirituality and One's Political Opinion Interact

I've been thinking about ways to usefully express my opinions on the current American/international situation. I think everyone's opinions are important. Including mine. But I wasn't sure of the best venue for me. At first I thought maybe the spiritual community is not the place for it. But then I thought, "Yeah, and thus the Pope stood by while Nazis killed off Jews."

If Martin Luther King felt that human rights had nothing to do with being a spiritual leader, what would have happened? Part of spirituality is speaking up for what you believe in.

And those who, like myself, are highly visible in the spiritual community, need to express their thoughts. Not because it might coax others to agree, because we should all have our *own* opinions, but simply to be a demonstration of spirituality combined with self-expression. In other words, the specific opinion expressed is only part of what is important.

For example, while finishing up this piece I received an email from a friend. My friend's thoughts about the current political situation soooo helped me. I experienced how when someone shares what *they* think, it helps clarify *my* goals, needs and ideals. This has proven true for me even when I don't agree with what the person has said.

On the other hand, there is a time and a place. Dinner with one's family may not be the right time and place. When a friend is venting about how irate they are concerning (fill in the blank), it might be best to listen sympathetically instead of offering a counter outlook.

And expressing one's opinion in an offensive way hurts any cause that you are speaking out for. Yet sometimes people think that politics justify being mean. As if mean words ever changed anyone or persuaded them to support your political goals.

The Goddess respects diversity. This is something that pagans can bring to the current climate: an understanding of how all religions are good. Yet it is easy to forget respect of diversity when a father, or other loved one, has a political vision different than our own. Suddenly I might think "*They* are the very problem that is causing such troubles in the world."

I want to listen lovingly to opinions, hearing them as simply the human, fumbling attempt to bit-by-bit puzzle out a little clarity and reason in a world that is unreasonable and scary. When I listen to someone's thoughts with this attitude, I can hear what is important to the person speaking and thus enter into an exchange of ideas that might be enlightening and supportive to both them and me.

And if you agree with none of my above opinions, that is great, and I hope that reading this has at least helped you strengthen your own beliefs. And I may change my own mind tomorrow! As titled, this essay is simply my musings.

As to my very fumbling attempt to find clarity and reason AKA my opinion on the current political situation, that is the substance of part 2 of this essay:

I do not agree with the prevailing sentiment that to criticize our government during a war is tantamount to unpatriotic betrayal, collusion with terrorists, and traitorous delusion. The following are quotes that support my belief, from sources that are mainstream and respected, for example Adlai Stevenson, Helen Thomas (a UPI correspondent), and the Wall Street Journal.

"terrorism was not caused in some bizarre fashion by constitutional guarantees of individual liberty and free speech." -- Richard Reeves

"Sixty years ago, when there was a declared war and sacrifice was being asked of Americas, Senate GOP Leader Robert Taft declared: "Criticism in a time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government." The great Ohio conservative continued to assail President Roosevelt's domestic policies through much of World War II and was one of the few politicians with the courage to speak out against the internment of Japanese-Americans. (Surely John Ashcroft would have accused him of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.)" -- Wall Street Journal

"If there ever was a time when Americans should speak up on behalf of people in this country whose rights are being abridged, that time is now...there is always the possibility that we could create an atmosphere where dissent and freedom of speech are not tolerated on grounds of national security. We all know America is admired by people around the world because of its freedoms, especially those under the Bill of Rights, which protects citizens and even non-citizens. We are a nation that has been governed by laws that have endured for more than 200 years. If we lose our title of "land of the free," what have we got?...Where are the profiles in courage? There are not many on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers seem to be giving up their own rights to set rules on the treatment of immigrants and others in this country who are detained or sought by the government for questioning...[Adlai Stevenson said], 'Democracy is great not just because the majority prevails but because it is safe to be in the minority.' " -- Helen Thomas, UPI's senior White House correspondent, who has covered every President since Kennedy.

I am not a pacifist. I love my country. But American media is portraying a limited picture of the present political scene, and in that cartoon-like vision, there are only good guys (AKA those who without exception agree with Bush's decisions) and bad guys (AKA loyal patriots who feel he might be wrong in some or all of his decisions.) Unless Americans are better educated by media sources that reveal more facets of the total picture, we will end up with the sort of avoidable tragedies that occurred in recent American wars.

Sometimes war is the only option; but that necessity demands we face up to the complex issues at hand. We cannot do this without access to a broad spectrum of media resources. Any source will be biased, but we can glean various aspects from each source and thus receive a far better understanding than we gain from mainstream media alone. One alternative source is

So that's my opinion, for what it is worth. I hope you express yours. If you fear doing so, ask the Goddess to give you what it takes to do so and to do so appropriately. Blessings on your caring efforts.

End of Update

My book Goddess Initiation : A Practical Celtic Program for Soul-Healing, Self-Fulfillment and Wild Wisdom(HarperSanFrancisco) helps readers discover and use their special, unique gifts in order to enjoy life fully and make a difference in the world. The text is based in material that helped my students and clients with everything from creating great sex, to conquering depression, to effectively parenting to finding personal happiness. It is a book that can help you discover what is meaningful to you personally and on a larger scale, and act on your insights.

I receive a great deal of email; click here to discover how to best contact me. I welcome requests for media appearances.

Copyright F De Grandis, 2001/2002. No part of The Wiccan & Faerie Grimoire of Francesca De Grandis may be reproduced without written permission. An exception for personal use: if you want to send helpful info to friends, or to like-minded people in a chat room or e-list, you may duplicate this one page on initiation, as long as it is duplicated whole, top to bottom.

This page was created 10/01, and is updated regularly