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  • Sarah Heartsong, MSS

Tree of Life Sad News

It is with a troubled heart and soul that I write this post. While we were getting ready to participate in the Puget Sound Pagan Pride Day at the Seattle Center on Saturday something horrific happened in Pennsylvania… a shooter came into a synagogue and killed 11 people, mostly elderly, for their faith. When I heard of this my heart sank.


This was the 3rd major case of an extreme hate crime in the USA in 72 hours. There was the Trump supporter who sent bombs to Democratic legislators and news sources, there was the guy who tried to go into a black church to kill people at worship to not get in and go to the supermarket to kill them and then this… another hate crime against Jewish people praying in their synagogue. Hate crimes are on the increase and these are the latest and it has me seriously disturbed, hitting me even harder when I heard the name of the synagogue: The Tree of Life Synagogue.


We are not in any way affiliated with this Tree of Life organization, however, we are connected through that same Tree of Life that ties us all together as humans on this planet. We pray for those that are suffering as a result of this violence and suffer with them through this interdependent web of Life that we share. We hope that somehow something good will come of all this.


We pray for those, too, who think like this shooter… who are stuck in their heads in a sense of reality that is based upon their own fears. These fears are unfounded and sickly twisted to support their narrow-minded ideologies and those that desire extreme power and dominance who feed these crazy thoughts. We pray that they will find their way to love and compassion and will change to instead work together to create a diverse and peaceful world of coexistence like the Master Teachers taught us to do.


Historically many groups were persecuted and those of us within the Nature-Centered spiritual community know this all too well. Even though very little is taught of the witch burning times in public school, WE REMEMBER. Many of us fear to be open about our religions and/or spirituality because of the potential to be the victim of a hate crime at and/or to be discriminated against with employment and other situations. So, this murder of 11 innocent people for their religion hits hard and forces us to remember more. We are also a group that can be targeted, and has many times in the past.


Now. Let’s be present now in this moment in time. Anyone who incites this kind of violence and killing of innocent people because of their religion is acting to benefit evil. Anyone who picks up the banner of anyone encouraging hateful behavior and acts upon it is encouraging evil. Let’s be clear, this evil has become an epidemic with the rise of anti-Semitism up 60% from last year (https://www.cnn.com/…/antisemitic-incidents-2017…/index.html) and hate crime rates in the country’s largest cities increased for the past four years when the overall crime rate previously was in decline since the early 1990s.


Hateful people have become emboldened with their hate lately. Why? Well, we currently have high government officials constantly lying to spin the situation to their advantage (like any good con artist will do), who encourage nationalism (remember how Hitler came to power), and by framing the media as liars and deceivers, which is actually hype to obscure the fact that the media actually exposes the liars and deceivers. The media is actually our check and balance to evil in government. If they are doing their job, they are checking into facts. They are making sure that people in power who are currently constantly lying to the people do not succeed with duping the populous. This administration uses these deceptive practices just about daily now.


We all need to act as Truth Magnets and root out the Truth for ourselves. We need to stand up in solidarity against those that would increase hate in our world and increase peace and love. I’m encouraging everyone to speak up and engage in dialogues, even as they are difficult. What is happening now is dangerous and unsettling and more and more divisive, with this current president in office and his strategies for controlling and consolidating power. Let’s bring this out in the open and hold people accountable.


Look into the backgrounds of the people who are running for office; ask around! Do they act out of love and truth or hate and deception? …Don’t forget that demons are well schooled in twisting the “truth” to create the illusion that they are loving and kind and doing what they believe is “right”. The question then becomes, right for whom? Who is benefitting? Right now it seems like very little of the US population is actually benefitting from the policies being implemented and many people and Nature are being terribly harmed. …then VOTE! One of the most important duties we have as a citizen over 18 is to vote. Everyone who is eligible needs to get out and exercise their duty as a citizen.


We will get through this in a “Good Way” if we can come together. Let’s do all we can do to support each other and acknowledge we all have fears. Some are founded in truth and others are not really supported with actual facts. It’s a fact that people are being persecuted right now for their faith and we cannot pretend it’s not. This is an attack against our democracy in a way we have not witnessed in my lifetime… and I have no clue when or if there has EVER been such as challenge for us as citizens of this great country (no need to make it great again, it already is) which was founded for religious freedom and to protect our religious plurality.


So, reach out! See if there is a neighbor who might need help getting to the polls or filling out their ballots… and if you are a young person, you ESPECIALLY need to get out there. This is our collective future we are talking about… the way things are going to be for you and for the seventh generation down the road, too.


Make changes to create a healthier, happier future and work on defending, in whatever way is best for you personally, our religious freedoms… right now, VOTE and SHOW UP to the conversations as you hear them. Challenge those who would move to the extreme on either side of the poles and work on listening for the commonalities we share, such as our love of the beauty in Nature and the preservation of the rights for all of us to be who we are as long as we are not harming others.


There is hope. I do believe we can get through this and move to an even more inclusive and loving diverse community of strong-minded individuals. I also have my concerns about what will happen if we don’t stand in solidarity against this hateful violent rhetoric, which still spouts from people in power. So, let’s share our own words of strength in diversity with anyone who has accepted the lies that promote intolerance and hate-mongering.


Finally, I have to say it’s always good to be prepared. I’m still a Girl Scout and we learned many things including thinking ahead and considering the times and what one might need in any given scenario. It is perfectly appropriate for us to also think about what we need to do to feel safe and to act accordingly. We all should have things on hand to help us weather a storm; so don’t forget to protect oneself through preparation, yet I’m going to encourage you to not do so through withdrawal, which I have to admit is hard for me, too, in many ways.


Let’s all become active and engaged citizens exercising our rights and doing everything we can to make sure that these rights continue for our children and those down the line. We need to able to live our lives free from violence being perpetrated against us or those we care about. We all have to show up if we want to protect ourselves and those 7 generations down the road… So, how will you show up? How will you help create the future you want to see?


Thank you for Listening and Acting out of Conscience.

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