Thomas Freidman of the NYTimes needs to read Sen. Byrd's speeches. Mr. Freidman says he wishes some politician would make a great speech that brought some clarity to American thinking, some positive note in this cacophony of editorials and testimony. Sen. Byrd was the lone voice during the build up to the invasion of Iraq who spoke with such brilliance and force. He was like an echo of the voices that sounded thru the first debates on the structure of our nation. It was wonderful and terrible to hear him begging for the Rule of Law and of thoughtful discussion before we threw our military might against the people of Iraq.
In the end, the bombs drop not on Terror, nor on tyrants. They drop on children and women and men who repair cars. They drop on homes and roads and schools. "Smart bombs" are as smart as the idiots who program them and build them. They are as smart as the guy next door who burns plastic in his pile of leaves and forgets to stir the pile as it smolders. They miss their targets sometimes and although our Secretary of War says that democracy is untidy, it doesn't have to be. It can be as sweet as making love if the people love one another as any true "born again" would have to. George's Christ never took up the sword, not even to defend his own life. He never told his disciples to storm the temple armed with spears and fire to kill the worshippers there. If this administration worships any god at all, they obviously worship a god of fire and death, a god who laps up the blood of children and laughs and laughs in sheer joy at the terror we have spread. I speak of "us" as the people of the world, because there are no countries, no nations, no Presidents and no dictators. There are people and what they agree to believe in.
From the moon came a picture of a beautiful blue marble shining in the black of space. There were no lines drawn on this marble, no colored states red and blue. Just a thin coating of water and little bumpy mountain ranges showing white and brown and green. From orbit we could see the smoke rising from the wounds we made in our Mother Earth, but She is so forgiving and so loving of all Her children that we triggered no earthquakes, no plagues or volcanoes. She took in the bodies of the children, of the soldiers and fathers. She calmly breathed in the carbon smoke, the lakes of blood, the decaying flesh, like She always has done. Her crazed children slashed and burned, raped and killed, but inside each one of us we have armies of bacteria and white blood cells doing the same damn thing. The Goddess of Life understands it all.
In my garden I have a sculpture of Persephone Rising. It was made form a mix of clays from many places around the country. It fired in the kiln I made from broken bricks and clay and grasses from my own back yard. In this kiln She melted and hardened and changed. Her breasts dripped glass from the Arizona clay my son gave me, green and shiny glass like dew on grass. Her face seared and whitened, burned and browned. In my garden She looks up from the soil, her shoulders just emerging from the earth. She gazes up for the first time at the sun and her scars are honorable and self-inflicted, for She is not the wimpy Persephone of the Greeks, but more the Queen of the Underworld of the Sumerians who traveled down into the darkness to give solace to the poor souls trapped down there. She is Spring.
Those who worship the Trickster can have no joy at the blooming of a small flower in a patch of sun. They can make no connection between the song of a bird and the laughter of a baby. Trickster had no children, but changed his body into a female form and gave birth to monsters, the Fenris Wolf, the Midgard serpent, the six legged Sleipnr who carries the God of Lies over the battlefields. Trickster is not a god of war, but delights in war. He knows the passing of time reveals the Truth, but he whispers into our ears to drown out the Truth. There is no end, life just begins again. Life is not an end, nor beginning and death is not an end nor beginning. It's all a circle and a band of shining light.
The Gnostic angels were dismayed when trickster Yahweh gave our souls form and introduced us to death and war and despair. Sophia strokes our foreheads and says nothing, because in the course of Time the Lies become Truth and the bodies burn away and the souls are freed again to soar into the cosmos. She does not explain as Yahweh does, that we are special and immortal, but Yahweh-Trickster-Coyote tells us that Eating of the Tree of Knowlege (Sophia) will make us "die, yes die" and in a way He tells a truth, for knowledge will set you free from Life by revealing your immortality. They saw they were naked, they saw that we were like all the animals and plants in the Garden. They saw that their Father had lied to them and they were ashamed of their heritage, so they hid. Now they knew Right and Wrong and their Father had done them wrong. Like a drunken angry father coming home from the pub Yahweh expelled his children and cursed them. He threatened and frightened and drove them from their home, from the home he had made for them.
In the Garden of Eden, named for the first Woman, there is a Tree of Life, the image of Goddess, the Bringer of Gifts. Like Black Elk says, the Central Mountain is everywhere, so when Adam and Eve left the Garden, She went with them.
One of the curious things I discovered when I read the Bible for the first few times was the issue of Names. I asked my Sunday school teacher if Mary was a Jewish name. She said that the Mother of God was named something like Mariam, but we call her Mary. So I asked about the other names and she told me to sit down and shut up. I discovered that none of the names in the Bible are true, they are made up names to sound less Jewish. The letters which formed those names were not our letters. I would not recognize the names in the Bible, they would appear to be to be squiggly lines on brown, aged parchment. So Joshua, or Yesua bin Joseph was not Jesus Christ, Mr. Christ of 85 Babylon Lane. And God was not named God, but something which we know only by it's abbreviations, YHWH, the tetragrammaton. It surprised me that nobody at the Temple knew His name but the High Priest, and he was dead and the temple was burned down. The Ark was somewhere unknown and the body of Jesua was lost. I began to wonder what it was they were teaching me. Why was the story of the crucifixion exactly like Isis and Osiris? Why did the Pieta look exactly like the carvings of Isis holding her dead husband-son Osiris? Why did Odin hang himself, pierced with a spear, sacrificed to himself and brought down with the knowledge of knowledge?
When a creature walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it is unwise to call it a horse and try to ride it. When a religion acts like a Death Cult, speaks like a Death Cult and destroys women and children, it is unwise to think that it is presided over by a Teacher of Righteousness. When a nation imprisons children, invades other lands and firebombs cities, it is unwise to think it values Freedom of Choice and Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I doubt anybody in Iraq was happy upon learning that a smart bomb had destroyed a wedding, or that a carload of neighbors had been shot full of holes by trigger happy nervous American boys. You can't put a gun to someone's head and scream into their ears to smile or dance or be free. We used to do that and we were supposed to have stopped. We aren't supposed to be building concentration camps or designing new land mines or loading radio controlled airplanes with tiny nuclear bombs. We aren't supposed to cut down the Tree of Life and building computer desks from the sweet smelling wood.
But Mother smiles and strokes our hair and whispers into our ears that "It's alright, Father is just a little drunk and angry, but when he goes away, as He always does She will tuck us in and sing us to sleep and happy dreams will make this terrible day seem like a distant passing moment." The Promise of Life is that it never ends, it just begins again.