Monday, May 07, 2007

More on Pentacle Quest on West Coast

Victoria has already told readers about the hillside across from the Lafayette BART station that's covered with crosses, Mogen Davids and crescents. Yesterday pentacles were mounted on three markers, for Pagan soldiers. Nevadan Sgt. Patrick Dana Stewart, a member of Circle Sanctuary in whose name the pentacle quest was pursued, died at 37 in Afghanistan. North Carolinian Stephen Snowberger, III, of Sacred Well Congregation was only 18 years old when he was killed by an IED in Iraq. James Price of Kentucky, a member of Aquarian Tabernacle Church, wasn't much older, only 22. These three are not the only American Pagan war casualties. I suspect the selection of whom to honor might have been because these are three whose families Victoria was able to contact and speak with before the event. In any case, I hope this gives them some sense of how much their soldiers' lives were appreciated and are now mourned.

I was deeply honored to have been asked to read a bit about PFC Price, a radar communications specialist, in the ceremony. Since her son's death, his mother has become a Pagan.

Thorn has described this ritual in more detail. I, too, was taken aback to hear Druid Taliessen say that their deaths were not in vain. Yes, they can have a pentacle on their grave, as they should. But no one dies or is killed simply to have a pentacle on his or her tombstone. What is the value of this war that's claimed so many innocents? I see none.

In addition to the folks from the Pagan Alliance, who sponsored the event, there was a sizeable contingent from the Association of United Pagans who'd come all the way down to the Bay Area from Modesto, plus three Dianics and three Reclaiming Witches, Pagans you might not necessarily expect to see at such an event. Many of us are parents ourselves, and all of us know someone, or many people, who serve in the military and have been injured or killed in this immoral action.

Jason from the PA took lots of photos; he says they'll be viewable on the PA website but they're not there yet. I saw others with cameras and one reporter from the Daily Journal, a local San Francisco legal paper. I was disappointed not to see more press coverage of this important milestone. I'm sure more will appear in due time.


Hadar said...

I see your point, Macha, but strategically, it would have been a very bad move to make this an anti-war protest. Reading of the pentacle quest, I found out that many libertarians - the "original" right-wingers - were supporting the Pagan cause BECAUSE of the patriotism angle. To make the memorial into an anti-war event would mean to alienate many who were supportive of your struggle and possibly the families, who don't need to be told their dear ones died in vain. Maybe some of them think so, but for the sake of others, this was not the time nor the place to make an Anti-Bush, Anti-war statement.

Broomstick Chronicles said...

That's a no-brainer, Hadar. Of course we (using the term loosely and meaning myself) wouldn't be so crass as to use this to protest war. It was the comment that they didn't die in vain I was responding to. I found it jarring. I thought different wording would have been more accurate. Different wording might have avoided the dissonance that I and some others experienced.

Further, I would never have spoken of my discomfort there because I would not want to disrespect the solemnity of the occasion. But I believe we only learn and grow from reflecting on how things worked or didn't work for us, from respectfully giving and receiving honest feedback.

Hadar said...

I absolutely agree. His words could be interpreted as "the war is just", which understandably would infuriate those in the audience who are frustrated at the war, or as "their lives will continue to have meaning for us", which is of course better.

I have to say I was surprised by the number of libertarians posting things like "if he fought for my country, I don't care what he has on his headstone". The patriotism angle is, apparently, a great unifier; I can't judge from here how broad of a coalition that is, given that most of the Bay Area Pagans I know are against the war.

Anonymous said...

Hadar, what was jarring was that he specifically said they had not died in vain *because they could now have a pentacle on their tombstone*. It wasn't even about the war.

I wrote about this in my blog.

Hadar said...

Yikes! That *does* sound problematic, and I'm sure the families did not appreciate it, headstone or not.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

The pics are up on the AUPagans site-I've just come from there.
Quite a lot of them, too!

Terri in Joburg