Yesterday was devastating. Today is for mourning and for offering support. Today is for honoring what we feel as people who, for one or many reasons, are afraid, unsettled, angry and devastated.
Crafting an articulate response to devastation is almost impossible, so I’m not going to do that. This is written through a haze of pain and anger. Make of it what you will. But even in pain and anger, we will not succumb to the base instincts of rage or the sickly persuasion of denial. We will not let our grief curdle into hopelessness. We will not let this horrifying setback deprive us of compassion. Instead of belabouring what we are now working against, we will take this moment to reaffirm who and what we are.
We are grieving what could have been, and trying to digest the sudden reality of what we were hoping would never happen. Exactly why and how we were so wrong remains to be seen. But while we are grieving we are also still going, still fighting and still working. Continuing our work is vital, not only because it is our livelihood but because the work we do is specifically dead-set against a world in which decency has lost to arrogance. The work we do is unabashedly idealistic, predicated on the notion that anyone who is willing to do the work can heal -- and that we can help. Of course, neither of those things can be true all the time: sometimes we can’t help, in spite of all of our abilities and wisdom. There will always be problems, illnesses and devastation tougher than even the toughest, wisest Healer. But there will always be tougher, wiser Healers coming up to help. We will help to pass that Light from hand to hand and spirit to spirit until we aren’t needed anymore.
We are utterly feminist. Feminist in blood and bone; soul and spirit. Honoring the Divine Feminine is an inextricable part of our spiritual lives, and we will never deny in physical life what we embrace in spirit. World Tree Healing is ⅔ owned by women, and will always be safe for women to speak, practice, relax, and just exist without danger or any kind of harassment. (Even if that means you need Eric to go somewhere else for a bit b/c you don’t feel safe around any men -- he understands and won’t take offence.) You’re as safe with us as we can be.
We are resolutely pro-POC. We will stand with our siblings, our families and friends, who are all different colors, races, ethnicities, nationalities, identities. We honor deities of many different origins, and we will never deny in physical life what we embrace in spirit. We honor and celebrate the lives of every person of color in our large, diverse spirit-family. Black Lives Matter. Native lives and Native lands matter. Asian, Hispanic and mixed-descent lives matter. We see you. You’re as safe with us as we can be.
We are proudly queer-friendly. Many of our practitioners and friends are part of the queer community, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We honor queer deities all over the gender spectrum, and we will never deny in physical life what we embrace in spirit. We actively welcome and shelter all of you lovely rainbow folks, everywhere along the infinitely varied spectrums of gender identity and sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian, bi and pansexual, trans and genderqueer, polyamorous and asexual, and all others who break the mold of what gender, sex, love and relationships are “supposed to” look like: we know that love must win, and we are fighting alongside you to make that knowledge a reality. (Straight, cis-gendered poly folks, you have an advantage here: use the privileges you have to protect those who need it.) We see you all. You’re as safe with us as we can be.
We are staunchly supportive of neurodivergent individuals and people with disabilities. There are many people along the wide spectrum of neurodivergence in alternative spirituality communities, and we welcome all of you. We may not be equipped to help you in every instance, but we have connections and recommended resources if you need them. For individuals with physical disabilities, our store is tiny but we will do our best to make sure that everything is accessible to you and we will help you in every way we can. Quite a few of our deities have physical disabilities or neurodivergent aspects as part of their identities, and we will never deny in physical life what we embrace in spirit. There will be no mockery, no patronizing language or behavior, and no harassment in our store. We see you. You’re as safe with us as we can be.
We are explicitly a refuge for Pagans, Heathens, and all other spiritual minorities. We are the place we wished for when we were young Pagans with little or no support. We are an intentional gathering place for all those with unusual spiritual lives. You can come to us and say things no one else would believe, and we will offer you tea, empathy and healing if you need it. Our deities are Pagan, and some of them are quite wild. Whatever you’ve seen or heard, we will accept you and do our best to help you deal with it. We’ve all had some pretty weird stuff happen in our lives, and we know how to handle most of it (or we know who to send you to if we don’t). We will never deny our practices, our beliefs, our communities. You are as safe with us as we can be.
We are here. We are firmly planted with no plans to go anywhere else. Even if the unleashed rancid grease-stains of the collective American id try to break us and uproot our tree, we will persist. We are here. We will be seen and heard. We will be as safe as we can be.
For the rest of this terrible time and into the uncertain future for as long as we can, we will continue to see you, recognize you, offer you help and haven. This IS our religion in practice, for there can be no polytheism without diversity; just as there can be no humanity without compassion, no thriving without acceptance, and no future unless we create one for ourselves in which we can live without fear.
We, the owners of World Tree Healing, pledge to do our utmost to maintain our shop as a safe space for the many individuals who are now or soon may be in danger. For as long as our little haven lasts, we are a safe space for Pagans, Heathens and other religious and spiritual minorities, people of color, women, LGBTQA individuals, neurodivergent individuals, persons with any type of physical or mental disability, socialists, rebels, free-thinkers of all types. The three of us who own World Tree Healing are white, and we will use whatever privileges society lends us for being white business owners to protect our wonderfully diverse families, friends, clients, supporters, and whomever walks into our store seeking support or needing protection. Consider this a standing offer for tea, empathy, and a place to hide if you need one whenever we’re open.
If you need spiritual counseling or similar work but can’t afford to pay for a session, Eric offers sessions by donation on weekends, and our Thursday evening Emotional Mindfulness Meditation Group run by Elmo Painter is by donation as well. Other practitioners may offer donation or sliding scale services at their discretion.
Today is also a day for action: if you are able to do so, please consider joining the protest downtown starting at 5 pm today (Wednesday, November 9th, 2016). This event link has details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1594018767573259/
Stay safe, stay alive, and know that you are loved.
-Megan, Jessie, and Eric; owners of World Tree Healing.