Friday, July 11, 2008

Mirror, Mirror

We in spiritual circles sometimes talk about "mirroring". What we mean by this is that someone or circumstances reflect who we really are by how we react to these situations. If, for example, we are impatient with someone who has a short temper there is a strong possibility that we, ourselves, may tend to have short fuses. In other words we experience irritation at the very trait we have in which case this "mirror" enables us to look at ourselves.

Mirrors such as these take all forms. This past 4th of July weekend I became really angry at a neighbor across the road. Mind you in all the years that we have been neighbors we have only ever exchanged a hello when we see each other. I am a funny person this way. If I feel cool toward someone when I meet them I listen to my intuition. My choosing not be friendly is usually just a preference to not allow someone in to my personal space and life. But I wander...

In actuality I have never been annoyed with these neighbors until this past 4th. I happened to look across my driveway to see that there, in view of the road was the Confederate flag. I became furious! How dare they put up that flag instead of the US flag! I know my history and intellectually know that today, many New Southerners consider this flag a symbol of a failed attempted to become their own nation. Sound familiar? But to me this more prominently represents a time in which people were considered property with no rights and who often suffered horrible abuses. I am of mixed heritage. My father was Irish-English but my mother was Puerto Rican of Taino, Spanish and African heritage. In fact, my own great grandmother had been taken from her African homeland by a Spaniard and brought to Puerto Rico against her will so the issue of slavery is one that is in my family history.

I fumed! I was trying to think of something I could put up on my lawn to infuriate him in return. As a Pagan, I know the inequities suffered for these beliefs as well. But, the truth of the matter is I, as a Pagan, am judged by people of extreme persuasions and the violent hatred expressed towards Pagans is documented historically and still happens today. But, I am out of the broom closet so to speak and have blatant and ornate altars on my front porch which is visible to the road all year around. I am sure this irritates and even infuriates some people but I am expressing myself on my private property and this "self" expression is a right.

As a writer, no matter how loathsome someone may be, such as a Clan leader, I must respect his right to his opinion and to state it. For if one person loses the right of freedom of expression it is only a matter of time before we all do. So, here I was flaming mad about my neighbor forgetting at the time that he was expressing himself just as much as I do by my front porch altar displays.

My anger was my mirror in that I became acutely aware that weekend of exactly how sensitive I really am about certain philosophies, about the suffering the ancestor I never knew went through as a Black and as a woman. All of this came ripping up to the surface the moment I saw that flag. So, the real issue here is not political from a spiritual point of view although it certainly was part of it. The real issue is what I am angry about.

The purpose of a mirror is not to so much outwardly act as much as it is to become inwardly aware of powerful reactions and examine the usefulness of the emotions. The anger I felt was useless. It was not going to change his hanging his flag. As an artist I cannot refute his right to freedom of expression for here, at least for the time being, we are free to express ourselves as we please. The useful thing to do was the simplest of outcomes: realize there is anger under my cool surface and to work it out in time. Realization is the first step for if we are honest with ourselves, we are probably angry about a lot of things we simply have not looked at for a long,long time.

So, my "reflection" was of a side of my persona I needed to rediscover and come to terms with.

As for my neighbor--may he live in peace--until Halloween when my displays will be grander than ever before!!!!!

How about taking a journey where enchantment balms a hurting soul? Her Godmother is rich with everyday enchantments that heals the heart....

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