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Working for World Peace
A member of OBOD and fellow Druid Ellen Evert Hopman (Saille) were invited to a conference in Washington last year. Here is an account of the event by Ellen, with photos by Sara Corry.
WORKING FOR WORLD PEACE
By Ellen Evert Hopman (Saille)
Back in October I was invited to speak at the ICCS Conference on Spirituality in Indigenous Cultural and Religious Traditions. It was a great honor to represent Druidism and Celtic spirituality at a conference hosted in a Hindu Temple near Washington DC. The lectures and discussions covered themes that I had only ever heard at Pagan gatherings such as what to do about those proselytizing religions and why do monotheists want to dominate the world?
There were speakers from many different indigenous faiths present; Yoruba, Native American, Hindu, Vedantist, Shamanism, Druids, Witches and others. A major theme was “How can indigenous religions contribute to world peace?”
The Bhagavad Gita says that when there is calamity in the world everyone should work for world peace. As we all know, Fundamentalism in its many guises; Christian, Jewish and Muslim, is a major contributor to war and unhappiness in this world. I was previously unaware of the extent to which Muslim proselytizing had taken over previously Hindu nations and of how much pain and suffering has resulted from those incursions.
The Hindu religion is vast in its tolerance, seeing all ways to the Divine as valid expressions of spirituality. More than once I heard Hindus declare that God is so merciful that She created many different paths so that everyone can find a way to the Divine. But this profound tolerance has come at a steep price for formerly Hindu nations. Nepal was the last remaining Hindu nation in the world for example and it was recently declared a “secular nation” without a vote.
One speaker suggested that we should all write to the UN and ask them to host an interfaith conference specifically to ask participants what they and their faith communities can do for world peace. The speaker said that all religious schools should declare world peace a major cause and that all religions should take on world peace as one of their major missions. He also said that religious sanction should be removed from suicide bombing and that no religion should object to the education of girls.
He said we should all be anti-conversion, anti proselytizing, against power hierarchies between religions and nations, against uniformity and against war. Also that we should be PRO cooperation among religions and civilizations and that we should be self evolving as opposed to falling victim to imposed spirituality and exclusivist world views. He called for an end of persecution of Pagans, Witches and Jews by colonial powers.
As a Druid I found nothing in the content of the conference to object to and I was deeply impressed by the tolerance, love and goodwill I experienced at the conference and in the Hindu temple nearby. Here are some quotes I scribbled down;
“Infinite are the ways to the infinite” ”My self in other forms” ”We are all one family” ”We have certainly heard about Druids but until today I had never met one!” ”What separates us from one another separates us from God” ”Who can bring us to unity? Only those who have achieved unity” ”Embrace every human you meet as your own”
A Native American speaker said that seven hundred years ago the Mexican elders declared that the world was about to enter the time of the “dark sun” and that the knowledge held by the traditional religions had to be held and protected. But now we are about to enter the time of the “awakening sun” and we have to send out messages of healing to the world and seek true oneness with all people, not just tolerance.
May the new decade be a time when the last remnants of indigenous religions and cultures are cherished, may their ceremonies, relationships and practices re-emerge to bless the land, the people and every creature of this small blue planet.
Om! May all beings be happy; may all be free from afflictions; may all see the goodness in others and in everything; may no one suffer sorrow, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
If you would like to attend next year’s conference in the DC area or the 2012 conference in Rishikesh, India, please contact MargFoundation@gmail.com or Dr. Radheyshyam Dwivdedi (firstname.lastname@example.org) or The International Center for Cultural Studies 1146 Carolina Ave. West Chester, PA 19380
All blessings of the Full Blue Moon this night!
Ellen Evert Hopman, New Year’s Eve 2009-2010 www.elleneverthopman.com