by Moira Ashleigh
I sit in the airport among strangers, tired and pleased at having met and exchanged ideas and energy with so many new people. I feel the awareness of the bigger place that Paganism is holding now at the World Religious table. I am feeling pleased at our solid presence at this event. I feel happy to have been among the contingent that came here to make new connections and renew old ones.
Yesterday was the last full day of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and though it was raining outside the feeling inside the Parliament was that of the warmth of shared purpose. Deirdre Pulgram Arthen, with the support of MotherTongue and other EarthSpirit attendees, led the morning observance, the title of which was: Sing Praise for the Earth. We sang together of the fire, the water, the ancestors and All Beings of the Earth. People were very happy to sing with us, and several of the new “Weaving the Web of Life” chant CDs were sold later in the EarthSpirit exhibition booth.
In the afternoon Don Frew, Charlie Gibbs, and Yoland Treveno gave a presentation: The United Religious Initiative: A Global Network of Interfaith Effort. This organization was born out of the 1993 Chicago Parlianent. From that event there were a group of people that wanted to stay connected. They work with the model of cooperative circles, circles that have to have at least 7 people which need to represent at least 3 faiths. After the major speakers, different area leaders were invited to talk about the fruits of their work. Things like youth projects, women’s circles, youth circles, and social action assemblies. The belief and the actual experience has been that cooperative circle coming together doing anything creates peace. A Korean monk spoke of his reason to be a part of URI. He said “URI means we take responsibility, duty for the future to think in peace, speak in peace and act in peace.
The Queensland Pagan took the EarthSpirit group to dinner that night at a local Italian place near the river. We were quite overwhelmed at the generosity of this small group of women. On our way out of the restaurant a fire show started. The casino sets off these flame bursts from tall columns on the river. This only happens for a few minutes and then is gone. It was a moment where I felt connected to all the fire work we do together at Rites of Spring and Twilight Covening. After the fire show some of us slowly walked back to the rooms enjoying the beautiful weather because several of us knew the trip back to Winter would happen all too soon.
Wednesday morning dawned warm and clear. Many of us were packing out of our rooms, some to go home to the states, some back to New Zealand, some out to the Austrailian Outback, and one off to the Orient. It is a short day at the Parliament culminating with a Plenary where His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be addressing the Parliament attendees. Security is very tight.
One of the morning workshops “The Revival of the European Pagan Traditions” with Andras Corban Arthen and Jonas Trinkunas of the Lithuania Romuva tradition drew quite a large crowd. Andras will describe this in detail in an upcoming post.
I hope you have enjoyed the snippets of the Parliament. There are plans to do more in depth pieces after people return from their travels. And be sure to catch all of us at the upcoming events that are highlighted on http://www.earthspirit.com. We will have many stories to share.