Truth be told I’m impressed by Nature. Her systems move to a rhythm so alluring it is possible to be both thrilled and terrified by them. I’m not alone, in a community that reveres ( or at least respects) Nature as a whole it is a common experiences to hear Contemporary Pagans express a cocktail of wonder, respect, and that unique terror which keeps the pants industry going. Many Pagans will tell you about that storms they stood out in, feeling the power of it wash over them. What we lack in formal socialized communion we more than make up for with the occasional storm.
Hurricanes are a prime example. Here we have these powerful storms that appear on cue every year. On one hand they exist as these examinable phenomenon. Heat, moisture, barometric pressure, and wind all mix in the right amounts to form a cyclonic engine of incredible power. On the other hand we name these phenomenon, we refer to them by their given names. “Look out folks, Rita is coming and she is angry.” ” Tonight we’ll be assaulted by the 90 mile an hour winds of Hank.” We remember them by these names, speaking of them in that way reserved for folks whose brief presence alter our lives. This mix of understanding and reverence has colored my perceptions for my entire life.
When an event like the Oklahoma Tornado occurs I ponder this bizarre mix of fear and understanding. It is very interesting to see how people react when they are reminded of the hard limits placed on their control over their lives. Nature has a funny way of doing that. As a species that has dramatically impacted natural systems the world over we often feel pretty powerful when it comes to the natural world. We use Nature. We feel dominate and often fall into a lull of security when it comes to the Natural world. Maybe this is the reason folks always seem so surprised that the annual storm season shows up and tries to kill them. Thirty years of grim experience has given me a very black view of these poor folks. While I can and do sympathize with them, I find their shock amusing and horribly interesting. Looking into the vacant terrified eyes of some of these survivors evokes descriptions of folks in the throws of a mystical experience. Maybe that is where all the God talk comes from.
Its this God chatter that really irks me. After the Oklahoma tornado I was shocked by the amount of folks asking why the Gods allow disasters to happens. Social media has mainlined a host folks crying out at Mother Nature’s wrathful betrayal. Simply put I’m fed up with this nonsense. These natural processes are. They simply are. They don’t feel for you. They don’t hate you. They aren’t here for your personal edification or annihilation. They are, and have been for a good long time.
That being said the Gods ( however you view them) are present as well. In general the Gods are the storm.They are there in the hearts of the helpers. They are busy guiding the dead home, comforting the dying, and helping folks locate their missing loved ones. The Gods are found in every single joy and tragedy that follows the destruction as much as they are found in the destruction. Like the forces of nature they represent/embody the Gods simply are. They represent forces both malicious and benign. They do not exist solely for the continuation of humanity.
It is possible that the gravest injury these events cause is the deep bruising of the human ego.