Personal reflections by Esperide Ananas Ametista
I don’t believe we can ever be fully aware of the effects of our actions. This is a blessing because the weight of our responsibility would probably fill us with horror and discouragement. At the same time, it is a curse: no one, on an interconnected planet, can be free of suffering until every other being is. The web of life binds us to each other through space, and also through time. And in the time in which everything is present, our essence plays many games, in many different situations and circumstances. We are at the same time those who suffer and those who create the pain.

In this too often unconscious interplay, the idea that war exists only as a mental construct, an illusion that can be dissolved by overcoming duality, is very tempting. But perhaps it is no longer possible not to question whether the situation is more complex, and the confusion more profound.

The Covid-19 pandemic has distracted the world’s gaze from the ongoing conflicts – and the number of victims that these wars produce, yet the consequences of the virus in conflict zones are even more tragic than in better organized, peaceful nations. And the same is true for those areas devastated by the effects of climate change.

It is difficult to find—except for short periods and in some remote corners of the world—historical epochs in which there has been no conflict or invasion. Even within communities with tightly shared values prevarications seemed to be always present: the most uniform groups, societies or tribes—in the absence of people with different skin colors or accents—have always fabricated categories to consider as inferior. In the last millennia, this lesser place has almost universally been given to women, or anyone who deviated from heterosexuality meant for procreation.

Even further back in time, there are traces of great mass extinctions, myths about the catastrophic end of great civilizations like Atlantis and universal floods through which gods of all latitudes have tried to destroy humans. And even when they weren’t busy exterminating humanity in its entirety, the gods took sides in wars. They gave protection and strength to one people or another, in exchange for territories from which to receive prayers, offerings, and vital energy. And their priests, in ancient times as now, blessed weapons before battles. Many gods have had their place on the battlefield: whether Lords of the whole universe or co-owners of different pantheons, they have proved to have a great interest in the outcomes of human conflicts. At their side, saints or demons are often present, too.

Other myths tell that the gods were often at war with each other. And let’s not just think of male gods: at all latitudes and in all historically recorded civilizations, there are goddesses of war, victory, discord, and death on the battlefield. Menrva, Athena, Bellona, Morrigan, Inanna and Ištar, Bandua, Andarta, Freyja, Macha, Neith, Sekhmet, Tanit, Pele, Qamitis, Oyá, Ifri, Anahit, Zorya, Chamunda, Durga… just to name a few.

These goddesses were evoked to protect family, birth, and love, as much as war. Often, at their birth, they faced very violent fights against demons, monstrous animals, and evil gods from previous cycles. They have thus earned firsthand the honor of protecting humans in war, and giving them victory. All these myths tell us about migrations and invasions, new ways of life taking over older ones. There is no doubt that history is made of civilization after civilization overpowering the previous ones, in the West as well as in the East, North, and South.

Many philosophers and spiritual teachers remind us that the ground on which war takes root is within us. Through our choices and actions, we determine the balance of this battle at all times. Every human being with a little bit of awareness puts this to the test every day, trying to make their ideals coincide with their actions. In industrialized countries this is more dramatic, as almost every action we take involves the suffering of someone in another part of the world: from the wars over the coltan in our mobile phones and play stations; to the environmental impact of the way we move, or what we eat and wear; to the exploitation of other humans to produce the myriad objects we use every day—so many of them superfluous.

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Written by Esperide Ananas Ametista
Psycho-sociologist, spiritual facilitator, healer, and Ambassador of the Federation of Damanhur.