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The important Spiritual dimension to “Occupy Wall Street”

How does the current worldwide focus on bringing the ultra-wealthy banksters and corporations under more effective control relate to traditional spiritual concerns, particularly Pagan ones? Quite directly, actually.

Every genuine spiritual tradition teaches that we live within a larger context of value and importance beyond the purely material.  What is important far out-weighs what can be bought by money.

Pagan traditions bring in an additional insight that some others also share: the world and everything in it is an expression of the sacred.  Plants, animals, and the land itself are not simply resources provided for our benefit, to be used as we wish. Every wise relationship is ultimately ethical at its foundation. The earth itself, the seas and mountains, forests and meadows, streams and sky, deserts and plains, and all upon and within them, is a sacrament.  Life is a sacrament and is best when lived that way.


But we live within a society where plants, animals, and the land and waters  are treated by its dominant institutions as purely resources, and increasingly where people are treated the same way.  Everything and everyone is useful, an opponent, or irrelevant.  Banks and corporations are institutionally incapable of acting otherwise.  They cannot act ethically because if any CEO elevated ethics above profit, he or she would be ousted in a hostile take over as soon as some rich sociopath noticed.  And notice they certainly do. The founders of companies have leeway here, but it rapidly disappears when they are gone, and sometimes they themselves are ousted in order for investors, ‘venture capitalists’ and financial institutions, to make more money.


The current capitalist system actively and systemically selects for the least ethical to acquire the most power. Checks have to come from the outside, and government is the only institution with the power to do this.  But today the banks and corporations have essentially bought the government. Before OWS the corporate media incessantly wrote of deficits and the need to trim environmental and health regulations while keeping defense expenditures high and even lowering taxes on the wealthy further.  Poll after poll indicated most Americans had precisely opposite priorities, and they were ignored in press and government alike.

Spiritual traditions that treat the earth simply as a way station on our journey to salvation or enlightenment can simply shrug at this, as many do. (Not all, some of these traditions are very aware of the evils in our current system and want to see them addressed as much as I do.)


But we Pagans who love and honor the sacred as immanent in the world have a different and more painful problem.  Many of the expressions of the sacred that speak most to us are being trampled on and despoiled by forces that are incapable of responding to reason or heart because all that they care about is acquiring more money in a failed effort to fill the emptiness in their souls with power and wealth.

Bringing the über wealthy and powerful under control, ending the arrogant aristocracy of wealth, will not solve these problems, but it will make it possible for us to at least begin to address them. OWS changed the terms of the debate and injected ethical concerns as more important than wealth.  This is big, very big.  They accomplished more in a month than Obama and his “Yes We Can” did in years. Think about that.

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Lloyd L. Sevigny

posted October 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Spirituality with a view to the human evolution from a spirit of 5 senses to a spirit that is multisensory is in the process of becoming a reality in the NOW. This new paradigm operates with love, trust and compassion. The older 5-sensory spirit ran on fear and doubt and is no longer an option for millions of spiritual seekers. In this new paradigm, the acts of the many will be the acts of love and trust, not complicity or manipulation, greed nor corruption, war, intolerance and hate. I wish us a brave new world with a powerful new structure. Sat Nam!

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posted October 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm

There is an old slogan “if the people will lead, the leaders will follow”. I hope that Obama and his party pick up on this and follow the OWS. Despite his dented image, I think O is still formidable, but he really has to lead from behind here and do so vigorously.

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posted October 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Shared on Facebook. Thanks, Gus.

And, Matt: while it would be nice if Obama, the DNC, and the D’s in Congress would let the message of OWS strengthen their resolve, I suspect that their efforts may very likely move in the other direction: to co-opt the movement for the sole purpose of re-electing Obama and Democratic legislators, who can then return to the process of throwing their base under the bus.

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posted October 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Occupy Wall Street is a global tide, a groundswell borne of complex and manifold interests. Despite the dismissive comments of politicos and pundits it is sweeping the world over, and is only gaining strength as time goes on.

Coalescent and cresting, buoyed by planet wide protests arising out of myriad common connected causes and concerns the majority of the world’s populous has, unlike any time before, come together and in a virtually alchemical process melding a wealth of material and human resources we the 99% via a pure democratic process marshaled ourselves into a peaceable force for advocacy, and activism, making OWS a movement the nature and scale of which, despite the proliferation of claims to the contrary, is utterly without precedent! Even weeks in the politicos and pundits were dismissive of OWS occupation, decrying it as both leaderless and powerless.

And communications? The message was unstoppable, from the OWS human amplifiers to the independent and profoundly powerful peer to peer media news of the movement and its message spread . Despite the lack of corporate and network news coverage, word went out and it took root. The movement went GLOBAL. With every day that passed the ranks of the movement swelled, and after the first union, union after union declared their support for the demonstration… and from that first occupation, one after another occupations and the marches began popping up…not limited to the US, they went all around the world.. Despite network news they offered little actual commentary virtually dismissing OWS as a disorganized small ineffectual rag tag non event involving unemployed homeless hippie leaderless and powerless malcontents it became evident that there was power in numbers, that our masses were anything but powerless! . They were absolutely amazing. But, Leaderless…HARDLY! Victor Hugo was right. There is absolutely no thing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

The machinations whereby the 1% siphons off the wealth of the 99% have been lain bare. We, the 99% have long, but for the most part, unwittingly bourne the cruel compulsory and slavish servitude, and the tyranny thereof, unendingly foisted upon us by those of the power elite who would have us ever fail to see ourselves as unworthy masses, and so remain locked into the illusion that for the bulk of the populace of the planet of what the elite see to be our inescapable fate. That being to eek out small and mean lives while foundering under the crushing weight of its burden, but, no more! . Despite the many comparisons the undeniable power of the OWS can not be captured or co-opted in any way by the moneyed and powerful special interest and other members To the powerful and moneyed elitist minority, we are past moving understanding moved from the rank of rubes to rip off to a world wide threat to the status quo of their world order and view, we’ve become the threat that for them is nearly inconceivable in nature.

No longer deluded by elitist lies, no longer enamored of certain ‘truths’ we have overthrown that had served to isolate and insulate us from one another, rendering us despite our numbers impotent. We needs must continue seeking to motivate one another so that all may remain steadfast and firm in our convictions continue to engage in the efforts to bring those ideals that we of OWS have nurtured from concept to concrete. Change is possible.
Refused to be further encumbered with their proof both inescapable and unavoidable of the comparative smallness and powerlessness of ourselves to their own selves, an over weighty portion of the load as. Awake and aware we have seen the truth through the lies, and we, the many have, to a one, en masse, thrown off the yoke they would yet have us bearing up under still and are now adamantly demand the restoration of that which we were robbed of. This point is not negotiable

Having chosen to unite with our political and ideological differences set aside, we are building a coalition and the power of the 99% will soon be solidified, consolidated, but not yet assured. In these pivotal moments we are working to craft solutions that are both fair and equitable…and so it is we who are of the 99% are co-creating the story of our times, advancing ideas that will shift the dominant paradigm! Demonstrating in Solidarity we with one another decry the rampant corruption, inequities, injustices and abuses endemic to and typical of any such system within which the balance of power is inversely proportionate to the population, , those who being part of that are readily corrupted by the lures of power and privilege and resources within the control of an Oligarchic elitist few. Events of pivotal import are unfolding on the world stage real change is being created making the elevation of corporate greed above human need no longer de rigueur. A halt is being made to the siphoning off of the riches and resources of our planet and the majority of its populace by an elitist few who ever, out of an overdeveloped and deeply engrained sense of entitlement have sought to over and above and to the exclusion of any consideration of the needs of the many, place their hunger for profit and selfish concerns such as their own appetites and the satisfaction thereof and of sheer unbridled greed as their stock and trade.

Lao Tzu had a saying that neatly addressed that as well…

it goes “ This too shall pass”.

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posted October 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Thanks for helping us put this in context with our beliefs. I hope that more discussions just like this one become par for the course, rather than a pleasant surprise.


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