Your hearts say you want to know, but your livers will be bitter. There are many reasons. I, the Mother of Lions, will tell you if you really want to know.
You pray to the wrong gods.
You pray to this god from Greece or that god from Norway, or maybe the gods of the Celts, of the Indians, of the Romans... They are good gods, bold gods, true gods, but they will not interfere here. Or you pray to a one-god--and that is a multifaceted issue for another day. You forget that there are...or were...gods here. The neighbor gods in Sumer or Assyria, in Egypt, or the Hittites and Hurrians of Anatolia: sometimes these neighbors were our allies, but sometimes they were our enemies, but their gods sometimes appear in our lists here.
Or you could bother for once to look up who the original gods of Canaan were: but no. You pray for peace but you are too lazy or too fearful to learn our names. You couldn't be arsed to leave us a puny stick of decent myrrh incense and a few kind words.
Perhaps you do pray to us. What then? Why do we not answer? Have you even noticed that we do not answer? Do you really even care?
Imagine for a moment that you have a son, a beautiful glorious, strong, vibrant, intelligent, handsome son. In your son you see all the hopes and dreams of yourself and your lover represented in his breath, in his eyes, in his very veins. He comes of age and decides that you were wrong about everything. Others have poisoned his mind and he refuses to listen. Even now, he lies there in the gutter, in filth, wounds festering, his soul ready to expel like vapor through his nostrils. You come to him to help, you come to him to take him to a healer, to clothe him, to feed him, to give him shelter, to ease his pain. He can only waste his strength to spit at you. Perhaps this situation goes on for a long time as he wastes away. Ten years, twenty years, forty years. You have grown old and weak in this time, and your fortunes have declined as others have forgotten about you. Again you try to help, again he spits at you if he even remembers you. There is only so long before you become too weak too help, or you realize that there is nothing you can do: he will accept nothing from you. This is how things are to me. This is why there is not peace.
It is not that we do not speak. It is not that we do not answer. It is not that we would not help. We are not without compassion. It is that we desperately yell, we scream, we shriek until our throats swell with rawness, and still you do not hear. It is because we have extended our hands countless times before only to have them bitten off.
The viper that encircles your feet, the poisonous snake that rises up against you: we did not call it. You called it. It is yours, it is your doing. The venom it spits is your own. You deal with it.
You ask where are we when you need us? I ask: where were you for the past two thousand years...? We are still spit on today. Out of all of the gods the world over, we have suffered the most. Our shrines are defiled, our holy places destroyed, our sacred items defaced, our names blotted out, to say nothing of our representatives and the horrors they've experienced over time. Where were you? I shall tell you where you were--you were on your knees in temples of deceit, with your minds distracted and your mouths filled with garbage.
I love you all. I am your queen and I have never stopped loving you, my people, everywhere--you stopped loving me. Love me or love me not, but at least love yourselves enough to awaken, to fill your eyes with light, to fill your mouths with sweet clean water, and to let the wind free your minds. These things I cannot do for you; you must do them for yourselves. You must take responsibility. You must heal the rift, you must make up for those who break faith with me. Peace will come to the land of our origin when we are once again accepted there; not merely, barely tolerated. Peace will come again when oppression no longer weighs like summer heat-haze on the dusty cracked city sidewalks. It can come, it will come, eventually, but I cannot make happen what you will not accept.
How can I heal you, how can I lead you, when you doubt every word from my lips? When you turn a blind eye to me? When you allow that my crown is broken, my scepter bent, and my purple mantle tattered with poisoned thorns? When you will not invite us into your homes and feed us at your tables? You treat your dogs better than us. What should we do for you? What could we do for you? A burnt bridge cannot be crossed: it must be built anew. A dry oasis yields no water. An olive grove chopped down and used carelessly as firewood can give no oil.
For now, it is better to live in tents in a foreign land as refugees surrounded by strangers who love us as family than to be surrounded by family who would rather we be strangers. It is cold in these foreign lands, but not nearly as cold as our "reception" in the place we once called home.
You cannot ascend to your roof when it is on fire.
Addendum, Sept. 12, 2013:
What you read above was an oracle given to me by the goddess Athiratu.
People either believe the deities as real, living powerful beings, or they don't. People either believe that I can receive an oracle from my deities, or don't. If a person has checked "yes" in either "don't" category, then whatever I do is suspect from there. How you read an oracle is a reflection of your belief or your lack thereof--either in the deities, in myself, or in either. The nature of oracle is what it is. If I were to edit my goddess's words for content and style, I would feel that I had failed in my duty to her and to others who need or want this message. If you don't believe that what I wrote was an oracle, if you don't need or want this message from her, you are at liberty to ignore it.
Please also visit Reflections on "She Rides a Pale Donkey"
3 Niqalu, Shanatu 86
It is the third day since the new moon; the month is Niqalu. It has been 86 years since the rediscovery of the city-state of Ugarit (in modern-day Syria) from whence came many of our holy texts.
Picture by Crystal and used under Creative Commons license.