In Flander's Field - Remembering who and why?
November the traditional month of remembrance sunday of poppies and the men who gave up their lives for our way of life.
I watch with interest the discussions in the paper as to whether wearing the poppy is racist or if its ok that we be allowed to wear it on the foot ball field. To be honest I find both arguments small and petty.
I would to propose a different reason not to support the poppy of peace.
The history of the poppy as a representative of remembrance
The poppy has a long association with Remembrance Day. But how did the distinctive red flower become such a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars?
Scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.
In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe's heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.
The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts. It was adopted by The Royal British Legion as the symbol for their Poppy Appeal, in aid of those serving in the British Armed Forces, after its formation in 1921. ( reference BBC Website)
What the poppy actually represents?
The original mythology of the poppy was associated with Morpheus the God of sleep and his family the Onerioi.
Morpheus was one of the primeval gods, descended from Nyx, the dark goddess of night who was the mother of everything mysterious and anything that was inexplicable, such as death, disease, dreams, ghosts, dreams, witchcraft and enchantments. The drug Morphine which, as a side effect can cause hallucinations, was named after Morpheus. Morpheus was the eldest son of Hypnos the God of sleep and the leader of the Oneroi. The brothers were triplets and all gods of dreams. Morpheus and the Oneroi are always depicted with wings that conveyed they were gifted with magic and the power of flight. Each of the Oneiroi had a specific area of responsibility in relation to dreams and dreaming:
Morpheus had the ability to take on the appearance of a mortal in dreams. He was the god who relayed messages from the gods and prophecies of the future. He took particular care with the dreams of kings and heroes
The symbols of Morpheus were wings and poppies and these are often featured in depictions of the god of dreams. According to Greek mythology there was a garden of poppies at the entrance of his palace in the Underworld. Poppies symbolized death, eternal sleep and oblivion. The hypnotic properties of the poppy has long been used to treat insomnia allowing sleep to people who have trouble sleeping.
This shows a level of understanding from the Axis mundi - the great earth spirit of that place,that the first poppy to bloom in Flanders field was a symbol of Death and Oblivion.
To me it's the earth's cry at the death of thousands of her children. Not the symbol of life restarting at the place of death.
So is that why I object to the Poppy being shown as the symbol of remembrance?
No, No really it's not.
I understand the phrase that history must be remembered otherwise we are doomed to repeat it.
I get that I really do.
But apparently when it comes to war , we are doomed to repeat it anyway.
We use war as a business. We don't fight wars based on moral standing.
To be honest I don't think we ever did.
We wage war for control of resource, land and the people who live in those lands are totally expendable.
As are the soldiers that we send to do the fighting.
Why are we making such a show of remembering the beloved dead when we quite happily add to them every day. We have not NOT been at war with someone since the end of the second world war.!!!
Why does the government and the popular ethos make such a show of remembrance when really they don't care. It is a tradition that is the mimicry of remembrance not the truth of it.
In its hypocrisy in its highest form.
I am not saying don't remember the dead of War. We do that as a coven every Samhain and I have a weekly ancestor ritual in which I honour all who died to bring me into the world.
But I ask you to think about why governments and people make this show.
If remembering the dead allows us to sacrifice the living, to degrade and humiliate those who have returned from the combat that our government and by extension we send them to, to living off benefits and inability to get jobs and
disrespect. A country where we force veterans to live off the charity of the very poppies we are paying for then we are really not extending the thanks of a grateful nation are we.
War continues everywhere, it is one of the biggest source of money that our government and other governments have.
We sell weapons to our allies who then fight people that we have previously sold weapons to that turned out to be enemies. An example of this is the current American made weapons being used by ISIS.
And still we sit by and say nothing.
You only have to look to the pipeline in North Dakota and see what's happening there to know that the Might is Right ethos is still strong as ever in the world.
These people who are indigenous to the Land, who try to live with respect for the land and live with the earth as best they can, forced to comply with those who do not respect anything but the mighty Buck.
At the end of the day we fight not for right but to maintain the status quo of greed and shallow life.
So when you pin the poppy to your chest, are you really supporting those veterans. Remembering the service of men sent into war for moral and righteous reasons. or are you supporting an industry that is based on the whole scale destruction of people both in the army and in the population of the invaded land.
If we want to remember the war dead then I think we should talk about the fact that we are allowing as a community this business cycle of death and destruction to continue.
And Each year that Poppy gets Bigger and heavier as it hangs by its chain around our necks.