In the Pagan community, as with other spiritual communities, when bad things happen to one of our own, it is common for us, when we're asked, to offer healing energy, light a candle, do a little ritual, or other things. When really bad things happen to a lot of people, which includes some of our own, we're asked to do something larger and more powerful, but might we actually be hindering the situation and not helping?
Take, for example, the large wildfires burning in many western states of the US. Having lived out there, I have plenty of friends and some I consider family in some of those areas; some who were actually evacuated from their homes for several days. Many of the "healing" Facebook pages and announcements lists to which I'm subscribed began sending out requests for positive energy, healing, and of course, rain. So many requests for rain, Facebook events for rain dances, light a candle for rain--does anyone else see the irony in that?--, kill a chicken for rain. Ok, I made that last one up. In none of the requests that I received or read did I ever see anything related to how much rain or a reminder to limit the amount of rain or really anything related to rain other than send rain.
While there are some of us who I'm sure took the time to consider the implications of what we were going to do, and how to completely form the intention/thought-form/etc, I would venture a guess, one which I bet is probably spot on, that there are many more people who simply did the magickal working to send rain to the affected areas, or worse, just asked for rain.
The reason send rain to the wildfires or let it rain in Colorado are so bad is because too much is left open. Your magickal energy manifests in the natural world, regardless of where you believe it comes from, so it has to follow certain natural laws and is mostly bound by natural reality. That is to say, rain does not come from 'no where', and rain producing weather only comes by being pushed along by better weather (i.e. good weather or high pressure flows into bad weather or low pressure, there by displacing it.) Without forethought, I'm sure many people asked for all that water from hurricane Debbie to be sent to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and other places. It may get there, but only after it hits Norway, Greece, Russia and Washington state. I'm not saying that you need a degree in meteorology to help areas experiencing wildfires, but I think not enough emphasis goes into real forethought when conducting such large magickal workings as asking a large portion of at least this countries magickal community to affect something as big as the weather..
In the future, I'd like to see the healing Facebook pages and announcements lists remind people to apply forethought to their fulfillment the request and offer suggestions on how to match the scope of the issue, otherwise we might end up sending a lot of rain to areas which now have a greater risk of mudslides and flooding, when what was really needed was higher humidity, less wind, strength to the emergency personnel, and blessings to everyone involved and affected. In fact, it's not too late to do just that!
Before anyone brings up letting the universe sort out the details after you send your intention, let me just say, if your spiritual path involves letting the universe sort out the how's of everything going on in the world, then you also understand that everything "bad" as well as "good" happening in the world is a result of that mindset. I don't subscribe to that mindset, which is why I'm writing this article. In my view, we still are responsible for our actions and the outcomes. By all means, do a magickal working to bring abundance into your life. Just be certain not only know what "abundance" really means to you, but that you provide the scope which doesn't negatively impact anyone else. Then, do the actions which will allow that abundance to come to you, if you don't do those things, you're not ready for it arrive. I cut my consumption of "stuff", reuse whatever I can and recycle only when I can't reuse something. I drive much less than the average American, and no longer buy cleaning or personal care products, I make them. It is these activities which result in a cleaner environment, not asking for one or even intending one to exist. I try to be the change I want to see in the world, as Gandhi put it.
Ultimately what I'm saying is that you should learn to work with the natural world because even good intentions have consequences including the unintended kind.