Magical Activism

From the Women's March in Portland. WItchBloc: Exorcising the Patriarchy spell.

From the Women's March in Portland. WItchBloc: Exorcising the Patriarchy spell.

Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Leo, February 10. New Moon Solar Eclipse in Pisces, February 26.

I want to talk about magic today. Full Moon Magic.

Eclipse Magic. Star Magic.

Your magic.

Because there is a lot of work to do people, but if you are doing it without magic then you might just be making noise, exhausting yourself, and even creating a mess that someone else will have to clean up.

Magic is the art of changing consciousness at will. Which to me means this: making change with a very clear intention about the kind of change you want, then taking willful action to make that change happen while remaining open to the surprising ways that the change might occur.

Sometimes, we can’t be intentional and open, because we are fucking pissed off, or scared, or overwhelmed. So we just take action! And that can feel really good. To let it out. Some ways we let it out: we scream, march, kick, or cry. We go to bed and pull the covers over our heads. We click on endless articles about the state of the world and what is happening. We sign petitions and then scream some more.

But to bring our future into the present – the one where everyone has access to homes and healthcare, the one where immigrants are welcomed and refugees are offered shelter, the one where black people are not killed by racist cops, where women are respected, where children and mothers’ needs are met, where LGBTQ folks have protection – for that future to even exist, we have to activate our magic. My heart and intuitive minds tell me that these things will not come to pass if we do not wed our activism to our magic.

In 12-Step programs, the 2nd step reads: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Farmer-poet Wendell Berry says, “To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, worse for the heart,” so I haven’t been too sure about the benefits of being sane. As someone who has dealt with depression, substance abuse, and panic attacks, I have been labeled insane too many times to count. I “came to believe” that my own unstable mental health was a form of active rebellion against what I consider to be a truly damaging and sick world.

But when I read “sanity” as health, well-being and integrity, then I can understand the value of this step. And I think it can have some valuable information to impart to people who are not struggling with some form of addition.

What I realized: this step means that I am not the boss. It means that I do not have control over everything, as much as I want to or think I should. It means that there is – or we can imagine there is –a universe is filled with meaning, beyond what we can fully comprehend. And this meaning can provide our lives with integrity. Balance. Wholeness. Health.

For integrity to be restored, it is essential to have a practice that moves us beyond our immediate needs. This can be a spiritual practice, a journaling practice, a walking practice, a making love practice – anything that allows a non-reactionary stance to life. Non-reactionary = defensiveness, which can increase a feeling of victimization and oppression.

It is so easy to fall into fear and hate and anger right now. I’m a proponent of feeling these feelings!  And then I suggest we move beyond these feelings before we go to take action in the world. (However, for white people reading this, make space for POC to be pissed off and do not tell them to calm down.)

In Dreaming the Dark, Starhawk writes that “[i]ntegrity means that we cannot propose or accept a solution for someone else that we are unwilling to undergo ourselves.”

The magic we make is for EVERYONE. Can you dig it? It’s easy to say, hard to actually manifest. That’s where magic comes in. How do you create that kind of powerful magic that includes everyone? Or, asked another way, what does the future look like if it based on power that is truly shared?

We are the future

The Sun is in Aquarius, sign of vision and rebellion. Aquarius moves us in new directions – but not necessarily progressive directions. The freedom to think “outside the box” – a trait often mentioned as Aquarian – could bring about horrible oppression just as much as liberation, as long as the person doing the thinking believes it will lead us to a “better world.” Hitler and the masterminds of the Holocaust were thinking “outside the box.” George Orwell’s 1984 is back on the best-seller list now, and the powerful in that dystopian future almost certainly believed it was for the best.

To align with our best vision and intention, we need the energy of Friday’s Full Moon, which is also a Lunar Eclipse. Full Moon always happen in the sign opposite the Sun’s current position. Which means we need a dose of Leo. Which means, we need a dose of joy.

Without Leo’s influence, we get vision without joy, ideals without laughter, futures without unruly children and artists. Without Aquarius’ influence, we get big messes without purpose, and drama without focus. We need both Leo and Aquarius. But I’m betting that right now, we could use more of the fun, playful, imaginative power of childlike Leo. (That’s where the North Node is headed in May, so the stars back me up on this.)

For this Full Moon, please remember the things you loved to do as a child, the dreams you had, the wishes you made. Rekindling the fires of authentic and joyful childhood experiences may offer you a much-needed ingredient in your MAGIC.

Eros vs. Eris

Before the culture of duality forgot about the body and the magical things it could do, “erotic potency was not confined to sexual power but included the driving force that propelled every life-form from a state of mere potentiality to actuality” (Sam Keen, The Passionate Life). This is the power of Eros.

When we have forgotten Eros, we may be surprised by the arrival of Eris, goddess of strife who shows up to slip some chaos into the mix. I wrote about Eris at the Autumn Equinox, and the dwarf planet named after the Goddess of Strife is strongly configured to the Full Moon chart (conjunct Uranus, and in both a grand fire trine and a cardinal t-square).

Poet and playwright Troy Camplin, writes about the necessary though challenging relationship between Eris and Eros, and asserts that “[i]t is easy to [affirm] love, light and constancy, but who's prepared to love strife, shadows, and change?”

Eros, the god of love in Greek mythology, was said to have been one of the very first beings born out of the chaos which existed before everything. Eris is chaos. Eros and Eris are firmly connected to the creation story. One thing needs the other. The joy of passionate love, the perspective of unruly chaos, the birth of new forms, the destruction of old forms. This is the stew we are in. Start swimming!

The Worlds are Coming Together

I am inclined to believe that the political aims held by many lefties in this country will not come to pass without concerted attention paid to the invisible, the spiritual, the ineffable. If Standing Rock has taught us anything (and they are still there, by the way), it is that prayer works. The Water Protectors at Standing Rock have activated people all over the globe, and they did it by listening to the Earth, following the guidance of their ancestors, and asking for prayers. This is not to downplay all the physical and logistical organizing that has happened. And let’s recognize one way that Standing Rock has been successful – no matter what happens with the pipeline: it reminded people of the power they have beyond the physical. It showed people who had never had a spiritual experience how to see the world as sacred.

As a witch of European descent, stories told to me by my elders describe the world of physical reality and the world of magical reality moving apart from one another some time ago. This split has caused a lot of pain in the world, and it has a direct link to colonization on all lands. Magic brings these worlds closer together. Magic utilizes and expands on our senses, opening us to an invisible world beyond the sensual. However you recognize it, whatever you call it, you have made magic – in music or art, in dancing or singing, in praying or walking, in ritual, in our relationship with the ancestors, in acts of love, when you fully grieved a significant loss, when you released your anger or despair in healing ways, in moments of joy and pleasure. That is magic.

Magic – again, the art of changing consciousness at will – provides the path for us to dream-walk into the beautiful future. The old ones are dreaming us the strength to do this. Colonization is a very small span of time in the history of human existence. There are ancient, beautiful ways of being a part of the world, and there are newly emerging, innovative ways of being a part of the world. The beautiful future is waiting for us to call, sing, dance, and dream its way into existence.

White people – gather with your people and talk about the ancestors, the connection you have with the land you live on, the places that your family came from. Doing this helps link your activism and vision to a longer perspective of time, and connects you to greater webs of power. Witness the acts of magic that have happened and are happening around you. Give thanks.

All people – do not underestimate the power of your magic right now. Playful, silly, dramatic magic. Serious, protective, edgy magic. Loving, compassionate, opening magic.

some resources to get your magic up and running:

In order from left to right: All About Love by bell hooks, Dreaming the Dark by Starhawk, The Life of Poetry by Muriel Rukeyser, Corregidora by Gayl Jones, The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch, In Mad Love and War by Joy Harjo, Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin, Active Hope by Joanna Macy.

These are not books about magic. These are magic books. Books imbued with magic. Books made by people in touch with their magic. Books that will inspire you to make your own magic.

YOUR magic.