People do not often think about emotions like anger, rage or frustration as sacred responses to internal or external stimuli. I recently wrote about primal rage in Modern Witch Magazine, and it is an important topic.
I personally do not like feeling angry, rage-filled or frustrated, and yet it has continued to be a common core theme of my life for a long time. Let me clarify – that does not mean I am just angry all the time, but that I carry a sense of both of these emotions in my gut, and it can be a powerful source of energy that I direct toward a goal.
I have long-since-been working on understanding that any human emotion is not good or bad, that all things have a purpose, and everything can be used toward a purpose.
Let that be the backdrop to this piece; I have been really frustrated and angry lately. Many different areas of my life have collided with the reality of the struggle of life, and the unfairness of current systemic failures.
Working in Oakland brings me close to this realization all the time. I am angry for my students that live in a world that does not look out for their needs, nor attempt to make the world better for them. It is a cruel world they live in, one that is filled with a lot of confusion, pain, loss and anger. I interviewed several new students this week for an internship project. Out of four interviews, all four of them had lost friends to street violence in the past two years. One student lost three friends in 2013, and yet another lost a friend last month. There is no grief counseling, no extra support, no empathy for the friends left behind in a city that is full of the murders of the black and brown.
Several stories this week on the internet have pushed this feeling of anger, rage and frustration as well. A story broke this week about a seven-year-old girl who was not allowed to continue in a school because of a policy against “fad” hairstyles…. which they included afros and dreads. This little girl was shown on a news segment crying because her school didn’t like her dreads. I have been so angered by this, and confused at how the world forgets to see people as divine extensions of one another. How do we forget the damage that our actions, thoughts, words, and biases have against humanity?
I often look to my spirituality because I am angry. Why do children have to deal with a world that is cruel, full of trauma, and without a voice to make someone want to help? And I don’t always find answers immediately when I am looking for them; I feel that the Gods want me to get angry so that I can channel that into change.
And while I often look to my spirituality and my community for support and inspiration, I found myself knee deep in racism and problems there too. “Why?” You might ask. My answer is because it is systemic in this part of the world (and beyond), and Pagans are a part of the world. And so I find myself in a position to question, challenge and stand up against the same type of aversive racism in the community that I worship, as I have to also do within my professional community. Not only have I encountered racism, I have become acutely aware of ageism, elderism, traditionalism, fascism, and overall divisiveness that has been hurtful to experience and to watch. Is it because of Pagans? No. It is because of the continued sense of cognitive dissonance and programming that comes with “isms” in this society.
The thought that I have to carry that rage, anger and frustration within my own Pagan community pushed me over the edge. Right to the edge of the cliff, and right over it to that moment of magic: Something has to be done.
I know that I do a lot of things – from social work to writing – that add to the collective effort of change in these areas. I am not discounting my work, but until recently I have kept magic out of it. I have not done a lot of spellwork or concentrated magical effort on some of the things I was working on in more of a mundane way. Maybe it is time to push past the last bit of the gap and put some magic into it.
The evolution of my spiritual practice has continued to be heavily influenced by a concentrated effort to merge the ethnic, social, political and academic aspects of my secular self with my spiritual self; it might be the natural next step to contemplate more magical intervention into the work I am tasked on this earth to do.
And the kind of magic I do will allow me to do this ethically. Usually, I open doors with my magic: Options, choices, insights, clarity, and answers. And for these purposes, sometimes hidden agendas need a little light shined on them so that people can see the realities that are swirling right below the surface, and make decisions based on truth, not just a limited perception.
As discrimination flourishes inside of the Pagan community, inside of society, and in all facets of today’s experiences, we have to make some changes. What better time than now, when seven-year-old children are discriminated against for their natural black hair, children are being killed and starved in the inner cities of America, jobs are inaccessible for the underprivileged, misleading education is being taught in urban schools, stars are making derogatory comments on national TV about kinky hair, racist verbiage is all over the internet in and out of the Pagan community, and the U.S. is at the brink of war…… what better time than now?
“This is the time, this is the place,
In this body, with this black face,
I conjure this rage, harness this power,
Push it into justice in this very hour.
Food for the poor, life for our children,
Justice for the voiceless, and love for men and women,
Empathy for the melanin skin, pride for the kinky hair,
Peace around the world, and justice that is fair.”
For we know that justice is not always fair, and peace is not always life, but we can use our individual and collective rage to ask for these things to be so. If we allow these powerful emotions to sit inside of our soul, without a direction to go, we will continue to kill ourselves from the inside, and we ignore the power the Gods gifted us with to use our Will for change and our Power for manifestation. It doesn’t feel good for a reason – we are supposed to pay attention; we are supposed to Feel the change.