In 2005, I met Shekhinah Mountainwater one of the foremothers of the American Goddess movement. We lived just a few blocks from each other in the Seabright district of Santa Cruz, CA. We didn’t always agree on thealogy or thealagie as she spelled it to feminize Goddess studies even further. She did teach me to literally think outside of the box and it changed my life forever. We were in her apartment in the temple room. We sat among many draperies and pillows heavily perfumed with incense discussing shifting the current paradigm away from consumerism and rampant corporate greed toward a more nurturing society.
I said, “Sometimes I feel that people like you and I are swimming upstream. I’m not sure how to change things. Do we change the flow of water or get the other fish to swim in the other direction?”
“Neither one!” she proclaimed. “You get the fish in a circle!”
For years I had been in Pagan groups dancing in circles, meditating in circles, sitting and talking in circles but I hadn’t known a damn thing about circles. I was on a treadmill trying to find that perfect job, ignoring my health problems so I could have the big paying job. No one hires sick people. I was almost thirty. I was convinced I wasn’t succeeding because my husband and I were living with his parents, we were only working part time and we didn’t have kids.
There I was sitting speaking with her about changing the current paradigm and I was “squared” into my own. Oh, I didn’t realize it then and now I see why she was cranky with me at times. Shekhinah encouraged me to think in circles by making moon based planners “Moonwheels” with thirteen months, create symbols on round cards, and embrace odd numbers.
My life didn’t dramatically change overnight. It’s more like she made a crack and some tiny fraction of the Cosmic Spiral seeped in. I filled to exploding and didn’t properly care for myself. I pushed myself to work with a long commute, co-lead a magic organization, and taught students all while living in faery or fairy land, also known as Bonny Doon. Eventually I cracked and went on medical leave. My husband and I returned to Missouri to be closer to my family.
Today, I’m many steps closer to fully occupying my mind, body, and soul. What started out as an internet meme to make fun of all the Occupy posts on Reddit.com has become a call for conscious living, “Occupy All the Things”.
Kit O’Connell wrote a great article “3 Reasons the Disabled Support Occupy Wall Street” His reasons are mine as well.
1. “Capitalism has failed the disabled. The contributions of the disabled are patronized, marginalized, or discredited in our society.”
2. We have no safety net. “Each one dreads that letter that informs him he’s made some tiny mistake and might not eat or pay the rent this month because the government suspended his disability check or his food stamps.”
3. “We have no voice. When disabled people stand up, the world pats us on the head and tells us how “brave” we are, then pushes us back into the corner. We can risk our lives and be injured in the service to our country and still not receive adequate medical care when we return. The disabled are the 99%. The Occupy Wall Street movement not only feeds, clothes, and shelters some of us, it gives all of us a place to be heard. We are taken as seriously as anyone at general assembly or on the human mic. Our anger is important to the occupation, so important that we’re even willing to get tear-gassed for the movement. Some may consider the dreams of Occupy Wall Street idealistic, but in those dreams we have a place.” The emphasis is my own.
Our actions at Occupy events may be limited since it’s difficult for us to camp in the cold or dangerous to risk arrest and have our life-saving medication confiscated. However, we have a voice no matter the medium we chose to communicate in. So as magic practitioners, let’s pause to think about Occupy. Occupy Wall Street has grown into a movement to manifest more people oriented to social change. “A manifestation is the bringing into reality of the desired result.” Staff if Asclepius “The Seven Principles of Magick” by Tara “Masery” Miller and Michael “Arkayne Magii” Miller.
I support the Occupy Movement because I have hope. When teachers such as T. Thorn Coyle sit in peaceful meditation with others in Oakland, I have hope. When women of action, words, and vision such as Starhawk have successfully raised funds to start a movie project based on her fiction novel with characters in similar situations, I have hope.
Just like Starhawk’s novel and upcoming movie The Fifth Sacred Thing I want to live in a world “where streams flow through garden streets. Four things are sacred – air, fire, water and earth. No one can own them or hoard them, and everyone has enough.” I would like to see health care available to all citizens. I know people such as my husband’s social worker who is the only one providing an income for her disabled husband and their four kids is not a “welfare queen”. I would like to see corporations forced to clean up or pay for their toxic spills and fumes because I want my niece and nephews to have a world left for their children.
Other than that, I’m not sure how to get there or where to start. My “desired results” aren’t fully formed. My guess is maybe yours aren’t either.
I invite everyone to join me in thinking outside of the box.
1. Learn about different types of socioeconomic systems and how they have been implemented in other nations. I will be interviewing a Vísenda (wisewoman/witch) living in Norway about what her government and society is like. Norway is a constitutional monarchy.
2. Focus on magical action by working with mandalas or mantras. Mandalas can be textually made such as weaving yarn across a hoop; however, mantras are simple to work with if you are sight impaired.
The Mandala Project says that “The word “mandala” is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds.
Describing both material and non-material realities, the mandala appears in all aspects of life: the celestial circles we call earth, sun, and moon, as well as conceptual circles of friends, family, and community.”
A mantra is a word or series of words that is considered capable of “creating transformation” (cf. spiritual transformation) Its use and type varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. (Wikipedia) A mantra is sometimes considered a thought form.
You can come up with your own, find them on-line, or perhaps the tradition you study has some you prefer. Wikipedia Commons has mandalas released to the public to download and print.
What craft or mantra ideas do you have? You can share them in the comments. You can also send pictures of your mandalas to tara.miller21 (at)gmail.com
Dare to enter the labyrinth.
“Come,” she softly calls.
“But I’m afraid,” you tell her
“I fear I will be lost in there
“And they say there are Minotaurs.”
You peer into the labyrinth
The twisting passages
To nothing …
Out here the familiar world
The Sea of Sexism,
the City of Doom.
She lifts her proud dark gaze in scorn
“‘Tis there one meets the Minotaur.” “Ariadne” by Shekhinah Mountainwater
Redefining ourselves, rethinking our roles and who we are can be a scary prospect. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, those who hear the call must heed it or risk withering away. (Hero with a Thousand Faces) We do not have to rush in unaided. As Pagans, most of us have some form or higher education or are self taught. We can learn new things. When we manage our anger we can be fantastic dreamers instead of breaking our volunteer leaders apart. In my case, I become disheartened when I feed internet comment trolls instead of ignoring them. When we channel the power of our sacred circles and let it flow through our bodies, hearts, and minds we can do many things.
Learn. Envision. Become.
Be like the center of the mandala or the first tone of a mantra. It ripples out. It moves. It takes shape. It touches others. The secret is that, like a fractal, all circles are part of a larger pattern.
Learn. Envision. Become.
And through example others who are ready will do the same and change will come.