“When a woman is at home in her wildness, rooted in her instincts, and attuned to the voice of her deepest knowing, she is a formidable presence…[and] thunders after injustice.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves
A dear friend and emerging warrior Priestess shared this powerful truth on her social media account, along with her impassioned plea to the greater spiritual community to stop telling those embracing our sacred rage to calm down, step away from news, meditate and practice peace.
But anger has benefits as well. According to Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today, maybe we should be angry. “Designed to produce action in response to the violation of social norms or to remedy situations that are wrong, anger alerts you to circumstances that are unjust and tells you that you’re having a reaction to something that should not be as it is. Often anger is conceptualized as a disruptive emotional force, but it is meant to be an adaptive internal signal that cues self-protective action.”
Understanding what anger is and isn’t might help. We all recognize anger when we feel it. We use words like upset, frustrated, irritated, or annoyed to describe the intense, unsettling feeling that something is wrong. But at its core, anger is fear, the belief that if we don’t confront and change what is causing distress, something terrible will happen—or a distressing situation will go on forever. Anger is the fear that mobilizes us to act for solutions. Anger is an agent of change.
PEACE, LOVE AND MEDITATION
Certainly not everything that angers us as individuals warrants action. My husband’s hoarding tendencies might infuriate me, but voicing my anger has not changed his habits. Other strategies are needed—my space, his space. If I need something in his space, like the garage, it’s better for both of us if I ask him to get it rather than triggering my internal rage by trying to find it in the disarray.
But what about anger and magick? It’s true that holding a calm, grounded center helps me to direct my power with purpose, rather than sending it out haphazardly, giving it away in a fit of fury. On the other hand, some of my most powerful magic has been forged in the holy fire of anger—and not just baneful magic. We can harness the energy of our sacred rage and control the way we use it.
When you light your candles and lay your offerings to Kali, Pele, The Morrigan, Lilith, Durga, Medusa, Circe, Medea, Hekate, Yoruba, or Oya, when you revere the saints like Joan d’Arch, Judith, Marta la Dominadora (or the anglicized Martha – the dragon slayer), or any face of Erzulie, you pay homage to their fierce and holy rage. Why deny the same in yourself?
Even without deities, when you call on the energies of justice or karma, you are calling out to right a wrong, seeking justice by retribution—most often by some level of destruction. The thing to remember is that destruction, like anger, does not have to be aggressive or violent.
Spells are cast to cut cords, to dissolve illusions, to break down barriers. Even a releasing spell relies on destroying the need to hold onto the thing.
THE TIME IS UPON US
“For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
—Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7 & 8
As increasingly more human rights are being threatened and taken away, as corruption in government is exposed, and as legislation is being written to criminalize public protest in the country that has been the shining example of freedom, pacifism and apathy become our foremost enemy.
We are more than witches, more than our practice and our magick; we are human beings living in social constructs. The question to ask yourself is, are you willing to stand by and watch while our freedoms are snatched from our hands? Are you wiling to stand by and watch while lies become the new truth, while children are kidnapped and kept in cages, while clean drinking water becomes a privilege and sacred Mother Earth trembles with the aftermath of raping her for resources? Will you stand by, denying your sacred rage, while every day a new “other” is held out to be feared and reviled?
Or are you willing and courageous enough to speak out in justifiable anger, to let it fuel the fight to restore and retain the freedoms others have already suffered and died for?
WITCHES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE “OTHER”
To understand witchcraft you must understand the othering of those the ruling class preferred silenced. Historically, accusations of evil-doing and consorting with the devil were simply the means to discredit and remove those who could otherwise not be imprisoned or exterminated.
Consider that execution was not always the punishment nor even the most frequent consequence of witchcraft. Even in Salem, more of the accused were jailed than executed. Plunged into crippling debt to pay fines and jail fees, they lost all of their possessions, land, and influence. Numerous scholars consider the truth of this persecution to be a politically motivated confiscation of land and wealth, accomplished by sowing fear and division among the common citizenry.
WE NEED WARRIORS
“Know a witch’s rage as holy hell fire, a blazing wrecking ball swung often and hard at long-standing structures of feminine oppression, be they psychic fences built by her own hands or political mechanisms of environmental and social injustice.” — Dannielle Dulsky, The Holy Wild
With our connection to the elements, our practice of sustainable ecology, working to protect land, water and air, witches are at the front line of the brewing eco-war. More so, we are the resource for those who will come seeking our knowledge, a resource the corporatist ravagers would just as soon silence.
And look at us, so many out of the broom closet, selling our wares, writing our blogs and our books, teaching our classes, dancing in the public square, working our magick not only in the shadow of the moon, but also in the light of day. We have outed ourselves and left trails right to our doorsteps.
From those calling out for justice by putting pen to paper, to activists marching in the streets or forming human shields to protect our waterways, land, and air, to those standing up in a crowd to demand answers from the wealthy ruling class, we need our warriors. Our burning times are nigh.
We won’t be lashed to stakes, facing a tortuous death by flame. We won’t be pressed to the ground beneath piles of stone to our last gasping breath. We won’t be plunged into the water, our survival a sure sign of witchery, our death granting posthumous innocence—although waterboarding is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Instead we will be exposed, doxxed, slandered, and targeted by a ruling class fast heading toward theocracy and dictatorship. We’ll be reviled—driven to the fringes, unable to find employment, pay our bills, feed our bellies. Our actions will be criminalized, so that we may be impoverished by lawyers fees and fines, or left in jails to rot.
We can stand by in silence, swallowing our holy rage, or we can channel it into power for change, while we still have time.