Honoring the Wild: The Long Arc of Magickal Activism Bends Toward Hope – Part 2

Honoring the Wild: The Long Arc of Magickal Activism Bends Toward Hope – Part 2 September 22, 2023

This blog is the second part of last week’s blog:  https://www.patheos.com/blogs/chargedbythegoddess/2023/09/honoring-the-wild-the-long-arc-of-activism-bends-toward-hope-part-1/ ‎

Looking Ahead

What is clear in my activist work and the work of those who told stories in the book is that this is a practice that is not for the future anymore. This activism is required for what is happening right now. Climate change is no longer a future event; it is here. It is in the dramatic temperature changes, in the shifting of shorelines, and in new weather patterns in places that never had to prepare. I recognize and admit more readily now that what I do will not save me; it will be to protect the future. Even in the littlest steps, what I offer has to be selfless. And I do things not because they are seen or celebrated. I take action in the way that I can because it matters and because someone is probably watching. Because my descendants are rooting me on while my ancestors whisper in my ears.

We Do Not Do This Alone

I honor the stories of those who have come before me and whose actions helped my current experience. I honor the stories of those who will come after me, those who are building new ways and roads for youth, and those who will live long after them. I honor the ways magick inspires direction and creative action. Perhaps there is more to activism than signs and protests, more than letter writing and shouting at politicians. (It’s that too.)

Photo by Sylvia Rose

Before and Now

“Honoring the Wild: Reclaiming Witchcraft & Environmental Activism” came out on February 1, 2023. While I did not choose this date, it is significant in the Reclaiming tradition. It is the day when the Brigid ritual is often held. While different Reclaiming communities have stories about how they interact with rituals, the Brigid ritual has a story behind it that has kept me focused when I needed it.

After Reagan won the US presidential election in 1980, a group of Reclaiming Witches gathered in despair. They were sad, angry, and scared about what might happen next and how it would cause further damage to the world. They came together in a circle at Winter Solstice and shouted into the center all the things that frightened them, allowing their energy to be released from their bodies. Then, they took candles and lit them and talked about what they could do with the energy, making promises to activate hope and strength for what was to come next.

During the next Brigid ritual in 1981, the magick focused on gathering together to contemplate what has come before and speaking promises before a well and flame (to the goddess Brigid), witnessed by the community. The spell continues because the work continues.

Bending Toward Hope

Because no book will ever give you everything you need, I offer this: environmental activism is the work of hope. It is hard, and it is thankless, and sometimes it is invisible. This devotion to the Earth has many distractions and oppressors. It is work that asks a lot of those who have been accustomed to living in a certain way and for whom sacrifice feels a burdensome ask.

“Honoring the Wild: Reclaiming Witchcraft & Environmental Activism” not only contains stories but also instructions for rituals and exercises. As part of Moon Books’ Earth Spirit series, it brings the conversation into sharper view by centering the voices of those who were there. I was honored to bring these writings together from around the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

For myself, I know that my activism comes out of understanding the potential for loss and hurt. As I have grown in my relationship with the elements, not just as parts of a ritual but also parts of my body, I realize I am an activist for myself as much as I am for a tree or an ocean. When I realize we are not separate, it is not something outside of myself and the people I love.

This is not just about the history of Reclaiming; it is a spell of hope. On each page, you will find voices of care, compassion, and concern. You will find people who want something better for the Earth, so they keep going. So we keep going.

After all, hope is what you have when you believe things could change. And I still believe it.

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