Start as You Mean to Go On: A Coda and a Prayer

Start as You Mean to Go On: A Coda and a Prayer August 22, 2017

Hello, beautiful creatures. I hope those of you in the U.S. had a lovely eclipse, whether you were within the path of totality or, as was the case for many, the path of overcastality.

As promised in my previous post, what follows is my attempt at collating some answers to the question that many people, myself included, have asked when confronted with the actual awfulness of life in America for anyone who isn’t white, straight, cisgender, and otherwise within the “charmed circle” of cultural acceptance: “What can I do about any of this?” These are some things to read, think about, and do now that you’ve decided to Do Something. The first part focuses on the “mundane” world, while the latter half is more what you might call “magical work.” I’m a firm believer that spiritual work should be grounded in the everyday world of families, jobs, bills, commutes, and grocery shopping… and, unfortunately, of Nazis marching in our streets.

Fortunately, you don't need to be an archaeologist-adventurer to fight them. (Indiana Jones' hat and jacket and the headpiece of the Staff of Ra from the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, WA, USA.)
Fortunately, you don’t need to be an archaeologist-adventurer to fight them. (Indiana Jones’ hat and jacket and the headpiece of the Staff of Ra, from the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, WA, USA. Photo taken by the author.)

Most of what follows is remedial homework for my fellow white people. If you’re a person of color, you’re welcome to read this, but let’s be honest: most of you already have a post-grad degree in this stuff. Also, I want to acknowledge upfront that I’m going to get some of this wrong. I’m just another white person, one who’s trying to realize how I contribute to the systems of oppression and violence that benefits me—no matter how much I wish they didn’t—and how to work to dismantle those systems. I’m gonna screw up, and possibly do harm in my efforts to do good. I mean well, but we all know that good intentions aren’t a magic bullet. For the inevitable mistakes, I offer my sincere apologies, and I ask your patience.

Now, I’d love to tell you things improve from here on out, but I try not to lie to people. Things are gonna suck from here on out, for a good long while, and at least part of why they’re gonna suck is because we have a dismaying amount of stuff to learn, white folks, and a horrifying amount of bad shit to unlearn. People of color have been dealing with this for way, way too long, and too many of them have shouldered the burden of trying to educate us on top of it. Some of them, Gods bless them, are still doing it, desperately hoping that we’re educable.

I want to be, and if you’re still reading this, I hope you do too. So, here are a few places to start.

Most of the resources below are the work of people of color and other marginalized folks doing a tremendous amount of intellectual and emotional labor to help us fix our hearts. I encourage you to support their work both by sharing their articles and, where possible, by financial means: buy their books, support their crowd-funding accounts, buy them a drink, whatever. They’re doing us the considerable honor of assuming that we’re not a lost cause. Let’s pay them for their work.

Start with Ijeoma Oluo’s Welcome To The Anti-Racism Movement — Here’s What You’ve Missed and Courtney Ariel’s For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies. These are going to be hard reads for many of us, and you probably won’t like hearing a lot of what they say about white privilege. That’s precisely why they’re utterly indispensable. If we want to fix the problem, first we have to know what the problem is, and these brilliant black women summarize it in as direct and succinct as fashion as I could hope for.

For those of us who already consider ourselves “allies,” this video from This Matters makes an excellent case for being “accomplices” instead.

How to Support When You Can’t Go to a Protest is a growing list of ways you can be involved in resistance, even if you can’t physically be present at protests.

There are a whole host of organizations and movements out there doing incredible work. If you’ve read this far, you might consider contacting one (or more) of them and seeing how you can donate or otherwise support their efforts. Here are a few to get started:

I know that many of you are already doing this work, and you have my deep and abiding gratitude for all you do. I also know that many of us are still trying to figure out how to get started with this work. I hope the preceding list will serve as a decent starting point. As a supplement to that effort, I offer up the following magical work I mentioned earlier, the prayer I discussed in my previous post.

Prayer is an uncomfortable subject for many folks within the modern magical spiritual communities. I think it’s because most of us Pagans, polytheists, witches, magicians, and other practitioners have grown up in a culturally Christian environment where “prayer” means “appealing to the Christian god, or to Jesus, or to Mary and the saints,” and a great many of us don’t want to call upon any of those folks. That’s understandable, and I can respect that aversion. Within the tradition of witchcraft and sorcery I practice, though, “prayer” is a broader term which can mean “meditation,” “incantation,” or “spell” as easily as “appeal” or “plea.” Our prayers also call upon gods, both the specific gods of our tradition and other gods with whom we have relationships, to act in an intercessory manner… but again, “intercession” is a little more broadly defined.

With that in mind, this is the prayer of my heart. I present it here as an offering to the gods I love, and to my community, near and far, who are in danger or in fear.

I also offer it also to you, reader, if you are so moved, but with a caveat: this is no light prayer. There is an appeal for guidance and protection, but there is also an explicit appeal directed against the Nazis in America: what various practitioners might call a “hex,” a “curse,” a “geas,” or possibly an “imprecatory prayer.” I do not write or speak these words lightly, and if you choose to do so, neither should you. I don’t counsel you for or against this work; I merely place it here, for you to read. Do as you will.

· · ·

Our Lady Diana,
Witch-mother, Witch-queen:
In Your holy name I pray.

The blood of the innocent and the righteous cries out from the earth.
The tears of the wronged burn with sorrow and rage.
The cries of the wounded and bereaved fill the night air.
Our oppressors and murderers walk openly in the streets,
And speak from the highest places in the land.
They posture and preen in their palaces and homes,
And threaten to bring death to us all.

I call upon You, Diana,
And upon Your blessed daughter,
The most holy Aradia,
Comforter of the lost and dispossessed,
Teacher of the hidden and secret ways:

Give us Your favor.
Guide us through the days which lie ahead.
Mantle us in Your cloak of night
From the eyes of those who would do us harm.
Steady our voices as we speak against evil.
And firm our hands as we raise our fists in defiance.

As for our oppressors,
The would-be lords of power and wealth:
While they glory in hate and feast upon suffering,
I call upon You to bind their souls and chill their hearts.
Let their weapons fall from their hands unused,
Let their limbs quake with the fear of righteousness,
And let them hide their faces from the shame of their own deeds.
Let their families reject them,
Their brothers repudiate them,
And their children shun them and deny their names.
Let their storehouses and coffers be empty,
Their fields be barren,
And their voices be lost on the wind.
While they would work evil,
Let their evil turn in their hands
To strike them down.

But should they turn from evil
And repent their misdeeds,
Then and only then
Let this spell be unwound and dissolve.
Let their injuries cease and their sorrows be lifted.
Let their families reclaim them,
And their voices return.

This, and only this, do I pray of You,
Most gracious Diana,
Most holy Aradia.
By my own hand,
With my own tongue,
And through my own will
Do I pray you grant my petition and prayer.
May it be so.
May it be so.
May it be so.

· · ·

Whatever you choose, please take care of yourselves and each other, and resist by whatever means you can.

Until next time, beautiful creatures. ♥


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