So I am back from a long hiatus. This spring was a tough one, and grief is a great silencer. I have traveled overseas, on a pilgrimage of sorts, and brought my children on a journey to explore the sacred places of England and Scotland. I finally presented in London, a goal that had been derailed through life and circumstance. I found Dion Fortune’s grave, and paid homage with the distinct pleasure of leaving a book as an offering for the next traveler. I have gone to Chalice Well, and washed myself in the Red and White waters. However, the most healing event by far was connecting with old friends, new friends, Witches, Magicians, and Aspirants. I flew solo to Connecticut to present at The Morrigan’s Call. I went to Cornell University to see the installation of witch burning propaganda. This is important to note and discuss. Not everything happens on the Internet.
There have been some impassioned, beautiful articles published recently exploring the politics of Witchcraft and making the case that politicizing the Craft is not only positive, but part of the package. That this is what we do, and apparently, the marching orders we have received from the Gods. I am writing today to offer a different perspective. People should move as they are Called, and some of us have received alternative instructions. My own message was not one of War, but of Love. It is not consistent with the ideas expressed recently by my friends, but that is fine. We do not have to agree on everything to be on the same team.
When I was overseas, I got the chance to host a ritual inside of the stone circle pictured here. We met up with my Maiden, who expatriated last year, her students, and the excellent Dundee Witches. We camped overnight, and had the chance to break bread and get to know each other over more than a few sips. One person stated quite plainly, “we are afraid of Americans these days.” I replied, “so are we, for the most part. Everyone is afraid of the Other, whoever that happens to be at the time.” We chatted, we drank, we got the kids settled. Then we went on to circle. We stood against the stones, and felt the hum of the energy we had raised vibrate through this wonder. We sang. We danced. We made a commitment to further the Craft, to share, and to be blessed. The mist rolled in, it was cold and damp. We lit fires and laughed to stave off the dark, until the sun rose again in the morning.
When I was brought into British Traditional Wicca, I was taught that we leave politics aside when we step into circle. Your wealth, your status in the world, your mundane concerns are stripped aside and you come naked to the rite. Why? Because all of that is surface. All of that is human, those prejudices and assumptions have no place between the worlds. The Gods do not care which way you vote or how you make your money. What concerns Them is the caliber of your spirit. Who you are when all of that is abandoned, and where you go with it is what matters. This is what They want to work with, authentic people who have both Honor and Humility, Mirth and Reverence to share. This does not mean we are not impassioned, and opinionated. We are empowered to work in this world as we so desire. Yet that is separate, a personal choice, not the Edict of the Gods.
Personal anecdote: many moons ago the topic of abortion came up. Two ladies in the group were pregnant and had decided to terminate. Several coveners were staunchly pro-life, and gave compelling reasons for giving birth. Cited all kinds of “evidence” from revealed texts and personal gnosis of What the Goddess Told Them. Others had alternative interpretations, and had their own ideas of What the Goddess Wants. After several rounds of tears and hard feelings, the verdict was: Ladies Choice. You know what happened? We got through it, and continued to circle together for years despite not reaching a consensus. I have circled with Republicans, Democrats, Anarchists, Socialists, Capitalists, and Apolitical. Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Hawks and Doves and shades in between. In the magical Lodge I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Bible-thumpers and Satanists alike. Why? Because the work is greater than our opinions. If the Gods don’t care, why should we?
It is dangerous to conflate religion with politics, and it disappoints me to have to remind Pagans of this fact. If you need a refresher, most of the Western world was terrorized from this mistake for several centuries. According to the statistics posted by Cornell University, an average of 2 per 1000 were killed in Scotland alone for about 400 years or so. Interesting fact: the witch craze and mass killings coincided with the invention of the printing press. Coincidence? Not at all. Media gives us the power to connect and spread our ideas, our dreams and our madness also reverberate at lightning speed. What are you projecting? Are you creating connection, or cacophony? This is an important point to consider and remember. When we participate in Othering, we are perpetuating the hysteria that breaks connection and leads to persecution. If you claim that this is just because the Goddess told you so, please review your history and explain to me how this is any different than preceding generations of toxic religious propaganda?
The great beauty of the Western Esoteric current is that it is transcendent of caste, orientation, politics, and wealth. The work is apolitical, this is a distinction that matters. It breaks down the barriers that keep us separate in order to bring us together. Now what we choose to do with our time once we are assembled is up to us, and indeed, this is the great engine for political change. Participation in the Theosophical Society absolutely brought people together to start speaking of all kinds of social and political reform. This is what led to labor reform, vegetarianism, and Women’s Suffrage. But it began with inclusion, not exclusion. It would be wise for us to remember this in these trying times. Do not fall into the trap of Divide and Conquer. Do not repeat the mistakes of our oppressors and participate in witch hunts. There is no romance in burning at the pyre. Your hands are not clean if you likewise light the fire.
Look around you. Where is your Web? Is your circle growing or contracting? My personal message was to create new Allies, to remain open, to share my skills and experience with the People. To dialogue with everyone, holding a tough space sometimes to create clarity, and to above all, to Magnify Joy despite Adversity. Tough stuff for me, but them’s the breaks. What is your message? Your true message, not something echoed and prepackaged for you? My advice is to Be Silent, wait, listen. Then Act with intention. You are empowered to move in this world. The time is now, and We are the Heroes. Use your power, keep pure to your highest ideal. We can create music from all of this noise. The mist will burn away in the dawn.