The moment that saved my heart came at the very end of a video training conference for ICE deportation resisters. The young Latinx said “We always end with chanting. It helps us to connect and it builds our community.” Then the organizer spoke the words of Assata Shakur and we repeated them: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
This has been one of the bad weeks. I find myself shaking with anger, breathless with disbelief at the news coming out of the camps at our borders. Today, in my country, children are taken from their desperate parents and are imprisoned. They are alone, neglected, abused, and even dying. Within our borders people are snatched from their homes, imprisoned in detention camps, and deported. This rips apart families, deprives communities of workers, and results in poverty, suffering, and even death. I read the stories and see the pictures and my heart breaks.
My friends say “I am heart sick but I only one person, what can I do?” I keep thinking about the ancient theurgists. They didn’t just teach people, they acted. Plotinus took in orphans. Asklepigenia did magic to protect the city and healed people. Proklos was kicked out of Athens for a year and came home a more cosmopolitan man. Socrates got himself killed by the state for refusing to stop speaking his mind. I keep thinking they would be out in the street with us.
Theurgy always been about both the personal and the communal. It speaks to the individual need for spiritual experience and the community need for every member’s support. There is a great hunger for ideas about how to put this into action today. Whenever Bruce MacLennan, Tony Mierzwicki, Hercules Invictus and I hold forums about theurgic activism people show up ready to engage.
Theurgic activism means three things: strengthening ourselves, praying and doing magic, and acting in the world.
First, we need to take care of ourselves. Limit exposure to news, spend physical time with family and friends, get out in nature, eat and exercise and sleep, and spend daily time in meditation practice. This gives us the foundation to do the magic and engage in the actions.
Praying and doing magic
Here is a theurgic working to aid refugee families.
Holding the heart of refugee families
This working invokes the planets and elements as universal powers. In the Hellenistic system you could add the names of the deities associated with them. You can map any deity or power that you work with onto the planets and elements in this working, or you can just invoke the planets and elements.
The heart: this can be made of stone, cut from construction paper, molded in clay. It should be new, not used for another purpose, and it will only be used for this ritual.
Holding the heart in your hands, make the following invocation.
I hold immigrant and refugee families in my hands.
I hold immigrant and refugee families in my heart.
- I invoke the power of restoration. Power of Saturn, restore the families to each other.
- I invoke the power of mercy. Power of Jupiter, uphold the law of merciful action to grant sanctuary to refugee families.
- I invoke the power of defense. Power of Mars, protect the refugee families from all who would harm them, especially those who would separate children from their families.
- I invoke the power of life. Power of the sun, shower the refugee families with limitless shining strength.
- I invoke the power of love. Power of Venus, relieve their suffering, surround them with loving hearts, fill their hearts with peace and love.
- I invoke the power of knowledge. Power of Mercury, send them the knowledge they need at the exact moment they need it.
- I invoke the power of health. Power of the moon, restore their bodies and strengthen their energies.
- I invoke the power of nurturance. Power of earth, aid them and sustain them, aid and sustain us all.
Bring your hands to your heart. Imagine and feel a globe of the invoked powers surrounding the heart.
Wrap the heart, place it in a box, and store it in a safe place.
Return to this ritual whenever you feel the need in your own heart.
Acting in the world
Many of my friends are comfortable with doing magic but less comfortable with real world activism. But acting is a spiritual imperative. We need both prayer and action to stop the damage being done to refugee families. The action grounds our magic and manifests it; we ourselves are the hands of the powers.
I started this post by talking about attending ICE deportation resistance training. I’ve spent years training and doing direct actions and have worked my way up to this. You don’t have to start there! You can do whatever is comfortable for you, or maybe just a little out of your comfort zone. The main thing is to pick something and make it happen.
Here is a list of possible actions.
- Sign a petition. Here are two: Shut down the trump administration’s concentration camps andChildren don’t belong in cages.
- Get involved online. Read #WithRefugees and #CloseTheCamps and join the conversation.
- Contact your representatives. Text Resist Bot(50409, text “resist”) to send a fax to your representatives or check this site to find their email addresses.
- Contribute money. Here are two organizations: RAICES and Welcoming America.
- Get out in the community. Attend a rally or vigil. Here are two: Close the Camps on Tuesday July 2 and
Lights for Liberty on July 12.
It is our duty to fight. It is what makes our hearts whole.