Staying Strong

Staying Strong November 29, 2015

       I have the power to change what seems changeless;
       I am an Energizer in the world;
       I have the will to change the my pattern of existence,
       with love and passion, I can harness that will;
       deep within me are reserves of strength, energy and power.
       -Vivianne Crowley (2003)
       The Natural Magician: Practical Techniques for Empowerment.
       London and New York: Michael Joseph/Penguin.

Many of us work with the concept of Will – True Will, Magickal Will, Acts of Will. By this we do not mean will to power, or will as another word for ‘want’. We mean finding the true voice within and discerning it form all the babble of competing desires and thoughts, emotions and hopes, fears and fantasies.

As the Sun enters Sagittarius we are in the midst of a time when True Will is of absolute importance. We are on the threshold of a time of crisis and immense global upheaval and change. The old certainties are swept away, enemies become friends, and new uneasy alliances are formed.

Image by Christopher Day, courtesy of Shutterstock.
Image by Christopher Day, courtesy of Shutterstock.

The Tree is Shaken

Often the world of high global politics seems remote. We feel it is ‘nothing to do with me’. But there is nothing remote about the threats that now face Western society. They are up close and personal. There are people out there who are mad, bad, and out to get us, and they will maim and kill to do it. They will maim and kill us and themselves.

As Pagans, we know that the essence of manifestation is change. We experience cycles, and seasons. Winter follows summer. Ebb follows flow. Death follows life. Intellectually we know this, but much of the time it is easy to forget. We become immersed in everyday life and the routines of getting up, tackling the work of the day, interacting with partners and family, dealing with difficult work colleagues – all the minutiae of everyday existence.

And then something happens that shakes us out of our routines, our complacency. Something happens that shakes the foundations of our certainties and life cannot be the same again. It is as though a veil of innocence is torn away and we see the raw reality of human desires hidden behind the thin veneer of civilization.

Some of these events are personal. We experience relationship break up, violence, illness, death, and our sense of security and invulnerability is shattered. Our personal world shatters but somehow life around us goes on and we can find comfort in that. We may find comfort in our spiritual and magickal life – in the experience of being with Goddess or God, in the season’s round and the returning pattern of sabbat celebration.

But sometimes the psychological and spiritual disturbance is not personal but collective. We experience a traumatic event not at first hand, but through empathy with others and participation in the unfolding drama on the world’s media. The Paris bombing was a stronger psychic blow to those of us in the West than other atrocities in places less familiar to us. Paris with its Eiffel Tower is an iconic symbol of a free Western city. Like the Twin Towers in New York, its image is instantly recognisable. We feel a sense of identification with it. When Paris is attacked we feel something within us is attacked – something both valuable and vulnerable.

Freedom is Precious – and Easily Stolen

It is easy to take for granted the freedoms that we have in Western society. We have the freedom to choose our religion or belief, or not to believe at all; the freedom to vote for politicians to represent us; the freedom to choose whether to study; the freedom to decide what clothes to wear, how to conduct our sex lives, what to eat, and whom to eat it with; the freedom to walk down a street without masking our faces.

These are all choices that contribute to making human life worth living. They are the choices that make it possible to be the person we are meant to be. And they are the choices that men of murderous intent and hate aspire to take away from us. They want us to live in fear and dread, to reflect back to them their ideology of malice and hate, to be drunk on the heady wine of righteous wrath, and to gorge ourselves on the banquet of destruction.

We Refuse to Become Like Our Enemies

And we will refuse. We will not become like them. We will hold to our values that sing of the worth and value of all of humankind. We will dance for our Goddesses and Gods and we will create religions and relationships of love and compassion, of joy and freedom. We will choose not to hate or to acquiesce. We will choose to oppose.

We will do as the Parisians did and will go out in defiance on the streets. We will do as the Belgians did and post crazy cat photos on Facebook when told not to communicate about terror. We will grow stronger day by day as the shock of the malice that is being perpetuated shakes us out of complacency and makes us realize that we cannot take for granted all those freedoms and choices that enable us to live as Pagans in an often hostile world.

Ma'at.  From WikiMedia.
Ma’at. From WikiMedia.
Turning to Ma’at

At times like these we need to turn to our gods to seek strength, guidance, and wisdom. In the face of the changes and upheavals that are now taking place and those yet to come, we turn to that which eternal and abides.

There are many deities we could choose to invoke at this time. We could turn to Sekhmet, the ancient Egyptian Goddess of the Battlefield. But better still to invoke Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Justice. She is the Weigher of the Heart, the Lady of Balanced Judgment.

The tarot card of Justice is hers – holding in balance the sword of justice and the scales of judgment. She can guide us through the darkness to show us how we can hold onto our ethics and values, while showing the strength and resolution we need to affirm those values in the face of those who would destroy both us.

       Holy Ma’at Lady of the Balance,
       show me the way of Wisdom,
       show me how I may act and be.
       May I not despair in the time of darkness,
       may I not fear in the time of danger.
       may the forces of hate not pollute me,
       may my heart and mind be wise and strong.

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