We’ve awoken into the nightmarish landscape where Donald Trump is the president elect, and both the house and senate of the United States of America have a Republican majority; our system of checks and balances just got tilted into the easy favor of a narcissistic mad-man, and it happened with the enthusiastic support of a majority of her most heavily-armed citizens. That is the trifecta of fucked, if you are someone like me…if you are all the people I love…all the people of diverse culture, ideology, lifestyle, and color that I serve. I stand agape and weeping for us all.
What would Gandalf, Yoda or Dumbledore do?
Does anyone else feel like we are in the opening chapters of an epic sci-fi/fantasy series about the war between the forces of Darkness and Light, or as I prefer to categorize it, the Baneful and the Beneficial? You know, a beloved mythological tale, where the plucky minority of “little guys” in defense of sovereignty, compassion and generosity will be forced to go to war against hoards of monsters, or defeat Emperors or Dark Wizards, destroy horcruxes or rings or deathstars, and spend their youth trudging through a wasteland to defeat the dread forces of fearful, power-hungry greed?
This scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows runs through my mind, where the happy wedding party is interrupted by bloody military coup d’état.
“The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming.” ~Kingsley Shaklebolt, JK Rowling,
This morning I am sick with worry for us all, even the Trump supporters. As much as I’d like to sic the flying monkeys onto all their sorry asses, that won’t help anyone because the ego-maniacal buffoon they just voted into office will soon have the nuclear launch codes and the might of our armed forces at his command–and we all know that there isn’t anywhere on Earth that is safe. Pity. It must suck to be that weak and vulnerable, but so blinded by fear and ignorance you can’t even see the harbinger of doom standing on our front lawn.
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
Lord Voldemort’s[Donald Trump’s] gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
That baneful force of fear, hatred and woe, of restriction, rejection and regression into tyranny, isn’t just standing on the White House lawn, nay…it is right there seething on the front lawn of humanity. We are all in this together; the “interconnected web of existence” we pagans like to speak about is shuddering just now; some threads are thrilled, others are raging, some are crying in disbelief from what might seem like the safe distance of other countries, but none of us on Mother Earth can elude the consequences of last night’s actions.
I awoke this morning at 6:00, needing to bustle my children off to their schools, as if getting to jazz band practice on time was just as important today as it was yesterday. I checked the election results before my feet hit the floor, and was so shocked that I inadvertently woke them with my sobs. My 12 year old son wrapped his sweet arms around me, saying “It will be alright, Mom. I love you.”
I know that worry is a waste of energy, but for a trained magickian, it can also be dangerous, so we need to get a grip. Worry feeds your energies into the baneful side of the equation–it puts all your thoughts and empowerment into reinforcing the problem, rather than creating a solution. A fellow witch in our coven posted this on her facebook feed first thing this morning, and she’s right:
“Now is the time to put your time and resources into supporting the causes and people you stand for and believe in….I personally feel better when I am actively working toward the betterment of myself and my community rather than feeling impotent and powerless in the face of the election results.” ~JoyLeaf
Which made me think of this Gandalf quote:
“Some Believe it is only Great Power that Can Hold Evil in Check. But That is Not What I have Found. I Have Found That it is the Small Everyday Deeds of Ordinary Folk that Keep the Dark Forces at Bay. Small Acts of Kindness and Love.” Gandalf, Lord of the Rings
Then a witch I hold in the highest regard, offered this on his feed:
“We are the Bearers of Light. Tend your light in this darkness. Rekindle your light with others who hold it dear. Warm each other. Guide each other. Breathe deep. Cry. Ground. But do not despair.” ~Christopher Penczak
Will Public Witchery be Re-closeted?
I am as public a witch as you can be in North Carolina–an indigo-blue dot in a blood-red state in the Deep South, the old Confederacy they now call the Bible Belt–and for the first time since I came out of the broom closet and opened a Witchcraft shop in plain sight downtown, I am legitimately afraid of persecution. One of my super-powers is self-delusion, and it hadn’t truly sunk in that a man of his ill-repute might actually be handed the keys to the oval office…until around 9:00 election night. As the map was painted in red state by state, I am ashamed to say that for a hot minute of panic, I felt like a fool for having lived so defiantly among my conservative neighbors. Would my Witchery threaten the security of my innocent children?
I looked over to see them doing their homework, and playing video games, planning whatever antics that freshman in high school get up to these days through text-messages. This MamaHeron caught a whiff of danger and went into survival mode like an animal. The rainbow tableau I’d created around them of religious diversity, and unflinching support of all our friends living on the fringes of Southern Society, suddenly flinched. Shadows clinched down around me, adrenaline released in a fight or flight response and for the first time in my long life of being embarrassed about the ill-gotten privileges of my race, I had this thought:
At least they look like white people. Will our blond hair, fair skin and blue eyes save us long enough if we are ever forced to flee for our lives? If witches have to go into hiding once more, I could teach them how to fake being protestant…if I had to…
Shame…an Explanation to my Children
As soon as the thought passed, I was so filled with shame and nausea that the look on my face, and the mushroom-cloud of horror emanating from me with a stricken moan of “Oh gods…” caused my empathic children to turn, rise and move toward me in unison. “What’s wrong?!? What Happened?!?”
Shame is also a waste of energy. Rather than hide my selfish thoughts, I chose to confess them, talk through it and what it meant–how much I loved them, and how they could rest assured that no matter who won the election, their parents would take good care of them…that worry wouldn’t help, nor would anger, nor would returning any sort of hatefulness.
My son said something like, “Hitler Junior might be our next president.” So, we talked about our German heritage, and the history of Germany during the world wars; how it was the choice of many people there to use their Christian privilege to undermine the fascist regime by staying there within the system, yet clandestinely helping their Jewish neighbors to survive or escape, in thousands of sneaky and defiant ways. He is twelve and already has astute political insights. I feel confident that his efforts will lead us into a responsible future, but I’m still so sorry that his formative years will be influenced by this bullshit.
My daughter cried because so many of her friends aren’t white people, aren’t straight or christian; so many of her classmates are Latino. In coming years will they be deported? Being brown-skinned just got a lot more dangerous. Yet a few of her white-skinned friends were blowing up their group-chats with support for Trump as if they have no idea what threat that holds for so many of the people they go to school with every day. She’s fourteen and cares so deeply for all of them. I am so proud of her, yet a mother’s heart breaks for her children when they suffer.
So we talked about the civil war, and the civil-rights movement, of how even though some people in the south owned slaves before the civil war, as did our distant ancestors, countless other people here used their white privilege to help African-Americans escape enslavement. As far back as I can trace my lineage down both sides in the US, we have been in Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee. These are all red states for Trump in this election, all members of the confederacy, all states that fought desegregation last century, and turn a blind eye to the KKK to this day. These have been battlefields where Love has been defeating Fear through thousands of little victories led by her responsible citizens, and they will eventually add up to win the war.
Good folks like us, despite our ancestry, gender, skin color, or ideology, CHOOSE to stay and fight the good fight every-day, for the just treatment of our fellow human beings. None of these choices are safe, or easy, but they are right. These are the choices of the heroes for whom we sing praises in our mythologies, just like Harry Potter, just like Luke Skywalker, and Frodo Baggins.
Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
On the drive to school this morning, I reassured my children that they will be well cared for, no matter what it takes–even if that eventually means moving elsewhere. I am their MamaHeron first, and they can trust in the safety of my rookery. However, we can only proceed with dignity in this life, and with the same love and respectful behavior offered to others as we expect for ourselves, including our Trump-supporting friends and family. Though they can be sure that I will be outspoken in my disagreement with that hatefulness, and when history sorts it all out in the end, we must have been consistent in our unwavering defense of our progressive ideals–by walking our talk. We will use whatever privilege and powers we have in the support of those who may be persecuted by this incoming regime—even if that makes us unpopular for a time.
It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
Albus Dumbledore Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Divine Love Warriors
Aphrodite instructs me that Love is the polar opposite of Fear, and the purpose of the modern witchcraft praxis is to defeat our fears and become warriors of Divine Love. From the root of fear grows hate, and just about every other plank in the Trump political platform. If we wish to heal these rifts in our country, love is the only cure.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~Yoda, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back
Though, I reminded them that sometimes that love is delivered in a hug, and sometimes a spanking. We will continue to stand up for what is right, being the strong link in the chainmail of our society by defending the boundaries of decency. We will keep up the hard work of social change, no matter what unpleasantness the future may hold.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Keep heart, beautiful ones. Goddess grant us the strength to be her warriors of loving co-existence throughout the coming days. May we all rise to the challenge with grace, compassion and fearlessness. Hail Aphrodite!
We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on.
Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
**All photos were taken by Courtney Varnadoe of the bumpersticker displays at my shop, and used with permission.