You know the saying ignorance is bliss? Well, some days I think Wisdom is suffering. Wisdom is knowing the broader truth of things, and these days the truth hurts. The roots of the word witch are said to mean, “wise one.” Wisdom is a witch’s business; truth is our currency; action is our vocation. You’re a witch in these dark times? My condolences.
One of the things I’ve been tasked to DO about something I KNOW is to write about it. If I broadcast the messages I’ve been taught about Divine Love, other witches can channel this power into the world along side me – or at least that was the plan. To this end, an embarrassingly long time ago I started writing a blog series called The Pentacle Approach to Wellness Through Dark Times, but I never finished it. I’ve been a naughty witch, but then again…times since then have certainly been instructive, as is want to happen when you accept a sacred mission from a Trickster God. (Hail Hermes!)
For a while there last year, times got dark enough that I could no longer see to find my way…I didn’t actually know what to write, and the “hanged man” tarot card lesson to stop, get jerked upside down, and pay attention, was the order of the day. Living here on planet earth got harder, as the painful lessons came at me just a bit too fast. A time of being present within that suffering was required. I noticed similar lessons unfolding for many witches I know, which is why I began with my condolences. This shit ain’t easy.
You saw the world burning, too, right? It’s been a white-knuckled ride these 450-some-odd days since Trump got the launch codes. The on-going atrocities compound daily at a rate faster than the internet can serve it up. Does it seem bad, now? Wait a hot minute, and this morning will suddenly feel like the good old days.
I got half-way through a series on balancing the five bodies of the self, then my emotions were drowning, my mind reeling, my body weakened, my will broken, and my Spirit ready to just abandon the middle world all together. I’ve had to do a lot of practicing what I was preaching, to make it this far.
The Emotional Body of Perilous Waters
The next article in the series is supposed to be about balancing the Emotional Body – a witching approach to keeping the “waters” of our hearts in balance with the air of our minds, fires of our Will, earth of our bodies, and our aether of our Divine Spirits. [Edit: I finally posted it here.] What I’ve been slowly learning is that wellness and balance are subjective and complicated. Talking about emotions is uncomfortable. You can’t talk about emotional imbalance, without getting into WHY we are upset…which are perilous waters that go way deeper than a single blog article can cover.
As a nation we are in uproar over politics, religion, sexuality and finances – then toss in terrorism, racism, and sexism and you might think setting yourself on fire in a suicide protest might be less painful than the fight for justice. (Hint: Not Advisable) We’ve been told all our lives that discussing these taboo subjects shouldn’t be done in polite company. Folks don’t like it. Well, maybe that is the root of this problem: not learning how to talk about these important things politely. Good thing Witches like breaking taboos.
Terrifying, Terrible, TerrificI love words. Words have unique power, if you know how they were made and evolved into meaning. A witch’s magick is called “spells” because we create change with the power of words and symbols. Since “terrorism” is a powerful word on everyone’s tongues, let’s look at it more closely:
early 15c., “something that intimidates, an object of fear,” from Old French terreur (14c.), from Latin “great fear, dread, alarm, panic; object of fear, cause of alarm; terrible news,” from terrere “fill with fear, frighten.”
Every day some new political, environmental or social terror happens that keeps us staggering. Whether this increased danger is objectively worse, or just a perception, is irrelevant; fear is the result. The real danger comes when folks become so paralyzed by fear that they’ll roll over and succumb to a fascist coup without a fight. This is why we must constantly attend to our emotional balance.
“Fear is the mind killer, the little death.” Frank Herbert, Dune
Remember: terrere is the root of more than one word, with more than one application.
Witches know things...terrible things…including more than our fair share of how to survive in hostile environments. Witches can also do things…terrific things…to restore balance and create change. After all, the very purpose of Witchcraft as a spiritual praxis is conquering our fears with Divine Love. Divine Love is terrifying to agents of Fear.
I don’t know about y’all, but I can be especially terrifying when I get my mojo go-going, even though I always source my work from Divine Love.
However, imbalanced Witches firing off half-cocked are a danger to themselves! We must all tend to our balance on all levels with plenty of self-care. These times require a blend of speaking truth to power, and listening carefully, to both Divine guidance and to our fellow humans.
Being a witch during these dark times doesn’t have to be a condolence, though we could host one helluva pity-party if we let ourselves. If we all work together, we can help each other stay on the rails. I do believe that the arc of our society will eventually “bend towards justice,” just as MLK, Jr. once said.
PS. I will be presenting a workshop on this Pentacle Approach series at the Mystic South Conference in Atlanta, GA this July. Perhaps I’ll see you there!
I’ll update links for this series as they are posted: