Monday at the Movies

Sunday Ballet Blogging

The Magical Battle for America 5/20/17

Manse Pool 12-10-2013 005

Thank you so much to everyone who has been doing these weekly workings.  If you’re new, welcome!  You may want to go back and read some of the prior posts for background.

I have felt this week that we (along, of course, with all the other magical workers and practical Resistance members out there) are beginning to see some of the fruits of our efforts.  A few weeks ago, we called on Tricksters to sew confusion and discord throughout the administration.  This week, the news has been full of stories about dissension and distrust among White House staffers.  We’ve learned of foolish mistakes that Trump and his people have made:  pressuring the director of the FBI to drop an investigation, firing him when he wouldn’t do so, giving away secret intelligence to the Russians, bragging to them about obstruction of justice.  And as each “own goal” comes to light, the administration stands there and looks exactly the way that Wylie Coyote looks just before he falls off the cliff.

Last week, we worked with the cowboy archetype and, this week, a Special Counsel was appointed to investigate connections between this administration and Russia.  There’s a new sheriff in town, replacing the old one who was in league with the bad guys.  This new sheriff is reported to be a pretty straight shooter.

I don’t mean that we’re close to success; far from it.  Democracy grinds slowly, largely by design, and this could take a long time.  And, meanwhile, this administration is ruining lives, killing people, destroying the environment, gutting public education.  But if you’d told me back on November 9th that we’d be hearing serious talk of impeachment by mid-May, I’d have thought you were wildly over-optimistic.

So let’s take at least a few minutes to savor our success, consider what has worked well so far, what may still be working quietly and unseen, and what has not worked as planned.  And then let’s get back to work.


Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work.  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.


Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase.  Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.

Ground and center.  Cast a circle.


As you move astrally to our American plain on the astral plane, you can see again the safe hillock where you do your work.  You can see the five giant banners, shining in the sky:  Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, the Salmon, and Lady Liberty.  Do they seem more defined since we began our work?  Do they have anything special to tell you this week?

Stand atop your hillock and look out over the flat plain.  You can see so far out here!  Look towards the NorthWest and see the mighty rivers that run from the mountains to the Pacific Ocean.  Walk into the giant Salmon banner.  As you pass through, you see that, beside a giant pine, tucked underneath an outcropping of rock, there’s a small, calm pool — a hidden place of calm on the edge of all that foamy, swirling, rushing water.  It’s mostly dark and shady in this pool, although a single shaft of sunlight pierces the clear water.

Breathe in the moist, pine-scented air.  Ground.

As you peer into the depths of the pool, you see the slightest movement.  You focus and the sunlight suddenly illuminates the giant Salmon resting near the bottom of the pool.  He’s gorgeous.  The sunlight shows his scales of ruddy pink and picks out flecks of silver-grey, tiny obsidian dots on his back, and hints of metallic green near his gills.  He’s resting on his long journey from the sea back up to the river where he was born and where he’ll spawn and die.  He’s safe here from the bears that hunt in the churning water of the rivers.  He’s safe here from humans who want to trick him with bait that looks like food.  He’s safe here — for the moment — from his own exhaustion, which wars with his intense desire to return upstream.

Allow yourself to feel some of that same calm.  Breathe.  Let your heartbeat slow.  Feel your muscles relax.  Become as calm as the Salmon of Wisdom in his sun-dappled pool.  You deserve this moment of peace, this chance to renew your energy.  Become aware of the connection between you and the resting Salmon, two parts of the same continental energy loop, two forces working together.  Feed each other some peace and calm.  Store this power deep in your belly.  Do you have a gift for Salmon?  Does he have one for you?  Is there a small pebble or a fallen leaf that you should bring back with you to help you to access this relaxed sense of safety and renewal whenever you need it?

Return now to your hillock deep in the central plains of America.  Stand and lift your hand.  Access that deep sense — of peace, calm, quiet, relaxation — in your belly and let some of it flow out through your hand across the plains.  Send it to everyone working in the Resistance.  Yes, soon, they (and you) like Salmon will need to return to the arduous, upstream work.  But for a few moments, they (and you) like Salmon can benefit from a few moments of renewal.  Send that force to everyone afraid of ICE.  Send it to scientists and park rangers scrambling to save information and natural resources.  Send it to our magical workers focused on making changes in consciousness in accordance with will.  Send it to the Powers, and Spirits, and Beings of the landbase who work with us.

See the calm spreading like a pool across the cities and farms, running along the roadways and rails, seeping into empty places, watering the weeds that break up concrete.  You are a powerful worker of magic, rooted in your very own landbase, working with the strong archetypes of this land, assisted by countless unseen others who labor in league with you.


Return to your own body, your own landbase.  Open your eyes.  Rub your face, move your arms and legs.  Notice the detail you selected to call you back from the astral.  Open your circle.  Drink something, maybe some icy water or strong tea.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe strawberry salad or a handful of granola.

During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral.  You may want to repeat this working several times.  You may want to place an image of Salmon on your altar.  You may want to journal about it.  Are you inspired to make any art?  Can you sit beside a warm fire, or light incense, or stare into a candle?   What actions are you inspired to take for the Resistance?  If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

Picture found here.

Onward Together!

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The news has been unrelenting this week. It feels like if you step away from Twitter for five minutes, so-called President Trump might decide to nuke Canada or institute martial law of defect to Russia and in the flood of ADDITIONAL bombshell stories AFTER that in the following four minutes and 37 seconds, you’d miss it. I saw a tweet of the famous scene from I Love Lucy where Lucy and Ethel are in the chocolate factory and can’t keep up. You know, this one:

Caption: live footage of the NY Times and Washington Post newsrooms. It’s been like that. We’ve all been counting down to 5 pm ET every day with one hand over our eyes, the other clutching a bottle of brown liquor.

Given that, I thought I’d close the week with something that’s full of awesome: Onward Together.

For those who missed it in this week’s deluge, Onward Together is Hillary’s answer to: “So what’s next for you, Secretary Clinton?”

Or as she put it on Twitter on Monday:

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And as always, rather than making it all about her (unlike some Bernie Sanderses and Joe Bidens I could name), she’s remained focused on her Methodist creed:

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When she was younger, that looked like helping kids with disabilities get access to education and, when the Health Security Act of 1993 (her run at creating single payer almost 25 years ago) failed, picking herself up and securing health care for 8 million children through SCHIP.

Now that looks like using her platform and fundraising power to help other small but mighty organizations amplify the good work they’ve already begun.

She knows she’s not the one to organize Millennials, many of whom still appear to be, inexplicably, under Bernie Sanders spell. But Run For Something is.

She doesn’t need to write the definitive guide to effectively lobbying Congress – the team at the Indivisible Guide has already done that.

Swing Left is already hard at work doing the grassroots organizing Democrats will need to take back the House of Representatives in 2018.

The Color of Change is already organizing around issues that affect the lives of people of color every day, like criminal justice reform and representation.

Emerge America has a terrific and comprehensive program to train Democratic women to run for office.

What do they all have in common? They’re relatively small or new groups that have done amazing work with not a lot of resources.

So Hillary’s going to use her star power to fix that. As she does.

What can you do?

If you can give, give.

If you can’t, spread the word on social media. Or sign up for updates. Or volunteer for one of the above groups Onward Together is supporting.

Or as Hillary put it:

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Main image found here (of course).

Methodist creed graphic found here.

Mid-May Pot Pourri


  •  I have a rather strong suspicion that the resistance is working.  I don’t mean that we’re close to success.  We’re not.  Don’t imagine otherwise.  But I do believe that much of the work we’ve been doing has begun to pay off.  First, several of the major items on the fascists’ agenda — destroying health care, giving big tax cuts to the wealthy, destroying Medicare — are in big trouble.  Not DOA, but in trouble.  And that’s due to every phone call you’ve made, letter you’ve written, march you’ve marched, magical spell you’ve cast.  With Congress focused on the current scandals, there’s much less oxygen available for them to devote to the agenda they hoped to push.  Second — thanks, in part to those of you who have been working every week to win the Magical Battle for America — the trickster Goddesses/Gods actually DID invade this administration a few weeks ago and sew chaos and screw-ups.  They convinced fools to believe they could tell foolish lies.  They got one arm working against the other.  They made leaks leak out of formerly air-tight seals.  And, thanks to you, we now have a cowboy sheriff — a special prosecutor — in town who, whatever else is true, has the authority to get Trump’s taxes, to start prosecuting liars, traitors, and crooks, and, maybe as important, to, see point one above, mire the fascists down in (this is music to my professional ears) so much discovery and legal procedure that they can’t do nearly as much damage as they’d hoped.
  • And, so, please renew your wards.  Set protective dragons, or bears, or chittering squirrels around you home, your car, your office, the place where you do magic, your investments.  Carry incense.  Sprinkle rainwater.  Lay crystals, or stones, or bits of bubblegum.
  • Whatever else is true, so is this:
  • The most important thing you can do to resist is to have a daily practice (OK, first call your Senators every day, but then, SECOND, have a daily practice).  Ground.  Center.  Listen to the song that makes your soul ok.  Light a candle.  Burn some incense.  Remind yourself that you are more than the chores you will run today.  Connect with your landbase.  Raise your shields

I am on your side.

  • I’m loving Anne with an E, the new retelling of Anne of Green Gables:

Picture found here.


Words for Wednesday: Beauty the Brave, the Exemplary


I don’t grow peonies, although I have always been madly in love with them.  I don’t get the right sun.  But, just now, peonies are blooming all over my northern Virginia neighborhood, and I stop at every neighbor’s yard and do homage.

Do you grow peonies?

I used to go most Sundays to the Dupont Circle farmers’ market and there was a man there who sold, at this time of year, peonies.  He told me once that he had a client down in North Carolina who paid him to ship peonies to her, tightly budded, and that she would then sketch them as they opened.

Sometimes, when my own life is too mad with briefs needing editing, and cases needing reading, and people who want attention, and beds that need weeding, and napkins that need ironing, and Goddesses and Gods who want attention, and a landbase that demands relationship — sometimes, in those moments, I self-comfort by thinking of that woman, alone, contained, in quiet, opening the box of peonies, putting them in a vase, getting out thick paper, and wood-lined carbon pencils, and a glass of wine, and sketching the Virginia peonies as they open, scent the air, and drop their petals on the polished wood of her Charleston (as it is in my dreams) piano.

She keeps me sane, that woman.

I would buy all the peonies that man would sell me and put them in my office, my bedroom, at a roadside shrine.

Here’s Mary Oliver’s poem:

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Picture found here.


Hail Eris! Hail Discordia!

So with my Moon in Taurus, I’m no chaos magician.  My Gemini Rising may love the idea of chaos (It does; drop some gossip here, spread a rumor there, make an argument over in that place, see what happens!  It’s exciting!  It’s fun!  You can make a story out of it!), but I’m an old hedge Witch who likes her incense and herbs lined up in orderly cabinets and her spells neatly inscribed in a tidy, dry Book of Shadows.  I need knitted sock on my feet when I do my morning meditations, a clean-swept floor around the fire pit.

But Hecate claimed me long ago, and She’s the Goddess of liminal spaces.  You know, those places where change occurs, where things mix up and new formulations occur.  Landscape Guy always reminds me that the space between dry land and swamp, that place where reeds grow, frog spawn articulate, snakes slip, shore birds turn minnows into eggs and muscle, and algae devours petroleum waste — that space is where Hecate lives.  That ancient graveyard claimed by kudzu and honeysuckle, stones tumbling and shadows cast. That’s liminal.  And what makes it magical is that no one knows what may come bubbling out of that messy mixture.  Ground and center; do your magic; Hail Eris!  Hail Discordia!

A few weeks after the election, G/Son was standing in my kitchen and he said, “Nonna,” in the way that lets me know we’re going to have an important discussion.  And, so, I took some shortbread out of the oven and put it on a plate, poured him some cider, sat my old bones down on a kitchen chair, picked up my knitting, and grounded.  The poor child has grown up in a family of lawyers, political activists, people who argue.  So I wasn’t really surprised when he began to try to articulate his thoughts, going back and forth, hands grabbed together in front of him like a singer.  He was worried because, on the one hand, he didn’t want “Our President” to fail.  That would be bad for the whole country.  But, on the other hand, he didn’t want Trump to succeed, because he knew that what Trump wanted to do would be bad for the county.  And, so, in his ten-year-old way, he was wrestling with those concepts and needed a grown-up to listen to him work that out in words, the way that people in our family have to do.  It’s all well and good, but until you can put it into words, well, the magic’s just nascent and half-formed.

I did my best.

I was thinking about my G/Son last night, as news of Trump’s latest disaster (revealing state secrets to make himself look important to some Russian spies) spread across the internet.  And I thought, suddenly, of Hecate, reigning over liminal spaces — the swampy edges where things change, where one thing becomes another, in the Mother, in the Mother.  And I thought about chaos magicians, harnessing the energy of discord in order to make changes according to will.  The only thing that will rid us of Trump is the very chaos that Trump creates.  He has to fail, and fail badly, for America to succeed, as I think G/Son grocked, in his ten-year-old-way back in Nonna’s kitchen last Fall.

We may have to live through more madness in order to get through this.  I keep remembering Adrianne Rich’s poem that says:

No one ever told us we had to study our lives,
make of our lives a study, as if learning natural history or music, that we should begin
with the simple exercises first
and slowly go on trying
the hard ones, practicing till strength
and accuracy became one with the daring
to leap into transcendence, take the chance
of breaking down in the wild arpeggio
or faulting the full sentence of the fugue.
– And in fact we can’t live like that: we take on everything at once before we’ve even begun
to read or mark time, we’re forced to begin
in the midst of the hardest movement,
the one already sounding as we are born.

Here we are, will we nor nill we, in the midst of the transcendence, taking on everything, the full sentence of the fuge, before we meant to do so, in this moment that, although we didn’t know it, was already sounding when we were born.  But, as Byron Ballard would say, we were born for these Tower Times.

Don’t wish for things to settle down.  Don’t wish for the Tower to hold.  Wish for all of us to be able to swim in choppy waters.

Eris!  Discordia! Bring him down!