The Magical Battle for America 9.24.17

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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.  Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak or grasp a stone or talisman that matters to you.  Grow your roots, send them deep into the soil, let them intertwine and grow small hairs to attach to the mycelia in your own landbase.

Breathe.

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.

Breathe.

As you move 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?

For a few moments, just sit on your hillock and allow yourself to become comfortable. This place should be feeling very real to you by now; we’ve been working together to create it for months and months.  As you look to the SouthEast, you see the banner of the Underground Railroad.  It grows larger and larger until it fills the entire sky.  As you watch, everything within the banner becomes three-dimensional and you can easily stand and walk into that world.

You are standing outside a plantation manor.  The daughter of the house wanders into the kitchen and finds a bundle that the cook, an old slave, left for her.  She slips out in the late afternoon when her father and brothers are napping away the heat.  She leaves the bundle of food tucked inside the barn door and darts back to her embroidery.

It is a dark, moonless night.  A free black woman has left the relative safety of the North and returned to the plantation where she was a slave.  If caught, she will be whipped and killed.  She calls like a barn owl and four dark shapes run from the shadow of the manor to the edge of the barn.  An enslaved man lifts the bundle of food and all five people hurry away into the woods.

Near dawn, they come to a small cabin near the edge of the woods.  Dried cornstalks stand in the small field and a middle-aged white woman gathers eggs from the chicken coop.  A log-cabin-patterned quilt hangs on the fence, drying, it seems, from a recent wash.  When the woman hears the sound of a barn owl, she listens and stares into the woods.  She hoots back and opens the door to her barn.  She leaves her basket of eggs inside and goes back into her house.  At noon, her husband goes into the barn to get a tool.  He sees nothing and leaves, unaware of the bodies hidden beneath the hay in the hay loft.

Three nights later, in Washington, D.C. a free black man wakes to a pebble thrown at his window.  He starts in his bed and then hears the sound of an owl.  Cautiously, he goes to his back door and looks out.  When he opens the door, five shapes slip across the alley and into his kitchen.  He hides them inside a pantry, locks his doors and windows, and goes to visit his friend who works at the Georgetown port.

His friend, a white ship captain with a family in Boston, listens to his story, swallows his rum, and nods.  That night, a wagon pulls up next to his ship and both men unload bags and crates into the hold of the ship.  A few days later, by the light of the half moon, the ship docks in Boston and five free people walk onto dry land.  The members of small black church on the edge of the city take the newcomers in.

The Underground Railroad was made of both black people — free and enslaved black people — and the white people who helped them, who were, in today’s parlance, allies.  All were willing to take risks to save even a few people from slavery.   As you watch this adventure, you may feel drawn to take part.  What would you have done to help the travelers, the conductor, the people who provided supplies and safe haven along the way?  Can you send some energy back through time to help them on this night of the waxing crescent moon?

Return to your hillock on the astral plane and observe race relations in current-day America.  As you watch, you chant a chant that spreads over the whole country:  “Our hands will work for peace and justice.  Our hands will work to heal the land.  Gather round the harvest table.  Let us feast and bless the land.”  As the sound waves carry across the country, envision more and more black and white people working together to end the racism that still plagues America and that has made our country weak, ripe for foreign interference, unable to move forward on important problems.  Envision a future in which diversity is seen by all as a strength, a future where racism is unavailable as a tool to be used by leaders looking to distract and divide us.

So mote it be.

Take a minute to catch your breath.  As you sit and rest, know that you are not working alone.  The Resistance — both magical and in all of its mundane (phone banking, check writing, representative calling, letter writing, canvassing, voting, volunteering, tutoring, restoring wetlands, growing plants for bees) manifestations — is huge.  Know that 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.  You are brave and growing braver.  Your magic and your practical workings can make the difference.

Breathe.

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 cold apple cider or hot green tea.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe a pumpkin muffin or a juicy pear.

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.  You may want to place something on your altar to help you to remember the courage of all who participated in the Underground Railroad.  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.

 

 

 

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Saturday Ballet Blogging

How’s Your Balance?

Work-Life-Balance

We’ve just passed the fall equinox, known to us Pagan types as Mabon or the witches’ thanksgiving.

Equinoxes are about balance, the two days of the year when the light and the dark are in perfect harmony, sharing the day equally, before we tip towards the dark (now) or the light (in March).

At Mabon, Pagans assess and celebrate our harvest, calling together our families of origin or choice to feast and give thanks for our blessings.

Meanwhile, in the mundane world (which doesn’t really exist; as Hecate is fond of saying, “It’s all real. It’s all metaphor. There’s always more.”), so-called President Trump has threatened nuclear war with North Korea (and he’s managed to make Kim Jong Un seem like the calm, sane, rational one, which is quite a feat), Congressional Republicans are trying to take away our access to health care AGAIN, and Gaia seems pretty pissed at us, what with three major hurricanes and two major earthquakes in the last month.

I think it’s a good time to ask: How’s your balance right now?

Are you taking breaks from social media? I know it can feel like, if you look away for a second, something horrible is going to happen. But you constantly monitoring Twitter or Facebook is NOT going to prevent that. Your 500 followers will still learn about whatever it is even if you don’t post/RT immediately. The world will not stop spinning if you skip one hot take cycle.

(While you’re at it, now might be a great time to consider deleting Facebook. Day by day we learn more about their complicity in helping Russia steal the 2016 election for Trump, complicity that they continue to deny and refuse to take responsibility for. I did so months ago, with virtually no impact on my life. You can, too. Even beyond their subverting our election for profit and turning our elderly relatives into budding neo-Nazis, there are a host of other excellent reasons to cut that particular cord. Just consider it.)

When was the last time you took a walk outside in nature? For us urbanites, “nature” can even mean “the nearest city park” – just someplace that you can see green, feel sun and wind on your face, and touch trees. Spending 10-15 minutes taking a stroll outdoors has all sorts of positive benefits: decreased stress, lowered blood pressure, decreased risk of depression, the exercise itself, increased happiness, increased creativity, better cognitive functioning. Go put on your shoes and take a stroll right now! This blog post will still be here when you get back.

Are you spending time with the people you love in person? An unexpected benefit of deleting Facebook has been that I feel more motivated to schedule time to actually be with my friends and loved ones. I don’t get the false impression that I know what’s going on with them just from reading their carefully curated status updates. I need to call them, or, better yet, meet for a meal, a drink, or a walk and ask them how they are and what’s new.

And when you’re on your walk or with your friends, put away your smartphone. I love the Crooked Media podcasts and the Washington Post, New Yorker, and The Atlantic apps as much as the next urban liberal elitist, but the relentless tide of depressing news and commentary can be overwhelming. Sometimes it’s nice to just be alone with my thoughts – or Duke Ellington’s Ellington at Newport album – on my walk. Studies have shown that the mere presence of a smartphone reduces the quality of conversations you’ll have. Stash it in your purse or jacket pocket and leave it there.

How’s your physical health? Are you eating a wide variety of unprocessed foods from the outside ring of your grocery store? Are you getting enough sleep (you might want to banish screens from your bedroom if you’re not)? Are you comfortable with how you’re using alcohol and other mood-altering substances? When was the last time you had a full body belly laugh? Are you moving your body in ways that make you feel good every day (if “CrossFit until you puke” is your thing, vaya con dios, but maybe try something a little more gentle)? Are you enjoying the kind of sex you like on the frequency you like to get it, whether alone or with a partner(s)? Have you been to the dentist in the last six months? Have you had your annual checkup with your primary care physician? Are you appropriately managing any chronic or ongoing illnesses? How’s your spiritual practice, whatever path you’ve chosen to follow?

When was the last time you read a novel? Or, if that’s not your bag, something like James Baldwin’s essays, Dorothy Parker’s biting wit, Dr. King’s speeches, Mary Oliver’s poetry, or a non-fiction book about your favorite historical event or period? You need to feed your mind and your spirit with more than news of the crisis du jour.

Speaking of, READ the news. Turn off MSNBC, CNN, even John Oliver and Sam Bee, at least every once in a while, and pick up an actual newspaper. Even better if it’s long form investigative reporting. Double even better if it’s in your LOCAL paper.

Find a way that’s meaningful to you to contribute to making your local community a better place. You can volunteer at your local food bank or animal rescue organization. You can do a favor for an elderly neighbor. You can make a donation to a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen. You can pick up trash on your street. You can plant flowers in your front yard or in a pot on your balcony. You can be kind to a stranger.

Finally, don’t forget to do something loving for yourself, however you define that. It’s OK if it’s “trivial.” Hell, it’s probably BETTER if it’s trivial. Go to a ball game. Get your nails done. Re-watch your favorite silly comedy for the 1,397th time (“BLUCHER!”). Take a nap in a hammock. Pour your favorite beverage, put on your favorite album, and just listen to the whole thing. Install a bird feeder (hours of entertainment for yourself AND your cats). Binge-re-watch season three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Go out and lay on your back in the yard and stargaze tonight. Get a new tattoo. Read your kid your favorite childhood book. Make banana splits for dinner. Go to that new bar, restaurant, or yoga class you’ve been wanting to try.  Put on Prince’s Dirty Mind album and dance like nobody’s watching (because they aren’t). Fix that loose doorknob that’s been driving you crazy for months. Forget that you’re (mumble mumble) years old for a minute, and go to the club with your girlfriends this weekend. Cancel plans you didn’t really want to make anyway to hang out with your dog.

We have to keep our own wells full in order to have anything to give. Constantly pouring yourself out without putting anything back in depletes your body, mind, soul, and spirit. It will make you sick and despondent and sap your energy. #TheResistance needs each and every one of us, but we can only be effective when we’re strong for the fight.

Image found here (because we could all stand to look at a picture of a highly attractive man for a few seconds about now)

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

This Is a Prayer for Mabon. This Is a Prayer for Resistance.

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This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for visits, for gratitude, for families.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the deliberate decision to establish connections, to reach out, to take joy in watching others eat.  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for wheat sheaves and pumpkins, for turkey and turnips.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for taking stock, for settling in, for facing the dark.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the courage to say, “There is a place set for you at our table,”* the fire to fight for what we love, the refusal to allow hunger to win.  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for cheeses and ale, for cherries and chestnuts.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for re-establishing balance, for reaching out, for doing more.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

Mabon is an act of Resistance, the belief that bounty should be shared, that people should be fed, that “only justice can undo a curse.”**  This is a prayer for Mabon.

This is a prayer for squashes and pies, for and rhubarb and roasts.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for the act of sharing, for sitting with guests, for stories by the fire.  This is a prayer for Resistance.

May your Mabon be blessed.  May you continue to Resist.  This is my prayer for you.

 

Picture found here.

* A line in The Fifth Sacred Thing.  

**Byron Ballard

 

Words for Wednesday

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The Harvest Moon

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.

 

Picture found here.

A Meditation on Rivers

One way to strengthen the Magical Battle for America workings is to repeat them several times during the week.  In case you’d like to repeat this week’s working with Lady Liberty and the rivers, here’s a beautiful video and poem to help you.  As you watch and listen, you can continue to see Lady Liberty bending down, touching the rivers with her torch, filling the water with cleansing energy.  That cleansing energy can wash away the evil that has come to rest upon our landbase.  You can lift your own torch, touch it to the river, and fill the water with that same cleansing energy.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/65603143″>The River – A Deep Ecology Visual Poem</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/lastleaves”>Last Leaves</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Monday at the Movies

A genuine American hera.  When I want to give up, she’s one of the saints who inspires me to get back up and keep doing, as Mrs. Whatsit says, “the next right thing.”