What Witches and Artists Know

So, it’s fashionable these days to poo-poo Starhawk; it’s how we Pagans repay our elders. And I get, I do, how her emphasis on living off the grid can piss off those of us who have made our lives in cities. (I have a theory, and it is my theory, about serious Pagans; each of us has an “earlier Pagan” against whom we are in rebellion. I’m not sure it’s healthy, but it does seem to be true.) But I will go on record stating that I love what Starhawk recently said:

Here’s what Witches and artists know: There’s the visible, material world—and then there’s the World Behind the World, the Otherworld, the Underworld, the Dreamtime, where manifestation begins. When we stir the waters of the Otherworld, still waters ripple and tides shift in the world of Day and Night. When we want to change the living world, we first plant seeds in the dreamtime. We can do it with ritual and magic, with the power of a concentrated mind. We can do it with art, with poetry, fiction, music, songs, movies. All cast their own spells—for a spell is merely energy focused through imagery, to make something happen.

My brilliant DiL is off this week at a conference and so, yesterday, Son and G/Son came to have dinner and hang with Nonna. Son, bless every bone in his blessed (full of my RNA) body, picked up a “Chore List,” and went to work fixing my printer, changing the filter in my air conditioner, synching my new iPhone with my old computer, and hooking up the new hose to my old rain barrel. G/Son & I, privileged by being too young and too old to help, played with some Harry Potter (G/Son’s new mania: the one that replaced Elmo, dinosaurs, Batman, and Redwall) stickers and watched The Last Unicorn. (I would so pay v. good money for the hat that Mommy Fortuna wears.) After The Last Unicorn, we ran all around Nonna’s yard looking for the friendly black cat who comes to visit, picking and smelling various kinds of mint, and walking widdershins around Nonna’s firepit, while talking about things that we want to see begin to go away. (OK, we also made & laughed at some jokes about “farts,” apparently the funniest things in the EnTiRE WoRlD, and G/Son showed me some karate poses.)

The Last Unicorn gets more praise from some than I can understand, but I got it to show to G/Son as an example of how enchanted the natural world really is and how wrong it can be to do even well-intentioned magic to control enchantment, women, the Immortals. I love what the Last Unicorn tells the would-be magician: “Never run from anything Immortal. It only attracts their intention.”

May you, too, slip just below the radar.

Picture found here


8 responses to “What Witches and Artists Know

  1. Who is poo pooing Starhawk? Lemme at em!
    I went to my first Starhawk workshop in 2004 (Visioning the Future, in Asheville, NC). I still consider that day a huge turning point in my practice that changed my life forever. Starhawk is the reason I was imbued with the activist drive that has gotten me arrested in 4 states and why I only work in social/environmental justice non-profits.
    So basically, she shaped the adult human being I am today just from seeing her once as a teenager.

  2. The worst part is that when we get all snarky with our inner “earlier Pagan”, we are just internalizing The Voice Of The Mainstream that has nothing but contempt for the whole lot of us, but is cunning enough to focus on the weakest and most vulnerable.

    Your theory is brilliant. We cannot respect (let alone honor) ourselves as we are today unless we respect how we got here.

  3. And speaking of Unicorns, for me it was Margie Adam singing the Unicorn Song (Best Friend). One of the drippiest most hypersentimental songs ever. Gods I will always love it.

  4. I loved the Last Unicorn when I was a kid, but now it makes me cry every time. I’m old enough to see the parallels between this fantasy world and our own and it always saddens me.

  5. I live in The Smoke, and London is hardly compatible with off-the-grid living… but I went to a Starhawk workshop at the Glastonbury Goddess Conference in 2009 and something in me changed forever at that point. She is the real deal, she has integrity, and the quote above sums it up. Starhawk rocks!

  6. Always have loved The Last Unicorn (makes me cry eveytime) and Starhawk. Starwawk is a wonderful woman who has done a lot for the Pagan community. I will be forever greatful for that.

  7. Pagan Puff Pieces

    Is that conflict something like “I used to be an activist/idealistic/a witch, but then I grew up and got a job?”

  8. Livia Indica here: (http://magichills.blogspot.com) Maybe it’s inevitable in this day and age: once an individual reaches a certain level of notoriety and experience level it eventually becomes cool to look down on them. It’s just a function of time for some people. Regardless, she’s a brilliant and dedicated woman who, in my opinion, deserves the respect of every pagan.

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