When I was a young woman in law school — and it was many and many a year ago — we used to buy these flash cards to help up to prep for exams. (I apologize; I’ve forgotten who published them.) The thing about law school is that you spend all semester reading cases and going to classes where the professors ask questions about the cases. But, the professors and case books are not trying to teach you what the law is; they’re trying to teach you how to think like a lawyer when you read cases or statutes. However, when you get to the exam, you need to know both what the law is and how to think like a lawyer to apply the law. So these flash cards had cute hypotheticals on one side and the answers on the other side, and they would teach you what the law was so that you could answer the exam questions. And the hypotheticals had some funny elements, mostly to help you remember what you were learning. So, for example, to learn property law, the hypos were always about BlackAcre and WhiteAcre. And, often, in torts, or criminal law, or civil procedure, the questions involved Gavrilo Princip doing something tortious, criminal, or procedurally incorrect.
Gavrilo Princip, as I am sure we all remember from tenth grade history, was a young person almost comically unsuited to change history. Yet, fired up by Serbian nationalism and possessed of a gun, he managed, on June 28, 1914, to assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess Sophie of Austria, thereby starting World War I, putting out the lamps all over Europe, and ensuring that our grandparents would not see them lit again in their lifetime. Some of us are still waiting.
Who was Gavrilo Princip and why did he matter?
The assassination of Franz-Ferdinand and Sophie set off a rapid chain of events: Austria-Hungary, like many in countries around the world, blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the question of Slav nationalism once and for all. As Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention–which would likely involve Russia’s ally, France, and possibly Britain as well. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.
So this is all quaint, ancient history. This describes the civilized world (mostly, then, Western Europe in charge of Eastern Europe) a century ago. What does it have to do with today?
But look at us today. The EU is imploding. The Islamic world is imploding. And every western power, from Columbia in Orlando to Marianne in Nice, is under attack. And one of the candidates for president in the US is a megalomaniac who hates foreigners.
But who’s attacking us?
The attackers are domestic abusers who are angry that their wives — their property!! — have abandoned/deserted/rebelled against them. Angry young men who cannot believe that their dominion has been stripped away. The very people who support Donald Trump, who want to “Make America Great Again.”
And tonight it feels as if our entire world is just one Gavrlio Princip away from blowing up. As if we’re all just one madman away from seeing the lights going out again.
You are Witches. You have altars. You have poppets and black thread — black thread spun on bone spindles, made from nettles and spiderwebs, used to bind the limbs of Patriarchy’s candidates. You are Witches. Your scrying mirrors show you the Gavrilos of your own land base and how to divert them with shiny things, how to stop them, how to make them stay home and drink tea when they want to be standing on street corners killing Sophia (no mistake there). You are Witches. You understand how fewer births benefit the planet and you know, against all that Patriarchy has to throw at you, how to bed and seal the fertility of the land base.
The full Moon will be here within a few days. You will have to answer to your grandmothers. What will you say to them about the full buck moon in July of 2016?
Picture found here.