My heart is full of gratitude for all of you who are engaged in the Magical Battle for America. I honestly believe that we are already doing some good and have the potential to do much, much more. Thanks, especially, to those who’ve been sharing their experiences in comments; that’s really helpful. And, brave. Brave and helpful. Helpful and brave.
Several people have reported feeling either dizzy or a bit “off” after one or another of the meditations. That’s not an unusual reaction to strong, heart-felt magic, but it’s not something that should be ignored. So, let’s discuss some ways to address this.
First, please remember that you can always get up and leave one of these workings if it is making you uncomfortable. That’s one of the reasons why you first anchor yourself to your landbase and select some small detail — the checkered pattern on the tablecloth, the crack in your favorite vase, the picture of your grandmother that sits on your altar, the new buds on the maple tree outside your window, the feel of the stones in the bracelet that you wear — that will call you back. If you feel really uncomfortable during the working, you can always stand up, briefly thank any helpful beings that are around, and walk back home. Return to your own body in your own landbase. Look for and focus on, for example, the crack in the vase. Breathe deeply, drink some water. Maybe splash some on your face. Rub your arms and your face. Stomp your feet. Say your name aloud, several times. Pinch your earlobe. Walk around slowly, focusing on the details of the here and now. If you feel up to it, eat a bit of protein and some plant material: yogurt with sliced banana, beans and rice, peanut butter on apple slices, a hard-boiled egg and whole wheat toast. Do some mundane stuff: throw in a load of laundry, sweep the kitchen floor (I find this super helpful), play blocks with your toddler. Get some fresh air if at all possible, even if it’s just opening up the window of your tenth floor apartment and breathing in the cold air from outside. Put your hands in some dirt, even the dirt of your potted philodendron.
You are helping the overall work by not making yourself a victim, by not leaving an easy target. You are gathering important information about your skills and are helping the overall working. You can always come back later when you feel better or you can do good by sending energy to those who are doing the work. Simply by walking away from the attack, you strengthen the Resistance. If you can do it, so can others who need to. If you can walk away, so can those more vulnerable. Lay down breadcrumbs.
Second, please make sure that you have carefully, fully, and recently warded your home or wherever it is that you do the work. There’s a reason why Dion Fortune called her work a “battle,” and I’ve adopted her term for the same reason. This is a battle to save our democracy. Battles are not risk-free. We have actual, physical, real opponents, and they are not unable — either as Christian “prayer warriors”** or as more experienced Nazi occultists — to do harm, on both the “mundane” and the astral planes. And, as Gloria Steinem once noted, “Serious opposition signals success.” So to the extent that our work is successful, it’s not surprising to see some opposition showing up. Feeling dizzy or disoriented is a very clear sign for me that my work is attracting opposition. It doesn’t mean that I stop my work, but I certainly pay attention to that information.
Most Wicca 101 books, not to mention a Google search, will show you dozens of ways to ward your home. Here’s a simple method that I use.
You’ll need some stones (at least 4, one for each direction). If you found them on the land, so much the better. Or, you may want to use hematite, obsidian, or quartz, which have protective properties. You’ll also need some local water (again, if you gathered it from a nearby creek and gifted the creek, so much the better, but the water that comes out of your tap is also local water), some incense or dried sage (again, extra points if you grew the sage or if you bought the incense from someone local), and an offering (American spirits, in my experience, like rum, but you can use strong tea, good broth, an art object that you made, a poem or chant that you’ve written on paper, or menstrual blood or semen.)
Ground, cast a circle around the area, and ask the Powers, Spirits, and Beings of the place to work with you. As clearly as possible, imagine walls and shields around the area you want to ward. (I do my entire yard, so that I include my house and the area around it.)
Stand up and actually walk the boundaries. As you do so, smudge the boundaries with incense or sage. See the smoke clearing away any unnecessary or unhealthy influences or left-over energies. Say something as you walk the boundaries and smudge; for example, “I am Hecate, the Witch of this Place, and I smudge away all that is unclean.” Repeat until you have made a complete circuit. Bow to the Power of Air in the East. Sit and see the smoke clearing away anything that should go.
Stand up again and actually walk the boundaries, scattering water. You can scatter it with your fingers or, if you grow any herbs, you can use a branch of, for example, rosemary or lavender. Say something as you walk the boundaries and scatter water; for example, “I am Hecate, the Witch of this Place, and I scatter the water of this Place which will grow up strong plants to protect this Place.” Repeat until you have made a complete circuit. Bow to the Power of Water in the West. Sit and see the water nourishing plants that protect the perimeter of your place. (Remember the wall of thorns that the Witch grew in Sleeping Beauty? Can you see your local oaks, or scrub grass, or, heck, if you live here, the goddamn hairy bittercress creating a similar boundary?)
Stand up again and actually walk the boundaries, placing (or, if you like, burying) your stones. See the stones anchoring the protection that you work; watch them linking energetically with each other to create a safe and secure boundary around your place. Say something as you walk the boundaries and place the stones; for example, “I am Hecate, the Witch of this Place and I bury this stone to anchor a deeper protection than any can guess. This stone I hide to shield my home from any who would do me harm.” Repeat until you have made a complete circuit. Bow to the Power of Earth in the North. Sit and see the stones linking and creating strong shields/walls/barriers of invisibility/membranes around your place. (Showing up on a regular basis (every Full Moon, once a week, on the day of the week when you were born and, also, whenever you feel the need) and “feeding” the stones by pouring olive oil, rum, mineral water, etc. is a great, quick way to strengthen your wards.)
Stand up again and actually either walk the boundaries, or — and this is what I do — walk to a stone in the center of the yard/place and pour, place, bury, burn your offering. See the Powers, and Spirits, and Beings of Your Place receiving the offering. Say something, for example, “I am Hecate the Witch of this Place. I pour this rum to You to show my respect, to nourish You, to cement our bond. May my offering be worthy, may my offering be received. I would be in right relationship with You.” Repeat until your offering is gone. Bow to the Power of Fire in the South. Sit and see your offering being received.
Now, and this is the most important part, visualize the protection that encircles your space. This may be walls of ancient stone, patches of impenetrable briars, shining shields of light, a giant bear that wraps itself around you, giant icicles that form a barrier around your work, vultures that swoop and land, a gryphon that stalks the boundary, the Mighty Dead who have your back.
Give thanks and open your circle, noting that it is “open, but unbroken.”
I spend some time every morning, during my daily practice, focusing on and feeding the power that surrounds my land. I make an offering once a month. Once a year, on the anniversary of the day when I moved here, I repeat the entire warding.
Even though I do some pretty regular ward-work, and even though I have done so since long before the current threat to America was a gleam in Putin’s eye, I’m always willing to ask for help. I recently asked Mrs. Whatsit, who has a gift for this sort of thing, to walk around my boundaries. She noted a few places that felt “cold” to her and she strengthened the wards there. If you and a friend can do this for each other, it’s a good way to make sure that everything is safe, and warm, and dry.
Third, you need to practice grounding and centering on a daily basis, not just when you do magic. Please make this a part of your daily practice. Again, most Wicca 101 books and/or a Google search and/or a search on YouTube will provide you with many ways to ground and center. I like the Starhawk video that I provided early in this work, although, by now, my practice is much more abbreviated than that. But the thing about grounding and centering is that it takes practice and that practice takes. By that I mean that it can take a long time (it certainly took me a long time) before you can actually FEEL results from grounding and centering. And I mean that you may have to do the work for some time (it certainly took me a long time) before you can tell that grounding and centering is making a difference. However, the more that you practice, the more that the practice pays off. Luckily, this isn’t the kind of thing that takes all day. You can quickly practice grounding and centering every morning when you sit down at your calligraphy desk, when you pour the flour on the counter to roll out the pie dough, when you get into the bus to drive, when you put on your scrubs to walk into the operating room, when you turn on your computer to begin analyzing the data or responding to co-counsel’s emails. You can quickly ground and center before you wake your teenager up for the bus, or before you walk into the classroom, or before you start directing traffic. You can do it when you open the piano keyboard, when the cameras start rolling, as you open Twitter, when you dial the number for the conference call.
So please, ground and center at least daily. This is a practice that will stand you in good stead no matter what happens to American democracy, no matter whether you ever return to the Battle for America, no matter even if we win and need to turn our attention to creating that lovely Pagan utopia that we all see just out of the corner of our eyes. And, certainly, ground and center each time you put on your armor, pick up your sword, call your allies, and head out onto the American plains for the Battle for America.
Fourth, and I am just writing this because they kept bugging me,* the American Fey want you to know that they are here and are willing to help in ways that some of you understand better than I may. It’s easy to see this battle as one that is purely human. But the future of the redwoods hangs in the balance. The life of the Chesapeake Bay is at stake. The Great Lakes are at risk. There is swamp land that matters. And the Fey — those who came with the First Peoples, and those who came a few hundred years ago from Scotland, and those who came through Ellis Island when Italy’s gates opened, and those who just got here from Syria — the Fey have skin in this game, as well, will they or nil they. Some of you, they tell me, are beloved of them, and you can do deep magic and never be long dizzy if you call to them. We need all the allies we can get. And the American Fey want art, books, comics, poems, film, and carvings — their really want carvings — dedicated to them, to them as Americans. (OK, I said it. Now, stop.)
I hope you’ll continue to show up for the Battle for America. And I hope today’s suggestions make this easier for you.
* No, really. They did. 🙂
** Hat tip to Ivo Dominguez, Jr.
Picture found here.