In The Goddess in America: The Divine Feminine in Cultural Context, Kate Brunner writes about A Dream of the Wisewoman’s Comeback: Priestessing for Goddess in Today’s America. Although her essay was written before the election, I think some of her wisdom is particularly appropriate for those of us doing Resistance work. She writes:
As part of the defense of wildflowers, mountain tops, and those who need them, we also have [a] noble notion to defend. That of grounded optimism. That of hope. Even as [the wise woman in Ms. Brunner’s vision] bared her teeth and reached for that dagger at her side, the wise woman pressed her free hand to my heart and reminded me that all is never lost. That we are clever, cunning women who are capable of creating new and powerful Goddess-centerd solutions that defend without destruction. Underneath this lifetime’s everyday wear, wise women’s fierce bones are green.
The wise women have already carved out the way. We have only to bring it out of history and dream time in order to make it what we need it to be today.
With every batch of fire cider brewed, every birth and death attended, every labyrinth walk facilitated, every mother-baby blessing woven together, every Witch’s Night In hosted, we grow stronger and more visible in our communities and our ever-expanding circles of wise women. With every organic garden grown, every new recycling program started, every tree planted in the local parks, every protest organized, every voter registration drive completed, every meal served in soup kitchens, every injustice called out, every reform finally secured, we speak more clearly and work more closely with Goddess in America.
It’s easy in these dark days to get discouraged and want to give up. Trust me, I am the Queen of Wanting to Give Up. With my Sun in Pisces, my Moon in Taurus, and my Gemini rising, I have a corner on the lazy signs of the Zodiac. A hundred times a day, I want to give up. I want to give up on the new eating regimen I’ve started. I want to give up on my plan to take the elevator up to the floor below mine and walk the last flight. I want to give up on the difficult brief I’m writing. I want to give up on following the news. I want to give up on the Resistance. I want to give up on this blog. I want to give up on keeping the weeds out of the garden. You get the idea. But being the Queen of Wanting to Give Up has taught me that you can always start again. You can always do it “just for today.” You can always pause, breathe, center, and keep going.
Ms. Brunner’s essay reminds me that we don’t have to do everything alone and we don’t have to head into the dark without guides. We are, each of us, literally here today because we come from a long line of people who wouldn’t give up. You carry their DNA in each cell of your body. As we Witches like to say, we are the great-granddaughters of the women they couldn’t burn. Call your ancestors; they will help you to not give up. (I should know; mine kick my ass several times a day. See supra.)
I thought of Ms. Brunner’s essay earlier today when I read Athenae’s post: Stop Fighting to Win. Fight to Fight, at First Draft.
Athenae writes about the current trop that says: If America didn’t do anything about guns after children were killed at Sandy Hook, then, forget it; we’re never going to do anything about guns. Like Athenae, I hate that notion. It’s too much like, “Well we’ve always done things this way so nothing can ever change.” Fuck that shit. I am a devotee of Hecate, the Goddess of liminal spaces, of the sacred geography of change, of choosing the correct path at the crossroads, of seeing a way in the dark. I will never agree that something can’t be changed.
You think that’s some kind of profound statement? You think that makes you sound wise? You think that makes it okay to go to brunch, or turn off the news, or go numb? Fuck all the way off with that ironic detachment and smarter-than-thou condescension and laziness dressed up as superior knowledge.
What is wrong with you? Killing children is not acceptable. Not at Sandy Hook. Not the next neighborhood over. Not with guns and not with knives and not with economics. It’s not acceptable to me and it never will be so nothing’s over, not now and not ever.
But but Republicans, and the NRA, and money, and guns, and the culture, and the laws, and the political climate and the red-blue maps and the gerrymandering and it’s all too goddamn much, right? From a practical standpoint there’s no way any other vision of America at this point can come to pass.
How many times a day do we hear this from others? How many goddamn times do we hear it from ourselves? Roy Moore is gonna be the next senator from Alabama and Democrats are going to be crushed everywhere for all time and the Supreme Court is lost for a generation and Donald Trump might actually get re-elected and fake news and Russian bots and drone bombings and nuclear war and and and and STOP. Just stop.
It’s tempting, when you’ve spent your life fighting for something that is so vital, to hunger for victory. To want, just once, to strut across the finish line. To feel you’ve accomplished something, to feel you have something to show. To put an end point on something that’s neverending. You want to say, “I did this” and know your time was well spent.
You want to avoid getting your heart broken, too. You want to create some scenario in which losing is not a devastation, so you spout this cynical crap and you think it’s wisdom.
(Of course, go to brunch and do turn off the tv. But we can’t go numb. Not ever. They WANT us to take the blue pill. So don’t do that. Don’t take the blue pill.)
Athenae’s solution is simple. And it’s a lot like @mrswhatsit9‘s concept of just doing the next good thing:
Call your reps. Vote every Republican out, every one, from the township on up to the capital, and shout and protest and donate and raise your damn voice every second you can. What you think should be enough might not be, shameful though that is. But to say it’s over because we haven’t won is more shameful still.
You reading this?
You looking at the world, you’re not happy, you want different?
You breathing? You alive?
Then it’s not over. Not for gun control, not for the courts, not for Puerto Rico, not for lead, not for police killings, not for war, not for poverty, not for anything you give a shit about. Not for you and yours. Not for the wide world. This country is drowning, fighting, bleeding, dying, and being reborn every second and there’s no way out of this that doesn’t kill you, so in the meantime, keep fighting like there’s nothing but the fight.
Of course, Harriet Tubman told us the same thing:
If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.
We’re Witches. We can do this.