If you’ve read Dion Fortune’s The Magical Battle of Britain (and, if you haven’t, I encourage you to do so), you’ll note that, at about the two-year mark, the focus of her letters shifted. In the early days, she was working with her readers to, for example, establish a secret temple beneath Glastonbury Tor and to visualize angels with fiery swords patrolling the coast of England. As the war progressed, her focus shifted towards the world that should be built after the war. (Part of Ms. Fortune’s genius was to understand, as many failed to do, that, after the war, the world would be vastly different from the world before the war. The Battle of Britain wasn’t about winning the war so that everything could go back to the way that it was before the two great wars.)
We, too, have been engaged in a nearly-two-year-long struggle. And, just as England was not out of danger when Ms. Fortune shifted her focus, we are not yet out of danger here. Things may, indeed, get much worse before they get better. That said, I do think it’s important for us to focus on the world that we want to build, post Trump. We, no more than the British gentry or the farmers of the English commons, can’t ever go back to “the way things were.”
Byron Ballard suggests that we each pick the two or three causes that matter most to us and focus on them. Clearly, there are so many areas where change is needed that it would be easy to burn out working on all of them. I encourage you to do some meditation, divination, and discussion with trusted friends in order to figure out where you want to focus your efforts.
The Democratic Congress has introduced HR1 2019 , which, inter alia, makes it easier to register to vote, fights voter suppression, mandates paper ballots, requires that big donors be disclosed, requires presidential and vice presidential candidates to release their tax returns, and requires a (long-needed!) code of ethics for the Supreme Court. You could make this your cause, committing to write one letter a week, to make one phone call a day, to burn a candle devoted to passage (you can buy white candles in clear glass on the internet, print out the bill, or a picture that represents that bill, and glue that to the glass; then, burn with intention for a short time every day).
Congressman Don Beyer (fair disclosure: he’s my Congressperson and I’ve volunteered to get him reelected) has introduced legislation that, will, among other things:
allow voters to rank the candidates in order of preference, rather than simply voting for their top choice. Some version of this system is already used in many municipalities, and six states have adopted some kind of ranked-choice voting for congressional elections. If your first-choice candidate does not win, your second or third choice may. This spurs candidates to work to appeal to a broader swath of voters, which would calm polarization in many parts of the country.
You may want to focus on saving the environment, protecting wildlife, ensuring clean drinking water, financing green infrastructure, protecting the two-mile-square piece of wetland that is crucial to the health of your nearest river. You may want to work for real, effective sex education, to promote a group that teaches at risk children to read, to fully fund your town’s public libraries.
You may want to work for programs that teach PTSD veterans to farm, for decriminalization of marijuana and release of prisoners who were convicted of marijuana possession, or for a fenced dog park in your neighborhood. You may want increased funding for arts education, better access to services for those who are differently-abled, or legislation that enshrines LGBTQ rights.
Maybe you can get passionate about funding for juvenile justice programs, better protections for union workers, dental care for at-risk children, programs that bring animals into nursing homes, or a WPA-type campaign to decorate public buildings.
You may want to see an end to capitalism, or patriarchy, or industrialization. You may be most concerned about privacy in the age of the internet. Maybe you want to see a guaranteed annual income for everyone, a 70% tax rate on the richest .05%, or you may want grocery stores and restaurants to be required to donate or compost unsold food, rather than throwing it away.
The list could go on forever.
What I want to challenge each of you to do is to spend some time deciding where your heart lies. Yes, of course, you will respond to threats to our democracy, and, sure, you’ll be happy to provide some support for causes other than the one or two that you choose. But it’s important to know where you’ll devote most of your efforts. What world do you want to see emerge when the smoke of the battlefield clears?
Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work. (No, really. You really need to do this.) Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position. Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak and grasp an herb, 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.
Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase. Does your landbase have anything to tell you today? Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.
Ground and center. Cast a circle.
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. What’s become familiar to you? A tuft of prairie grass? Buffalo off in the distance? The scent of sand carried on the wind? You’ve been involved in a months-long magical working here, joined with magic workers from across the globe. Feel your connection to this place on the astral plane. It is always here for you, always a source of strength.
As you sit in power, call to the land and commit to the cause that means the most to you. Tell the sand, or clay, or hummus beneath your feet why this matters to you. Make a commitment TO the land. Ask the nearest river gods for support. Call to the land wights, the spirit of the local forest, the deity associated with your cause or location and ask for their support.
As you look around you, you see all of the banners — Lady Liberty, Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, and the Salmon — waving in the late Winter sky. Which of them do you feel called to enter? What experience could you have there that will help you in your cause? What offering will you be asked to leave?
You’ve been doing these workings for years and now you’re beginning to create your own workings focused on your own heart’s desire.
Slowly, come down from your hillock and begin to walk back to your own landbase.
Open your eyes. Rub your arms and face. Notice the detail that you selected to call yourself back. Drink something, maybe steaming dandelion tea with honey or ice water with a squeeze of lime. Have something to eat, maybe peanut butter on apple slices or spinach sautéed with onions and feta. Maybe you can set up a small altar dedicated to the cause that matters to you. (If so, please post a picture!!) You may want to repeat this working several times this week. You may want to journal about it. Are you inspired to make any art? If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.
Picture found here.