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Author Archives: Hecate Demeter
This is a prayer for the Witches’ Thanksgiving. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for mead and cider, for cornbread and collards. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for visits, for gratitude, for families. This is a prayer for Resistance.
Mabon is an act of Resistance, the deliberate decision to establish connections, to reach out, to take joy in watching others eat. This is a prayer for Mabon.
This is a prayer for wheat sheaves and pumpkins, for turkey and turnips. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for taking stock, for settling in, for facing the dark. This is a prayer for Resistance.
Mabon is an act of Resistance, the courage to say, “There is a place set for you at our table,”* the fire to fight for what we love, the refusal to allow hunger to win. This is a prayer for Mabon.
This is a prayer for cheeses and ale, for cherries and chestnuts. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for re-establishing balance, for reaching out, for doing more. This is a prayer for Resistance.
Mabon is an act of Resistance, the belief that bounty should be shared, that people should be fed, that “only justice can undo a curse.”** This is a prayer for Mabon.
This is a prayer for squashes and pies, for and rhubarb and roasts. This is a prayer for Resistance.
This is a prayer for the act of sharing, for sitting with guests, for stories by the fire. This is a prayer for Resistance.
May your Mabon be blessed. May you continue to Resist. This is my prayer for you.
Picture found here: https://www.britannica.com/story/thanksgiving-day-in-the-united-states
* A line in The Fifth Sacred Thing.
And Now It’s September,
and the garden diminishes: cucumber leaves rumpled
and rusty, zucchini felled by borers, tomatoes sparse
on the vines. But out in the perennial beds, there’s one last
blast of color: ignitions of goldenrod, flamboyant
asters, spiraling mums, all those flashy spikes waving
in the wind, conducting summer’s final notes.
The ornamental grasses have gone to seed, haloed
in the last light. Nights grow chilly, but the days
are still warm; I wear the sun like a shawl on my neck
and arms. Hundreds of blackbirds ribbon in, settle
in the trees, so many black leaves, then, just as suddenly,
they’re gone. This is autumn’s great Departure Gate,
and everyone, boarding passes in hand, waits
patiently in a long, long line.
Will likely watch.
I’m seeing more and more posts on social media where people say, “OH MY GOD, if the MAGAts win the midterms we’re doomed!!!!” And, yeah, we definitely don’t want to wake up on Nov. 9th and find out that the crazies won. But I’m going to suggest that doom-posting isn’t the best response. It may make you feel better for a second, but it spreads the doom. And no general heading into battle wants folks terrorizing their troops.
My mom taught me one very valuable lesson and that was that Action is a Tonic. When you’re frustrated, picking up the clothes in your bedroom and making the bed will, in fact, make you feel better. When you’re panicked about your finances, working an extra shift can help. When life feels completely out of control, making a pot of soup and freezing some of it will give you a sense of control. When you’re mad at your governor, calling him will help you feel powerful.
So when I get those “OMG a fucking Nazi judge is fucking in control of Trump’s fucking court case; I fucking wasted my fucking life going to fucking law school and fucking practicing law!” feelings, I ask myself what I CAN do. I can’t fix that nutball bitch of a judge; I have to hope that some DOJ lawyers and some 11th Circuit judges want to save our legal system. But I can try to keep Congress blue. I can strengthen the local Democratic party. I can get yard signs out in my neighborhood. So I phone bank (don’t like it, but I do it). I donate. I put together those dirty pieces of plastic over those even dirtier metal frames. (Never wear white to do this. Ask me how I know.) I do the often really mundane work. But I have to tell you that, at the end of the day, rubbing Bengay on my sore joints and doing my evening practice, I sleep better knowing I did what I could.
Now is go time. Donate. Volunteer. Canvass. Phone or text bank. Make sure the people you know are registered and know when and how to vote. Do the work and things will work out. And even if they don’t, you’ll know you did what you could. The real terror would be to wake up on Nov. 9th and wish you’d bothered to get involved.
(Oh, and for what it’s worth, I believe that we will win. There will be violence and some uncertainty for a bit, but I believe that we will win. Now I’m off to make sure that happens.)
~ John Drinkwater
Art by Brigid Martin
And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.
A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
There is no sound at the top of the house of men
Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.
They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
And quiet is the steep stair under.
In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
On moon-washed apples of wonder.
I’m a practical old woman and a win is, IMHO, a win. Since Dobbs, polls show a trend of people supporting family planning rights. Some of that switch, I suspect, is people who once, without thinking much, opposed abortion rights but are now kind of terrified at the idea of fifth grade girls being forced to carry their rapists’ fetuses to term. And, sure, you know, whatever it takes.
But we don’t need abortion rights because of ten-year-olds or because of women forced to die carrying septic non-viable fetuses to birth. We need abortion rights because women are people.
Abortion is right because it is about women having control over their own bodies. This is one of the reasons why “and her doctor” pisses me off so much. Is there any other medical procedure — vasectomy, plastic surgery, viagra, removing skin tags — where we feel required to add “and his/her doctor”? No. It’s only women making the most life-impacting decisions of their lives who have to have “and her doctor” added to make it all more palatable. If a man wants a vasectomy, he should get one, with no “and his doctor” added in; if his doctor doesn’t do vasectomies, he should just find another doctor. Women are adult humans and we don’t need “and her doctor” added to our decisions. If I want to consult a doctor, I will. Otherwise, fuck off.
Look. It’s my body. I get to decide. I get to decide if I want plastic surgery. I get to decide if I want to remove a skin tag or a mole. I get to decide if I want to have a hole punched through my ears, or a tattoo of a line of poetry inscribed on my arm. It’s my body and I get to decide.
Let’s set aside the religious/philosophical debates about when “human life” begins and when/against what profit motives we “protect” that “human life” (e.g. when it would cut too much into profits to make cars go slower or to make coal plants emit less pollution) and consider a twenty-five year old grad student in medicine. S/he needs a kidney transplant to stay alive and keep saving hundreds, thousands of people with his/her life-saving research. Your kidney, it turns out, is a perfect match. Can the government force you to have surgery to donate one of your kidneys? I mean, there are risks, just as there are with pregnancy, but your kidney will save a life. And you can, generally, live with one kidney, just as most women can, generally, live through a pregnancy.
Nope. The government can’t make you have surgery and donate a kidney. Even if that means another human will die. That’s because it’s your body and you get to control what happens to it.
So, sure, if it works, I’m happy to have all the bad examples of ten-year-olds being forced to give birth to their rapists’ babies or women forced to carry dead, headless fetuses to term used to make the point. But even if they made all of those cases exceptions, it’s still my body and you still can’t make me the brooding ground for anyone else. My body. My choice. Or, you can line up to donate your kidney.
Looking forward to this one.
It’s sad that this working is still so relevant, but here’s one of the Magical Battle workings we did some time ago:
Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work. Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position. Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak and grasp a 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. 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.
The school in Florida where an horiffic act of terrorism took place was named in honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. I am embarrassed to say that I’d never learned of her. Wikipedia says, inter alia, that:
“Marjory Stoneman Douglas (April 7, 1890 – May 14, 1998) was an American journalist, writer, feminist, and environmentalist known for her staunch defense of the Everglades against efforts to drain it and reclaim land for development. Moving to Miami as a young woman to work for The Miami Herald, she became a freelance writer, producing over a hundred short stories that were published in popular magazines. Her most influential work was the book The Everglades: River of Grass (1947), which redefined the popular conception of the Everglades as a treasured river instead of a worthless swamp. Its impact has been compared to that of Rachel Carson‘s influential book Silent Spring (1962). Her books, stories, and journalism career brought her influence in Miami, enabling her to advance her causes.
As a young woman Douglas was outspoken and politically conscious of the women’s suffrage and civil rights movements. She was called upon to take a central role in the protection of the Everglades when she was 79 years old. For the remaining 29 years of her life she was “a relentless reporter and fearless crusader” for the natural preservation and restoration of the nature of South Florida. Her tireless efforts earned her several variations of the nickname “Grande Dame of the Everglades” as well as the hostility of agricultural and business interests looking to benefit from land development in Florida. Numerous awards were given to her, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and she was inducted into several halls of fame.
Douglas lived to 108, working until nearly the end of her life for Everglades restoration. Upon her death, an obituary in The Independent in London stated, “In the history of the American environmental movement, there have been few more remarkable figures than Marjory Stoneman Douglas.”
Tonight, I am going to light a candle and some incense to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. I am going to ask her to stand beside and behind the young women who are standing up against violence to the people who live in and around the everglades.
I shan’t be gone long; you come, too.
Stand up and call Marjory. Call the schoolteachers in your lineage and call your ancestors who braved many, many troubles just to be able to get an education. Send them to protect America’s schools and America’s schoolchildren. See them forming a giant honor guard around America’s schools. Charge that honor guard with bullet-proof protection. Breathe. Pull energy up from the ground. Send it to circle around your local school.
Miss Marjory, we need you now. Hear us. We will work to save your sacred Everglades; please stand now with America’s children.
As you sit and rest, know that you are not working alone. The Resistance — both magical and in all of its mundane (phone banking, check writing, representative calling, letter writing, canvassing, voting, volunteering, tutoring, restoring wetlands, growing plants for bees) manifestations — is huge. Know that you are a powerful worker of magic, rooted in your very own landbase, working with the strong archetypes of this land, assisted by countless unseen others who labor in league with you. You are brave and growing braver. Your magic and your practical workings can make the difference. The five banners and your magic wand are always available to you when you want to do magic to strengthen America.
Return to your own body, your own landbase. Open your eyes. Rub your face, move your arms and legs. Notice the detail you selected to call you back from the astral. Open your circle. Drink something, maybe sun tea or a cup of hot nettle soup. If you like, have something to eat, maybe pecans or the scooped-out fruit of a persimmon.
During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral. You may want to repeat this working. You may want to place something on your altar to help you to remember the Everglades or America’s schools. Are you inspired to make any art? Can you sit beside a warm fire, or light incense, or stare into a candle? What actions are you inspired to take for the Resistance? If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.
May the Goddess Guard Her. May She Find Her Way to the Summerlands. May Her Friends, Family, and Countrymen Know Peace.
There are good arguments against the monarchy. Personally, I think a ceremonial monarchy can be a good idea because it separates the archetype/symbol of the country from politics. We’ve seen the problems caused when people attach all of the devotion they feel for their country to one strongman. Pagans know a thing or two about symbols and their power.
I spent a lot of time today considering the adage that the monarch and the land are one.
A landbase, in my experience, is old and is conservative, in the sense of wanting to preserve things. And so here in my mountains, that were once attached to Scotland’s mountains, I’ve gone out and offered some bread, and honey, and wine to the land. I’ve told it that the Queen is dead, but that there is a King who is a gardener. The ravens are in the tower and Drake’s Drum is quiet.
I respect anyone who ties themselves to the mast and just does their job for seventy years.