Words for Wednesday

shadow-lake-lodge

All True Vows

~ David Whyte

All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

Remember,
in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

 

Picture found here.

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Things Change

One of the advantages of age, of having lived a bit and gone through some difficult times, is that you learn that things change  — often for the better.  The broken love affair that you left you convinced that your life was over fades into the past and someone new comes along to make your heart sing.  The chemo ends, the tests come back cancer-free, and you get back your hair and your energy.  The difficult boss gets a promotion and you never have to deal with him again.  The impossible flat-mate moves away..  I bring this up because so many of us are beset with despair — I often am — over the current state of our country and our world.

There is going to come a day when you can spend as much time as you like on social media and not see his bloated, orange face or his ridiculous, embarrassing combover.  There is going to come a day when his lies won’t be daily news and not because they’ve become “the new normal.”  There is going to come a day when our government won’t be in thrall to Russia and when the 1% can’t just buy Senators and members of Congress.  I don’t know exactly how or when those changes will occur, but I do know that things change and this madman won’t be in power forever.  (My strong suspicion is that he won’t be in power much longer.)

So don’t give up.  Find, as Frederick Buechner  said, the place where “your deep gladness meets the world’s great hunger,” and take actions both magical and “mundane” to address that.  For me, this week, it was both Full Moon magic to bring about the changes our electoral system needs and getting together with good friends and addressing postcards to voters in Alabama.  What is it for you?

“You must find the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s great hunger.” ~ Frederick Beuchner

Monday at the Movies

I need to see this.

The Magical Battle for America 12.3.17

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 or 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.

Breathe.

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.

Breathe.

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 look across the plain — as you look at Lady Liberty in the North, Walden Pond in the NorthEast, the Underground Railroad in the SouthEast, the Cowboy in the SouthWest, and the Salmon in the NorthWest — you notice small cemeteries dotting the American landscape.  Some are burial grounds of the First Peoples, marked only by a silent sense of solemnity.  Some are family plots in New England and outside large Southern plantations.  One of them may be Arlington Cemetery where your war dead, including Pagans, are buried.  Some are weed-covered African American cemeteries in Richmond and some are ornate crypts in New Orleans.  Some are small affairs outside adobe chapels in the desert and some are already covered with crusty snow in Alaska.

Just now, a few weeks before the Winter Solstice, dark begins to descend early, often around 3:30 or 4:00 in the afternoon.  Each American cemetery invites visitors in at this time of year, to walk, to sit in the gloaming and think, to paint or draw, to cry.  Look out at these cemeteries and see which one calls to you.  Is it one where your American ancestors are buried?  Is it one where heritage roses grow, undisturbed for hundreds of years? Is it one located in your watershed, your landbase, your bit of Earth?  Is it one where you’ve already spent some time meditating or is it one you’ve only visited in your imagination?  Who is buried there?

Spend some time just walking through a cemetery, either one you know in the “mundane” world or one in your imagination.  Find an ancestor, either one from your family or one that you claim (I go to the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore and pour a small libation — gin, or course — for Dorothy Parker) and allow yourself to wander around the cemetery.  Find the exact spot where YOUR ancestor’s ashes, bones, memory rests in the Winter Earth and call to them.  Tell them how difficult things are, just now, in America.  Ask them to help us to stand up for American values.  Can you describe for them the offering that you will make in return for their aid?  What advice do they give you for yourself, for the Resistance, for 2018?  We’re heading into Mercury Retrograde; what advice to your beloved dead have for you about using that energy to defeat fascists?

Bend down and scrape some soil from the ground, put it in the cup of your hand, pull down the energy of the Full Moon into it, and bring its energy back with you.

Thank you for doing this brave magical work.  Remember that the power of America’s cemeteries is always available to help you every time that you need to do magic for America.

Take a minute to catch your breath.  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.

Breathe.

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 strong coffee or a small glass of eggnog with cinnamon and nutmeg.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe some buttery grits or a juicy orange.  Look around.  Where will you sprinkle the grave dust that you brought back from the astral plane?  On your altar? Across your Yule decorations?  On the postcards you’re writing to voters in Alabama or beneath the phone you use to call your Senators about this abomination of a tax bill?  Under your bed?  In your garden of winter greens?  Across the entrance to the Supreme Court?  Your ancestors will tell you where to walk in the deepening twilight.

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 America’s power-filled cemeteries.  You may want to journal about your experience.  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.

 

 

 

 

Saturday Ballet Blogging

Beauty and art still matter.  More than ever.

Voting Is Your Civic Duty

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In just over a week, Alabamans will be going to the polls to choose who will replace so-called Attorney General Jeff Sessions in representing them in the US Senate. They’re choosing between Doug Jones, the Democrat who finally brought Klan members Thomas Blanton Jr. and Bobby Cherry to justice for murdering four little girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963, and a Republican who is both manifestly unqualified (as a judge, he was fired TWICE for BLATANTLY violating the Constitution) and a despicable human being (pedophile, Islamophobe, doesn’t think women should be “allowed” to hold office or even vote).

Doug Jones could win this thing – which would be huge, turning a deep red seat blue, narrowing the Republicans margin in the Senate (why does that matter? TAX CUT BILL, YO, and call your Senators about this RIGHT NOW), and putting the fear of Americans’ righteous rage into the GOP – but it’s way closer than it should be.

Why?

People aren’t “energized.”

(Hold on to your hat, because this is about to become a rant.)

I am FUCKING SICK of “the candidate didn’t excite me” narratives. We heard it about Al Gore. We heard it about John Kerry. We heard it about Hillary.

You know what happened in each of those cases?

DEMOCRATS LOST AND THE REPUBLICANS WHO WON PROCEEDED TO FUCK EVERYTHING UP.

Voting in elections is not FUCKING AMERICAN IDOL. And using “I’m not excited about the candidate” as an excuse not to vote is CHILDISH and STUPID.

Who benefits from this attitude?

Not Democrats. Not progressive candidates. Not women. Not people of color. Not the poor. Not children. Not LGBT people. Not people with disabilities.

You know who benefits?

George Bush. Donald Trump. Roy Moore. The Koch brothers. The Mercers. Sheldon Adelson. Steve Bannon. Rush Limbaugh. Alex Jones. Fox News. Neo-Nazis.

GOP voters SHOW UP, and they don’t care about whether the candidate makes them feel all warm and fuzzy.

My fellow progressive and left-leaning citizens: Stop treating voting like you’re being wooed by THE GODDAMN BACHELOR, and WAKE UP to the FACT that voting is a not just a right and a privilege but a DUTY OF CITIZENSHIP.

That’s right – DUTY. Your duties as a citizen are relatively few: pay your taxes, serve on juries when called, and VOTE.

Not voting disrespects your elders. The Suffragists who were beaten on the streets and tortured in jail to win women the right to vote. The civil rights leaders who were beaten on the streets, sexually assaulted in the jails, and killed to win African-Americans the right to vote.

Do you claim to respect veterans and their service to our country? If you don’t vote, you’re a liar, and you’re spitting on their sacrifices.

People SUFFERED AND DIED to win you the franchise.

GROW UP AND GET YOUR GODDAMN ASS TO THE GODDAMN POLLS.

(Yes, I am well aware that voter suppression is a serious problem and getting worse. Since SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, 35 states have introduced legislation to restrict voting access. Those measures are laser-targeted at the Democratic base: African-Americans, young people, the elderly, the poor. Restrictive voter ID laws (and then closing the majority of state offices where one can get those IDs in majority black counties, Alabama, I’m looking at you). Ending early voting. Making it harder to vote absentee. Closing polling places so that people face interminable lines when they do show up to vote. Inappropriately purging registered voters. Making it more difficult to register in the first place. NO EXCUSE. Alabama state troopers cracked open John Lewis’s skull on the Edmund Pettus bridge (fucking Alabama AGAIN. Jesus). Suffragists endured The Night of Terror in Occoquan, VA. Until we can get the We The People Democracy Reform Act of 2017 passed and restore the protections of the VRA, we’re all just going to have to work harder to claim our right and fulfill our duty. Woman (or man) up.)

Read this nice-time story published today about Nepalese Sherpas who walked through the mountains for hours and camped overnight to vote, and be like them.

Image found here.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

 

Thoughts for Thursday: How Magic Works

There’s more truth in this little video — about the practice of Witchcraft, about being in relationship with your landbase, and about how to deal with scary things — than almost anything else I’ve seen.