The Magical Battle for America 2.11.18

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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.

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 rest on your hillock, all five of the banners grow larger and larger in the sky.  Pick up the wand that you left here last week and use it to trace a line of pure, protective energy from Lady Liberty the Underground Railroad.  The energy that links these two magical symbols is incredibly strong.  It was the human need for liberty that led enslaved people to risk torture and death in order to escape to freedom.  And it was the strong belief in liberty for ALL people that led free people to open their homes as way stations on the Underground Railroad, in spite of the fear of retribution and punishment.  Feel the strength of that bond and send that energy into the link between Lady Liberty and the Underground Railroad.

Now, trace a connecting line of protective energy from the Underground Railroad to Salmon.  The people traveling the Underground Railroad sought to move freely, just as the Salmon people must be free to move from their rivers to the sea and back again.  Salmon is a symbol of wisdom.  Feel the wisdom that motivated the free people who helped the Underground Railroad; they were wise enough to know that until everyone is free, no one is truly free.  Feel the strength of that bond and send that energy into the link between the Underground Railroad and Salmon.

Next, trace a connecting line of protective energy from Salmon to Walden Pond.  Salmon’s wisdom can be seen in Thoreau’s desire to live a simple life, close to nature.  In his writings and in the sense of place he was able to convey.  Feel the strong sense of place that Thoreau felt for Walden Pond and send that energy into the link between Salmon and Walden Pond.

From Walden Pond, trace a connecting line of protective energy to the Cowboy.  Like Thoreau at Walden Pond, Cowboys often lived solitary lives out on the prairie.  They, too, often came to live their landbase.  Like Thoreau, Cowboys lived simply while they were out on the range.  Feel the strong connection and send that energy into the link between Walden Pond and the Cowboy.

Finally, trace a line of protective energy from the Cowboy to Lady Liberty.  Cowboys are icons of American liberty, moving freely across the plains and avoiding entanglements.  Feel the strong connection and send that energy into the link between the Cowboy and Lady Liberty.

As you gaze at your work, you see that you have drawn a giant pentagram of protection in the sky over America.  The power of that symbol comes from the five symbols with which we have been working these many months.  See it pulse with the power to protect America from attacks both internal and external.  See it repulsing and undoing any who would harm our democracy.  You may want to give it one final surge of energy from your wand.

Now, rest and, if it feels right, lay down your wand.  It will always be here, safe upon your hillock, when you need to work magic in this place.

Breathe.

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.

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 ice water with cucumber slices or a mug of hot lemonade.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe a tangerine or a handful of walnuts.

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 pentagram we have created.  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.

Picture found here.

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Saturday Ballet Blogging

NB:  I’ve been blogging ballet on Saturdays for years and, I admit, I love the excuse it gives me to while away time on the internet looking at one of my favorite forms of art.

But I’m also thinking of switching it up or at least interspersing some other items.  What would interest you?

We could highlight a cheap, nutritious recipe on Saturdays and trade health tips; the recent post on caring for your health generated a LOT of interest.  (Short answers:  sleep, washed hands, elderberries.)  I could highlight some of the paintings, statues, and other art works that have moved me.  We could have a day to focus on Pagan writing that sustains us.

What would you like to see?

Do Not Become Weary

I recently had the opportunity to hear Ruthie Foster live for the first time. She played an amazing show. (Seriously, if she comes to your town, go see her. Also, woman drummer, so that’s awesome, too.) Of course, we demanded an encore, and she knew just what to serve up. She’d set Dr. Maya Angelou’s well-known poem, Phenomenal Woman, to music, so she concluded with that. It brought the house down (and cleverly ensured her a standing ovation).

So on this second Friday of Black History Month, I wanted to dedicate Ruthie Foster’s lovely and powerful song to all the women of #TheResistance. Because, as you know (as usual), the majority of the work of the #TheResistance is being done by women.

This is for the black women who, no matter how cute DeRay is in his puffy vest or how many times he goes on Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert, are the mothers, organizers, and foot soldiers of Black Lives Matter.

This is for Latinas fighting for the Dreamers and fighting against ICE’s Gesatpo-like and possibly illegal raids.

This is for women with disabilities who put their bodies on the line to defend the Affordable Care Act this summer and who continue to do so to fight to protect Medicaid.

This is for the mothers who fought to save CHIP.

This is for Muslim women who keep showing up every time so-called (for now) President Trump tries to enforce one of his unconstitutional Muslim bans.

This is for rich and powerful women in entertainment and the media who used their privilege to bring attention to #MeToo – and then turned around and used that power and privilege to start the Time’s Up movement to combat harassment for working class women.

This is for lesbians showing up to dance their protest outside Mike Pence’s and Javanka’s houses in DC.

This is for working class women who fought the #GOPTaxScam, understanding that a bill that gives them an additional $1.50 a week and gives over 90% of its benefits to the top 1% is bullshit.

This is for young women fighting to protect access to their Constitutionally-protected right to reproductive health care and to keep Planned Parenthood, in many locations the only affordable option for sexual and reproductive health care, open and funded.

This is for the millions of women who’ve marched for these issues, and for Science and Climate Change and Truth and Release The Taxes and the myriad other issues where they’ve raised their voices and their fists.

And this is for middle class white women, who’ve worked as allies on all of the above and more in the past year. (Yes, plenty of white women are still making the faulty calculation that it serves their interests better to align themselves with patriarchy and white supremacy. But I’m done lying down and pretending like it’s all middle class white women all the time, and not speaking out when people make us a punching bag for whatever their current beef is. I’ve been in the trenches for 30 goddamn years, so as Robin Morgan would say, “Goodbye to all of that.”)

As Hecate pointed out yesterday, we’ve now been doing this work for a year, and there’s no end in sight. And I’d like to leave you with a verse from the christian bible.

(Let’s not forget that, despite their perversion of much of what it contains, the bible is wisdom literature and there is some good stuff in there. Remember, the actual Jesus was a brown-skinned radical.)

Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

A full transcription of Dr. Angelou’s full poem, Phenomenal Woman, can be found here.

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

One Year Into the Magical Battle for America

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Believe it or not, we started the Magical Battle for America on Feb. 18, 2017 — almost just a year ago.  We’ve created a working space on the astral plane and, in addition to working with a number of magical allies and tools, we’ve created five American power banners:  Lady Liberty, Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, and the Salmon.  Diotima has listed  the workings in chronological order.

Based on your feedback, I think it’s worth continuing this work.  I’ve heard from some members of other religions who are working along with us, as well as Pagans from across the globe.  And we’ll continue to work with our five magical symbols.  But I’d like to ask you if there are other symbols/powers that you believe we should incorporate for the coming year.  I never picked the five symbols we have; the Goddess gave them to me.  (I was really resistant to the Cowboy, but She insisted and, in the end, I think She was right).  So I’d like to ask you to engage in some discernment and let us know what you find.  Cast a circle.  Light a candle or some incense.  Stare into a bowl of water.  Pull a Tarot card.  Talk to your Goddesses/Gods.  Go the your astral hillock and look to the sky to see what appears.

Please let us know what you find by leaving a comment below.

And, thank you for doing this work with me.   (Thank you also for all of the “mundane” work I know you’re doing, too:  marching, voting, donating, phone banking, canvassing, registering voters, calling your representatives, writing letters, planting an extra row for the food pantry, knitting hats for homeless people, being kind.  It all matters.  It’s all real. It’s all metaphor.  There’s always more.)

Picture found here.

Words for a Black History Wednesday

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Praise Song for the Day

~ Elizabeth Alexander

A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration

Each day we go about our business,
walking past each other, catching each other’s
eyes or not, about to speak or speaking.
All about us is noise. All about us is
noise and bramble, thorn and din, each
one of our ancestors on our tongues.
Someone is stitching up a hem, darning
a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,
repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere,
with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum,
with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky.
A teacher says, Take out your pencils. Begin.
We encounter each other in words, words
spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed,
words to consider, reconsider.
We cross dirt roads and highways that mark
the will of some one and then others, who said
I need to see what’s on the other side.
I know there’s something better down the road.
We need to find a place where we are safe.
We walk into that which we cannot yet see.
Say it plain: that many have died for this day.
Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.
Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day.
Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,
the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.
Some live by love thy neighbor as thyself,
others by first do no harm or take no more
than you need. What if the mightiest word is love?
Love beyond marital, filial, national,
love that casts a widening pool of light,
love with no need to pre-empt grievance.
In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air,
any thing can be made, any sentence begun.
On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp,
praise song for walking forward in that light.
Picture found here.
Postscript:  Poetry Foundation tells us that:

Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, New York, but grew up in Washington, DC, the daughter of former United States Secretary of the Army and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman, Clifford Alexander Jr. She holds degrees from Yale, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned her PhD. She is currently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. She is the former Chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University. Alexander is a highly respected scholar, teacher, and mentor, as well as a founding member of Cave Canem, an organization dedicated to promoting African American poets and poetry. Her accomplishments within academia are numerous and include a Quantrelle Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the University of Chicago and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard and the Alphonse Fletcher Foundation.

Alexander’s career as a poet has likewise been impressive. Her book American Sublime (2005) was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, and in 2005 she was awarded the Jackson Poetry Prize. She is often recognized as a pivotal figure in African American poetry. When Barack Obama asked her to compose and read a poem for his Presidential inauguration, she joined the ranks of Robert FrostMaya Angelou and Miller Williams; her poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” became a bestseller after it was published as a chapbook by Graywolf Press.

Alexander writes on a variety of subjects, most notably race and gender, politics and history, and motherhood. The poet Clarence Major has described Alexander’s “instinct for turning her profound cultural vision into one that illuminates universal experience,” and Doris Lynch, writing for the Library Journal, commented that “memory and race” are “two of Alexander’s most powerful themes,” adding that “when Alexander’s forge is hot, the reader is transported to her world.” Alexander’s poems, short stories, and critical essays have been widely published in journals such as the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review, the Village Voice, and Prairie Schooner. Her verse play Diva Studies was produced by the Yale School of Drama in May, 1996.  . . .

Being and Doing — What the Goddesses Are Telling Me

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During my daily practice, one message that my Goddesses keep giving me is that doing essentially “is” being.  That doing healthy things, the things that healthy people do, is how you get to “be” a healthy person.  Doing responsible things, the things that responsible people do, is how you get to “be” someone you respect.  And doing magic is how you get to “be” a magical worker.

It seems so obvious.  And, I admit, I stand up from my practice and jokingly say to the cats, “Well, there’s another profound insight, well worth two hours of sitting zazen.”  The cats don’t laugh, but I do.  But, for me, at least, a large part of the message is to stop waiting until I feel like doing things and to just do them.  Doing those things makes you feel like a person who does those things.  Or, maybe it doesn’t, maybe you hate every minute that you’re on the treadmill, or organizing your bills and taxes, or throwing away old clothes.  But, once you do them, they’re done and you’re the kind of person who exercises, manages her affairs, has a clean, clutter-free home.  I shouldn’t have to re-learn this lesson; I learned years ago that the way to be a writer — of briefs, or blog posts, or magazine articles, or short stories, etc. — is to sit down and put, well, not pen to paper, anymore, but fingers to keyboard.  Writing is what makes you a writer.

Today, Brigid sent me a visual representation:  the ying-yang symbol, with the word “doing” inside the black dot on the mostly white side and “being” inside the white dot on the mostly black side.

What are you hearing when you do your daily practice?

(And, since it’s likely less than obvious except to me, that’s Nimue & Merlin making (no, really!) the ying-yang symbol on my kitchen floor.  Photo by the blogger; if you copy please link back.)

Monday at the Black Movies

February is Black History Month, and that’s true at the movies, as well as in the rest of the world.  Black women have been at the forefront of the #metoo movement, but they’ve been leading the attempt to stop sexual harassment long before hash tags were “a thing.”  If you didn’t live through Anita Hill’s bravery and valor, you may not understand why feminists will never forgive Joe Biden.  Here’s a good reminder of why.  Fuck you, Joe.