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Monday at the Movies

The Magical Battle for America 11.4.18

Campaign 2016 Early Voting Maryland

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.

Breathe.

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.

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 America, you glance into the future and you see yourself at your own polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 6th.

You may be dressed warm against the rain.  You may be sleepy.  You may have hit Starbucks on the way there and hold a cup of coffee that warms your hands and wakes you up.  Are you there before work, or after the crowd thins, or at the end of a long day?  (You know that if you are in line when the polls close, you must be allowed to vote.)  Do you have the proper identification with you — the identification that you assembled on Monday night?  Glance at your pocket and you will see that you’ve brought a sample ballot with you; you’ve read the Constitutional questions and bond issues ahead of time and know how you’ll vote so that you don’t hold up the line.  If your locality doesn’t identify all of the candidates by party, you see that you’ve marked the Democratic candidates.

Now, narrow your eyes and see who else may be there with you.  Which ancestors — of spirit or blood — gather around your shoulders?  Who fought, bled, was force fed, or kicked in order to win you the right to vote.  The veils are thin and you may be surprised who comes to help you mark the ballot.  Your great, great, great grandmother, who was never allowed to vote, may nudge your arm as you vote.  The civil rights workers murdered and beaten for demanding the right to vote — they may whisper to you if you listen.  Union workers, peace marchers, early ecologists — pause for a moment and see which ancestors arrive to help you.  Are there members of the Seelie court?  Animal and/or plant spirits?  Wights?  What is your local river telling you?  Take a deep breath and work with all of them.

Now, see yourself grounding, centering, and casting your ballot.  Hold your hand over the ballot and magic the hell out of that thing to ensure that it will count.  No, really, magic that ballot as if your life depends upon it because it very well may.

Once you feel that the process is complete, sit back down on your hillock.

Breathe.

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 hard cider or a warm bowl of cafe au lait.  Have something to eat, maybe a spring roll or a piece of pumpkin pie made with chili powder and turmeric.  Maybe you can set up a small altar dedicated to casting your ballot.  You can put a picture of the place, a copy of the sample ballot, a candle dedicated to Columbia, a small stone from your own landbase, a picture of the candidate you’re really supporting.  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.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

giphy

I want to tell you a story about bravery, about love of country, and about how strongly women feel about this election.

I’ve been staffing the local Get Out the Vote Center.  People show up to canvass or to phone bank.  My job is to call people to remind them of their shift, sign them in when they show up, get them buttons and stickers, and to send them either to the room for canvassers (where they get some training and are given a packet with materials to hand out and a list of addresses to visit) or to the room for phone bankers (where they get some training and are given a list of people to call and a script for what to say).  This starts early in the morning and runs until the final canvassers get back, generally around 6:30 or 7:00 pm.  I also meet them when they get back, collect their materials, listen to how it went — and ask them if they’re willing to sign up for another day.

Today, there was a bit of a crush at one point — canvassers returning with their materials and folks showing up for their shifts and I was trying to move people as quickly as possible through the process.  Are you here to canvass?  Sign this sheet, take buttons and stickers, and go there.  Are you here to phone bank?  Sign this other sheet, go into the next room, and Bob, the man in the blue shirt, will get you started.  We had parents with little children, older couples who’ve done this many times, young women from a local university who were very excited to canvass.  “We canvassed for Hillary and promised each other that we’d do it from then on.”  (I have visions of them as old women, holding each other up and moving from room to room in the nursing home.  Actually, there’s a good story or screenplay to be written there.)

One woman waited until everyone else was gone and I asked her, “So are you here to canvass or phone bank?”  She got a bit weepy and started to apologize.  She was doing that thing we do when we’re crying — and are embarrassed about crying —  where we wave our hands in front of our faces.  She was able to tell me that she knew that she couldn’t canvass, but she’d agreed to come in and phone bank but, now that she was here, she realized that she just couldn’t do it.  She’d thought that maybe if she pushed herself outside her comfort zone, she’d be able to manage, but now, faced with calling strange people on the phone, she just couldn’t, but she had wanted to come in and explain to me why she couldn’t, instead of just not showing up.  (And it was clear that even that had been difficult for her.)  She was apologizing, and weeping, and obviously feeling terrible.  She said, “I was afraid I couldn’t do this, but I feel so strongly about this election, I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.  If I could do it, I would.  It’s so important but I can’t; I just can’t.  I wanted to, but . . . .”

I told her not to worry; we’re all doing what we can.  There’s a reason this old woman with a bad ankle is staffing the center and not canvassing.

I asked her if she’d like to stay and do data entry for us.  (When the canvassers come back, the information they’ve collected gets entered into a database for the next campaign.  This apartment building won’t let people in to canvass; take it off the list.  This house has just been sold and the new owners aren’t Democrats.  The woman in this house said she can drive people to the polls on Election Day and her next door neighbor wants a yard sign.)  She wouldn’t have to talk to or call anyone.  She could just sit in the main room and enter information into a computer and help not only with this election, but with the next one.  (This is Virginia.  We have some election or another EVERY goddamn year.)  Her shoulders dropped, she took a deep breath, and she nodded.  I turned her over to the woman who coordinates data entry and, several hours later, when I left, she was still there, working away.

Because we love America (and because the Nazis scare us), many of us find ourselves doing things we never thought we’d do.  We find ourselves doing things we don’t really want to do.  As @MrsWhatsit1 has noted, she’s gone canvassing more than once, even though she really doesn’t enjoy it.  I’ve driven a local candidate to canvass, even though I am directionally challenged (to put it mildly) and don’t like to drive during rush hour.  Parents with toddlers are canvassing because they want to teach their children how to be good citizens.  One mom reluctantly dropped her teen-age son off at a stranger’s house to phone bank after being assured that we’d feed him and show him what to do.  (Food.  These centers run on food.  One family showed up today to drop off candy — heroes!  If you can’t do anything else, you can go buy bagels.  Fruit.  Pizza.  Show up and offer to make a Starbucks run.  Seriously, the Starbucks run would win you an award. )

But I think one of the things I will always remember about this election, in which I’ve done so many things and talked to so many people, is a woman who was terrified, who pushed herself past the point of tears, and who found a way to help change the world.  She’s doing what she can.  And that’s all that any of us can do.  But we can — and must — do that.

I’d love to hear in comments what you’re doing — and what you will do between now and 7:00 pm on the West Coast on Election Day.  And thereafter.

Gif found here.

Bring It Home, White Women

marchers from the Women's March

Because if we really are going to see a #BlueWave on Tuesday, that’s who we’re depending on – college educated, suburban white women who usually vote Republican. Does that terrify you? It does me as well, and I AM a white woman (although I do not live in the suburbs or ever vote Republican).

Yes, we need the black community to show up in Obama-era numbers, even though he isn’t on the ballot.

Yes, we need Hispanic and Latino men to get over their machismo and vote for the Democrat, even if she’s a she.

Yes, we need the 40+% of young people who CLAIM they’re going to vote to ACTUALLY SHOW UP to vote.

But the richest target for FLIPPED votes is the 44% of college educated white women who voted for Trump and in the intervening years have FINALLY seen the patriarchy for what it is.

I do have some sympathy for them. It’s a horrifying awakening.

As a black woman I respect with whom I serve on a board of directors recently put it, “I don’t have white friends.” And as I told her, “I get that. White people are exhausting, and I AM a white people.”

It’s relatively easy to put your condescending white boss or racist white cops or your not-very-neighborly white neighbor or #BarbecueBecky and #GolfcartGail and their ilk into a box over THERE of THEM who hate US, so we don’t truck with them. While you can’t always stop them from harming you and yours, it’s really easy to keep them out of the core of your emotional life.

People of color can construct private worlds from which we’re excluded, and it’s understandable when they do. Which is another reason to treasure the people of color who are your friends – your REAL friends – because they’re giving you a gift that they don’t owe you.

It’s devastating to realize that the ones who want to harm you look JUST LIKE your husband, your father, your brother, your son. The ones who want to harm you MAY ACTUALLY BE your husband, your father, your brother, your son. There is no way to put them in a box over THERE of THEM we don’t truck with.

Goddess love the lesbian separatists, but that’s just not doable for the overwhelming majority of women.

Knowing that you’re sleeping with the enemy and there’s no way around it wounds you on a level that your white boss saying you’re making good progress in your career because you sound white (yes, that really happened to a friend of mine) never can.

But those white women – the ones who don’t want to face the awful truth of their lives, who don’t want to deal with that pain, who don’t want to blow up their most intimate family relationships – are EXACTLY the ones we need, and we need them to be willing to do EXACTLY that.

All we can do in this, the Last Weekend, is keep working for change and hope that enough of them do.

[What about women of color? Aren’t there men of color, too? Aren’t women of color also impacted by the patriarchy?

Well, yes, of course. But women of color often choose – and have chosen – racial solidarity over gender solidarity, and for some very good reasons.

One, racial issues have often – although not always – been more urgent than gender issues. Example? Although women were legally treated as property in some very important ways up through at least the 1970s, white women were never sold on the auction block in the US.

Also, men of color, as victims of white supremacy, can be more attuned to sexism and, even if they aren’t, are often unable to access at least some components of male privilege, so patriarchy expresses itself differently in those communities.

And it is far more natural to choose solidarity with your father, your husband, your brother, your son than to choose solidarity with some random white women from the consciousness-raising group.

And white feminists have done a terrible job of standing in solidarity with women of color going back to (at least some of) the suffragists. We’ve expected them to be willing to work on the issues that matter to us, but we rarely return the favor.

So yes, there is patriarchy in the black community, in the Hispanic/Latinx community, in the Asian community, in the First Nations community. It expresses itself differently and impacts the members of those communities differently. Someday, Goddess willing, the scourge of racism will recede enough that women of color will have some space to work through how patriarchy that is distinct from white patriarchy affects them. My only hope is that white feminists will be able to pull our heads out of own own asses in time to be of some assistance when that day comes.]

[Notice white men continue to get a pass, even from me. With a few exceptions, they’re pretty much beyond hope.]

Image found here.

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

A Witch’s Job Is to Turn the Wheel, and Round and Round the Wheel Must Turn

young-witch-in-the-autumn-forest-stock-photograph_csp37668092

So that’s another Samhein, come and gone.

One liturgical year ended and a new one begun.

Maybe the veils will begin to draw closed or, as seems more likely to me, maybe the ancestors will keep them open for some time.  For the last five years or so, the veils never seem to really close tight, anyway.  I expect that the Wild Hunt will keep riding out and taking souls, that the the Seelie Court will keep offering what aid it believes that it can (Thank you, Cousins!!)  and that the UnSeelie Court will have, for quite some time, much over which it can gloat.

I’m an old hedge Witch and what I mostly do is try to let my own little bit of Earth know that it is listened to, labored with, loved.  I listen to it and try to hear both of its songs:  the song it has been singing for aeons and the song it sings new in each moment, in response to what it going on.

Today, a cold front is moving in.  The wind blows the leaves — yellow, orange, magenta — all around the yard and (as the leaves thin) the sun dapples even the deepest parts of the woodland garden.  The crows complain about the foxes while the squirrels and chipmunks eat the surprisingly small acorns that we have this year.

The land is content with this — and the land is alive to the dangers that swirl in the air.  Alive to the dangers, and to the poisons in the water and air, and alive — although the land has seen this before and knows it will pass as it has always done — to the miasma of human evil that, just now, swirls so thick.  The mycelia mention it to each other and each tree considers it, consults the Ent Wives, and passes it on.  Some graves in Arlington are unquiet.  An old evil chuckles, but a new, as-yet-un-named, wight gathers strength against that chuckle.  Presences crowd together on Shooters Hill.

Mostly, what I do is what hedge Witches have always done.  I bless the candy for my neighborhood children, I bless the election flyers I hand out, I bless the food I open for the cats.  I bless the herb bed as I prepare it for winter and I bless the emails that I send to friends.  I call Hygeia when I lift weights.  I strengthen my wards, I do my daily practice, I burn candles, and incense, and poppets.  Yes, I’ve taken to burning poppets.  But I bury some, too, wrapped in bindweed, hidden in abandoned cemeteries, thrown into deep ditches.

The day before Samhein, I made fire cider.  I’m a bit late, but, as we Witches know, late is better than never.  I’ll take some in water every day and I’ll use it to dress cooked greens and beans.  That’s the self-care we all keep preaching, and, preach it we should as we head into what may be a long, hard-fought winter.

Today, I picked the last of the last of the last of the collards (I’ve been saying for weeks that each batch was the last, but the land keeps giving me more) and will cook them using Katrina’s recipe:  beef broth, onions, garlic, lots of ginger, red pepper flakes, and a long, slow simmer.  (Here in the South, we savor the liquid, too, which my tea-teetotaler momma called the “pot liquor.”  That stuff is great for your immunity and general strength.  And, tasty.  So tasty.)  I need to do it today because the next five days are devoted to Get Out the Vote efforts and some political magic with Green Man and a sister Witch.

One way or another, Election Day 2018 is going to come and then it is going to go.  And, as hard as we’ve worked for it, and as much magic as we’ve done for it (and it’s not too late!!  Do some more of both!) it’s a simple fact of life that the Nazis will steal as many elections as they can.  And it’s another simple fact of life that our work will go on, regardless of what happens on Election Day.  Where will you devote your efforts?

The time from Samhein to Yule — this section of the Wheel of the Year — is the time when we Witches look back at the past year and take stock and when we begin to make plans for the coming year.  A lovely time when our fields can lie fallow; when we can sit beside our fires and drink the cider that we pressed, the tea made from herbs that we grew, and picked, and dried, and the moonshine that we distilled on Summer nights; when we can tell stories, listen to songs, whittle and knit, and rest ourselves up from all the work of harvest season — and for all the ardors of winter.

Let’s do that after Election Day, too.  Let’s look at what we accomplished:  what went right and what went wrong.  Where did the Seelie help us and where did the UnSeelie work their front?  Where do we need to tear down walls and rebuild and where do we need to plow more heavily next year?   Which seeds bore fruit and which weeds do we need to dig down and pull from the root?

It’s not going to stop.  That’s the whole point of the Wheel of the Year.  It keeps going and it keeps happening and it keeps repeating, except that each time is different.

Isn’t that wonderful, amazing, magical beyond belief?  And you are the Witch of your place.  It’s your honor, and your duty, and your geis to turn the Wheel on your own bit of Earth.  Let’s do it together.

Picture found here.

This Is a Prayer for Samhain; This Is a Prayer for Resistance

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

The bones beneath the Earth cry out, and, more than that, the colonizers fear that they will.  The hungry crowd the dumb supper table and, more than that, the greedy fear that they will.  The chains of slaves clank in the graveyard and, more than that, the slavers fear that they will.

This is the cry that rends the veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

The ancestors throb in our blood and  the merchants of Lethe try to distract.  Our raped grandmothers drag ragged nails across their cheeks and the armies wish that they wouldn’t.  Under the earth, dead children scream for their fathers and Wall Street distracts us with sex and beer.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

Owls hoot in the darkness and the guilty fear that wisdom.  Bats flap against a dark Moon sky and the predators quiver in fear.  The innocent of Salem jerk at the end of the rope and the church collects the money.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

Samhain is how our ancestors paid for the right to be part of the cycle.  Samhain is how they remembered the mighty dead, the miscarried child, the beloved ancestors.  Samhain is how they built a bridge to the Isle of Apples, how they ate both the flower and the seed, how they saw a Spring at the end of Winter.  May we have their courage.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

We kneel at the bed, holding herbs to the womb of the miscarrying mother.  We bring in the meager crop against the late Autumn storm.  We punch the Nazis and write the briefs, we ring the alarm bells and place acorns on the graves.  We beat the drums and call forth the dead.

The cells of our bodies are a prayer for Resistance.

This is a prayer for Samhain; this is a prayer for Resistance.

This is the cry that rends the Veils; this is a prayer for Resistance.

Samhain is a dark festival, the feast of the dead, a crone’s picnic.  Samhain is a Sabbat of Resistance.

May it be so for you.