Today I had set aside some time to continue my blog posting on my trip to the UK. But then I started thinking… I mentioned the London terror attack briefly in one of those posts…maybe all too briefly. Today my mind is galloping across the political… greed, corruption, social justice, and most specifically, another mass shooting, a massacre at a high school here in Florida…the lists of these shootings keeps growing..high schools, concert events, churches, theaters, elementary schools. In addition, it is estimated that more than 30 people a day are killed by guns. In the midst of coverage of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, three students in this area were arrested after making threats to “shoot up” their respective high schools and a 7 year old child walked into his elementary classroom and committed suicide with a gun. This level of violence…gun violence does not exist in any other western country. I believe that clearly we have a gun problem on multiple levels.
I have seen two of our well known teachers of the Craft, Starhawk and Raven Grimassi, address these issues on social media, and I have seen some persons respond to them with anger that they should stick to witchcraft and not politics. If you are familiar with the Craft, you know that Starhawk has always engaged in political activism. She sees silence as anathema to the practice of the Craft. You need to cast the spell, but you also need to do the work! In fact, the Craft has always been political… some ways we have chosen it, someways we have not.
I do not own a gun, I do not hunt. I grew up in Vermont, surrounded by people who did own guns, multiple, guns and did hunt. I did not know anyone who hunted people except a group who were drafted and served during the Viet Nam War…a few of their names are now etched on the Viet Nam War Memorial in D.C., but that is yet another discussion for another time. Many people in Vermont are still avid hunters. Many of those depend on hunting to help feed their families, and all of those I know most definitely eat what they kill. I also know many people both here in Florida and in Vermont who are armed because they are convinced that they must be armed to protect themselves and their families. I have lived in Virginia, in inner city Philadelphia, in Tampa and even on a relatively isolated farm in Vermont; yet, I still have great difficulty embracing that rationale. I confess that I have never lived in fear, nor been threatened by imminent violence. If I were threatened, I have no idea what my response would be beyond my fierce protection of those I love … I have no idea how it must be to live in a fear so strong that you are compelled to buy a gun, try to keep it both accessible and safe and then invest time and energy making sure you have the expertise and mind set necessary to turn that weapon on another human being.
This is a violent time and I struggle with it even as I watch Game of Thrones and re-watch episodes of it waiting for the next season…or re-read the books, or tune into Blacklist. How to reconcile these interests with my anti-violence campaign. Do not demand an answer, I have no idea but I do knew I have no inclination to wield a sword myself or shoot an arrow through someone’s heart. So the question is how do we as witches walk our path in today’s world? Do we turn away from the world and turn to our altars? Those of you who know me, know I am a proponent of the conjunction AND rather than the OR. I think we need to do both. There is shadow, but there is light.
Most in the Craft believe in the Rule of Three…what you send out to the Universe returns to you in this life or the next three fold. That means that the love, light, all the energy you send does return…you can send that energy via your altar or via social media, or via your own walk on your path day by day. We say do as you will, harm none…think about that, harm none…that is an awesome task. I do not think we should just stick with our herbs, candles, crystals and spells, but we should not neglect them either. We should also not be silent, but our voices should represent our creed, our values. Can we encourage respectful discussion? Can we listen? Can we state our own opinions clearly without disparaging those who think or feel differently? Do not underestimate the power of such a stance and, importantly, do not underestimate the difficulty of maintaining that stance. Every time I go on Facebook, I state my intent to be a positive contributor, to be kind, to be generous, to use my voice clearly without attacking others in any way. I will not promote the posts of others who sow discord in lieu of discussion. I am firm in my intentions…and then the feed begins, I enter the Facebook world designed to manipulate us to keep going, a hotbed of misleading and false information posted and reposted by deliberate design and by impulsive clicks by those who are simply responding to part of the message. And you know what happens? My intentions start to wane and I start to get angry, angry at the racist half truths or outward lies, angry…and I get sucked in to allowing myself to get all riled up just as those people intended..to rile me up and make me more susceptible to my own counterproductive emotions. And when I give in…more and more I do not…dear Goddess, do I regret my contribution to the darkening shadow…and, ironically, that regret is helping me stay more distant from those ravings and less inclined to fix things. I speak my personal truth; I will not be silent, but while I am riled, I am far less likely to be heard.
I have only my own answers, guided by my Path. There are many concerns for this day…hunger, environment, wars, social justice; protecting our Beloved Planet including all creatures. There are many ways to be political, many ways to walk our Path. I will continue to support several NGOs, I will share my opinions honestly and as clearly as I can, I will be open to dialog and I will listen, I will engage lawmakers and be more politically active…as always, I will vote. I will carry the light of the Goddess within me and allow it to shine in my treatment of others, in my own words and actions, gently, clearly with love and respect; and yes, I will go to River to be filled, search the night sky for the Moon and the Stars, marvel in the wonders of my day, go to my altar and light my candles, cast my spells. I will work to strengthen that light within me and to stand with others who share my dream and my intent…I will never give up… I am, after all, a witch.