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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in activism
Making a Difference with Pop Culture Magick

Unless you’ve been hiding under a particularly large rock for the last month you’re probably aware that the USA is in the process of setting itself on fire.  Regardless of your political ideologies, chances are good that you feel pretty threatened these days due to the escalating violence that seems to be everywhere.  We’ve gone beyond the point of “someone should do something about this.”  We’ve officially reached “I need to do something about this.”  It’s time for us to put on our big kid pants and actually do something about the state of the world.

In good times it’s usually enough to do subtle magicks to gently influence the state of the world, but we are not facing good times.  In troubled times we need to do everything in our power to make a difference because no one else is going to do it for us.  The most effective way to use your magick to actually affect the state of the world is to enhance your mundane actions.  Unless you’re the Sorcerer Supreme (and maybe even if you are) magick alone is just not going to cut it.   There is so much energy being thrown by all sides of the current political situation that the only way to cut through it is with mundane action enhanced by magickal action.  We need to do both.  Thankfully there are a lot of ways we can do this, particularly using pop culture magick.

Pop culture magick is particularly well suited for adding weight to our mundane actions.  Characters like Captain America and Superman are already rooted both in popular consciousness and the American cultural identity.  We don’t need to struggle in our magicks to find a sympathetic resonance with our goals of boosting truth, justice, and the “American way” because they’re already there.  Our pop culture heroes are famous for making a difference in hard times, making them near perfect allies in these times.  Further, because they are so rooted in our culture means that they already energetically touch just about everyone that we might want to affect with our magick, making hitting our targets that much easier.  We don’t have to bring our pop culture magick to the mundane plain because it’s already there, ready to help us make a difference.

As with any situation, change has to start with you.  For many of us the most difficult step in making a difference is the first one: getting off our couches and actually doing something.  This is where you can do workings with characters like the Hulk, Princess Leia, or Mulan to use your anger and defensive emotions as a catalyst for taking action.  Use the energies of righteous defenders like the Federation (Star Trek) or the Shadow Proclamation (Doctor Who) to motivate yourself into taking direct action like protesting and calling your local legislators.  One of the most effective things you can do to actively change the way things are going is to phone your senators and representatives.  You can boost the effectiveness of these communications by invoking righteous and persuasive characters like Superman, Captain America, and Aslan and letting their energies help you to make your voice heard.  (If you have anxiety about calling your reps here’s a great article on making things easier on yourself)  If you’re really uncomfortable calling your senators and representatives you can also email or write them a letter (though this tends not to be quite as effective as calling, it’s better than not making yourself heard at all).  Use the courage, determination, and persuasiveness of your favorite pop culture icons to make your voice boom.

Another great way to boost your ability to make a difference is to enchant donations as you make them.  Whether you’re sending firewood to Standing Rock, giving canned good to food banks, or providing hygiene products to local shelters, we all want to make charitable donations stretch as far as we can.  We can do so by putting everlasting gobstopper charms on food donations, casting a bag of holding charm on clothing donations, or a Wisdom of Gandalf spell on book donations.  You can enhance your volunteerism by invoking the strength of Fesik (Princess Bride) or the endurance of Strider (Lord of the Rings).  Use your magick to heighten the impact of your mundane actions.

You can do even more if you’re comfortable casting spells on others (do this or not according to your own ethics).  One options is casting clear seeing spells for the ignorant.  There are a lot of frighteningly misinformed and mentally manipulated people out there that could use a dose of clear understanding of their situation.  Call on characters like Hawkeye, Superman, or Wonder Woman to part the veil of ignorance and let people see the true nature of reality.  Llasso of truth anyone or perhaps a Mythbusters spell?  Another option is casting personal responsibility spells for the apathetic or inactive.  Call on characters like Tony Stark or Buffy the Vampire Slayer to bring the full weight of personal responsibility on the indifferent.  (See my July Boondock Saints spell against indifference)  You can even take it so far as to cast guilt spells upon the perpetrators of injustice.  Given the season, using the three ghosts of Christmas from The Christmas Carol seems terribly appropriate.  The possibilities are endless.

It doesn’t matter what action you choose to take in these times, so long as you do choose to act.  The current political situation in the US has seen an unprecedented rise in violence against anyone viewed as “other” and we are all “other” in some way.  This is not the time to “wait and see,” it’s time to take a stand before things get even more out of hand.  Inaction in times like these is effectively endorsing bigotry, hatred, and fascism.  Be brave and make a difference.  

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Staying Power

I took a few days off from the world so I could stay in it for the next few  decades. Many things have happened in the last month, that have pushed me off my center, upset the balance of my emotions. I was interviewed on June 10th about my work with AIDS as an activist and as the executive director for Delaware’s main AIDS/HIV organization in the 80s and early 90s. It was like a war zone during those years. One year I attended the funerals of 65 friends, I stopped going to funerals for many years. The memories opened old wounds. Then the massacre of LGBTQ people in Orlando happened. I have friends and personal connections there. I am also a Cuban that’s been in the US since fleeing Cuba in 1961, that was woven into my experience of the massacre as well. In addition to my own distress, I had to put on the clergy hat and be available for others who needed comfort and support. And all of this in the midst of a horrible election cycle, more tragedies for people of color, more glaring examples of rape culture, more bigotry against trans people, crises in the lives of my community members, internecine conflicts in my broader spiritual communities, and more. Then I was treated poorly by people that I have helped often. I shrugged it off, reminding myself that when you try to free an animal from a trap it is just as likely to bite you as to bless you when you help it.The last straw was the report of a father unwilling to pick up his son’s body for burial because his son was gay. I was thrown away by my parents when I was 18. I was done.

I knew I was in trouble. I tried to arrange a meeting to unburden myself with a friend, but didn't manage to call her. I started re-reading the Stoic philosophers, usually a bad sign for me. I doubled my meditative practices. It wasn’t enough. Most people tell me they experience me as perennially helpful, engaged, kind, and patient. Moment to moment I was flipping the Janus faced coin of incandescent rage and ice-bound sadness. I put away my cell phone, turned off my wifi, cancelled everything I could, and stayed home. I listened to music, read fiction, worked in the garden, hugged my husband, played with our dogs, and did not try to explain myself to anyone. My Jim, answered the land line, dealt with people who showed up at the door, warned off people that wanted to be helpful, and gave me the space I needed. This is not the first time that I have taken a break from the world nor will it be my last. It is the first time I am telling people of my struggles and why I drop off the grid. I intend to stay in the world and to stay on target with my work for many, many years. I’m back again, until I take another needed retreat from the world in several years. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Holli Emore
    Holli Emore says #
    love and gentle calm to you
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Brigit's balm, my friend.
  • Jae Sea
    Jae Sea says #
    It's so important to allow the space, uncrowded, to flow. I'm here for you. Hugs & Love.
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Holding you, my brother. Always. I spoke your name to the Midsummer Moon at PSG and prayed a prayer of peace and justice, but abov
The Anti-racist Movement and Goddess Spirituality

As thousands of refugees are arriving to Greece from Syria, Iraq, and other countries, we see images that we've never witnessed before. Greeks are showing their solidarity in large numbers despite the efforts of Neo-Nazis, authorities, and the mainstream media. The poison of racism and Islamophobia is not finding fertile ground. All over Europe there's a massive movement in support of those who flee war, poverty, and oppression.

Anti-racist activists are preparing large mobilizations for March 19, the International Day against Racism. They're demanding the opening of the borders and the safe passage and stay of refugees and immigrants. Apart from Greece, rallies are going to take place in a series of other countries: Britain, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Cyprus, Lebanon, and more.

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  • Yia Alias
    Yia Alias says #
    Greetings Harita! Loved reading this article. Our treatment of refugees here in Australia does not sit well with Goddessians down
Claremont Pagan Studies Conference - II (2016)

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When the Path Isn't Clear: Doing the Work of Pagan Activism

The last week or so has been quite eventful in the Pagan community. Without rehashing specifics, I reference these posts which speak to the second and third order effects of speech and the power of words: 

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/aloneinherpresence/2015/11/i-wont-shame-my-elders/

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  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Denora, thought you would like to know that Macha (Aline) posted the following on her Facebook page about an hour ago. "Recently

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Α New Sexual Liberation Movement?

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On *A* Pagan Community Statement on the Environment

If you’re reading this, you’ve seen notifications of a Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.  Inspired by the environmental statement released by CoG in 2014 and statements from other religious organizations, blogger John Halstead invited 66 assorted Pagans, about 48 of whom collaborated on the piece that became the final product.

The final statement was a months-long, complex collaboration of diverse Pagans.  That fact in itself is, to me, remarkable, given that Pagans can be a fractious lot.  For me personally, the fact that this exists demonstrates a certain sense of solidarity.  We Pagans are a fringe demographic, and each Pagan path, sect, and individual is an even smaller fringe demographic.  We tend to work hard at distinguishing ourselves one from the other.  And that tends to fragment us as a demographic.  So when this many Pagans from many Pagan perspectives can come together and manage to agree on something of paramount importance to all of us, and to publicly proclaim our stance — well, that speaks to a stronger presence in society, and perhaps a louder, clearer voice not usually heard in the clamor of other Abrahamic dominion-inclined, religio-spiritual voices.  I think Pagans bring an important perspective to society.  And I think if this small effort can grow big enough, we might actually make a difference beyond ourselves.  Needless to say, this statement is meant to be noticed. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    No, you're not dreaming, Steven. :-)
  • steven manley
    steven manley says #
    Am I dreaming? Or did I just find a rallying cry for our Blessed of all Mothers, our planet Earth. Finally some greater interest a

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