As for many people, the trash fire that was 2016 has not left me with a lot of hope for 2017. Emotionally I’m quite torn between rage, incredulity, and bone-crushing despair. At this point it’s become quite clear that we cannot simply rely on “the establishment” to build a better world, or even to sustain what we have now. While it’s tempting to simply throw up my hands in disgust and go find a nice cave to hide in, maybe in Canada somewhere, I’m one of the poor sods that lives in the US and has to deal with the fallout. That’s terrifying. What’s a pop culture witch to do in the face of a fascist threatening their way of life? Why, call on Peggy Carter and Captain America, of course!
The next four years are likely to be an uphill battle unlike any that I have ever faced. Never in my lifetime has such a critical public figure be so openly racist, misogynistic, transphobic, honestly the list just goes on forever. The tacit approval given to bigots to be unspeakable to anyone they deem “other” by the President-elect scares the pants off of me. I grew up with my mother telling me stories about how she grew up having to sit on the balcony of the movie theater and go in the “coloured” entrance. I never thought I’d have to worry about something as awful as segregation or internment happening again, but that’s a very real fear right now. I for one am not willing to “wait and see” if things go as appallingly as I fear. I refuse to see this country become a dumpster of hate. That makes it my job to do everything I can to make things better. Nobody is going to do this for me. That means I need the strength, stamina, and fortitude of a superhero just to keep going, let alone make things better.
“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right. -Albus Dumbledore” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The way I see it we need the strength, courage, and honor of Captain America to make a stand against the theft of our rights and denials of our personhood. We’ll need his determination to stand up against bullies and defend those that cannot defend themselves. We will need his strategy and planning abilities to do the most good wherever we can. However, even more than that we will need the indefatigability of Peggy Carter. It is one thing to be the shining symbol of justice (Captain America) and another entirely to be the unwanted and unacknowledged hero (Peggy) that slogs tirelessly through adversity to save the world without so much as a thank you or to have their efforts claimed by others and continue anyway. Every movement needs its figureheads, but it needs its individual, tireless workers even more. We’re in this for the long haul and the tiny steps collectively taken by many individuals (all of us!) - sustained over time - are likely to make a far greater difference than a few grand gestures. We need action from our fiercest warriors, our greatest speakers, our activists, and our workers, our volunteers, and our support crews.
I urge you to join me in casting the following spell to stand up to bullies and injustice in all its forms on January 20th.
Spell to Stand Up to Bullies - No, You Move
(*underlined text in taken from the Captain America: Civil War comics)
This spell is written to call on Captain America and Peggy Carter because these characters mean a lot to me and embody the traits I know I’m going to need. Please do rewrite it to use characters and references that have similar qualities and mean as much to you. This spell could easily be done with other powerful characters: Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus from Rogue One, Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, or Hulkling and Wiccan from the Young Avengers - just to name a few. The key is to use figures or characters that give you strength, determination and perseverance.
Ingredients: one small candle (standard or flameless), items representing Captain America and Peggy Carter, or whoever you are doing the working with (action figures, drawings or sigils all work - whatever works best for you), a blank piece of paper and a pen/pencil.
If you have a Captain America t-shirt and/or a fabulous red hat this is the time to wear it. Consider running a Captain America movie or the Agent Carter TV series quietly in the background, cued to a scene of triumph. You want to invoke your characters in a way that is meaningful to you and them.
Ground and center as usual. Create sacred space according to your own practices. Feel free to call on appropriate deities, ancestors, or other allies if you wish.
Place the items representing Cap and Peggy on your altar or temporary workspace. Also put the blank piece of paper and pen there.
Take a deep breath and light the candle.
Say the following:
On this day and in this hour I pledge to stand up against bullies.
I vow to be part of the solution, never again the problem.
I call on Steven Grant Rogers - Captain America - to be with me and lend me his strength and sense of justice.
Captain, help me to stand up against bullies, to fight injustice, and protect that which is worth protecting.
Give me the passion and determination to take necessary risks and make a difference.
I call on Margaret Carter - Peggy, Agent Carter - to be with me and lend me her strength, stamina, and clear sightedness.
Peggy, help me to stand up to bullies, to do what is right no matter how difficult or thankless.
Give me the stamina and will to keep fighting the good fight and to know my value.
Grab your pen and paper and say:
Cap, Peggy, show me a sigil that will energize and sustain me in the fight against bullies - a sigil that will help me to do what is right, no matter how difficult.
Take a few minutes to allow the sigil to come to you and then draw it on the paper. (If nothing comes to you in a minute or two just move on and don’t worry, it may come to you later - probably when you least expect it.) You will be able to draw this sigil or carry it on you when you need it.
Hold your hands over your sigil (or the blank paper where you will draw it when it comes to you) and say:
“Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world - 'No, you move.'"
Take a moment to thank Cap and Peggy (or whoever you worked with) for their help in your own words.
If you’ve called on any allies thank and dismiss them. Then open your sacred space and ground - I recommend a nice piece of apple pie or coffee cake.