They’re coming for you. Burning barricades, broken glass, hurled cobbles, shattered chains.
There’s some Guédé who’ve got something to say about what you’ve done, and some Barons, too. Some dragged-out masked punks seething with rage. Angry immigrants sick of scraps, seething nymphs and feral satyrs gonna rip you to shreds.
Ripping off chains you put on ‘em, ’cause chains ain’t just iron.
Howling madness, the fear from the trees. The dead amongst ‘em animating rage, because they remember what you hoped we’d forget.
You seen a revolt?
It looks like a carnival.
And Someone’s dancing amongst them.
–From Where They May Be Found: Dionysos
Sannion alerted me to the following post.
You’re educated enough and powerful enough to do some magic. The only thing you really lack is awareness of the world around you, because if you were that spiritual enough to have the capacity for magic, you’d have the compassion to use it for the betterment of the world. So read the fucking news and do some fucking magic, dear reader, because the world around you needs it.
You’ve seen the stuff happening in Ferguson, yeah? I know a really funny comedian died, so we’ve been distracted. Also, you’re probably working a lot, and have lots of life to attend to, and so it’s hard to pay attention to other things. I get that, because I’m in permanent time-debt and find myself trying to work on writing while helping mentally-ill folks deal with the voices which aren’t always in their head because I don’t really have enough time just to write or just to work.
That is, there are always mitigating factors. You’re no different from me, even if you make more money with your work. Same pressures. Same decisions to make. Do you give attention to the world around you or to the fact that you’re overdue on some bill?
Paying attention hurts, actually. It engenders an anxiety that isn’t easily resolved–wars and riots and killings occur elsewhere, you see their images, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So it’s best not to give your attention there, because you’ll just spend the rest of your day in muted, impotent rage or depression, and your kids need to be fed or your boyfriend’s upset that you haven’t spent enough time with him.
Really well meaning and very intelligent people ask me quite often, when I write about how fucked-up this stuff is, “what should I do?” And I try to answer those questions, but the only thing I can ever honestly tell someone is what I do, which is try to make other people aware of this stuff.
To be clear, if I knew precisely what should be done about these things in every circumstance, I’d be in jail or dead. I’d be some strange, brilliant prophet or soon-to-be autocrat, and both would ensure an early death for me. You think the powerful would let someone like that have a voice?
And I’m an Anarchist. People forget (or perhaps never knew) that Anarchism is first and foremost about individual sovereignty and responsibility. The “no masters” part of the slogan is precisely that–there should be no masters of your destiny, your decisions, your actions. Another person telling you what to do is precisely how Authority arises.
But I also understand that we don’t actually know how to fix things, which is why we read other people and talk to them, ask for their advice and for their help.
So I’ll say it–Polyphanes has some damn good advice. The magic you use to affect minor changes in your own world can be used to affect minor changes in others. The notion that magic is for your “personal evolution” is an inheritance of Consumerism, and an illusion. A gun isn’t for your “personal protection,” it’s for shooting people with. Protection might be the justification and possibly the result, but let’s be real about what we’re on about. Magic betters your life, sure, but if that’s why you’re doing it, your a selfish prick.
There’s the other part of the Anarchist slogan–“no gods.” Yeah. I changed that. It makes me a good Anarchist. Cal Truman (whose got a blog and I can’t find it currently) was wearing a patch at the PLC which states it nicely, “Many Gods, No Masters.” Anarchists rejected the only obvious religion around the (Christianity) and the uses of it, which quite effectively tied people’s souls to the perpetuation of the current, Capitalist order. American Christians, in particular, are some of the greatest supporters of American Imperialism and the Capitalist logic, and there’s a damn good reason for this. It’s got nothing to do with the Christ, by the way.
What do are our gods think? I know what two that I worship think. I’m not their priest, but I am one of their bards. Dionysus isn’t pleased with oppression, Brighid’s been throwing her lot in with the dispossessed for a very long time.
What do your gods think? Have you asked them? I posed this very question to some friends regarding a recent matter, because I’d never met a god of theirs. And I pose this to you.
What do your gods think about police hired by the state killing unarmed black men all over this country? What do they think about what’s going on in Ferguson?
If your religious practices or your magic are all all even slightly derived from the African Diasporic Traditions, I’m gonna guess you already understand something about all this. Unless, of course, you bought your training online from some pretty-looking white men with nice websites who told you this was for your “personal evolution.”
Or, if you follow the thinking of some witch-elders (all of them white, many of them men), then you probably think you should just vote for a better world and write some aw-shucks folksy blogs about how nice plants are and how complicated it is to think.
That’s all nice. I hope you get a rock thrown through your window.
I’ve some links for you. Most of the work I do is trying to help make this stuff make sense to people who haven’t had time to pay attention, or haven’t been wracking their brains over this most of their adult life. There’s no indictment there–it’s maddening to pay attention, actually.
This article may help you understand why simple peaceful protest isn’t an option for them.
If you’re on Twitter, search #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to get an idea of how the media skews depictions of blackfolk when a cop kills one of them.
This is an easily-read summation of the police violence in Ferguson, particularly of the new militarization of police departments, and also how there’s been a concerted effort to harass and block journalists from covering events there.
T. Thorn Coyle wrote a pretty awesome piece that I recommend. She controls her rage at this stuff a lot better than I ever will.
Go ask your gods. And then do something. Magic’s a good start.
But don’t fucking stop there.