“We are pitted against an industrial industry which fabricates our dreams for us and insinuates them through our culture and our language.
These dreams dreamt for us are destroying the very fabric of the planet. They are the projection of a civilization in utter crisis. In a terrifying circle we are being forced into deeper dream to cope with this. As witches we must dare to confront this rather than seek comfort.
We must look at our world as it is, and it is a desperate and painful ordeal to undergo. Yet the pain of the world is what we are masking by accepting the false dreams of our fallen empire whose jaws still devour even in its death throes.”
~ Peter Grey, Apocalyptic Witchcraft p.42
I have grown tired of sitting silently watching the world burn. I was quiet through the abuse of two narcissistic ex common law partners who were accepted members of my spiritual community. I didn’t want to hurt their lives, burn bridges, or come off as a bitter harpy my community would write off as crazy so I bit my tongue when I should have screamed to others how they were hurting me and would continue hurting others. How I had left one abuser and, after a couple years of healing, ended up with another who was even worse. I felt weak and stupid, like it was my fault. But they lie so well, it could happen to anyone. I have only spoken out recently to my friends about what I went through, the years of verbal and emotional abuse, the genuine fear that next time he wouldn’t punch the wall or a stranger, but me. How both men told me I was the crazy one, it was all in my head… they weren’t doing anything wrong. I am a strong woman and it crushed my soul to be fooled twice. It is not fair to have to be so strong, to have to stand up to your abuser, to stand up for your own sanity on a daily basis. I still live in fear that it will happen to me again.
And now I sit here in the middle of nowhere in the apocalyptic, snow-covered landscape of rural Canada and watch it happen to entire nations of people. I weep as I realize humanity is the sociopathic narcissist spouse and the Earth is our abused victim. I weep as I realize our governments and the big corporations who fund them are the sociopathic narcissistic spouse to we, the common people. Nature screams for help, for an end to its repeated torture, and the oppressed people cry out for their plight to be heard. But the screams fall on deaf ears devoid of empathy for even we, the people of the Earth, have become so disconnected from Nature and from each another that we have become accomplices to monsters.
The Nightmares of Nature
I’ve seen the photos of the horrifying tar sands of Alberta. I watched our former Canadian prime minister remove environmental protections on national parks and conservation areas so they can be mined for resources and have pipelines built through them. I’ve watched oil pipelines continuously be signed off on by federal governments without the approval of local governments or the First Nations whose lands the lines will be built through. I’ve watched entire towns and Native reserves be paid off so they would be forced to agree to pipelines because they are too poor to say no to the bribe. It wasn’t a distant reality for me, it happened to my beloved sacred Burnaby Mountain where I lived. Despite its status as a conservation area, trees were cut, helicopter landing pads were built, samples were taken, and a pipeline will be built right through the heart of the mountain out to the sea inlet on the other side so tankers can ship oil to China.
Protesters came in droves, local residents fought back, First Nations set up a camp, and even the city mayor and other local officials protested and took legal action against it despite the risk of their going to prison. The police showed up in riot gear and the protester camp was dismantled. People did go to prison. None of it mattered, the pipeline was just approved by our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. This pipeline will go right through densely populated residential areas, elementary and high schools, a major university, and an environmental conservation area with a natural aquifer that feeds salmon habitats. We have all heard of the movement protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, and while it is the biggest protest against pipeline construction, it is by far not the only one. This is happening throughout North America, as are spills and explosions from existing pipelines, some of which have been covered up so they would not affect other pipeline projects undergoing the approval process. What is the local consensus? “Tell those hippies to stop whining and let the pipeline construction start.” Because apparently only “hippies” care about clean water, clean soil, keeping our protected green spaces green and protected, and not having schools full of children burn to the ground.
We focus on the pipelines, but our environment is under attack from more than big oil and the horrors of fracking. Mountains are being leveled for coal, the earth is being mined to depletion, pollution is not being addressed or reduced – not nearly enough to save us. More animal and plant species are becoming extinct every day than we could ever save, than we have ever had record of happening in history. Entire habitats and ecosystems are being destroyed. Dead animals fall from the sky and dead animals wash up on shorelines en masse. Animals starve to death and people starve to death. The earth, sea, and sky are all contaminated with the refuse of our greed and industrialization. The EPA has been gagged and scientists have been gagged – not just in the USA, but also in China and elsewhere. Our addictions to capitalism, progress, growth, and technology will destroy our world and inevitably ourselves.
The Nightmares of Civilization
I watched the UK vote in favour of Brexit based on an anti-immigration platform with a forthcoming repeal of the Human Rights Act. I’ve watched the “migrant crisis” in Europe lead to extreme xenophobia, racial tensions, and violence against immigrants. It foreshadowed the escalation of racist and anti-immigrant views in the USA which were a big factor in Donald Trump winning the presidency. I’ve watched the Black Lives Matter movement with hope in my heart despite the ensuing violence and bigoted responses. I watched the women march worldwide for their rights in numbers that no protest has ever amassed in history and felt great hope despite even women telling them to stop whining and go home… and then I watched Trump take away American women’s reproductive rights and every American’s right to affordable healthcare only days later.
I am sick of hearing what new horrors against civil rights and human rights Trump’s regime has committed on a daily basis. I’m sick of seeing what rights the state governments decide to take away from their people while Trump is in power. The recent Muslim ban in the US may have been very poorly executed and enforced, but it still happened despite people’s disbelief. I am appalled that the prejudice and violence is bleeding into my own beloved Canada, one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Who will be the next target? All immigrants? First Nations? All non-whites? The LGBTQ community? Journalists? More scientists and academics? The disabled and developmentally challenged? Anyone of a non-Christian religion? No one has the luxury of feeling safe.
It is all so terrible and yet we’ve all been focusing so heavily on what is going on in the USA, Europe, and the UK that we aren’t looking closely enough at Russia’s aggressive actions in the Ukraine and elsewhere, the devastating economic crisis in Venezuela, and the frightening chaos the Middle East which has led to the waves of refugees and anti-immigrant stances and violence in the West. Not to mention we’ve already forgotten the recent revolutions in Libya and Egypt, recent horrific natural disasters that have devastated entire countries, and the ongoing major financial crises worldwide.
Awake and Rise Up
Things are not okay people. We are not going to be okay. The apocalypse isn’t a myth or a possible future, we are living it in the here and now. We have gone too far, we are too many, and we have caused too much harm. This time it won’t just be the fall of an empire mimicking the fall of Rome. It will be the fall of humanity and the destruction of the Earth. All of civilization and all of nature is at risk.
It makes me physically sick to see people who watch it all happening and stay silent and think it’s not their problem. It makes me ill to see people agree with the oppressors and their vile beliefs and actions promoting racism, xenophobia, social injustice, and harm to the environment. It breaks my heart to see people protest injustice in great numbers only to go back to their normal lives of satellite tv, starbucks coffee, yoga, and mindless phone scrolling the day after as if one protest would solve the problem and their work was done; someone else will do the rest. Have we become so numb, so insensitive that we can ignore the pain of other people and the cruelty we enact on Nature? Have we become so dumb or so numb that we cannot see through obvious lies and propaganda?
Don’t you dare sit on your hands and pretend it was enough. Don’t you see this is only the beginning and there is much worse to come? If you don’t remove the comfort of illusion for yourself, it will be violently stripped from you in the short-term future when it is too late for you to act. You are human and you should care what happens to everyone on this planet, not just what happens within your proximity or what you think will affect you. We can’t afford to be selfish and self-centered anymore. We can’t afford to naysay those who stand up to fight oppression and tell them “it’s not what Paganism is about” or “stop it, you’re making us look bad”. In doing so you are feeding and encouraging the cycle of abuse. You are abusing your privilege and essentially telling queers, women, first nations, people of colour, and immigrants that their cause doesn’t matter, that their rights don’t matter, that their lives don’t matter. You are telling environmentalists and stewards that all life on earth doesn’t matter. You are telling the spirits of nature that you care not if they all perish.
Don’t look away, don’t cover your ears. Force yourself to see the hate and evil swirling through the world like a deadly north wind. Look at the pain, feel the pain. Be thankful you have empathy. Be vigilant and when evil words become evil actions, speak out, act out. Do not remain silent, do not cast your eyes down. Humanity is all one, we are all brothers and sisters, we all share the same ancestors – all of us. You protect and fight for your family. Don’t you dare be apathetic or you are doing as much harm as the evil doers. Shout and scream, point your witch’s finger at the evil doers and name them for all to see. Don’t you ever stop fighting, don’t you ever lay down, don’t you ever let anyone tell you that you are crazy to fight injustice, that it’s all in your head and you should shut up and go home.
Something is very wrong with our world today, with humanity today. Your heart knows for it is breaking, your body knows for your stomach churns with vomit, your spirit knows for it is screaming, and your mind knows even if you try to ignore it. Do not let the words of others sway you from the truth. To be open, to care… it will hurt so much, you will just want it to be over, you will want to give up, you will want to die. If you give in, if too many of us give in, then the evil doers win. Fight your fear and fight the pain. Fear is the mindkiller, fear is the little death. Let it pass over and through you… Become the thing evil fears instead.
Feed the Mind to Fire the Soul
This is not about politics this is about LIFE. This is about human rights, this is about Nature’s rights. Educate yourself. Find the voices who are speaking up, speaking out, and demanding action. Read Apocalyptic Witchcraft, read Rewilding Witchcraft, read Aradia, read The Dark Mountain Manifesto, read the works of Gods & Radicals (like this one: “Beyond Resistance“), follow the #WeAreAradia hashtag on facebook and twitter, follow T. Thorn Coyle, and fuck, read some Starhawk. Let yourself become incensed, your blood boiling with rage at injustice. When you are armed with knowledge, act. Do not fear, they should fear you, fear us, and what we might do. The evil doers depend on our goodness and kindness to result in inaction, in peace. When the enemy has no empathy, nothing can stir their hearts to guilt or compassion. You do not fight battles with kind words and hugs. You cut the head off the snake and put it on a pike on public display so the other snakes slither away back into their dark holes. There must be consequences for evil or evil will prevail, spreading across the earth like a plague.
“And thou shalt be the first of witches known;
And thou shalt be the first of all in the world;
And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor’s soul with power;
And when ye find a peasant who is rich,
Then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil, how
To ruin all his crops with tempests dire,
With lightning and with terrible thunder,
And the hail and wind…”
~ Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches of Italy
Remind yourself. Read science fiction, watch science fiction — those that focus on the worst outcomes and the best. Read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, read The Hunger Games, read 1984, fuck, read Harry Potter again. Watch V for Vendetta, District 9, Avatar, and The Matrix and then watch Star Trek to cheer yourself up and give you hope for humanity.
Band together, stop infighting, stop the pettiness. No one really cares what tradition you’re from, what you’re lineage or pedigree is, who your teachers were, or if you think you’re better than others because of it. It doesn’t matter when we all wear a target. In this world of horrors it only matters what you can do with what you’ve learned. Your actions speak worlds louder than empty arguments about who is more legitimate or powerful, who has a better origin story.
We need poets, we need artists, we need musicians, we need writers, we need activists, we need warriors, and we most definitely need witches. Use your talents to resist, to fight in any way you can.
What world do you want for your children, for the descendants of humanity? Do we say “sorry descendents, we could’ve fought back but we were afraid or in denial and now you have to live with this nightmare we allowed –another Hitler, another atrocity to human rights, and another environmental disaster for the history books.” Or, do we rise up and fight back, scream at the top of our lungs at injustice, protect Mother Earth with every fibre of our being, and create a better world? A world where greed, power, money, and fear have no place. A free world where we treat each other fairly and compassionately. A world where the rich don’t rule over the poor. A world where our borders are as open as our hearts. A world where Nature has rights just as we humans have rights.
We are many, we are strong. Globalization and the internet have connected us all, we should use it to our advantage before it too is restricted or taken from us. We need a worldwide revolution. If we band together all races, all religions, and stand up against tyranny, we will win by numbers alone. We outnumber the rich, we outnumber the powerful. The only weapon they have against us is our fear of them and our belief in their evil propaganda. Rise up.
Read the first two chapters of Aradia, or the Gospel of Witches and perform the sabbat ritual from the second chapter every full moon to the best of your or your group’s ability. It was designed to call upon the great goddess to free the poor and oppressed and do away with their oppressors. As the ritual proscribes not to reward the goddess with offerings and celebration aside from the lunar cakes of meal, salt, honey, wine, and water outlined in the rite until the goal is reached, hold off on the last instructions for celebration, but perform the rite every full moon. Then have the sabbat party of a lifetime when your group’s goal is reached. It’s a bit like calling your local representative once every month with the same demand until they give in.
Perform The Witches’ Reel and summon the oncoming storm… just remember exacting specificity of your target is very important.
Curse. Whatever your tradition, whatever your comfort level. Again, specificity is key.
Perform rituals of protection: protection for those in danger of harm, protection for your group/coven, protection for your family and friends, and personal protection for you. Consecrate protective talismans for your home, vehicle, and to carry on your body.
Purify all the things with incense, smudge, florida water, and other herbs or tools in your witch’s arsenal. Make your home your sanctuary — a place of peace and safety. Cleanse yourself after negative altercations with people who support prejudice, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and harm to the environment. A bath or shower followed with a prayer is definitely good enough.
Pace yourself, don’t burn out. Try not to spend too much time each day reading all the terrible news articles, quotes, and memes. It’s okay to unplug from the internet, turn off your phone, and watch a stupid comedy or stay in bed all day with books, snacks, and tea. Remember to practice self-care. You can’t help others if you yourself are not functional and spiralling downward into anxiety and depression from sensory overload. Britton from Archaic Honey has some great ideas for looking after yourself in her “A Witches Resistance & Action List“.
Create art, poetry, words, and music that fight back and reveal wrongdoings or alternately spread a message of love, compassion, and understanding to unite us in our differences.
Plant trees. Plant them properly. Research first. Don’t plant aggressive trees over water or sewer lines. Don’t plant shallow rooted trees in public spaces near walkways or streets. Space them properly away from each other and away from buildings – trees get huge and their root systems are much larger than what you can see of the tree above the earth. For the tree to survive the planting and become established it must be watered and cared for at least 3-5 years after it is planted.
Learn how to cook, learn herbalism, learn how to grow and preserve your own food, and learn about edible and medicinal native plants. Learn basic survival skills from books, websites, and your local wilderness schools. Pack a bug-out bag and have an escape plan ready in case disaster strikes. Learn how to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Beware the false hope of online petitions. To petition one’s government, hundred of thousands of signatures are needed before they’ll even put it on the pile of petitions to be debated and even if you have millions of signatures, it is still destined to fail. You need to consider who it is that approves the petitions. If the local government is against your cause, it’s likely going to be outright denied and tossed in the trash. Even if your petition does attain enough signatures to be debated by your government, the statistics still show it will likely be denied no matter how many signatures there are and no matter how important the cause is. If you insist on signing petitions, consider anyone can start a petition and there will be many duplicates with the same intent spread around the internet. Find the one that has the most shares, the most signatures, and the most potential to actually be successful before you put your name on it.
Support women’s rights, First Nations rights, religious rights, immigrant rights, racial equality, LGBTQ rights, environmental stewardship, etc. Donate, volunteer, protest, or harass your local government officials through legal means.
Take away your support. Follow the money and stop supporting the businesses and corporations that support hurting people’s civil and human rights or actions which harm the environment (Monsanto and Dupont anyone?). Americans have boycotted banks for funding the Dakota Access Pipeline and started the #GrabYourWallet hashtag for listing companies that line Trump’s pockets. Take your money away from where it counts most. When there are as many of us as there are, voting with your dollar can often count more and hurt more than with a ballot.
Speak out and act out when you see injustice happening in front of you – in your covens, your meetup groups, your online forums and facebook groups, and outside of your spiritual community too. Help those being harassed in public, by peers, in your school, in your workplace. Same thing when you see someone causing harm to the environment. Say something, report it, tell human resources, tell the police, tell a journalist… Educate the ignorant by calling them out on their harmful behaviour and showing them there are consequences.
Go to protests if you feel the call, but don’t go uneducated. Don’t be incited to violence or destruction of property. Have a back up plan, bring a cellphone, and tell friends and family where you are going. Consider the fact you may be arrested, arrange bail, and know your legal rights and how to deal with the police before you even leave the house.
Don’t give up.