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I have been traveling all day. Flying from the West Coast to the East to a conference is a drag because I have to get up so early – 2 am – to catch the Airporter down to San Francisco in time for the plane. ‘Course I didn’t have to go, so grousing is a little bit whiny.
But still, when I said “yes,” I didn’t appreciate just how painful 2 am would be when it finally arrived. Or how long it would take for me to get good internet access once I got to South Carolina.
So this post is an improvement on, but inspired by, one I made much earlier. Not a retread, but a revisiting. Still, I tell myself I have more readers now – and its point is important.
Persuasion is the life blood of democratic politics, but sometimes the issues we face are severe enough we feel called upon to act as Pagans and in Pagan ways to try and make a difference. Either persuasion is not an option, or the time constraints are too demanding.
We can learn from a ritual working against Hitler’s planned invasion of Great Britain.
Many English Witches did rituals to prevent a Nazi invasion. Whether they worked or not will of course never be known. What we do know is that what was done was in harmony with a Wiccan view of the world, that it often works in a smaller scale, that the invasion never happened, and that the change in Hitler’s plans was unexpected by all involved on both sides. Whether it made a difference or not, this was religious involvement in politics on a grand scale indeed.
Energy was raised, given great additional strength by the voluntary sacrifice of some participants’ lives, and a powerful “NO. YOU WILL NOT COME” was sent to Hitler. Philip Heselton’s book ‘Wiccan Roots‘ gives many of the details.
Note first that the working was very concrete and specific. It was a binding – a powerful one. Some gave their lives to add energy. Nothing was abstract about it. It was not a ritual for “world peace” desirable as that goal is. Second, there was universal agreement about the concrete specifics of what was desired by all involved. A powerful unity of will was achieved because of the very simplicity of the issue: stop an invasion. Third, if it could be done it had to be done from within a ritually specific consciousness far removed from normal awareness, and certainly removed from analytic or complex political thought.
This it seems to me is a good example of specifically Pagan political involvement. We can learn from it. It is done entirely outside the political arena. It does not deal with making laws, convincing potential allies, or anything mundane. The moral issues are very clear for all involved. It is oriented towards defense, stopping others from doing harm.
Successful or not, it had all the elements of a good magickal working.
Had the working’s goal been abstract, such as “Hitler will learn love” the unity of wills required would have been harder to achieve because “love” means different things to different people. Had it been for “World Peace” the problems would have been harder still. What does World Peace really mean concretely? There would be a number of interpretations. Further, the number of people required to be influenced by it would have been hopelessly disproportionate to the powers of those doing the working.
I was asked some years ago to participate in a working against George Bush. I declined, but not because I thought such a working was unmerited. George Bush was a disaster. But at the time literally everything that happened was working in the man’s favor. All ‘coincidences’ helped him. It seemed to me larger patterns were at work, patterns so strong that facing them head-on was unwise.
I counseled waiting.
Of course it seemed in the Britain of the early ’40s that everything was also working in Hitler’s favor when the witch working against him occurred. But the difference was that the realm of relevant possible choices had become very small and focused. Either Hitler would invade, or he would not. The message was not to undo Hitler or overthrow him, but to prevent a specific possible outcome that was Hitler’s choice to make.
Had the plan I was invited to participate in been similarly specific – say, to save the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge – I would probably have participated. I suspect such workings were in fact done, Against all odds, the refuge has still not been drilled.
Effective ritual is not invincible – but it shifts the energetic probabilities, and in the absence of effective opposition can make a significant difference for the better.
George Bush is gone from office. The Republicans are deeply discredited with any people who put love of country ahead of love of party. A black man who is part African, with the middle name Hussein, is President. His and his allies’ opponents are organized in a way only dreamed of a few years back. Many of these outcomes appear to have depended on Bush being President long enough to discredit a style of politics among many who had earlier fond it attractive. These positive outcomes were inconceivable for the most part when my friend asked me to help in the working against Bush.
I cannot say this Bush’s presidency has been to the ultimate good for our country or humankind. Thousands of dead Americans, and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis suggest otherwise. And that is just a beginning of my bill of particulars regarding the Bush presidency. But we do not see the bigger picture. So I suggest the place for magick in politics is very focused and narrow. That principle works best for magick in general, and reflects the knowledge and focus we can reasonably bring to bear on a issue.