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Ten Ways to Diversify Magical/Pagan Groups

Look around the room. How diverse is your group? Are there ten guys and one woman (the Wendy and the Lost Boys configuration)? Half men and half women, all white? No kids, no seniors, no one in a wheelchair?

Why does it matter if the room is filled only with our friends? It means our message is not reaching everyone who needs to hear it. Also we learn from people who are not like us, it grows our world.

The magical groups I spend most of my time with skew white/middle-aged/childless/able-bodied. Here are some starter ideas for getting more diversity in our groups.

One: Educate ourselves

The first item on any diversity agenda is learning about the experience of people not like us. There is so much information available about people of color, women, transgender and other genders, families, disabled people, seniors, veterans. In my corporation and as a human rights council member I organize lectures and panels which invite subject matter experts to share their knowledge and experience. From these events we learn that fathers need paternity leave, parents need flex time and child care, disabled people need equipment, trans people need non-gender-specific bathrooms, seniors need not to be discounted, people of color need affinity groups.

One excellent place to start is with the works of Crystal Blanton. This writer, organizer and priestess works tirelessly to bring race into the discussion and educate the magical communities.

These books written by Crystal are excellent resources for leaders:

These anthologies Crystal has edited give a platform to many diverse voices.

Two: Educate each other
The next step is to discuss these ideas within our group and communities. We need men to talk to men to get them past mansplaining to women what we already know about our own experience. We need white people talk to white people to get past the initial defensive and racist responses. (“Why are there only white people in the room?” “Don’t they have their own groups?”)

Three: Leverage the diversity already in the group

Are there any people of color, women, disabled folk, families with children in the room? Invite them to speak to the group about their experience in life and with the group. Put them on a podcast or a panel. Ask them for their suggestions about how we can be more inclusive and accepting. Use the listen-and-learn skills honed in the education phase to maximize their time and minimize their aggravation. Say thank you.

Next, implement their suggestions. Open participation for people with different abilities. Notice the needs of people who can’t stand, kneel, or hear well. Set up child care and learn to live with some chaos. Listen to the older folk when they tell stories of the times before you came. Play music that isn’t on the usual playlist. Make non-alcoholic drinks an equal option. Cut back on the hug line phenomenon – model walking in and out without having to hug everyone in passing.

The group’s culture will change and that’s uncomfortable. That’s also the inclusion part. Being open to new ideas makes diversity work.

Four: Build a program

Where diversity doesn’t exist we can go out and get it. Twenty years ago O.T.O. groups were mostly men but we have attracted more women and other genders through focused attention. Pagan groups in the Bay Area are making active efforts to include people of color – Pantheacon 2017 had a Pagans of Color hospitality suite.

In the corporate world we have a Diversity Executive, Diversity Champions and Diversity Ambassadors. If you have a large enough organization you can implement a program. If you’re a local leader you can implement in your area. Find people interested in the same subject and sign them up. You can do podcasts and conference panels, workshops, reading groups. Here’s an example: T. Thorn Coyle’s New Jim Crow study group.

Five: Get out in the community

The Showing Up For Racial Justice chapter I belong to bought a table at the annual NAACP benefit banquet. The Women’s March Huddle I belong to visits the ICE Tacoma Detention Center to bring families toys and blankets. This is different from outreach to proselytize and attract new members. It’s getting your people out to listen, learn, be observed, and contribute and support.

Six: Have interfaith conversations

Social justice work is interfaith work. The entire magical-Pagan population which makes up our friend set is one-third of one-percent of the US population. Half of the country is Christian, so if you get active in social justice you’re going to end up meeting with people in churches. Most of those folk are going to be more knowledgeable and experienced than we are. They have a vocabulary and a history. They talk about the Beloved Community.

In these rooms we are the diversity people. The other folk will be curious about us. We need to have an elevator speech to explain what we do. We can also be prepared to do public ritual work. I did an impromptu invocation of Athena at an interfaith gathering that invited me to participate.

We can learn from the failures and successives of other groups. The Unitarian Universalist Church did some learning earlier this year when groups offered criticism of white privilege. The local church has responded by organizing self-education (see item one) and having hard discussions with each other. A group that has come farther along the road offers this Clergy Anti Racism Preparedness Toolkit which we can model based on our own religions and philosophies.

Seven: Be visible

  • Get out on the street with Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March and Gay Pride.
  • Wear T-shirts with your affiliation.
  • Wear clergy garb to activist events.
  • Take pictures of yourself and your group while out in the community. Post on your own internal media and on social media.

Eight: Set a policy
Stand strongly against racism and sexism and strongly for human rights. Some examples:

Statement from the U.S. Grand Lodge of O.T.O.
Solar Cross Stands for Justice
Covenant of the 9/1/2015 Statement on Black Lives Matter

Nine: Have the difficult conversation
The foundation of the welcoming community is the willingness to confront our own racism, sexism and other biases. We can start that conversation one-on-one with each other. We can bring a community leader in to do a presentation that will lead to a conversation.

It’s okay to take it slow, to make mistakes, to try it again. The important thing is to get started.

Ten. Your idea here

What has worked for your group to become more inclusive? What barriers do you experience to joining or participating in a group? What would you like to see happen? Let’s do this!

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Working for Transpersonal Justice

CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons ">

By Ashu ryp (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Last night a friend of mine shared this working with me. He posted it to YouTube for people to participate in. This working can be done asynchronously, meaning any time you like, and each iteration makes the working more powerful.

It calls on the Hindu goddess Bagalamukhi. Shivashakti.com describes times to call on her protection: “…in the thick of war, in assemblies of thieves, in conflicts, in jail, on water, in magical attack, in litigation, in facing a king’s wrath, at the time of an ordeal, at night, in fetters or in paralysis, in the slaughter of battle amongst enemies…” My friend notes she is so powerful she is best suited for transpersonal workings; for example, you call on her to protect your country from invasion.

This working sacrifices your personal hate, fear, guilt and so on, giving them to the goddess. It asks her in return to protect us. You might dedicate this working in a transpersonal way to protect all those who are at risk from the tide of hate and fear that is sweeping America and the world.

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O.T.O. US Grand Lodge Supports Human Rights

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

In the wake of the alt-right/Nazi demonstration in Charlottesville in which Heather Heyer was killed protesting the gathering, many organizations are posting statements affirming their support for universal human rights.

I am a member of Ordo Templi Orientis. Just to brief you on how it works, the Supreme Grand Council is the group within O.T.O. which can issue policy statements. The SGC has done so today. Unanimously.

I don’t sit on the SGC, I report to it. That said, I unequivocally support this statement. Fighting for universal human rights is the center of my work.

Read it here: Statement from the Supreme Grand Council

Love is the law, love under will.

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The Thelemic Guide to Surviving the Dominionist Theocracy

The Thelemic Guide to Surviving the Dominionist Theocracy

An extreme Christian minority has taken control of administration. How did this happen, and what does this mean for Thelemites?

Whatever Candidate Trump promised, President Trump has proposed policies which restrict liberty and endanger the common good:

  • withdraw from the international Paris Accord climate change agreement;
  • cut legal immigration in half and halt legal immigration from Muslim majority countries;
  • prevent transgender people from serving in the military;
  • end the Affordable Care Act providing health care to millions of Americans;
  • defund public schools;
  • sell public lands;
  • replace the serving judiciary;
  • restrict the freedom of the press.

What ideology is driving these policy decisions?

On July 31 the political website The Hill reported that President Trump and his cabinet attend weekly Bible study sessions. The Christian Bible Network described this as a
“spiritual awakening” of the “most Evangelical Cabinet in history”. This Evangelical Bible study is led by Pastor Ralph Drollinger, a man who has called Catholicism a false religion, labelled working mothers “sinful” and called homosexuality an abomination in the eyes of God. It is clear that these extreme religious views drive the policies of the White House and Cabinet.

The cultural war in America is usually framed as a battle between Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, ultra-rich and everyone else. These ideas don’t adequately capture the radical reformation we are undergoing. We are revisiting the Enlightenment battle between religion and secular humanism. At present the powers of restriction are winning. Dominionist Christians hold many of the most powerful offices in the country. This crisis extends beyond the current President; when Trump leaves office, however late or soon, we will still face a political climate which is inimical to our way of life.

This is a field guide to surviving this dangerous moment for our freedom and helping to steer our Thelemic boat to a safe harbor in the future.

What is Christian Dominionism?

Not all Republicans are Christian, not all Christians are Evangelical, and not all Evangelical Christians are Dominionist.

Evangelicals are pre-millenialists. They believe that the 1000 years of peace and justice promised by the Book of Revelations will occur only afterChrist’s Second Coming which unleashes earthly destruction. Evangelical Dominionists further believe it is their duty to occupy secular institutions and reconstruct them around Biblical principles to hasten Christ’s coming. They are authorized to take “dominion” by Genesis 1:26:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. King James Bible online.

For decades Evangelical churches, colleges and media have spread Dominionist doctrines among Christians, particularly white Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and Mormons. Movements advancing Dominionist ideas include Christian Reconstruction, Christian Identity, and New Apostolic Reformation. The idea that the Bible mandates Christians to occupy secular authority has become the central ideology for the Christian right.

Which politicians are Dominionists?

Politicians holding Dominionist views may not identify as such publicly. They may belong to churches which stigmatize this extreme viewpoint; for example, Catholic Vice President Mike Pence holds Dominionist views, calling himself an Evangelical Catholic, even though church scholasticism centers on social justice.

Trump’s personal spiritual advisor is Paula White, a televangelist who preaches prosperity doctrine, the neo-Calvinist idea that wealth is a sign of God’s approval and poverty is God’s punishment for personal sins. While Trump did not begin his campaign as a religious extremist, Evangelicals and Dominionists took control of his campaign and maintain control of his administration and Cabinet. In July 2017 a photo surfaced of Evangelical ministers laying hands on the president.

Here are the people attending the weekly Evangelical Bible study sessions:

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions,
  • Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry,
  • Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Ben Carson,
  • Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue,
  • CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Other administration officials align with Evangelical and Dominionist views, and more Evangelic leaders are being invited to closed door meetings with the White House.

What does this mean for public policy?

It’s hard to understand policy decisions by the Administration which conflict with Trump campaign promises, contradict science, upend successful programs, and ignore broad citizen support. Where are they coming from? It is helpful to understand that extreme Dominionist ideas lead Evangelicals to radical disruptive actions.

Dominionist policies intend to establish the Kingdom of God on earth at the expense of the common good.

Here are some defining characteristics of Dominionist ideology.

Dominionists have the Truth

Dominionists can be highly educated and intelligent. However Dominionism is a closed-loop ideology – it does not admit the possibility that any of its claims can be disproven. As with other adherents of closed-loop ideologies this makes Dominionists almost impervious to reason. The doctrine is always right and does not change; when individuals develop disagreement with the doctrine they fall out of the system.

Appeal to self-interest also does not move Dominionists. Adhering to a doctrine even when it negatively impacts the individual is a sign of commitment; it makes you a hero, a highly valued status. In Far Right Fantasy James Aho notes that this extremism does not focus on the cares of daily life. It’s driven by a sense that what is happening currently differs from the Christian ideal.

Demons must be defeated

Dominionists believe that the secular world is controlled a hierarchy of demons under Satan’s rulership. Dominionists identify seven mountains currently under demonic control which must be taken back by Christians: arts, business, family, government, media, religion, and education. The Democratic party in particular is controlled by demons; President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton are not metaphorically demonized, they are actually possessed by demons.

Dominionists blame real world disasters on the failure to confront demons. The Japanese tsunami in 2011 was God’s reaction to Obama policies, Haiti’s earthquake targeted Voudoun practitioners, the 9/11 terrorist attack reflected God’s judgement on America, among many examples.

Only Christians can be patriots

Dominionists fiercely protest their patriotism. However this patriotism is not a commitment to the Constitution as written. Dominionists see the Constitution and Bill of Rights as addendums to Old Testament Biblical law – these were not documents written by people but handed down by God. All public policy should be found in Biblical law, and if it’s not in the Bible, it shouldn’t be policy.

Dominionists believe only Christians enjoy the benefits guaranteed by the Constitution.

  • America is a Christian nation. The Bill of Rights applies only to Christians. Freedom of religion means freedom for Christian religion.
  • Immigrants should be Christian only. Those immigrants already in the country, legally or not, should be repatriated. Jews should emigrate to Israel.
  • Nonbelievers (this includes Thelemites) should lose freedom of speech and political rights.

Establishing a Christian theocracy requires overturning the First Amendment which guarantees separation of church and state. There are several approaches to this:

  • The direct approach: through a Constitutional Convention. A majority of governors, 34, can call such a convention. Since West Virginia Governor Jim Justice changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican there are now 34 Republican governors.
  • The indirect approach: through enacting laws and policies which restrict the freedoms on non-Christians. This is one of the results of the administration’s reshaping the American judiciary.

Dominionist doctrine is marked by falsity

Dominionist doctrine exhibits falsity in a number of ways.

  • Make your own dragons: it creates problems, like the war on Christmas, confusing its own stories as facts.
  • Contradict Christian gospel: for example, finding money as the root of all good.
  • Subvert public discourse: Dominionist politicians use the language of American civil values while working to overturn the civil contract and establish a religious theocracy.
  • Fail to acknowledge debt: Dominionists benefit from the common good (roads, clean air, healthy food) while working to dismantle it.

Falsity is especially troubling. Dominionists may argue that a given policy would have an economic or public safety benefit which casts the conversation as a normative democratic discussion. When investigated these policies are very often found to be costly and dangerous, enacting the opposite result from what was proposed. Understanding the extreme religious origin of these ideas helps make sense of the contradiction. The end goal is not a healthy economy or a safe country, but a Dominionist one, establishing “God’s kingdom on earth”.

What does a that country look like? The America that Christian Dominionists envision is white, capitalist, and controlled by churches.

The Dominionist vision for America

White America

Dominionists believe that white Americans and Europeans are descendants of lost tribes of Israel. They are the rightful rulers of earth; those who are not white or European are meant to be governed by white people.
What this means for people of color:

  • Native Americans: all tribal members should be confined to reservations.
  • Black Americans:some people are slaves by nature and should remain so. African slaves benefited from benevolent masters who took them from unbelieving cultures. The Emancipation Proclamation was inhumane and irresponsible. The Supreme Court should re-affirm the Dred Scott decision that black people do not own themselves.
  • Hispanic Americans: all undocumented Hispanic people should be immediately deported. American citizens who aid “criminal invaders” should have houses and vehicles confiscated and the funds used to build border protections.
  • All non-European Americans: the proposed Pace Amendment to the Constitution should be enacted. This amendment states: No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race. … Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”

Corporate America

Dominionist doctrine adopts the Calvinist belief that good fortune is a sign of God’s favor and a reward for individual virtue, while poverty is a sign of god’s punishment for individual sins. If you can’t afford food, health care, housing, then you don’t deserve them.

The economic policies that result from these beliefs are described as laissez fair capitalism. This favors capitol over labor and is hostile to collective bargaining and fair wages. The corporate “person” is obligated only to increase profits. Capital should be owned only by private entrepreneurs, nothing should be owned by government. Public lands should be sold off. Prisons should be privately owned. Military forces should be corporate; Erik Prince, former CEO of the mercenary force Blackwater/Academi and Evangelical, has suggested that the Afghanistan war be outsourced.

At its most extreme, Dominionist ideology treats the corporation as an incarnation of God’s presence in the world, deserving piety, and takes money as the root of all good. While these ideas run counter to other Christian teachings it has shaped a corporate culture which exalts greed over public interests.

Church Controlled America

Dominionist doctrine calls for the complete dismantling of the social safety net. Any program not mentioned in the Bible should be shut down. This includes social security, Medicare and Medicaid, OSHA, SNAP, WIC, among many examples.

What replaces these programs? Christian charity. Instead of taxes, individuals should tithe 10% of their income to government funnels into church based charities. The churches would decide who can get this charity and what they would have to do to deserve it. The poor must be drug free, well behaved, and repent of the sins that brought them to this state. If they do not they should be left to suffer the consequences: lose their homes, lose their health care, and starve.

Schools should also be church controlled. Public schools at present teach children how to read, write, and think critically, and to support secular civil democracy. These schools should be closed down and children funneled to schools which teach Christian doctrine. Department of Education Secretary Besty DeVos overtly intends to shape public schools to “advance God’s kingdom”.

Thelemites in a Christian theocracy

In his keynote address to the biannual conference NOTOCON in 2015, O.T.O. Grand Master Sabazius sounded the alarm about conservative Christianity: “You know how more and more evangelical Christians are seeking elected offices, and winning. You know–especially here [Texas]–the kind of effects these people can have on your daily lives.”

Strong man rejoicing in his way

Libertarians who favor policies minimizing governmental oversight of individuals and businesses reject the neoliberalism which has governed the Democratic party’s policies for the past several decades. Interestingly, neoliberalism also favors laissez faire capitalism. One factor in the 2016 election was a rejection of neoliberalism, but as we can see this did not result in a shift away from unchecked capitalism.

Not every Republican is Christian; some are Thelemites. Some Thelemites voted for Trump. It’s not impossible to recognize his appeal – he seems to be a “strong man rejoicing in his way”. A vote for Trump may not necessarily have been meant to support Christian Dominionism, but this is how it is playing out. The policies and rhetoric of Christian Dominionists may seem to align with Thelemic values because of their emphasis on individual sovereignty. It is important to remember that the individual sovereignty which Christian Dominionists advocate applies only to Christian Dominionists.

Special threats to Thelemic freedom

Aho points out that the radical right has been a force in American politics for centuries. While anti-Semitism continues to be an issue the most vilified groups have shifted to Muslims and Hispanic immigrants. However Satanists and Witches also continue to be targets; for the far right Thelema registers as a form of Satanism.

Thelemites take the Book of Revelations as a set of spiritual metaphors; Aleister Crowley drew from its imagery, calling himself the Beast, and the Biblical Babylon-the-Whore “Our Lady Babalon”. He vilified Christianity and called it a slave religion. Christian Dominionists on the other hand take Revelations as a literal reality. If you’re enacting the war that Revelations prophesies, we are on the opposite side. Dominionist fantasies dwell on the tortures that people like us would experience in the Christian Apocalypse.

Another specific threat is to women’s sexual freedom. Aleister Crowley was crystal clear: “The essence of my Word is to declare woman to be Herself, of, to, and for Herself; and I give this one irresistible Weapon, the expression of Herself and Her will through sex, to Her on precisely the same terms as to man…The best women have always been sexually-free, like the best men.” The Law is for All, III:55.

For Evangelicals on the other hand women are to be married, express sexuality only in marriage, and be governed by men. There is no clearer example of the incompatibility of Dominionist doctrine with Thelemic values than this.

Fighting for freedom

In his 2015 NOTOCON address Grand Master Sabazius said: “Recall that we oppose tyranny, which is the use of political or economic power in a cruel, unjust or oppressive way. We are against oppression, which is the deprivation of any minority group, or even an entire people. or sex, of their human rights. And we are against superstition–which people understand in different ways, but which I personally understand as the imposition of unscientific or pseudo-scientific beliefs to gain and hold on to political or economic power.”

As of 2015 the Christian population in America is declining. According to the Pew Forum, from 2008 to 2015 adults identifying as Christian dropped from 78.4% to 70.6%. Of these 25% identified as Evangelical (Pew does not distinguish Dominionist Evangelicals). This is the largest single religious group in the country. The second largest group is unaffiliated at 23% (56 million).

There may be as many as 1.2 million Witchs, Pagans and magical folk in America. That’s less than 1% of the voting population. The several thousand Thelemites in the country would work out to a statistical error in that total. We don’t make up a voting block.

How can a group which comprises a vanishingly small percentage of voters affect public policy? Like any other small group we can join with others and ally with groups and politicians who align with our values. Grand Master Sabazius suggests that we can be guided in our efforts by Liber Oz. Sabazius notes that while Thelema does not hold democracy as a core principle, the tiny population of Thelemites in the U.S. lives within a democracy. “Hold onto your own vision and principles, and vote them. If you can find candidates who actually advocate your principles, support them. Perhaps more importantly, actively oppose candidates who espouse views and policies that are inimical to your principles.”

American civil democracy is far from perfect. We continue to confront the legal and cultural legacy of slavery, colonialism, and overt control of women. We have a lot to do to bring the promise of liberty and justice for all. However, given a choice between Dominionist America and an imperfect secular civil democracy, only one of those supports our way of life. In particular, “freedom of assembly” protects our meetings, and “freedom of religion” protects our public celebrations of the Gnostic Mass and tax-exempt status for Thelemic religious organizations. Civil policies based on a covert design to limit Constitutional rights to Christians only clearly threatens our way of life.

Here are some ways we can work within the current political system to advocate for the rights of Liber Oz.

Support an organization

Groups working to protect civil liberties include the ACLU which protects religious freedom and and Americans United which specifically advocates the continuing separation of church and state. Human rights commissions exist in many counties; if there’s an opening you can apply to be appointed. I currently sit on the Kitsap County Council for Human Rights.

Join the Resistance

A number of progressive groups have sprung up since the 2016 election. These include Indivisible, MoveOn’s Resistance Summer, and the Democratic Party’s Resistance Summer.

In The Resistance Handbook Markos Moulitsas points out how important it is not to condemn any group whole cloth, including Christians, Republicans and corporations. Christian leaders and moderate Republicans
oppose administration policies. Corporations are dismayed by the economic and financial impact of draconian immigration actions.

Talk to your neighbors

Trump didn’t invent racism but his rhetoric galvanized American white supremacists. If you’re white you can educate yourself about racism and talk to your family and neighbors. If you’re a man you can talk to other men about sexism. Those who identify with a gender can all support transgender people. We can reach out to people of other faiths to work together to protect religious freedom.

Finally, we can encourage each other in our efforts. One example of this effort is the Facebook group Thelemites Against Injustice.

Whatever our path, remaining informed and keeping an eye on the White House is prudent and an important step in defending our liberty.

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10 Ways Thelemites Can Resist Injustice


The top question I am asked by Thelemites Against Injustice is “what can I do?” Here are ten ideas to get us all started.

One: Liber Oz selfie.

Take a pic of yourself with a sign saying “Liber Oz inspires me to…” End the sentence with an action you are taking. Bonus: add the relevant Liber Oz line at the bottom of the sign. Make a bunch of these and post them everywhere!

Two: Read about human rights.

If you follow my Facebook account you know that I serialize these. Just now I’m doing Olympe de Gouges.

Three: Get out in the streets.

Meet your neighbors! There are human rights events everywhere. Web searches and Facebook will almost certainly turn up something in your neighborhood. Here are some of the local events I’ve attended/organized since January:

  • Kitsap County Council for Human Rights – council meetings, Immigrant Forum, LGBTQ Forum, annual conference
  • Showing Up for Racial Justice Kitsap – meetings, training
  • Black Lives Matter – standing on street with sign when they call for direct action. Knit a black beanie (the Seattle march in April asked us to wear black beanies)
  • Womens March – marched in Seattle, attend local group meetings, knit pussy hats (a dozen so far in many colors)
  • “Build Bridges Not Walls” community march on local bridge

I have met with groups in taverns, in churches, at events and on the street. It is inspiring and hopeful to connect with other people in real life. It grounds us in the humanity of the work.

Four: Donate.

Donate $1 or $5 or $500, whatever amount you can afford and you choose, to whatever cause you like. Here are some ideas:

  • Candidates you support for political office
  • Planned Parenthood
  • ACLU
  • Local immigrant rights group
  • Food banks and homeless shelters

Whenever I drive by the local Planned Parenthood and see fundamentalist “protesters” outside I drop in and give them money. In Washington state the initiative “Great Give” sets up web sites and makes it easy to donate to dozens of organizations. For the Kitsap Great Give I gave small amounts to every county organization feeding and housing people, especially kids.

Five: Prank the autocrats.

Thelemites are well known for our acerbic wit. Put your waggishness to good use! Humor deflates oppressors.

Six: Become an ally.

We can educate ourselves and listen to people who are experiencing injustice speak in their own voices. Here are some places to start.

Seven: Already an ally? Be a better ally!

Eight: Get really smart about one thing.

Pick one topic and drill down into it. Learn everything you can. Write a paper and post it somewhere – ping Thelemites Against Injustice if you don’t have your own web site. Here are some ideas.

  • Healthcare (systems around the world, US single payer ideas)
  • U.S. school to prison pipeline
  • U.S. gerrymandering and vote suppression
  • Poland’s slide into an authoritarian regime
  • Turkey’s slide into an authoritarian regime
  • How colonialism generates refugees
  • Tell us what you know!

Here are three essential books to start our education.

Nine: Start a local Thelemites Against Injustice chapter

Are there other Thelemites in your area who also resist tyranny? Get ’em together for coffee. Go as a group to marches. Contact the local immigrant assistance center and ask how you can help. Join the NAACP chapter, or Showing Up for Racial Justice chapter, or both. Attend fundraisers for food banks and homeless shelters. Most importantly share your own stories, pool your information and resources, and support each other in the work.

Ten. Live free.

Work, play and rest as you will.

Write, draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build, dress as you will.

Love as you will.

Our freedom of thought and action stands against tyranny and manifests Thelema in the world.

Kill the Senex

The king must die. If you’ve read the  The Golden Bough you will know that Frazier built his understanding of human history on the idea. “From time to time a sort of fury seized the people, and they marched through the streets of the city chanting with loud voices the fatal words, ‘the king must die!’” After the king is killed a new king rises up. The old king presents himself Diana’s grove so that the young king can kill him and assume his throne.

Jung wrote admiringly of the senex as wise man, the figure of authority who can explain the difficult journey. The Western gallery of the senex includes Zeus, God, Abraham, Solomon, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln. The senex speaks, gives laws, protects us as his children. We listen to him, obey him, uphold his authority. Through this pact the world becomes manageable.

The senex isn’t always a wise man; he can also be the devouring father. Kronos ate his children until Rhea hid Zeus and raised him to manhood. Then she gave Kronos an emetic to vomit up his children and Zeus killed Kronos. The king must die, long live the king.

History is filled with the devouring king: Genghis Khan, Attila, Caligula, Torquemada, Tamerlane. In the twentieth century we saw the rise of the authoritarian who kills millions: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Leopold II, Mao Zedong. The senex wears another face too, the stupid and duplicitous fool – Falstaff, leading the young king into the tavern, threatening the justice of his reign.

When I was young, white men ruled the world. President, politician, businessman, artist, white men only need apply, with the greatest power accruing to the oldest men, and the odd exception proving the rule.

In my lifetime I have seen the face of power gradually change. Women broke barriers, becoming representatives and governors, CEOs and astronauts, academics and musicians; here race matters, more white women break through, but women of color are entering the fields. We’ve had our first black President sleeping in a White House built by slaves. In my lifetime every state has prohibited rape in marriage. Title IX required girls sports to be funded along with boys. The Civil Rights Act and American Indian Religious Freedom Act were passed. Gay women and men bought houses, adopted children, married, and served in the military. Trans people could even use public bathrooms.

We’ve been tripped up by the myth of inevitable progress, the idea that the human trajectory is ever upwards, towards more humane societies. Sadly regimes rise and fall. We lose progress if we don’t fight to keep it. The not-so-secret subtext of “Make America Great Again” was to re-establish the primacy of the white man. Push white women back behind the men. Deny the vote to people of color and re-enslave them through the prison system. Shove Native people aside to take what they have. Lock trans people back into their birth-assigned gender.

In today’s global culture the senex threatens to oppress everyone. Vladimir Putin is arguably the most powerful man in the world, rebuilding the Russian empire and systematically dismantling Western alliances while imprisoning and murdering anyone who threatens his power. Putin’s support keeps Ashad in power, the man who has bombed and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

The rise of Trump is the rise to power of the white male elder. His followers see the wise authoritarian, his resistors see the devouring father, the world sees Falstaff placed in the presidency by Putin.

Frazier tells us how this story ends, with people in the streets. Putin fears this more than anything else in the world, and it is happening in Russia. It is happening in America, a river of people celebrating life in pink pussy hats and black hats and blue-green hats and rainbow colors, challenging the senex with the one weapon he cannot withstand: laughter.

Do you know why Zeus is the lawgiver, why he is so wise? The goddess Metis gave him counsel until he swallowed her. Then his head throbbed until Hephaestus split it open. Athena stepped out, the father’s daughter, clever in her own right but firmly under his thumb. There’s an earlier story that Athena came from Africa where she was known as Neith, warrior and weaver.

The king must die. Trump will fall, brought down by hubris, and the people in the streets will celebrate. This time, though, let’s go farther: let’s kill the senex. We’ve had enough death to keep the old men in power. Let’s rise for freedom. Let everyone vote, set the prisoners free, let people do the jobs that best fit them and use the bathrooms that make sense.

Let’s give Zeus the draught Rhea gave Kronos. Make him vomit up Metis, the power he swallowed to hold all the power to himself. Let’s restore Athena to her mother, and restore Athena to her origin as a warrior who acts not to kill but to create. Let us admire wisdom in the service of a just and peaceful world. I won’t support any presidential candidate who is an older white man, not even a progressive one, because re-electing the wise senex just keeps the seat warm for the despot. I want a black woman in the White House. The king is dead – long live the queen!

Image: By Julia Margaret Cameron – Scanned from Colin Ford’s Julia Margaret Cameron: 19th Century Photographer of Genius, ISBN 1855145065. Originally from National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9406433

Magical Working to Affirm Human Rights

Candle


Indivisible and the Woman’s March and Resist have great ideas about getting involved in local and national politics. Those of us who support human rights are getting out in the streets and making phone calls and writing emails and sending pink postcards to make our voices heard.

There’s a place in the resistance for magic too. We work to contain actions that threaten human rights. An example of this is the Bind Trump campaign which launched in February and continues each waning moon.

Some magical folk are uncomfortable with binding actions and that’s okay too. The Kitsap Women’s Huddle reminds each other to lead with love. We can take positive magical action by supporting actions which lead to a just and peaceful world.

One place to start is with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Whenever I think about making a statement of intent for the world in which I want to live, I think of this declaration. Why not use it?

In the affirmations below I have deleted phrases that refer to the declaration or the United Nations. Where I have added or changed wording to update the language these changes are marked in italics.

Magical Operation to Affirm Human Rights

This magical operation lasts for 29 days.

Preparing the Operation

1. Select a candle. It can be beeswax or parafin, scented or not, votive or taper, and any color. It should be a new candle though, not one you’ve used before. The most important attribute is that it makes you feel peaceful and happy.
2. Prepare the working space. Place the candle in a holder and put it on a small table. You can use a portable table and put it away each day when you’re done. You can set up a peace altar and add other images and objects if you wish. The most important thing is to have a space to put the candle and to be able to sit or stand with it for a few minutes each day.
3. Print or write out the affirmations.

Making the Affirmations

  1. Take a few deep breaths. Clear your mind. Center yourself.
  2. Light the candle.
  3. Read the affirmation out loud. Read one a day in order from one to 29.
  4. Say “So mote it be.”
  5. Meditate for a moment. Think about what the world would be like if everyone honored the affirmation. Feel the peace and relief that would bring. If you would like to try manifestation by visualizing the result you can imagine a peaceful scene. I imagine a park near my house on a salt water bay where orca and even gray whales occasionally visit. The park has grassy fields and trees and flowers. There’s a playground where young children play and a ball park for older kids and adults and a walking track where people walk their dogs and seniors get their exercise. To me this park is heaven on earth.
  6. Snuff the candle. Jot a note about the working. You can use a small notebook, a magical journal you are already keeping, or type up a quick note on a computer, whatever works. Be sure to put the date and time you made the affirmation. If you get curious later about the energies that were happening at that moment you can look up the phase of the moon, the planetary ruler of the day, and the planetary hour.

The Affirmations

I affirm that:

  1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of fellowship.
  2. Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
  3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
  4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
  5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
  7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
  8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
  9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
  10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
  11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which they have had all the guarantees necessary for their defense.
    (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
  12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon their honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
  13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to theircountry.
  14. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality nor denied the right to change their nationality.
  15. (1) Men and women and all people of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
    (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
    (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
  16. (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
    (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of their property.
  17. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change their religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
  18. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
  19. 1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
    (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
  20. (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of their country, directly or
    through freely chosen representatives.
    (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in their country.
    (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
  21. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for theirdignity and the free development of their personality.
  22. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for self and family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of their interests.
  23. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
  24. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of self and family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control.
    (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
  25. (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
    (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the maintenance of peace.
    (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

  26. (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which they are the author.
  27. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which these rights and freedoms can be fully realized.
  28. (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of their personality is possible.
    (2) In the exercise of their rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

A woman magician talks about Earth Day

Taking a Break with 1920s Women Detective Novels

By Russell Patterson [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


An important part of my work is standing up for human rights as described by the United Nations Declaration. In these times this means keeping up with the news, contacting lawmakers, and marching in the streets. It’s tiring work and we all need to take breaks to recharge and return to the fight. When I take a break I read novels about 1920s women detectives.

Georgie

Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series is as refreshing as a sorbet. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is a peniless royal, thirty fourth in line from the throne. When people die in her house, at country parties, in bookshops she is visiting – you get the picture – it falls to Georgie to figure out whodunit. She’s charming company. There are ten books in the series so far with the eleventh coming out this summer, and they don’t stray from the time between the wars.

Maisie

Maisie Dobbs is a thoughtful woman. The series picks up when she establishes an investigation service in London. Starting life in service she was given an education by her titled employer, so she speaks the language of all classes, although navigating her own place is a lifelong challenge.

Maisie is bright and insightful. She’s learned psychology at university and meditation from a private tutor. When studying a person she puts her body in their position to investigate how that makes her feel. She also has a bit of second sight and gleans clues from sitting with a body or in a private room. Each case reflects something in her own life – watching her growth is one of the joys of the series.

The world wars impact Maisie seriously, she was shellshocked as a nurse in the first and the second brings her personal tragedies as well. In our present time the last survivors of World War II are passing away and we are forgetting how severe those losses can be. Watching Maisie cope has lessons for our own time. The thirteenth novel was just published.

Phyrne

The Miss Fisher Mysteries are wildly entertaining. Phryne is an independently wealthy flapper living in Australia who investigates murders because she’s good at it. She’s James Bond as a woman: drives fast, flies airplanes, takes lovers whenever she wants. She’s seldom afraid and never needs rescuing. The only thing that has ever nearly broken her spirit was discovering the plight of pregnant Catholic girls in the laundries and realizing she couldn’t save them all. Kerry Greenwood keeps the series firmly in the pre-Depression period.

I’ve only watched Season One of the television series and didn’t actually watch the season finale. They’re gorgeously shot – they had a million dollars per episode and were able to recreate the costumes and look of the times. The earlier episodes are best, adapting the books for the one-hour format in understandable ways. They even kept some of her lovers in, although the writers did pencil out the love of her life because he’s married.

As the season went on the writers developed their own story lines and altered Phryne’s character. She started to simper more, asking the police detective for emotional support, which developed a romance in a typical television fashion. And she needed rescuing which Phryne should never do. The final reason I checked out was that they veered from the genre. The story arc which concluded with the final episode was suspense, not mystery. I’m a paperback bookstore owner and I know the difference. You may watch and enjoy the series, but if you haven’t read the books, you don’t know Phryne, and she’s a marvelous woman to know. There are twenty books in the series and I’m reading them all again.

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Seven Magical Ways to Resist Donald Trump

Justitia from WikiMedia

The resistance to the American political shift toward authoritarianism has become permanent part of the social landscape. Here are seven ways we can leverage magic to assist our political efforts.

Magical Resistance Tip One: Look to our traditions for guidance.

Magical folk have been the underdogs in the Western world for the last two thousand years. Resistance isn’t a new circumstance for us. We’ve made progress, it’s been easier the last few decades to be publicly Pagan, but before that it was dangerous to be labelled a Witch or heretic. All our traditions have ways to hide and ways to fight – secrecy, mutual support, and defiance of authority are built into the foundations of what we do.

Witches, remember that Aradia is the goddess of escaped slaves-turned-thieves. Rosicrucians, remember the order was founded to reform falsehood and bondage. Thelemites, remember “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” is the law of freedom for all.

Magical Resistance Action One: revisit the early works of your tradition. Read or re-read:

Magical Resistance Tip Two: Call on a warrior spirit.

Pray, talk to, or invoke a god, celestial being, daimon, angel, hero, or personification of virtue. Since we’re not literally going to war we are not looking for a god who will help unleash violence. Instead we want a force that gives us the courage to stand against violence – to build the resistance.

The Greek god of war is a good example. Ares can send a soldier the mind-hazing madness that permits the clash of combat. But the god of war can also be invoked to temper anger in others and in ourselves. The Homeric Hymn to Ares prays: “Restrain also the keen fury of my heart which provokes me to tread the ways of blood-curdling strife.”

We can dial into the specific aspect of deity that maps onto our needs. Ares Gynaikothoinas supports women who take up weapons to protect themselves. I think of him whenever I see images of the Kurdish women soldiers defending their homes.

Greek, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian cities often had guardian deities who protected them. The wise warrior goddess Athena watched over Athens from her temple on the hill towering over the city. Deities and spirits who support warriors include: Meopotamian Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte; Egyptian Horus, Neith, Mentu, Mut, Sekhmet; Greek Artemis, Athena, Nike; Celtic Macha, Morrigan, Teutates; Hindu Durga, Shiva, Kali.

I am confirmed in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. When the bishop who performed the confirmation said “Ra-Hoor Khu is with you” I felt a presence settling around me. In the Book of the Law Ra-Hoor Khuit says: “Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth. Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms.” That presence fuels my courage every day.

Magical Resistance Action Two: Make an offering, prayer, or connection to a warrior spirit.

Magical Resistance Tip Three: Use art to affirm peace, justice, love and life.

A warrior defends family and community against violence and oppression. We may be clear on what we are fighting against, but it’s also important to know what we are fighting for. What is our vision of the world? Here is mine: I believe passionately that every human being has a right to exist, to live without fear in a peaceful place, to have air, water, food, shelter, and health care, to love whoever they will, to express themselves to their fullest potential. Here is where art comes into its own: each time we draw, paint, write, sing our vision of the world we help to bring it into being. Light dispels shadow.

Magical Resistance Action Three: create an image, poem, blog post, video, meme expressing your vision of human rights. Here are some resources:

Magical Resistance Tip Four: Join a group.

Those of us who belong to covens, groves, orders, and other groups of like-minded friends can band together to do magic for peace and protection. For example many people are meeting to support the water protectors blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline. If you don’t already have a group there are many Facebook groups springing up, of Witches, Thelemites, and peoples of many diverse traditions, sharing ideas and support. Here’s one: Witches Working To Save Our World.

Magical Resistance Action Four: use your social media network to ask what groups your friends belong to.

Magical Resistance Tip Five: Get out into the street.

There are numerous direct actions occurring all over the country – women’s marches, Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Idle No More gatherings. Facebook events list places and times the gatherings happen.

The first time I went out to a direct action I was nervous. I didn’t know anyone, would I feel awkward? Actually I was greeted with enthusiasm and handed a sign. Now that I’m a veteran of numerous street demonstrations I know that people who stand in public are almost always happy to welcome any peaceful person who shows up.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not nervous when I hold up a “Black Lives Matter” sign in public. Some people honk in support, others shout their disdain. There are places where police have stepped in with violence to disperse the demonstration so I am aware of the possibility of violence. Even with that awareness I have found direct action to be the most potent source of strength for the resistance.

While direct action isn’t magical in itself it is an opportunity to engage in magic: wear protective charms; sing an invocation to a warrior spirit; chant the outcome we desire. Direct action grounds the work in physical manifestation.

Magical Resistance Action Five: locate a direct action near you. Keep looking until you find one that inspires you to join in.

Magical Resistance Tip Six: Affirm the spirit of justice.

Many of us have a sense of the world gone wrong, of a harmony or accord being broken. There are ancient and strong spirits who act directly to protect peace and oppose injustice. The Egyptian goddess Ma’at personifies the pattern of the cosmos and acts to repair disruption. The Greek goddess Themis performs a similar function, along with her Roman counterpart Justitia, Lady Justice.

Offerings to Ma’at, Themis, Justitia and other spirits who pattern the cosmos are less about making altars with pictures, statues, and incense and more about right action. The little offerings are immediate: sending money to Oceti Sakowin Camp, picking up the phone to a lonely friend, visiting someone in a hospital or nursing home. The profound offering is living a life that matters – remaining compassionate while fighting fiercely for human rights.

Magical Resistance Action Six: take an action to help someone.

Magical Resistance Tip Seven: Connect with our ancestors.

Those of us who work with magic rooted in a particular family or culture can work directly with ancestral spirits. The people who have gone before us support those of us who walk in the living world. We can also work with our chosen ancestors, the teachers of our lineages. The Pagan philosopher Boethius wrote a book while he was imprisoned on a slanderous charge. I am finding his Consolation of Philosophy to be as relevant today as it was 1500 years ago.

Magical Resistance Action Seven: create or visit an ancestor altar.

Here is what I created for magical resistance actions three and seven: I read the story of Boethius from For the Love of the Gods.