“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Most magick users are comfortable with working on personal-level endeavors through spellwork: promotions at a job, spiritual connection, healing, luck improvement…I think of these workings as garden-variety magick. It’s what most of us do most of the time. These magicks are all worthwhile – it’s important to remember that the cunning folk of a village or settlement held the role of healer, counselor, finder, probability bender, and prophet. Modern day magick users carry this template within us. The vast majority of us got into magick in order to help, and to help on a personal level.
Sometimes helping on a personal level is not enough, though. Sometimes the hydra rises, with its many poisonous heads hissing and spitting acid, leaving a trail of bodies and broken lives in its wake. And then our garden-variety work must transform into something else. Something stronger. Something sharper.
It’s tempting to try the same kinds of binds and fixes we use for personal magick, but scale makes a difference. It is unlikely that you will slay a hydra, or even slow one of its heads down, with a thrown rock. So, where to begin?
When we approach a situation with the intent of intervening on an energetic level, it’s important to understand scale. I use water analogies when I’m looking at how energy is moving in certain situations. It’s easy to shift the flow of a small stream or trickle of energy. However, changing the pattern of a rushing river is outside the ability of most witches. We need to find the part of a situation that is scaled appropriately to us.
There’s a bit of “know thyself” in here. Think back: what spells have been most successful for you? What was the “size” of the problem you were solving? How many people were involved? How much did the direction of the energy change? Once you know that, you know your fighting weight. Knowing your fighting weight helps you pick an appropriate target.
For the vast majority of practitioners, our target needs to be local and of a size we can influence. This means town councils, local governments, community-level organizations and their leadership, local elections, etc. If your target is the right to an abortion, by all means try to hit that head of the hydra with a rock. But, craft your second spell to be even stronger, and go after abortion rights in your own backyard. Who in your community is fighting for women’s rights and needs protection and support? Who is fighting against them and needs the wind knocked out of their sails?
Witches excel in different areas of magick. Someone who’s excellent at healing work might not be great at divination. We’re a little like musicians in this way – just because you can play piano well doesn’t mean you’re also a good percussionist. It’s why most of us end up specializing in a particular area: herbalism/hedge witchery, divination, dedicant work, etc. This brings us to the second part of “know thyself:” what are you best at, magickally? Do you have a direct line of communication to a deity? Are you skilled at hex removal? Can you predict outcomes well?
Determine how your skills can best serve combatting your target. If your gift is healing, heal the fighters on the front lines in your local community. If you work well with the dead, mobilize your local allies – the ancestors of your community who would support your cause. If your readings are good, read for what’s going to happen next and then start brainstorming how to cope with it. If you’re good at hex removal, unblock the luck of the folks on your side. Believe me, the other side has its magick workers. They can call it whatever the hell they want, but I know a spell when I see one.
One of the reasons magick users make mundanes uncomfortable is that whole “consorting with spirits” bit. Most of us consider our Guides, Guardians, Gods, Ancestors, and Helper Spirits to be part of our magickal family. So, call in your backup. Do some journeywork and talk to your spirit court. See if they’re willing to help, and if so, what they need in terms of support.
Most causes also have natural allies – Ancestors, Gods, and Land Spirits that will throw in because an effort is dear to their hearts. Some of them need to be alerted or summoned. Some of them need a set of hands or two in the physical realm. Some of them need a little energy boost to really get rolling. Find out who can help. Make offerings. Ask questions. Get them into the game.
I’m going to quote the Rev. Carl Gregg here: “If you are feeling overwhelmed as one person in the face of deep systemic injustices, stop being one person. Join a network working for social change. We are stronger together.” Get on Google, look up the cause you want to work on, find the organization that’s focusing its efforts there, and link up. We draw strength from each other. We draw guidance from each other. Humans are a community species. Find your community whether it’s online, in person, or both.
So back to the hydra. Maybe you can’t cut off one of its heads with a single blow. But, by using your magick in a targeted, effective way, you can introduce an infection – a break in its defenses. You can weaken it. You can limit its ability to harm. And if we all get on board, if we all answer the call, there is hope.
I’m going to close with this video from LadySpeech. A call has been sounded. How will you answer?
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