Monday, August 14, 2017

Despair is The Undoing of The Witch: The Priest/ess Archetype + Social Justice

I am a white, 30 year-old, cishet female pagan living in the Midwest of the USA.

I took to my altar to contemplate the news-- horrifying news-- and the news of the last two years tumbled in all at once.

"Think. Goddess, this is fucked. Everything is fucked. You need to think. Get focused. Fuck, we are a garbage species. It's too late. It's too big. Shut up brain, Think--"  And then:

"Despair is the Undoing of the Witch."

"You're right."

But, what can do I as one witch? I shuffled my cards.

I pulled the High Priest/ess from the deck. 

Priest/ess. I've been stirring and kneading this idea for several years now. Priest/ess. What does that mean? What does it mean now?  How could I embody that? Can I embody that? 

 In the tarot, we know the Priest/ess as Introspection, Remembering, Intuition, Solitude, Inner Wisdom, Diving within, Wider Vision, Initiation and Seeking Truth.

In the mundane world, the Priest/ess archetype appears in a myriad of ways, but the definition that rings most brightly for me is "A priest/ess is dedicated to their god/dess and their community." 

The Priest/ess is a leader.

"I'm listening." 

The following ideas came to me at my altar about utilizing the Priest/ess archetype for social justice work, my own personal growth and moving forward. 

Due to the influx of mail I've received about how witches and magically minded people could possibly make any difference or positively contribute in a chaotic world, I've decided to share them with you here on the blog. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is my hope that it will encourage further discussion, meditation and Inspired Action as a community.

Thoughts from The High Priestess

 Refuse Spiritual Bypassing as a coping mechanism. If your partner or your best friend were diagnosed with a serious illness, would you advise them to ignore it and refuse to seek treatment to make it disappear? Or deny their illness all together and abandon them because it's distressing? Probably not.

When we bypass, we diminish the seriousness of an issue and we diminish the humanity of those in pain. Feel feelings, process them and be here Now.

Anger is not "unspiritual". Willful ignorance, ambivalence and relinquishing your power is. 

 Our friends and family are not exempt from Truth. If hateful speech (both explicit and covert) crosses our path, we have to destroy it. It's much easier to denounce behavior in anonymity or in cyberspace than in our personal spheres-- which is where the real work is and where the most impact is made. 

 Accept that we will likely lose people because of it. Sometimes we will feel alone.

 Listen. Really Listen. Allow people to speak without the need to interrupt, interject, correct, smooth over, comfort or make comparisons. As people who desire to help and feel deeply it can be difficult, but it's imperative that we hold space by actually holding space.

 Make friends with Discomfort. Much of our spiritual practices revolve around maintaining comfort. And why not? It's fucking brutal out there, of course we need a touchstone for healing and sanity. While this is an important tool in the healers utility belt, spiritual growth and development as humans stems from our ability to face challenges and that means discomfort. We will survive it.

 Remember that we cultivate practices not as empty theater or escapism but to carry us through and process our world. 

Throw out garbage myths about money. Reevaluate our relationship with money. Money is energy. When applied properly, money can change lives and uplift communities.

 Learn about the important differences between being an ally and an Accomplice. 
Unplugging is not uncaring.  This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is the long haul and our mental health and stamina requires breaks for silence and restorative solitude. Taking time to unplug from social media one-ups-manship, meme wars and youtube comments is not equivalent to abandoning your cause or community.

We minister to our minds and bodies to stay strong, recharge and get back in the game.

Know Thyself. Dive headfirst into our own Shadows and uncover how we may contribute to harm or injustice. By understanding this, we can do a little better every day.

"I did then what I knew how to do. 
Now that I know better, I do better." 
--Maya Angelou 

We're all in this together.
Witch On. Witch Boldly.