When the world around you is teeming with oppressive power structures, disconnection and fear, what can you do to make a real difference? As history has shown us, it can be achieved through magical practice.
Rachel Lang is a highly sought-after astrologer, author and scholar of magic. Her Instagram is filled with astrological insights and ritual ideas, and promotions for her new book, "Modern Day Magic: 8 Simple Rules to Realize Your Power and Shape Your Life," published in September. I recently interviewed her to get a better understanding of what "magical activism" really is.First off, let's define magic by stating what it is not.
As Lang put it: "Magic is not witchcraft, or a religion. It's our innate spiritual power, heartfelt passion and creative potential that brings us into a wondrous relationship with all life. Think of that little sparkle you feel when you're like, 'oh my God, I'm in the right place at the right time. I just had deja vu'. We all have that experience. And so we all have magic coursing through us."
When you put it that way, many of us practice magic under a different name. Call it "law of attraction" or "using the force," we all have our little ways of trying to enact change in tangible ways. Whether it's as mainstream as meditation, or as "woo-woo" as drawing a tarot card or spritzing some rose water.
Rather than a religion, magic is "a more body-centric experience that creates a shift in an awakening within ourselves and then compels us into having more compassion, more empathy," she said. "And we start seeing ourselves as a part of the whole, not just as these isolated people out there doing our own thing. And, you know, and I think that that's the gift of magic. … We connect with the planet and we connect with one another in a real way."
Combine that with activism, and you have activating your own innate personal power in an effort to create lasting, positive social change; connecting with something greater than yourself, to affect the greater good.
Take for instance the suffragettes, who incorporated seance rituals of spiritualism to fight for women's rights in the 1800s. Matilda Joslyn Gage, suffrage leader and writer of "Woman, Church and State," even claimed herself as a "witch."
Or in the '60s, when the Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (aka W.I.T.C.H.) paraded down the streets of New York with brooms and pointy pants, chanting hexes on Wall Street bankers and campaigning against the sexism of beauty pageants and the Playboy Club. A day later, the stock market reportedly fell 13 points. As if by magic.
WITCH: Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell www.youtube.com
Fast forward to the year following Trump's presidential inauguration, when protestors dressed as witches carried signs reading "Witches Against White Supremacy," "Hex White Supremacy" and "Good Night Alt-Right". There was even a "Spell to Bind Trump and All Those Who Abet Him" posted online. And in 2020, people were coming together to create sigils—magical symbols or drawings—to protect democracy during the Biden and Harris presidential inauguration.
"The Living Democracy Sigil" created in a magic workshop.Patheos.com
"It only makes sense that it rises in popularity in major times of needing to take personal ownership of our expression," said Lang.
Hexes and broomsticks aside, the disenfranchised continue to turn to magic because it's inherently about standing up against what is wrong in our world. As Lang put it, "We are a country that needs healing. We have a history of racism, of sexism, of violence and of spiritual abuse. If we are truly going to change as a society, we need to distance ourselves from that religious rhetoric. And one of the ways we can do that is by reclaiming our magic and reclaiming the word. When we do that, we distance ourselves from the colonial past."
Lang suggested that one way to do this is through community.
"When we gather in groups, we can generate so much more energy together than we can alone. We rally around a shared intention of being a part of something. We get energized. And that's really powerful. I think in many ways, it's going back to indigenous practices," she said.
If the thought of joining a coven sounds a little too intense for you, it might help to know that mysticism has found its way into the digital space. Take a quick glimpse at #witchtok and you'll see there's no shortage of people looking to add a bit of mystical power into their lives. It might not be exactly as our ancestors did, but it's a step in that direction. And as we have seen in the past, when individuals form a group to combine their passions with purpose, big things can happen.
Or, you can start by reclaiming your own magic, aka personal power. That is more than enough to start changing the world. How to start? It might be simpler than you think…
Lang ended our interview by saying, "When we bring spiritual presence to the everyday activities of our lives, like cooking dinner, taking a shower or cleaning our rooms. When we find sacredness in the mundane aspects of life, then we open ourselves to all kinds of possibilities for feeling connected to the world that we live in, to spiritual forces beyond our understanding and to one another. It becomes a way of life and suddenly you feel more passion, you feel more alive and centered. And so you start tapping into that deep well of feelings you might have suppressed. That's the realm where magic lives. I'm a big advocate for everyday rituals to make life feel more magical."
If you're looking for a deeper dive on this topic, or for ideas on how to make your everyday world more magical, I highly suggest reading Lang's book. It might be the only invocation you need to start making a difference.
Hands Globe Earth - Free image on Pixabay
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