Yes Witches Can? Yes, Witches WILL!
Author: Courtney Weber
A few weeks ago, I struck up a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store. As Witches, we are no strangers to synchronicity. My copy of Christopher Penzcak’s “The Temple of High Witchcraft”, which I carried with me, sparked a conversation about our neighborhood, Inwood—the northernmost neighborhood of Manhattan.
Here, one will easily come across a Botanica (a Spanish magick store) , a candle-lit street shrine or even a severed hog’s head on a silver platter in the nearby Fort Tryon Park (Yep. Don’t ask me what for) . The streets are sprinkled with confetti of curses and hexes—usually one storeowner against another. My favorite Botanica closed last year, and I suspect it was the magickal doing of the rival Botanica on the next block.
I laughed as I told the woman about it.
She shook her head. “If they truly have that gift, ” she said. “It is a shame they’re wasting it on such petty issues.”
Over the next few days, I thought about that. She made a good point. I wondered what would happen if my neighbors began focusing their powers on things of a higher caliber. Would “freezing” rent spikes and landlord harassment prevent further gentrification? Could a strong banishing rite rid the block of drug dealers and gun-wielding teenagers?
Then, I thought about what I do with my own Magick.
I pulled a poppet I’d made from its hiding place. This poppet was used in a spell to keep an individual from verbally attacking myself and others—which had occurred frequently. I wrote the individual’s name on the forehead of a Cabbage Patch doll, bound it from neck to foot in white cloth and placed duct tape over its mouth.
I stated to the Gods that the subject would no longer harm others through words and actions, replacing her anger and pain with healing light.
I did not bind frivolously. At the time, it felt ethically correct. The person was wracking up high Karmic debt through verbal violence and physical threats. Since I was knew how to stop the damaging actions, I felt it my responsibility to do so—sparing a spiritually ignorant person the pangs of Karmic repercussions she would not understand and sparing others from further pain she was certain to cause.
The spell worked with frightening accuracy. Overnight, she stopped slandering others and overcompensated with effusive compliments all around. That was good. But she cowered in my presence, which I found annoying—not empowering. I was constantly aware of her moods and movements. It was taxing.
I unbound the doll and announced to the Gods that the spell was complete. The person was no longer under my power or protection.
The days following the unbinding were interesting. First of all, the subject immediately suffered an emotional breakdown. I now wonder if the binding delayed a necessary collapse by holding her in stasis. (The subject is reportedly doing much better now)
Right away, I received new messages from the Gods in my dreams in regards to our Magick group. My Tarot reading accuracy increased dramatically. I realized that the one binding spell nearly monopolized my psychic energy bank. I was back to my old self—something I didn’t realize I’d lost.
But where to direct this new energy?
On Tuesday, November 4th 2008, I—like so many—chanted…um, screamed “YES WE CAN!!!” as Obama won the election. And I, like many, lamented the loss of marriage and rights to thousands of our citizens in California, Arizona, Florida and adoption rights in Arkansas.
Inspired by Obama’s election speech on change, the woman in the grocery store and the change in my Magickal focus, I organized a number of our Group members to join a marriage equality rally at City Hall. We offered Handfasting Rites to any couple wishing to marry that day. One young couple took us up on the offer and before a crowd of supportive strangers, exchanged vows to live as husband and husband for a year and a day.
As I bound their hands with a lavender ribbon, I cast this spell, “May this union mark the beginning of change so that one day all unions will be legal under the Constitution of the United States of America. So mote it be.” With that, the two men jumped the broom and the people cheered. Binding their hands was a far better use of my psychic energy than the binding of an unfriendly acquaintance.
Whether or not you supported Obama’s election, few Witches could argue with his acceptance speech: Change begins with us. As Witches, it is vital that we do not waste our powers on things of little consequence. Instead, we must spread those energies to larger, more pertinent issues.
“Dress rehearsal is over y’all, ” Orion Foxwood said at the Harvest Home Gathering this fall. “It’s time to get in the game.”
“As above, so below…” We recite the phrase, but do we understand what it means? Most Witches work with the concept of Below—using their Magick to improve their lives and those of their loved ones—but not always aiming their energies toward that equally important realm, Above. Our occult bookshops are choked with books for recipes on attracting a mate or increasing personal prosperity.
But where are the spells for attracting peace to a war-torn region? Increasing prosperity in an impoverished neighborhood? Many Witches do not understand that Above is a reflection of Below. If we wish to build a healthy global community, the changes must be made in our immediate vicinity, first.
The Handfasting worked on both an Above and Below level. On a Below level, it provided the young couple the opportunity to pledge commitment to one another for the first time. On an Above level, those witnessing took with them the beautiful sight of two men joining a union of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust and perhaps the question, why can’t all enjoy it?
Perhaps most importantly on an Above level, the spell cast on their union aimed to make all such unions legal in the United States of America. I want my children to marry whomever they wish.
Now, if the principle of As Above, So Below holds true, and individual lives must be healthy in order for a population to thrive, sending your energies to a higher collective good does not mean abandoning changes for the better in our personal lives. But when you’re burning a series of candles to increase your powers in the workplace, throw in a spell that increases prosperity in a famine ravished community.
While you’re sticking your mother-in-law’s name in an ice-cube tray to freeze her religious jabs at the holiday dinner party, also throw in the name of groups causing death and injury in the name of religion.
As Hecate told our Group on Samhain Eve, “Mend the holes in the sweaters in your lives.” Our answer was not “Yes we can, ” but “Yes we WILL.”
We are Witches. We were born with the power to bless and to curse, to heal and to destroy. We serendipitously wind up in situations where something is needed when we are just the ones to provide it. Let us put our Goddess-given abilities to proper use.
Let us bring our brooms out of our personal broom-closets and into the mess around us. There is a lot of sweeping to do.
Where will you begin?