The Magick and Power of Words
As I’m currently writing this, it’s Christmas. We’ve passed the Winter Solstice (and the supposed end of the world—guess the Mayans didn’t know everything, no offense to them) and are moving through the parade of winter holidays. And I’ve noted something about these winter holidays—regardless of tradition or religion, these holidays center around two things. These two things are reflection and togetherness. We reflect on the year we’ve experienced, both in terms of happenings within and happenings without, and contemplate how they will affect the year to come. With regards to togetherness, we take this time to come together as family, friends, colleagues and lovers. By so doing, we remind ourselves of how much we cherish their company, no matter our differences, and wish nothing but peace and love for the rest of world.
So, should you care to oblige me, I’m going to combine these two things—to reflect on togetherness, with regards to the current state of the world.
Let’s face it: the world is going through some hard times. The true state of affairs is probably more serious than my words can convey, but this is what I see around me. We’re doing what we can to get through these times, make the future brighter for ourselves as well as future generations. We’re trying, but there are a number of things holding us back. Some of these we may overcome quickly, while others will take more time. But, with regards to the spirit of these holidays, there is one aspect of our problems as the human race that has come to the forefront of my mind. It’s the fact that, for whatever reason, conflict drives us apart around the world.
Let’s take the political situation within the United States of America for example. I live here in the US, so it makes the example much more personal and easier to relate as I’m more aware of it that the political situation of other areas of the world. I want it to be noted that this isn’t because I don’t think other political conflicts in other areas of the world aren’t important. On the contrary, I wish I knew more of what goes on outside the small part of the world where I live. But I feel this will serve as a great example, as most of us will likely be aware of the political happenings of the United States.
Okay, let’s dive in headfirst, shall we?
In the United States, there has always been a political system that has allowed for multiple political parties to exist, voicing their opinions and concerns as well as pressing forward on issues that concern them. It’s one of the things I appreciate about our government, regardless of how I feel about the actions we take as a nation (or as people of a nation) . However, in recent years especially, two parties, the well-known Republican and Democratic parties, have barged to the forefront of the political scene and began a storm of relentless arguing and bickering over various issues. And I include both arguing and bickering in that statement because they’ve both happened. There have been times where they’ve engaged in polite, rational and respectful discussion. And there have been other times where they’ve just gone at each other simply because one side hates the other’s guts. It’s come to the point these days where people on either side (not everyone, but some people) are not willing to hear the other side out simply because it’s the other side and, in their minds, it’s trying to destroy the fabric of our country.
On the one hand, the Democratic party sees the Republicans as stubborn and delusional, trying to hold onto an America that no longer exists and not only failing to comprehend the situations at hand but refusing to compromise where necessary. On the other hand, the Republicans see the Democrats as trying to impose new and foreign values on America, using the wrong methods to fix our economic problems and trying to drive us down the proverbial drain. Now, this obviously isn’t the case for every Democrat or every Republican. I know there are multiple exceptions to these stereotypes. But these trends in both parties have emerged strongly in recent years, particularly during our elections, and these more radical voices have many times drowned out more moderate voices that would be willing to sit down and discuss the issues in a more respectful manner. There is a common theme to each side: not everyone on one side is always willing to hear the other side out on what it has to say.
So what drove me to think about this? Well, it was two things, both of them easily found on TV or the Internet. The first was the 2008 animated film, “Horton Hears a Who, ” based on the well-known Dr. Seuss story. Sour Kangaroo’s refusal to believe Horton drove the population of the Jungle of Nool to madness, and their actions nearly caused the destruction of Whoville. And yet, once the situation became clear and the Whos became heard by those that only saw their speck of a world, Horton didn’t reject Kangaroo. He made amends with the offer of a cookie, possibly knowing that she had better intentions when she first began to move against him.
The second was yet another episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Hey, pony stuff has been popping up all over the Internet—if it’s finally ready to be discussed here on the Witches’ Voice, I’m willing to be the first to talk about it) . In fact, it was the thirteenth episode of season two, named after the ponies’ own winter holiday, “Hearth’s Warming Eve.” Within the episode, the main characters put on a production of their nation’s beginning. Within that production, a disagreement between the three tribes (the pegasi, the unicorns and the Earth ponies) spiraled into all out conflict that drove them further apart. It also caused beings called Windigos to feed off their hatred, driving their world further and further towards a world-ending blizzard (yeah, that kind of stuff shows up in a kid’s show) . And yet three ponies, one from each of the tribes, came together and realized not only their seemingly inevitable fate but also that each bore no hatred towards the other two. As one of them put it, “No matter what happens, we’re all ponies.” And at that moment, a magic flame born of their friendship burned the Windigos to death and began to thaw the world and the rest of the ponies, both in body and in spirit. Their new respect for each other and banding together of all three tribes led to the founding of Equestria… at least, according to the pageant.
So both the movie and the episode got me thinking about our situation. Perhaps it’s time we all (or at least as many of us as are willing) take a moment in our conflicts and say to each other, “Hey, I know we don’t see eye to eye, but I know we both have the best intentions. I want to understand why you take the position you do, and I’m willing to listen to what you have to say. If you want to hear me out, I am more than willing to share with you why I think the way I do. Let’s resolve our conflict peacefully and come to a better understanding.” If you think about it, our world could definitely use more of that. Too often, I see arguments flare up and conflicts spiral out of control because neither side is willing to understand the other, and I think we can all agree that simply taking the time to listen respectfully and with intent to understand will mend many of the fences in our world.
Will it happen overnight? Of course not. Discussion like this will take time, and not everyone will want to participate in this initially. It may take a while for this to really take hold. Will we reach universal peace and harmony between all peoples through this? I have no idea. If we do, it likely won’t be in my lifetime (and I’m 23 years old) . But I know this is the right path for us, and it is due in part to this very community.
Yes, I’m talking about the Witches’ Voice, and the Pagans and others who make this possible. I include both those who share their words every week and those who merely stop by every so often to read what essays are up on the home page. The fact that you are even taking time to read my essay (which I’m grateful for) is a sign that we are willing to take the time to listen to someone else’s words. And I really mean this, especially to the many of you who’ve read my essays this last year and who’ve even contacted me via email to share your thoughts.
When I first came to this site, I was just a college student studying Wicca on her own, not even sure if I’d be able to find others to befriend and learn from, much less considering what impact my essays would have on your lives. And here we are, a year later. I’ve gotten the chance to share my thoughts with so many of you without fear of being laughed at or rejected, and I’ve gotten the chance to hear from many of you. Many of you have given me suggestions, others of you have simply praised my words, and still others of you have extended a friendly hand (metaphorically speaking) and asked me for friendship and guidance. I want you all to know that, even though I haven’t been able to get back to you all, I’m thinking of you constantly and the fact that you’ve taken the time to at least glance at what I have to say. It’s more than I could’ve ever hoped for, and I thank the God and Goddess for this blessing. It’s meant more to me than I’m sure you all know.
But let’s take this willingness to listen and consider another’s words, thoughts and positions beyond the Witches’ Voice to other areas of our lives. Let’s sit down with our friends and families, with our lovers and colleagues, and even with those we might not like. Let’s take the time to hear them out on what they have to say and help them understand our own positions and peaceful, rational and respectful manner. I know we can do it. You want to know how I know this? Because I’ve seen us as a community. The Pagans, Witches, Wiccans and others who make up this community are a testament to the power of understanding, and I only have to see the total read count on one article on this site to know that.
The late Scott Cunningham said, “Mock not the rituals and spells of another, for who can say yours are greater in power or wisdom?” I’d like to add the words of another to this statement, for words are just as important as spells and rituals, regardless of the time of year. Please consider what I’ve said here and how you can apply it to situations in your own life. It will take time, perhaps many lifetimes, but I know that every little step will help. The world isn’t over just yet, and we’re still here. Let’s work towards a brighter future, where, anywhere in the world, one can share their thoughts with the knowledge that what they say will be respected and could even spark a thoughtful discussion.
And to all of you, I wish a holiday season full of the brightest blessings and brighter futures.
Footnotes: “Horton Hears a Who, ” 2008, directed by Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino, starring Jim Carey and Steve Carrell.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Season 2, Episode 13. “Hearth’s Warming Eve.” First aired December 17, 2011.