CURRENT MOON

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Even If We're Just Dancing In The Dark


Matrifocus just keeps getting better and better. They've got up a great poem by Starhawk, perfect for these times.

Maenad Prophecy
by Starhawk

When kings wage unjust war,
When poison fills the skies,
When the rich prey on the poor,
When hope for justice dies

When a spell lies o’er the land,
Of malice and of lies,
Then a wild and fearless band
Of women shall arise

Crazy saints, yoginis,
Peering through the gloom,
Maenads and dakinis
Witches grab your brooms!

Sweep away the stench
Sweep away the sneers!
Sweep away the clench
Of hunger and of fears

Dance to feel the passion
Dance to wake the wild,
To honor deep compassion,
For the forest and the child,

Dance to keep the Arctic cool,
To keep the jungle green,
Dance for every holy fool,
For every wound unseen.

Dance for justice, dance for peace
Dance for life to thrive,
May beauty, health and joy increase
For every being alive

Dance in love, dance in wrath,
For chains to fall apart,
Dance to choose a better path,
Dance for strength of heart,

All across the nation,
Bankers quail and glower,
Cracked is the foundation
Of the bastions of power

Strong walls crumble,
Kings face their final hour,
An angry earth shall rumble,
Down shall fall the Tower.

And through its stones shall weave the roots
Of a living tree
That offers us its shining fruits
Of truth and liberty

Fruit to fill each empty hand
With sweet gifts of the earth
Dance to heal this bleeding land —
A new world comes to birth.


© 2008 Starhawk. All rights reserved. Starhawk wrote this piece for the Dance for Life and Regime Change, a Ritual Magic Action scheduled for Halloween night in San Francisco, 2008.


Starhawk's poem seems to me to be a partial answer to a question that Anne's asking:

So here’s the dilemma: any serious reading of the day’s financial news—just pick a day, it doesn’t really matter which—can make the average person feel [haunted with worry about the economy, wary of any conversation for fear of more bad news, eager to do something about the problem]. But when I do that, when I lift my gaze and really study the situation, I become practically incapacitated with fear and am no good for anything, least of all working to improve my financial situation.

Staying lucid in this dream—or nightmare, really—for any length of time is beyond my skill level. I can manage it for a little while, calming myself down from the shock of what is happening long enough to write more, and work more. But this is big and getting worse, and it’s only a matter of time before I slip back into shock about what is going on in the world.

Magically speaking, this is a tremendous opportunity to increase our ability to stay present in both worlds simultaneously. When I get seriously off-center, I have a few tried-and-true ways to re-center myself and carry on. What I would love to hear are all the ways the rest of you have for doing this. Because surely there are some great techniques I don’t know about, and this is the sort of time when we can all use as many good suggestions as possible.


Starhawk's suggestion:

Witches grab your brooms!

Sweep away the stench
Sweep away the sneers!
Sweep away the clench
Of hunger and of fears

Dance to feel the passion
Dance to wake the wild,
To honor deep compassion,
For the forest and the child,

Dance to keep the Arctic cool,
To keep the jungle green,
Dance for every holy fool,
For every wound unseen.

Dance for justice, dance for peace
Dance for life to thrive,
May beauty, health and joy increase
For every being alive

Dance in love, dance in wrath,
For chains to fall apart,
Dance to choose a better path,
Dance for strength of heart,


is a good one. We're witches. The times call out for magical action. Take some. Do magic for yourself and do magic for your world. I feel better every time that I do.

At times when we seem, as, Goddess knows, we do now, at an uncertain crossroads, I tend to invoke -- no surprise! -- my patron Goddess, the three-headed Goddess of the crossroads, Hecate. (Here's a really fun site that's, at least nominally, devoted to her.) She reminds me that liminal times carry as much opportunity as danger, and occasionally, she lifts a finger and points down one road or another.

I also follow Wendell Berry's good advice for times such as these:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry


Part of what's terrifying about the present economic situation is the awareness that we can do all the "right" things (pay off debt, build up savings, set aside emergency supplies, work hard at our jobs, network, take care of health issues now while we have insurance, etc., etc., etc. -- and we definitely should be doing those things) and STILL get caught in the tsunami of layoffs, inflation, etc. That's actually true all the time; our illusions of control are just that: illusions. But the current situation makes us face that fact. As Anne notes, that makes it an excellent time to grow magically, to increase our ability to stay present in both worlds simultaneously.

And so -- you knew that I was going to say this -- I ground.

Grounding is, for me, the first step in the process of remaining present in all worlds. When fear is getting in the way of being present (you know what the Bene Gesserit witches say: I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.),I add a step to my grounding. When I've sunk my roots down very deep into Mother Earth, I begin to breathe regularly and with awareness. When I exhale, I send my fear down through my roots into the Mother, where it can be transformed. When I inhale, I pull up peace, stability, clarity. I do that until I can truly say the words of Mary Oliver's wonderful poem:

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.

From West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems, by Mary Oliver. Published by Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Copyright 1997 by Mary Oliver.


And when you feel like that, it's a great time to dance the dance that Starhawk calls for. Last night's full moon, was one of the brightest ever. It's power is only beginning to wane this evening. Ground. Do one practical thing to make yourself safer (put some money in savings, pay a debt, exercise, clean up and clear out junk). Ground. Do one practical thing to make our world better (recycle, take old clothes to a homeless shelter, call your Senator about an important cause, read to a child). Ground. Do some magic to insure prosperity for you and those you love. Ground. And, dance.

Dance to feel the passion
Dance to wake the wild,
To honor deep compassion,
For the forest and the child,

Dance to keep the Arctic cool,
To keep the jungle green,
Dance for every holy fool,
For every wound unseen.

Dance for justice, dance for peace
Dance for life to thrive,
May beauty, health and joy increase
For every being alive

Dance in love, dance in wrath,
For chains to fall apart,
Dance to choose a better path,
Dance for strength of heart
!

Picture of Hecate found here.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We gotta recite that poem before our dancing. K.

deerdancer22 said...

Ground and practice staying in the present moment. It is usually our fear of what will happen next after this moment which is Ok that creates more fear.

I lost everything, starting over from scratch. When I learned to ground and feel joy in the present moment it all started flowing again.

Lee said...

Yes!