The politics of inevitability is a self-induced intellectual coma.
Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century
As many of you know, from comments in my Card of the Week, in my social media posts, or talking with me in person, I am very politically engaged.
Ever since I was in high school, during the late 1960s in Alexandria, Virginia (just outside of Washington, DC), I have been a fervent activist for causes I care about.
One thing that I have learned in a lifetime of marching, organizing, and volunteering is that one person can make a very big difference, for good or for ill. After all, Josef Stalin was just one guy. Rosa Parks was just one woman.
But they knew how to inspire and motivate others. Because, as Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
For better or worse.
Walk Our Talk, Live Our Beliefs
I am certainly not anything like those kinds of leaders or organizers.
But neither have I felt that being “spiritual” was contradictory to being politically active. That’s one of the reasons I was proud to be Episcopalian once upon a time (the church was very active in pushing for civil rights and questioning the Vietnam war back in the 60s).
And it’s why I later found my spiritual tribe in the Reclaiming tradition. The Principles of Unity are almost as deeply ingrained in me as the Charge of the Goddess.
So perhaps this will explain for you why I am passionate about current events, and am incapable of retreating behind a curtain of unicorn moonbeam fog.
As filmmaker and activist Michael Moore recently noted, “I am not going to participate in providing hope for people.
“Anybody who is hanging on hope — that implies there’s no sense of urgency. This is not about somewhere over the rainbow. Optimism is very dangerous. It’s not about warm and fuzzy now.”
Although I am not ready to completely abandon hope, I am quite alarmed. Based on a long lifetime of studies, involvement, seeing patterns, and accurately sensing historic omens, I fear for America’s future as I never have.
Not in the midst of the riots of 1968, the shootings at Kent State, or even the events of 9/11.
My clients are feeling it. My intuitive and prescient colleagues are feeling it. From academicians to astrologers to journalists, anyone with a broad view of history is feeling it.
And of course, America is not the only one. Across Europe, there is a hard turn to right-wing nationalism and even neo-Nazi sympathies.
Once a jewel of democracy in the Middle East, Turkey has just re-elected their president, but the victory was unsurprising since he has systematically eliminated dissent and opposition. Free speech, intellectual debate, and political disagreement are punishable with jail and worse.
I believe that we are at a crossroads; one which demands aggressive understanding and action.
Some will prefer ignorance, complacency, or polite superficiality. But if we are women and men who aspire to live our spiritual values, it is time to honestly and bravely assess the current reality.
Before it is too late, let us, together, you and I, take a clear, hard look at where we are, and understand how perilously close we are to repeating the horrific mistakes of the recent past.
Every Friday I will be drawing from the most concise and essential book on the topic that I have found (recommended to me by my wise friend, Liz): On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder.
Snyder is the Levin Professor of History at Yale, a permanent fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a renowned scholar of the Holocaust.
Taking us right up to the American mid-term elections, each week I will share one of the 20 lessons, and possibly other pertinent material. Because there are less than 20 weeks until the elections, I will double up at some point or another.
I know not everyone here will enjoy a weekly blast of cold water in their faces. I hope I will not lose my readers over this decision. After all, you may prefer me to stay warm and fuzzy, your friendly neighborhood Tarot reader, and leave it at that.
But given what I know of history, political science, and human nature, as well as my other gifts of non-ordinary knowing, the need for speaking up, wherever one may have a voice, is now.
By the Way — Some Ground Rules
I certainly do not intend this as a free-for-all to vent hard feelings, provoke bitter arguments, or add to the snarkiness already polluting thoughtful discourse.
As I have pointed out from time to time, this is my blog and it is sacrosanct to me. Ugly attitudes, trolling, and nastiness will not be tolerated.
Besides, such behavior is a big factor in what got us to this juncture in the first place.
I do welcome positive input, such as Starhawk’s 4th of July spell, or RJ Stewart and Anastacia Nutt’s American Goddess meditations; other suggested reading materials; astrological and other esoteric insights; and considerate feedback.
(Yes, I do believe that offering magickal support is a profound skill and should not be underestimated in its potency, even though one will probably not find it in most mainstream discussions.)
Feelings are definitely running high, but I am aiming to build alliances, not add more bickering and bad vibes to what we’ve already got.
So with this preamble discussion done, we’ll get started with Lesson One next week.
And otherwise, my blog will carry on, more or less, as before.
Thank you for (I hope) continuing the journey with me.
(I’ll be updating the direct links here weekly):
Freedom Fridays, Lesson One: Do Not Obey In Advance
Freedom Fridays, Lesson Two: Defend Institutions
Freedom Fridays, Lesson Three: Beware the One-Party State
Freedom Fridays, Lesson Four: Take Responsibility for the Face of the World
Freedom Fridays, Lesson Five: Remember Professional Ethics
Freedom Fridays, Lesson Six: Be Wary of Paramilitaries
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 7: Be Reflective If You Must Be Armed
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 8: Stand Out
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 9: Be Kind to Our Language
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 10: Believe in Truth
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 11: Investigate
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 12: Make Eye Contact and Small Talk
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 13: Practice Corporeal Politics
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 14: Establish a Private Life
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 15: Contribute to Good Causes
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 16: Learn from Peers in Other Countries
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 17: Listen for Dangerous Words
Freedom Fridays, Lesson 18: Be Calm When the Unthinkable Arrives