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Signs & Portents

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Good Witch v. Bad Witch: Political Magic

Dear GW/BW

Seriously, how about a spell to save the Affordable Care Act? Can we bind the GOP from doing harm? Is there a more positive way to approach this nightmare and turn it around?

Rhodie from Ridgefield

Good Witch replies:

Dear Rhodie,

Did you see Stranger Things? I can’t shake the feeling that the whole country has gotten stuck in the Upside Down, and the panic and terror we feel at being chased in the dark by monsters and not being able to break back into the “normal” world is jacked up tenfold by our knowledge that the situation is of our own making.

Magic is certainly one course of action, but when people are faced with terrifying situations like the one we’re in now, their instinct is to go for big, sweeping goals. However big goals tend to be vague and hard to pull off. For a spell to be really effective, everyone working on it—and let’s face it, unless you’re Dumbledore, you’re not going to pull this stuff off by yourself—needs to have a single, laser focus on a simply stated, clear goal.

There’s a story that during World War II, Witches and magical practitioners from across Britain joined together to do a working to prevent Hitler from crossing the English Channel. They all focused on sending the simple message, “You cannot come.” Obviously, Hitler didn’t make it across the channel. I don’t know if the story is true, or if it is, if this magic helped prevent the invasion. But it’s a great story, and it illustrates my point: The message/goal of a huge working like this has to be simple, crystal clear, and understood in the same way by everyone involved if it’s going to work.

“Binding the GOP from doing harm” is, alas, too big and vague. The GOP—or any other incredibly powerful and well-funded political group—is a juggernaut, and have you ever got more than two people to agree on what the word “harm” means? A spell to save the ACA is better, although still not worded specifically enough. Try taking these huge goals and breaking them down into smaller pieces, just as you might a mundane goal. Since you wrote, the thing that’s made a huge difference in the fight against the GOP health bill has been people calling their Congressional representatives. One way to trim down this goal and make it more specific—and positive!—might be to do a working to raise awareness that calling is working, help inspire people to find the impetus and guts to do it, or help make Congress more receptive to hearing it. (Hermes or Mercury would be a good ally for this.)

Expending energy to stop something is necessary sometimes, but it can be exhausting. Rather than throwing themselves behind preventing something bad, I’ve been encouraging people to use their magic to support and nurture anything good they see happening in their local area—people or organizations looking out for others, positive legislation, education, etc. It feels good to put energy behind these smaller grassroots efforts, they support the greater structures in Washington fighting the good fight, and you get the benefit of seeing results sooner. It’s not the same as storming the White House, but it will make a difference. The grassroots is where the real change happens. Just ask our former president.

If you can, please also consider taking your work to the mundane plane. We need to show the big money that’s hijacked both political parties and the racists that have coopted the White House and the GOP that we’re not going to stand aside and allow them to determine the future of this country. We can’t just hide and do our magic and hope things get better. We are children of the earth and we are people out in the world. We have to show the Trumps and Bannons we’re not standing aside. And we can’t show them that from the chalk circle in the basement.

Here’s a list from the Southern Poverty Law Center of concrete things you can do—both large and small—to combat hate.

Bad Witch has a different approach ...

Dear Rhodie,

I admire your creativity and your can-do attitude but it’s time to take off your rose-colored glasses. What is happening to this old Republic is nothing short of monstrous and all the love and light and glitter in the free world ain’t going to change the course of events. We need to get bigger and better monsters.

As one who never recommends “more positive” ways, may I suggest you are looking at the wrong set of chakras and that it is time—way past time!—to consider some dark corners of the nation’s psyche and bring out ye olde hexing tools? There are many vaguely intelligent people out here in Witchy Pagan Land who have given up “sending good energy” and instead opt for Poppets at Midnight.

Bind him? Certainly, if that seems efficient to you. Engrave dire rhyming couplets on lead strips, roll them up and toss them into the reflecting pool in front of any DC monument? Possibly. Gather with your creepy sisters around a trash fire at dusk and murmur imprecations? Absolutely.

Be clear about your intention, get the other people involved to all agree and then start hammering nails into beef tongues and tossing herbs into cauldrons.

Politicians make especially pretty poppets, by the way. Evercise your witchcraft, woman, and don’t be afraid to cackle during the evening news. It’ll be fun, possibly useful and will reduce your level of stress and generalized anxiety considerably.

Get your hex on—now is as good a time as any to reclaim your witchy birthright.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.

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