Renowned writer Araya Baker said, “Justice is spiritual, and activism that pursues it is spiritual work. Championing equity, ethics, and liberation during this lifetime and not just waiting for divine intervention or the afterlife is the epitome of being moved by the Spirit… Living out one’s spiritual values by repairing the world is just as much spiritual practice as prayer. It is sacrificial work that centers community and humanity, not just oneself. Activism is holy.”1
Each of us has our own way of prayer, our own way of setting up altars, our own methods of worship. One thing ranges in common: whether we believe the Spirit moves us or whether we believe we must move to make room for Spirit to work in our lives, we know we must move. We know we must do the work to prepare the altar, or the candle, or the sermon. The world around us is our altar; each of us knows the magic is within and around us.
We can split hairs on practice or preaching, and the reality is we must make space to hold each other with dignity and reconcile everyone’s truths as we work together toward a better world. We must separate institution from Spirit, request divine messages and intervention, peel away the fixation to the letter of the law and tap into Source. While denomination does not matter, language does. We all know the importance of using clear and specific language in manifesting, otherwise it can range from being a funny ‘be careful what you wish for scenario’ or a scary ‘I need help’ worst-case scenario. While everyone has lived experiences that are different, there are universal truths around oppression, injustice, and genocide.
Through and through, with intention and love
With that said, being a witch is a lifestyle. From the kitchen to the bathroom to bedtime, we weave activism into our lifestyle to manifest a vision that includes us all and reveres each and every one of us as the holy beings we are; we are all both saints and sinners at all times. Kitchen witchery is one of the oldest practices and ranges from herbal medicine to food that heals. These herbs are combined and powdered and used in spiritual baths, and at bed time, morning time, or to transition in some way people light candles or incense or spice food for a meal. We are often inclined to buy or give food to people who are unhoused. We leave food as offerings, at altars, for animals, for each other. We feed our spirits. We call in abundance.
And what is the accountability that we are called to as we bask in the abundance to which we have opened ourselves? Beyond giving food to someone who does not know where their next meal is coming from, what are the questions and parts of life we are being moved to notice and pay attention to? What conditions create a world where there exists abundance and surplus of food, means and power of production and distribution, and yet millions starve? The rich eat gold covered wings and children in Yemen are eating leaves. Church or coven, congregation or solo witch, we know that we do not act alone. We act in unison with the divine, we have different callings, talents, skills, and gifts and all of them are necessary for the work, and will be necessary as we build forward. We act with and in support of the earth, the magic around us moves our hearts in the kitchen and in the garden, in the church and in the graveyard, at the altar and at prayer and worship sites. We tap in together at full moons, and new moons and equinoxes, and at eclipses. We dance and sing and chant and cry and weep and wail and moan and loan our hearts and gifts and open our minds to divine messaging to be of service to ourselves and others – for what? Why are we called to this magic? What is calling and how are we being called to move? What sustains us and what sustains others?
We are stronger together
Of the same token is the lonely path this conviction can lead to: from witchcraft to activism, breaking generational curses and creating a better world often feel like swimming upstream. Solidarity is going to be one of the most defining foundations of our practice and of our pursuit of justice and dignity for all. Solidarity is a place to come back to when the pain feels too heavy, a place to rest, a place to love and be loved, and a place to regain endurance between fatigue and grief. Wherever you are in your path or practice, you are deeply loved and your work is much needed and openly received and in the same breath, I acknowledge and deflect energy that seeks to harm my community or me.
For thousands of years, our ancestors lived in relationship with the land. Us as caregivers for the Earth and the Earth caring and providing for us. Our current collective practices leave out the care within our work and exploits our energy and efforts to actively harm us. Solidarity is life saving because, globally, oppression and systematic violence/genocide has created systems and rituals meant to wear on our spirit. We must resign to the facts that the harms in our world are not always preventable, some are intentional. Some of us are pushed to the smallest margins, crushed under the pressure, weighted down as our energy is drained. This is by design, and the feelings that come with generations of battles won and lost can be hard to sit with. These call for solutions that go beyond self-care and self preservation. We need to care for each other, build community, and stand together. By committing to a spiritual craft, we commit to shifting our collective intention.
Unity is powerful. It may seem there are many sets of different movements, but that is an illusion. We are all divine beings made in the likeness of holiness which is a tenet of many religions. This blog is a place to come back to. To wrestle the deeply spiritual questions, the ones your inner child has always known. Ask a 7 year old if they think everyone should have food, water, a place to sleep, and ways to be yourself (be seen, heard and loved).
Decolonization and solidarity with Black and Indigenous people means centering voices who have ancestral knowledge for keeping each other and the planet safe. More than ever, we must be united from a love ethic.2 Namely, this moves away from a culture of power and dominance and recognizes, respects, and prioritizes the autonomy of all human beings. Solidarity with Abolitionists and the Black liberation movement is solidarity against violence inflicted by an economy reliant on prison labor, reliant on borders, reliant on Brown bodies picking produce, reliant on criminalizing of women’s sexuality as punishment when consent is not given, reliant on monetizing queer culture and enacting violence against people who are trans. All these things are inextricably linked and coordinated. In order to enact lasting and transformative change, we must be united and coordinated, we must be linked to each other in love and see our mutual struggles as faces of the same dice. In fact, many clients who come to witches are seeking help for the unending weight and pressure of this system, stricken and fatigued by grief and trauma. The work we do to heal ourselves serves then to heal our communities. Each of us carries so much strength and together we are a powerful force of change.
1. Baker, Araya. “Justice Is Spiritual, and Activism That Pursues It Is Spiritual Work. Championing Equity, Ethics, & Liberation during This Lifetime––and Not Just Waiting for Divine Intervention, or the Afterlife––Is the Epitome of Being Moved by the Spirit.” Twitter, 9 Jan. 2020, twitter.com/arayabaker/status/1215382155020439568?s=20
2. See bell hooks, all about love; pp. 40-49, 72, and 122-123 for detailed linking of patriarchy, capitalism, violence, and the absence of love and love ethic as a way forward.