Column: Voting is Magick

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Today is the day.

I have been researching and preparing. I checked the astrological chart for the day, as well as the moon phase and sign – these are always handy to have. I remember one of the rules of magick: “to know.” I’ve donned my ritual garb, and now I head to the gathering place.

I wait my turn to be questioned by the gate keeper, answering in the way I was taught. “To dare” – I dare stand in my place of power.

I am then allowed passage into the holy of holies. Wand in hand, I center myself and channel my intent and will into the magical sigils, as I have been instructed. “To will” – pressing my spiritual will onto a piece of former living trees.

Once the spell is done, I add my charged papyrus to the rest of the spells left by other magicians. I know my preparation and will are strong, and now there is only time to wait and see the result of our communal spellwork.

I leave without speaking to anyone, as “to be silent” is of utmost importance.

I do, however, pause to get my sticker.

The aftermath of the ceremony [S. Psaros]

Yes. I voted. And voting is magick.

Voting is a way that we take our thoughts, dreams, and ideals and attempt to make them manifest in the physical world. If magick is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will,” as Uncle Aleister and others (like me) believe, then voting is, indeed, a form of magick.

Voting engages all four aspects of the Witch’s Pyramid (something I’ve ruminated on before). One must know what they believe and do the research to find the candidate who best aligns with those beliefs. One must dare to not only make a choice, but be open to other voices who may speak in harmony with them. One must will to actually do the thing – get out and vote. And then one must keep silent and not attempt to influence those in the polling place (although posting  stickers and memes about a favorite candidate may fall outside The Witch’s Pyramid of Voting).

Voting must be a pretty powerful magickal act, as it takes a literal act of Congress – or, at least, a state’s government – to expand the voting rights for different groups of Americans. Plus, it must be done correctly or it may as well not have been done at all. As someone who voted in the “hanging chad” 2000 Palm Beach election, I learned the importance of reading all the directions on the voter sheet so that my vote turns out the way I intended.

Our voices are our power. We wield it in the voting booth on both the national level as well as the local. Our votes decide who represents us in the halls of power, and who interprets the rule of law. Our voice in the voting booth is how we make our intentions into reality.

Election booths from Montpelier, VT, 2004 [Wikimedia Commons]

But it’s not just an individual’s voice; it’s the voice of the people as a whole, of our friends, neighbors, covenmates, and family. When we vote, and encourage others to get involved, it empowers all people. It allows the voice of the people to be heard and to ring through the halls of power, echoing deep into the past and rippling far into the future. It allows us to try to live up to the ideals America was founded on, where she is now, and where we would like to see her lead going forward.

And yet, there are people who willingly give up their power.

In a country where people have literally fought and died for our right to cast a ballot, the fact that just over half of those eligible to vote do so is, frankly, appalling.

The United States is not in the top 10 of voter turnout across developed countries. We’re not even top 20. We’re 26th.

How can we expect a government to be “of the people, by the people, for the people” when half the people stay home and only complain about that government? People come up with all sorts of reasons to not vote, but the biggest one is this: some will say that voting is pointless. It’s useless. Because it’s always “them” – the boogeymen who run all the things – who really decide elections.

This is utter hogwash.

More and more, rights and freedoms that were once taken for granted are stripped away by those who are in charge. But who put them there? The people who turned out and made their voices heard.

Do we want our voices to be heard? Do we want to be in the room where it happens? That room is the voting booth. No matter what parties or candidates we support, or what issues matter to us, the voting booth is where those values are put into practice. We must vote.

And again, this goes beyond any one individual. We must also encourage our friends and neighbors, and our coven mates, and those Witches and Pagans that we are friends with on social media to vote as well.

I pledge to vote. I’ve made a vow to my patrons and deities that I will not be silent. I will vote as my life depends on it. Because it just might.