TWH – Tomorrow voters in the U.S. will head to the polls for what has been dubbed, “one of the most important elections in modern history.”
The turnout for early voting has seen historically high numbers. According to the website, United States Election Project, as of this morning, a total of 96,070,035 people have turned out to vote early. In contrast, the total voter turnout in the 2016 election was roughly 55.5% of those registered to vote or 138 million voters.
Anxiety surrounding voting and the election outcome is also running high. Two of the resources that caught the collective eye of TWH are an action plan, and a meditation.
Holli S. Emore, Public Information Officer for the Interfaith Partners of South Carolina (IPSC), working in collaboration with the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), helped to launch last week the initiative, Action Plan for Election Season Peace.
The group lists their “problem statement” as:
While open elections in many countries engender fear, conflict and even violence, here in America we are accustomed to an orderly and civil process. During this season of polarization and tension, we are called to proactively build peace to support democracy.
And states their goal for the project as:
Our goal is to help ensure a peaceful election season, understanding that:
If we want to continue to live in the America we love, we must remember who we are – a group of individuals with differing ideas, and a democracy that provides us with a way to live together in peace.
America is not perfect, but we should always strive to achieve our ideals of peace, harmony, opportunity and respect for all.
Disruptive and/or violent actions against our fellow Americans will not accomplish our shared values and goals.
Interfaith conversations have taught us that we can show compassion to each other even when we have sharp differences. We have learned that we can respect others with whom we disagree.
We call on all of our interfaith partners across South Carolina to uphold our vision of peace and respect.
We call on everyone in America to come together to support the democratic process which allows us to speak, think, live and enjoy freedom.
For those who are struggling to maintain a balance and manage their anxiety, Christopher Penczak published an easy, “Election Meditation” on his blog today.
Penczak’s opening statement for the exercise likely will resonate with most readers on some level, “If you happen to be feeling anxious, upset, or another state of disquiet as we anticipate gods know what this coming week, may I offer a practice?”
The meditation uses stones and earth energy as a focus. It is simple and can be performed as often or as long as needed.
As a general reminder for anyone voting tomorrow who encounters problems at the polls, Election Protection: 866 Our Vote, a non-partisan, national organization provides a variety of voting tools for each state and has hotline numbers available:
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TWH – As noted last week, October 2020 brought a large media focus on Witches and Witchcraft. One notable article that was published in the mainstream media last week was not only about Witches but was also written by one.
Peg Aloi wrote in TIME Magazine about the movie, The Craft: Legacy that thoughtfully examined the intersection between pop culture, and the actual practice of Witchcraft.
Alois discussed the influence of the first movie, The Craft, and illustrated the impact the movie had on young women in particular, and how it helped to cultivate an interest in magical practices and Witchcraft. She included a good bit of history on magic and Witches in cinema and television spanning the last four or five decades, as well as some of the backlash that occurred, like the Satanic Panic of the 90s.
Aloi also highlighted for mainstream readers how Paganism aligned itself with various movements, like environmental causes and feminism starting in the 70s, and how these alliances help propagate the belief systems and practices of Paganism.
While part of Aloi’s article covers some issues commonly known within the broader Pagan community, its publication by TIME and its depth because of Aloi’s expertise, demonstrates a positive shift regarding how Witches and Paganism are being perceived by the mainstream.
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In purely fun news, “witches” took to the water in Monterey Bay, California on Halloween:
In other news:
- Last week Portland State University (PSU) released details on a copy of the Malleus Maleficarum, (The Hammer of Witches) that it obtained two years ago from a Parisian rare bookstore. John Ott, a professor of medieval history at PSU, made the book the focus of a student practicum that analyzed the book. The copy Ott obtained includes illustrations as well as text, and handwritten notations in the margins for hunting “witches,” and how to persecute them. Ott used the book to help students understand its impact on history. “The power of systems—legal systems and thought systems—believed to be so intellectually ironclad that they justify and perpetuate their own ways of seeing the world through the exclusion of other viewpoints,” Ott said.
- A sacred Djab Wurrung “directions tree” was cut down last week by the Victoria state authorities in Australia to make way for a new highway. Government officials said they identified the tree as a “fiddleback” thought to be about 100 years old, but Indigenous protesters said it was in fact a 350-year-old, yellow box species. Lidia Thorpe, who is the first federal Aboriginal senator for the state of Victoria, and is also a Djab Wurrung woman tweeted that she was, “Absolutely gutted and feel the pain of our ancestors right now.” While the battle between the Aboriginal Djab Wurrung and the Victoria officials has been ongoing, the loss of the tree angered many. State officials claim that the tree was not listed on the agreement worked out with traditional owner groups, and the plans for the highway passed federal environmental and legal checks. Over 250 trees of the Djab Wurrung have been saved by the agreement, but some members of the tribe are still unhappy and upset by the plan.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer and Wired.com both ran articles with rather dramatic headlines last week that reflected the prevalence of magical practitioners using their skills to have an impact on the election. While both articles partially connected to stories about TikTok Witches and the rise of magical practitioners using digital platforms, they diverged when it came to who they interviewed. Wired spoke with Michael M. Hughes and explored his development of the Blue Wave Spell, but also quoted anthropologist, Sabina Magliocco, “Magic creates communities and political coalitions in a digital age.” Magliocco also pointed out, “Participants are also heavily engaged politically. They’re actively involved in voter registration, postcard writing campaigns, canvassing for Democratic candidates, and donating to Democratic and anti-racist causes.” The Philadelphia Inquirer article reached out to several local practitioners which included tarot card reader, Jessica Dore, Mary Rodríguez, a Lukumí priest and an iyanifa in Ifá, and the founder of a line of beauty products, Adeline Koh, who uses her spirituality to guide her business, and New York astrologer, Maren Altman for help in explaining to their readers what it all might mean or what might be causing such interest.
- Amy Terry, a not-for-profit consultant who specializes in business development for arts and culture development has started a crowdfunding campaign to establish “a museum devoted to telling the story of the witch hunts in Essex and Suffolk [England].” Terry was surprised she first moved to the town of Colchester that no such museum existed. Terry said in an interview with the East Anglian Daily Times, “The idea for the museum came from my own experience as someone who moved to the region who was keen to learn more about the area’s history. I had seen information and artifacts at other cultural venues that touched on the subject of witchcraft but when I looked for the full story, as I was interested to learn more, there wasn’t anywhere that told it. I couldn’t believe that this museum didn’t already exist.” Her plan is to first establish a touring exhibit and eventually a permanent home for the museum.
- Circle Sanctuary announced the ordination of three new ministers: Rev. Juliana Russell, Rev. Laura González, and Rev. Charlotte Bear. The trio was ordained on Samhain and under the full moon. Russell and González came to their ordination via Circle Sanctuary’s Ministry Training Program, and Bear became the first to be ordained through Circle’s restructured Chaplains Program. The ceremony was live-streamed and can be viewed via YouTube on the Circle Sanctuary channel.
Tarot of the week by Star Bustamonte
Deck: Santa Muerte Tarot: Book of the Dead, by Fabio Listrani, published by Lo Scarabeo.
Card: Three (3) of Pentacles
This week may offer a preview of success in endeavors that have the potential to increase and expand for those who are diligent. Conversely, a lack of attention and consistency will undermine efforts and can result in a diminished harvest or complete failure of the expected results.
Decks generously provided by Asheville Raven & Crone.