Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
A protest narrative from Washington D.C.|
Posted: February 23rd. 2003
Times Viewed: 3,338
The trip down to DC was a testament to Mercury's retrograde. Our 7.5 hour drive turned into more than 10. We went from bad weather to unpredictable traffic problems to mysteriously long rest stops. I'd wanted to be in Lafayette Park for the webweaving, and was frustrated that the delays were causing us to miss it. So I began to weave myself, around the time others were gathering to build webs. I took up my massive knitting needles and a bag of yarn and slowly transformed it into a long river of variegated blue so soft and bouncy it feels alive to the touch.
We arrived in DC in time to join Women in Black for their evening vigil. A diverse crowd lined the city block, some drumming and dancing while others huddled together around tiny candles. The cold was a shock - I'd been to protests in DC in April and in the fall, and I'd had the impression that DC just never got as cold as it does up here in the Northeast. Instead, it seems that it does, they just have a shorter winter. I swear I was marching in a tank top last April while there was still snow on the ground here at home!
The vigil closed and we began the Spiral Dance. There was a magical moment early when Star was struggling to be heard and voices throughout the crowd started echoing her words. Soon everyone in the freezing crowd was chanting back her speech as she gave instructions about what a Spiral Dance was and taught the chant. This introduction could have been perfunctory, a throwaway moment leading up to the magic of the dance, but it was transformed through that call and response into rite unto itself: over a hundred people chanting in unison, "This is an act of magic," made it so.
There were so many familiar faces in the dance, and so many new ones. Even dancing in such close quarters did little to raise the temperature, but there were smiles on every face I saw, shining with gratitude that we could all be together in this work. I had said to my companion, on the drive down, that I wished we could be coming together for a festival or a tribal council. I wish that we lived in a world where there was no need for anti-war protests. He reminded me that in many places throughout the world, we would be shot at for marching through the streets to protest the ruling regime, and that we were lucky to live in a place where we can still bring our voices and bodies together.
Another part of the magic of the Spiral Dance after the vigil was seeing the joy on the faces of people who had not been to a ritual before. One young woman was singing and holding hands and basically walking through the motions. When the priestesses around her began to raise a cone, there was a moment when her face suddenly changed, a moment of "OH!" and then she opened her mouth and began toning wordlessly with them.
Saturday brought a rushed morning. I'd finished my shawl, thankfully, and wrapped it around my wet head like a cowl to keep warm. We could not have asked for better weather in January - the day was clear and warm(er) and dry. At Union Station, my companion and I met up with the Rhythm Workers Union, pushing the world's most organic "drum machine", a cart dressed in percussion instruments that brought strangers together out of the crowd. The cacophony of all those joyful drums kept us warm for the march to the rally. So many bright, diverse, brave faces, playing everything from African drums to conventional marching band pieces to milk jugs, even each other's bodies. As we passed a police van, the officers buzzed their siren in time with our drumming and gave us all wide smiles!
After the Rhythm Workers found a home on the lawn, we left them and wandered down through the crowd, admiring the artistry of protesters signs, flags, costumes and songs. The mall literally throbbed with people. Eventually we caught up with our hostess, sporting a sign that said, "Mamas for peace" and "Jr. needs a time-out". A photographer came by and asked her to pose making the face she would make if she were giving the Shrub a time-out; intimidating indeed. We sat with them for a few minutes listening to the speakers ANSWER had brought in. Then we met up with the Pagan Cluster, who had grounded around a tree in which they'd woven another stunning web of peace. Again, it was incredible to see the light in the faces around us, and personally strengthening for me to be able to embrace people I correspond with who are usually so far away geographically.
People were finding their way into blue ponchos with Spiral prints on them, and beginning, organically, to circle up and raise energy for the march. Once we'd come together as a group, we moved into a large open area directly in front o the capital building for a Spiral Dance before joining the march. This was my first time drumming in an action, and my first time drumming during a ritual, and I was amazed at the sweetness and depth of the energy with the other drummers and the web of dancers around us - so different from the energy of dancing, yet complementary with it. In this spiral particularly, we seemed to connect with the web of solidarity actions going in our home communities, and throughout the world.
The black bloc fell in behind us for awhile, and our drummers joined the beat they'd set, a forceful chant that carried above the noise of the march. Later, a group of anarchist cheerleaders popped up in our midst with a strong, sexy chant: "Shake your booty for peace! Yes! This booty don't shake for hate!"
Throughout the day, I was struck by how serious everyone seemed. The last DC action I attended was April 20, and the difference in energy was astounding: people this weekend were much more focused. The sense of community was stronger, as was the sense of purpose. People seemed less depressed but a touch more grim and determined. Even those shouting with joy had a deep ribbon of purpose to our work that, while invigorating, made me a little sad. I'm still in my early twenties, and I wish I wasn't looking into the faces of kids younger than me and seeing that they'd had to come to grips with how serious things were getting.
As the Cluster moved through the march, drumming and continuing our chant, someone shouted, "Where did you come from?" and I looked around and thought about it. As individuals, we had traveled from Austin and San Francisco and Boston and Burlington and dozens of other places. As a group though, clothed in blue spirals and wielding magical webs and our own strong voices, we had stepped from that place between the worlds in order to change this one. We had become the magical Allies we call on to aid us in our work.
Location: , USA
Bio: Sierra Black is a freelance writer and hedonist living joyfully. She is a Witch, Priestess and teacher in the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft, and participates in magical activism with the Pagan Cluster and in her home community. Her stories, articles and poems have appeared in numerous local publications, in the Sarah Lawrence Review, and in Teen Ink: Love and Relationships, an anthology of love stories for teens. She recently completed an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Emerson College. Sierra lives in a cooperative housing experiment near Boston, MA, with three other humans and two mighty cats.
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