Spells for Democracy

(Version 8.0)

Copyright © 1994, 2009 c.e., Isaac Bonewits

The following reflects my personal religious and political opinions, with which many readers, Pagan or not, may freely disagree. Yet I believe this needs to be said and the arguments in our community need to be started, while we are still capable of both.

Our Situation, Our Obligations

Our Talisman in Washington

Pagan Political Spells

Some 2006 and 2008 Afterthoughts

Our Situation, Our Obligations

Fundamentalist Christian spellcasters, aiding and aided by the criminals they helped put into power, continue to aim directly at the roots of American democracy—the electoral process, the Constitution, and our precious Bill of Rights. In the 1990s, so-called “prayer warriors” of the Religious Reich bragged about the curses they laid on Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party. They announced an all-out spiritual attack on liberal and moderate candidates for public office—including the sending of death curses through “imprecatory psalms.” Similar activities, combined with “stealth campaigns” (where candidates for obscure but important local offices are promoted through church meetings and deliberately remain otherwise unknown) have taken place at subsequent local, state and national elections, in the Christian Reconstructionists’ never-ending campaign to replace our democracy with a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. Today they are bragging about casting death spells on President Obama.

Whether one is a Republican, a Democrat, a Green, a Libertarian, or an Independent, such spiritual arrogance must be challenged. The Religious Reich is performing—or at least advocating—acts of what used to be called, “black magic”—the same kind of spiritual evil for which their predecessors gleefully accused, tortured, condemned, and murdered hundreds of thousands of innocents over the centuries (something their missionaries are still doing today in Africa and South America).

In recent years, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, frustrated by their loss of secular power, have used spiritual blackmail against Catholic politicians who chose to represent their constituents instead of the Church’s theologians. Refusing the sacraments to Catholics is only one short step away from casting curses, for devout Catholics believe that the Church’s magical rituals are vital to their salvation. With the former Grand Inquisitor now the Pope, we can all expect more of the same from Rome.

In the secular realm, the same people who short-circuited the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections have hijacked the effort to create an electoral system based on accountability, by promoting easily-hacked electronic voting machines, all manufactured by multimillionaire donors to the Republican Party—machines that, by an odd coincidence, produce no paper trail to allow verification or recounting (see that link for details). And of course, this track record of deception and crime led many to expect an “October Surprise” from the Neo-Conservatives who hijacked the Republican Party, to try to sway (or postpone) the elections at the last moment. Instead, thanks to the secular and magical work of many, in 2006 and 2008 the surprises were exposures of personal corruption and electoral dirty-tricks, plus the election of a liberal-sounding presedential candidate by a margin too large to scam away.

There are many important secular/mundane steps those of us who belong to minority belief systems must take to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens. These include registering to vote, participating in political discussions, keeping track of the actions of those elected, and most important, showing up on election days and VOTING  based on our spiritual and ethical beliefs. Want to know why? Read 13 Reasons Why Pagans Should Vote.

An important note: while U.S. national and state elections are usually held on the second Tuesday in November, often local school board and county government elections, as well as party primaries, are held in other months. We all need to be aware of when they are happening, for these “little” elections are the ones in which Religious Reich stealth campaigns are most effective and their results most devastating to our children and their futures. Don’t forget to send copies of any biased “voter guides” handed out in local churches to the Internal Revenue Service — tax-exempt churches are not allowed to endorse candidates for public office, even though that’s exactly what the Republican Party told thousands of Fundamentalist and Evangelical churches to do in 2004 (New York Times July 1, 2004), 2006, 2008, and will no doubt do the same in 2010.

We have other obligations, however—magical and spiritual ones. We must not allow half-baked, Christian Dualist concepts of Neopagan ethics to excuse our own sins of “scrupulosity,” that is, of being so afraid to do something wrong that we avoid opportunities, no duties, to do something right. It is well past time to apply our pluralist, polytheological beliefs to decide what those duties and obligations are, and our superior magical technologies and arts to exercising them. The groundwork has already been laid.

Our Talisman in Washington

Many people are familiar with the Statue of Liberty that stands in New York harbor. The people at the Pagan Voting Project have a nice page about Her, with links to others. Some may have heard of Columbia, who was an early goddess image of America (now known mostly through patriotic songs and the logo of Columbia Pictures). Not as many know about another major statue of Her under another name, high in the air over Washington, DC.

In 1993 c.e., I led a group of Druids, Wiccans and other Earth Religionists in consecrating the statue of the Goddess of Freedom that now stands atop the Capitol Building’s dome—on the same day, it turned out, that Masons were ceremonially (re)consecrating a duplicate of the building’s cornerstone on the other side of the Capital. In keeping with the ancient spiritual principle of “as above, so below,” the Capitol Building now has powerful magical talismans dedicated to freedom and democracy physically in place above and below it.

According to the Architect of the Capitol, Office of the Curator,

“The bronze Statue of Freedom by Thomas Crawford is the crowning feature of the dome of the United States Capitol. The statue is a classical female figure of Freedom wearing flowing draperies. Her right hand rests upon the hilt of a sheathed sword; her left holds a laurel wreath of victory and the shield of the United States with thirteen stripes. Her helmet is encircled by stars and features a crest composed of an eagle’s head, feathers, and talons, a reference to the costume of Native Americans. A brooch inscribed ‘U.S.’ secures her fringed robes. She stands on a cast-iron globe encircled with the national motto, E Pluribus Unum. The lower part of the base is decorated with fasces and wreaths. Ten bronze points tipped with platinum are attached to her headdress, shoulders, and shield for protection from lightning. The bronze statue stands 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds. Her crest rises 288 feet above the east front plaza.”

On October 15, 2000 c.e., there was another ritual in Washington DC, at the Blessed Be and Meet Me in DC 2000 gathering. As before, we invoked Lady Liberty, this time using talismans representing the four branches of government: the White House, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Courthouse, and the Pentagon, to bless and consecrate those buildings. Our intent? To make it easier for Her to influence all those who work in and near those buildings to keep the oaths they have taken, in accordance with Her highest ideals. Every year since, on the 4th of July, I have renewed this consecration, alone or with others.

I repeat my proposal that we who live in the United States, currently the most powerful and therefore the most dangerous nation in the world, inaugurate a new Pagan Holy Day in the Neopagan calendar. Around every 4th of July, let us all invoke Lady Liberty, the Goddesses Freedom, Justice, Truth, and other appropriate deities (the Roman pantheon is filled with such personified abstracts and works well with the architecture and thinking patterns of the American government). Begin by reconsecrating the statue of Freedom in DC, the Statue of Liberty in NYC, or other local statues of Her. Ask Her/Them to increase Their influence, not just over Washington DC, but over all our state capitols as well, so that our legislators, executives, judges, and military/police will also act in accordance with Their highest ideals. In addition, let us cast our own spells, every year with Their help and guidance, to encourage our public servants to remember what they are: the servants of the entire public, members of all religions and none. (I have a page of Liberty Rite Materials that will provide some ideas and I would be happy to add more from my readers.)


Pagan Political Spells

Those with the magical skills and spiritual courage to do so should go beyond that essentially theurgical approach to ones a bit more thaumaturgically active. This is why I founded the Spells for Democracy egroup at yahoogroups.com. We have around 150 members and hundreds of other Pagans around the world worried about democracy in America, so we are able to try multiple approaches simultaneously. Here are some of the spells we’ve been working on for the last several years:

Doing guilt spells on all adults living within a twenty mile radius of our members, to make them feel terrible if they don’t register, pay attention to the news, and vote. From Halloween night till election night, actively sending out the vibe to the entire country for first-time voters, slackers, stay-at-homes, cynics, seniors, and others who vaguely support progressive candidates to actually get out and cast their votes. Please note that we did NOT  try to make them vote for particular candidates or propositions, though most of our personal preferences are liberal. If you haven’t registered yet (shame on you!), go to <www.YourVoteMatters.org>, answer a few simple questions online, and print out your completed voter registration form. Use this as a magical talisman in your spell, then mail it to the address provided and you’re registered. These spells are the magical equivalent of making people feel guilty for not fulfilling their civic duty.

Doing protection spells on candidates we think most likely to be cursed by Christian spellcasters or victimized by electoral skullduggery, using campaign photos or posters for focusing devices. These spells are the magical equivalent of providing bodyguards. With the enormous amount of racist hatred and right wing lunacy being whipped up by the Republican Party and its corporate owners against President Obama, protection spells around him should be done by everyone on a regular basis.

Doing revelation spells on major criminal suspects in Washington DC and our own state capitols. Its clear that Bush had some pretty heavy shielding around him, courtesy of millions of theocrats praying (not to mention his psychological density), so direct efforts to affect him didnt seem to work, without a specifically focussed effort to magically “drill” through the cloud of pink fuzzy Christian prayers. The people around him, on the other paw, were much more vulnerable. We need more and more of them making mistakes in their public speeches, revealing the truth about their long-term theocratic and neo-conservative plans for our nation and the world.These efforts appear to have been spectacularly successful in 2006. and 2008 This process needs to continue, targeting those people who are organizing town-hall riots to slow down health care reform. You can get useful images from government, campaign, corporate, media, and activist websites, as well as from the annual reports of most corporations (available through public libraries). Using a photograph or a corporate logo, direct the attention of deities associated with truth, justice, and freedom, asking that any criminal and unethical plans and actions of the individuals or corporations be revealed to the world immediately, in ways that even the uneducated and uninformed will notice and understand. These spells are the magical equivalent of investigative journalism actually getting done by the mass media.

Doing gonad transplant spells on journalists, especially on the major TV networks, to give them courage, tenacity, rudeness, and whatever else is needed to correct lies and errors by the candidates, other politicians, corporate spokespeople, and lobbyists immediately after they are made, rather than weeks after the elections are over. Between elections, we want to increase their coverage of scandals, crimes, and incompetence. These spells are increasingly successful in 2009. These spells are the magical equivalent of making people do their jobs.

Focusing energy on polling places in our states (or other swing states) to make sure that all votes are honestly and successfully cast and counted. These spells are the magical equivalent of looking over the poll workers’ shoulders.

Now it is possible, of course, that members of the Religious Reich (or Republican Pagans!) might try to do some of these same spells on Democratic critics and candidates, which might wind up getting some Democratic candidates defeated. That’s a risk we’re willing to take. We’re not starting a magical war here, we’re trying to get honest people to start fighting back in a war that’s been going on for a long time. Even though the theocrats may outnumber us by a thousand to one, we actually know more about how magic works than they do and can therefore cast more effective spells.

In previous years we were surprised by just what depths of criminality and mud-slinging the theo-cons and neo-cons were willing to sink. We have learned that lesson well and are prepared for them.

Remember, only Christian and Islamic Dualists need to think that spiritual matters and physical matters are innately different, so as to require separate systems of ethics. The same ethics by which you live your secular life are the ethics that should guide your magical/spiritual life. Pagans and New Agers are free to use pluralistic, complex ethics to decide their actions. As one Neopagan polytheologian, I believe these spells are all ethical ones. You may wish to consult divinatory wisdom on the matter. But for the Gods’ sake, don’t just sit on your hands doing nothing!

By the way, those of you who are, like myself, members of a “third party,” should magically protect all of its candidates and plan on voting for those running for non-federal local and state offices. It will take several election cycles of successful local and state candidates for any third parties to be allowed to break into the Christian Dualist two-party system on the federal level. I hate to admit it, but money and energy (physical or magical) invested currently in third party candidates for federal offices are essentially wasted, except for whatever feelings of self-righteousness they may engender.

I know very well that not all Neopagans apply their polytheology to their political views in the same ways that I do. To me it seem obvious that politicians dedicated to making the USA a fundamentalist theocracy, to encouraging the fundamentalists in Islam to see this century as one dedicated to an un-Holy War between the two lunacies, and, incidentally, giving a totally free reign to every multinational corporation willing to pay big bribes to politicians, isn’t going to give much attention to the needs or even basic human rights of minority belief systems, at home or abroad, including ours. The Neo-Con Imperialists and the Religious Reich have been telling us for over a decade what their plans are. It is way past time to pay attention and take action with the only form of power they can’t take away from us: magic.

In any event, I think everyone eligible should register and vote for whomever they think best, because I feel confident that the resulting winners will not be Halliburton and Exxon. Progressives in the USA may have to win campaigns for Congress despite the official efforts of the Democratic Party, but we seem to have done a pretty good job of that in 2006 and 2008. Now, unfortunately, we will have to set up watchdog groups to make sure they don’t immediately sell out by jumping to the so-called “center,” which is political code-speak for kissing up to the right. This year, more than ever, progressives are the center!

Every year, in late October or early November, just before most U.S. state and national elections take place, many Neopagans celebrate the Feast of Samhain, honoring our ancestors. At this most sacred of times, let us remember all our ancestors who fought and died for religious freedom and invoke them to shield every polling place in our country from Christian warlocks and political rogues.

Pagans vote! Click here to register.There are millions of Paleopagans, Mesopagans, and Neopagans living in the U.S.A., as well as millions more New Agers, metaphysicians and religious liberals. Every year, let every group of us bless our local polling places, and place divine protection around those candidates in our areas who have been targeted for destruction by these demon-obsessed Satanic Panickers and cynical manipulators. Let us allow the people of America to make their own choices, in the privacy of the voting booth, without the influences of malevolent spells from those who wrap themselves in the garb of Christian holiness. For that matter, let us become polling place attendents and politically active watchdogs to stop rigged voting machines, mysteriously missing translators in minority language neighborhoods, misplaced paper ballots, illegally disenfranchised voters, or other secular schemes (all of which were used in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008).

If Christian “prayer warriors” and Neo-conservative scoundrels want to attack those who resist their theocratic and imperial ambitions, then true spiritual warriors must protect the innocent and level the playing field. May the Earth Mother and the Goddess of Liberty bless all those who stand for Them in battle.

P.S.: Having good images with which to focus your prayers is always a good idea. Here’s a page of Spells for Democracy Images you can print out and use for ritual purposes. Unlike all the other pages on my website, this one has no “Back” link at the bottom, so that everything will fit on one 8.5"x14" sheet of paper—just use your browser’s Back Button instead!

It is way past time that the 75% of the Neopagan community who are progressives and liberals stop letting the 25% of right-wing contrarians prevent us from organizing to support Pagan-friendly, Goddess-friendly, and Earth-friendly politicians and policies. But whatever you do, brothers & sisters, do Something!!! Dont just sit on your hands piously asserting your virtue.

Some 2006 and 2008 Afterthoughts

Sometimes democracy really works! With the American House of Representatives and the Senate being swept by progressive and other Democratic candidates, plus the election of a progressive-talking President, important steps towards restoring sanity have been taken.

I have to admit to be really surprised that there were so few problems with the electronic voting machines and the new election laws in so many states (only a few thousand reports instead of a few million). Perhaps the Republicans just decided that the polls were so indicative of a landslide that they didn't want to get caught stealing another election -- especially with tens of thousands of self-appointed journalists showing up at the polls with cameras -- but I'd like to credit our spellcasting of protection and justice around the polls as having played a small role as well.

This is not the end of the job, however, since there is plenty of work remaining for American progressives. The House and Senate are still going to be full of people in both political parties who enabled the previous Administration's vile, unamerican, and treasonous policies. People who voted for an unending "war" against a military tactic, who voted to allow the invasion of Iraq for the benefit of Exxon-Mobile and Halliburton, who voted to gut the Constitution, who voted for kidnapping and torture of suspected "terrorists," who voted to avoid investigating war profiteering and corruption...

Spells for Democracy will still need to be cast in the months and years to come. Progressives within the various political parties will need to find new candidates to run against the enablers in 2010's primary and general elections. We will be able to assist by doing more revelation spells to expose more crime and corruption. Prime targets for these spells should be corporate lackeys enslaved by lobbiest bribes -- beginning with those who come from states with progressive governors who could replace them with honest progressives.

We can also work on spells to support real election, campaign, and lobbying reforms that will open up the political process to multiple political parties and make the entire process as transparent and open as possible. This will require us to keep track of such issues on a regular basis by reading right-wing, left-wing, and middle-of-the-bird political blogs and websites, plus doing our our research into the complexities involved in true reforms. We will need to set up databases to keep track of all the info.

Those of you who are ready to let the world know that fundamentalists aren’t the only ones who are willing to take political action in the ongoing culture war between dualists and pluralists may wish to join the NeoPaganPAC e-list by sending an empty email to <NeoPaganPAC-subscribe@yahoogroups.com>. My friend and successor as Archdruid of ADF, Adr. Skip Ellison, has started this list and he is particularly looking for people who have experience working in the formation of a PAC, working on a PAC, working as a lobbyist, or are willing to donate time and, more importantly, money to have our viewpoint known.

I'm planning to devote more time to coordinating the research necessary to make our magical work as precise, focused, and effective as possible. I hope that the other members of our Spells for Democracy e-group will stay with the process for as long as is necessary to create an America we can all be proud of again.

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