“So why does it really matter that there are so few people of color in this movement? Given that the goal of the movement is to transform our civilization in order to head off the catastrophic human and ecological consequences of unsustainable industrial growth, it matters for a couple key reasons. First, never in the history of humanity has a social movement led by the people who benefit from the prevailing order succeeded in bringing about real change. Every major advance in human liberation has been won through the struggle of those seeking to liberate themselves. Second, there already is a massive global liberation movement underway, which is responding to the ongoing catastrophes wrought by the industrial expansion. This unnamed and leaderless movement, documented by Paul Hawken in his book Blessed Unrest, is comprised of and led by those people and communities of color directly impacted by the hyper-exploitation of the Earth and the large scale ecological instabilities generated by these practices. Can the Ecospiritual movement be relevant if it fails to align itself with this larger revolutionary force?”
The one thing I can not abide in any magical philosophy is the absence of justice. If one is to have a philosophy by which power can help them change the world, then it must be used in making the world a better place by a horizontal means. It is my adamant belief that magic devoid of the ability to achieve justice for oppressed people is a magic devoid of power. It is an impotent self serving thing of little worth, no better than mundane trickery.
You see, justice is an act of balancing power. It is the phenomenon of harmonizing the forces within our world to better maximize the free agency of each individual (including animals, plants, rocks etc) while maintaining the balances of agreements that entangle agents within their community. Magic is essentially a force of justice.
Perhaps the greatest perversion of Magic was the disenchantment of the world by commodification. Value and worth was centered around subjective human desires rather than communal wisdom, leading life and land to become a mere tool without a story or purpose, other than the purpose mankind decided for it. This desecration was indeed an injustice to the land and the indigenous people of that land.
With the rise of civilization came the murder of indigenous wisdom. The “magic” of human civilization became centered around human supremacy through the priestly caste. And the indigenous medicine people were methodically wiped away from history. Humanity became the center of the universe, the rulers of the land, the chosen ones. They became addicted to power.
In this addiction for power they ripped the gods away from the land and placed them into temples of authority that ran off abstract ideals which no man could approach without losing his natural common sense first. The priests became the new medicine people, except that rather than balancing nature and the community, they sought balance between the rulers and the ruled at the expense of nature. They took their gods and their power as an excuse to enslave the spirits of the Earth. They used their dogma as a means to create divine monsters they called kings and to establish hierarchies they claimed were morally righteous. As all of this was occurring, magic was ebbing away. Slowly but surely the mythic world was becoming lost to us as facts and dogma took the place of a living, breathing mythos.
Magic is born from the land, it is born from the in between places of liminality. Between the tree and the land, you will find magic. Between the dove and the sky you will find magic. Between the stream and the fish you will find magic. The in between places are the stories that give meaning to things. Magic is the entanglement of meaning and matter, and this entanglement is beautifully recognized in places and the agents that work within them. The sacred relationships are what make the things of our world take form, and in these relationships there is a synergy which holds their forms together. A synergy none other than Magic.
So as civilization advanced and became more disconnected from the land, so too did the magic of the priestly caste begin to hollow out into empty and meaningless reflections of their own dogma. Their rituals lost the transformative power of magic in favor of the trickery and propaganda that manipulated society. Sure there were sects within human civilization that sought to keep the magic alive in each tradition, but these people were hunted and murdered as heretics.
The practitioners of deeply rooted magic were sought after and killed. The witches who helped birth children and heal the sick were seen as evil not because they used magic or because they worked with spirits, after all the priests were said to have miraculous powers as well, but they were demonized because they were empowered by the Earth itself! They were the very glue by which societies held together and kept them from needing the divine monsters of royalty and money. The women had an even tougher time of it because they were systematically oppressed within the patriarchy. The men of that backwards time could not abide the power of women to give life and to heal the sick. These women who healed the community, were also women that resisted the insanity of the divine monsters and their priestly zoo keepers. They were the resistance.
The History of Magic is the history of indigenous resistance. All the indigenous cultures that faced the imperialist dogma of priests, royalty and capitalism were also societies with a deep respect for the magic of the Earth. Dig deep into the ground of your ancestors and you will find the roots of your resistance! The Africans had magic. The Natives of Turtle Island had magic. The Islanders, the Siberians, the Aboriginals, they all had magic! And so did my indigenous European ancestors, the Druids, the Vikings and so many unheard of tribes wiped out by the imperialists of old.
They all resisted colonialism. They all sought justice for the Earth. Their magic being rooted in the Earth, compelled them towards justice. It compelled them to resist in order to keep the voices of the Earth alive. For these indigenous people were the speakers of the Earth. They spoke for the trees and the mountains and the wild animals and the cold springs. Their magic was the magic of communion and balance with the world around them. Their power was used for healing and restoration and to do battle against the enemies of the land. When we look at the destruction of the Earth, it has always gone hand in hand with the destruction of indigenous culture. Being that indigeneity emerges as the culture of relationships between people and the land they belong to, any assault on indigenous culture is an assault on land, and vice versa.
The world is dying, species are going extinct every year, the climate is changing, and humans are still turned inward upon themselves. This problem is more than just an issue of bad human habits. This problem is intrinsically entwined with the injustice wrought by our systems of oppression against minorities! The culture of whiteness which has emerged from the homogenizing influence of colonialism has destroyed my indigenous European heritage and the indigenous heritage of so many more people around the world. We destroyed so much and have lost so many speakers for the Earth, that of course the life on Earth is dying in response. By losing our indigenous wisdom and diversity, we have lost our magical ecosystems which balanced the world.
Black people have been ripped away from their indigeneity by white colonialism. Mexicans are told they are not allowed on the land that they come from. First Nation peoples are told they aren’t allowed to protect their water. Queers, who represent the diverse spectrums of gender and orientation already seen in the natural world, are called evil perversions under “god”. All these people are resisting white supremacy, patriarchy and its underlying colonialist oppression in their own way. And their resistance is the call to arms to protect our Mother Earth!
If we do not have intersectional justice as an integral part of our magic, then our magic will hold nothing but empty promises and privilege. We must begin to weave new stories by which the world can once more be sacred, and we must seek new roots by which the light skinned descendants of Europe may once more find their indigenous wisdom with our Mother. And we must absolutely fight for people of different colors and indigenous traditions!
It has been said “As above, so below”. The world is interconnected in such a way that who you are, how you act, and what you strive for is a direct reflection to the society around you. Conversely, society is a reflection of you as well, we are feedback loops to one another. When you seek power for the self in ways that detract from the communities balance, it will cause your own power to shrivel away. But when you seek power with the intent and the act of redistributing it to those that need it most, your own power abounds. It grows wild and abundant. The individual and the community are intrinsically co-creative, and when there is injustice in community, there is a wrongness within the individuals of that community.
Magic flows through balance. Being the entanglement of meaning and matter, its power exists as the synergy that brings things into harmony, and harmony is the very goal of justice. If your deliberate actions have nothing akin to justice within them, magic will not flow into you, nor will it want to, and thank the gods for that. Magic is not something to be controlled and manipulated as if it were some desecrated substance to be commodified for your own self importance. Magic is alive! It is something to be cherished and respected because it brings a meaning into the world that gives us a purpose much greater than our own.
As we face the future under this new divine monster, this tanned orange demigod of miserable desecration, we must remember the magic that flows through our veins. We must hear the rage of our ancestors within us. We must seek a new indigeneity for the light skinned among us, and we must learn from the people of color who have guarded their ways from the genocidal maniacs that now rule the Earth.
Seek the roots of your magic, and you will find within you the call to resist!