Social and Political Change, some lessons from Magic

We will start with singer Kasey Chambers: “If you’re not pissed off at the world. Then you’re just not paying attention.”

Following this, I assume you personally wish for the world to be different and take some action towards that aim. If so you may already be familiar with the three, broad ways of changing the world, which I first learnt with the bodacious Joanna Macy decades ago. I will explore these with reference to the current situation in Australia with regards to asylum seekers and refugees. Do click on the links to find out more – there are some awesome people out there!

  1. Interfering with the systems of oppression or injustice via direct action, peaceful or otherwise. Here think Love Makes a Way and Mums 4 Refugees. This approach does not produce direct change, but rather buys time for the other approaches and exposes the systems of oppression – at the very least to the arresting police officers and judiciary.

  1. Changing the system from within – being part of the system of oppression or injustice to whatever degree we can (and can stomach) to change it or dismantle it from the inside. Here, think Labor for Refugees.

  1. Changing the consciousness of the society itself so that the system of oppression is exposed and dismantled. Here think of those artists and storytellers presenting a different version of the myth of refugees to Australia, such the group performing under the tag ‘We’re Better Than This’.

All three approaches have their strengths and can be very powerful. All three however are vulnerable to the systems of oppression they seek to change. Alternate views within ‘the system’ are sidelined or undermined; direct action protests are often outside the law and thus render participants vulnerable to a range of legal problems; and novel modes of consciousness and cultural myths may receive little exposure or funding.

These three approaches can be viewed diagrammatically as a triangle.

three methods triangle

I place the third approach, the change in consciousness of a society as the basal arm because it is required for any lasting change. For example, unless a society has a consciousness which does not see race as a discriminatory factor, all the laws and advances engendered by working the system and all the continued highlighting of injustice will not be enough. Oppression will still continue. Ask a black woman in the southern USA, a country with a black president and an enshrined equality before the law. Speaking recently to friends from Dallas, they mentioned how many folk there still have not accepted that the Confederacy lost the Civil War. The consciousness abides.

The nub of this problem I feel was unwittingly highlighted recently by Ricky Muir, an unlikely Australian Senator for the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Honestly I am not making this political party up. This is Australia.

“Crossbench senator Ricky Muir has revealed he switched his position on same-sex marriage after a fight with his wife in which he said he would disown his son if he was gay.

The Motoring Enthusiast Party senator announced his support for same-sex marriage earlier this year, linking the issue to rural mental health. “I did have very opposing views to what I have now, but that’s because it’s ‘monkey see, monkey do’,” Senator Muir told Annabel Crabb in an episode of Kitchen Cabinet to air on the ABC on Wednesday. “You grow up a certain way, you’re told certain things, you go with it.” (source).

Obviously whoever or whatever hegemonic force controls the lead monkey, showing other monkeys how to act, controls the game. As the world moves to embrace same gender marriage it is now acceptable for Senator Muir to hold the pro view. Really though, he is still a monkey. And so, to a large degree, are the rest of us. I remember being convinced that same-gender marriage would occur in my lifetime after reading a Time article in the late 1980s on how large companies were creating advertisements targeting gay couples with disposable income. Economics demanded equality and so it came to pass.

The question then becomes not how to change personally as society changes, but how to get novel and new justice based modes of consciousness embodied within the culture to produce social change.

To explore this, we can relate these three arms, interference, change from within and change of consciousness to the now famous 60’s maxim: ‘the personal is political is spiritual’.

pps three methods

I read this maxim as magician, someone who sees spirituality both in its traditional forms, which includes converse with non-physical beings and in a broader, wider scope that includes artistic vocation among other things. This is not a valorisation of the contemporary ‘spiritual not religious’ self-focus where we pick and mix our spirituality to accommodate our ego. Spirituality, whether traditional, artistic or novel in form must be concerned with the non-personal and the transpersonal. Fr Matthew Fox sums it up: ‘the test of a spirituality is in its justice making: does it create justice?’

The spiritual then, as the basal arm of our triangle is concerned with justice making, personally and collectively (politically). It is for this reason, Australia’s greatest Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, could make this bold statement about Labor governments (and I would say ANY government):

“In any civilised community, the arts and associated amenities must occupy a central place. Their enjoyment should not be seen as remote from everyday life. Of all the objectives of my government, none had a higher priority than the encouragement of the arts – the preservation and enrichment of our cultural and intellectual heritage. Indeed I would argue that all other objectives of a Labor government – social reform, justice and equity in the provision of welfare services and educational opportunities – have as their goal the creation of a society in which the arts and the appreciation of spiritual and intellectual values can flourish. Our other objectives are all means to an end. The enjoyment of the arts is an end in itself.”

This really says it all. If we work for the artistic and the spiritual we achieve it all.

When we superimpose the two triangles upon each other we can see this. The personal links directly to the personal choice to interfere and risk legal penalties. The political is expressed through the political and economic systems that are changed from within. And the spiritual finds equation with the change of consciousness – except that this is seldom fully realised.

The reaction against religion in Australia and the modern secular west means our artistic and other modes of changing consciousness are seldom seen, promoted or empowered as real spiritual events and actions. The artists We’re Better than This, I mentioned earlier, are secular artists, not religious or spiritual. Yet, I would argue that by seeking to change the dominant myth of refugees in Australia they are seeking spiritual ends. Gough clearly equates the two and clearly places them as the raison d’être of government, as does traditional religion. And here is where liberals and secularists get nervous mistakenly seeing the promotion of spirituality and art as throwback to medieval Christendom or Caliphates. Not so of course for Gough who was modern, western and secular but with a vision lacking in virtually all modern politicians.

Fully linking the spiritual traditions and the non-human spiritual realties to the action to change societal consciousness is seldom done. There are a few traditions and churches that attempt this, but by and large the division remains. We can highlight the effects of this division by looking at magic.

One of the key symbols and tools within western magic is the Triangle of Art. This is a physical and outer representation of an inner construct, created in the consciousness of the magician.  A classic example of such a triangle is this:

triangle_of_the_art_by_arsadraoi

The purpose of the triangle of Art is to evoke, to bring to manifestation in this physical world a ‘being’, typically an angel or spirit,  that embodies or will carry out the will or desire of the magician. This will, in spiritual magic, is always concerned with the spiritual and personal unfoldment of the magician or some repair or healing of others or the world.

The ‘being’ becomes manifest in the centre of the triangle. Around the arms are written divine names of special significance to the magician. When they are empowered and spoken their interior blessings interact to create the inner construct of the triangle and keep it integral and sealed. It is the interaction of theses blessings that creates the ‘interior atmosphere’ that will allow the ‘being’ to manifest. It is like fish bowl or a space suit in function, allowing something not here already on earth to be here temporarily. This temporary quality is then delivered to the magician by one method or another, and she is changed or she becomes the agent for changing the world.

The interaction and interdependence of these three divine names and powers is shown by placement of a divine name, separated in three sections, at each of the three apexes. Here we see this with the name of the Archangel Michael. This placement leads the eyes and the consciousness around the triangle, connecting each side with each other. Another concept in magic is of the ‘Triune Flowing Light’ which inherently is dynamic and interdependent flowing throughout the triad and bringing the interior forces into manifestation.

An absolute clear principle of magic is that outer actions are always mirrored by and embody inner actions, such as visualisation and prayer. Outer actions alone will never create magic.

So with reference to our other we can produce a social change Triangle of Art thus:

ta refugees

At the centre is the justice we are seeking. At the arms we place the interference of the system, the working within the system and change of consciousness. The ‘atmosphere’ that will allow the change we are seeking, in this case humane treatment of refugees, will come about through the interaction of these three arms, these three approaches.

However, this only represents only the first level we examined, the first triangle. To create magic, to bring compassion for refugees into this world, we need to include the other levels: the personal, the political and the spiritual.

Again, I contend the missing element here is the real, authentic, actual spiritual element that includes the reality of non-physical beings, shared consciousness and interior streams of blessing of hindrance. Without this connection, the spiritual dimension our Triangle of Art will remain incomplete and what we seek to manifest will not occur, or will occur partially or in a distorted fashion.

It is interesting that out of all the possible arenas of magical action, personal wealth, love, employment, healing etc, the most seldom taken up is that of social or political magic. It is rarely taught or even mentioned as a primary reason for magic, as I talk about in this post on the Iraq War. In some form though this approach has often been there in western magical and spiritual circles. To quote from my own post:

“Active political magic is one thing, though very much part of the Western Tradition (for example see Gareth Knight’s The Magical Battle of Britain). The inability or unwillingness to look beyond the obvious is another. Esoteric after all means ‘inner’, occult means ‘hidden’. As esoteric students, pagans or magicians we should be looking beyond what our media and our governments dish up. Otherwise we are not being conscious, which is the essence of all authentic spirituality. And once we become conscious of what is actually occurring, we must be moved to act against it, in some manner. After all, another hallmark of authentic spirituality is compassion.”

So to round things off, this post is a call to do exactly what I believe will create an effective Triangle of Art for manifestation of justice: the linking of the spiritual and the political via the personal. This will fully link the non-physical realms to our work and deepen the interaction of interference, working within the system and changing the consciousness of our world. Without this linking our Triangle cannot fully manifest what we are seeking and praying for.

I have attempted and attempt a number of these actions, the most public and recent for refugees described here. This current post is the beginning of a manifestation of more, where you will be invited to be part of healing the world via your person, your politics, your art, your spirituality and your magic. THANKS 🙂

Also published on Medium at: https://medium.com/@mrperegrin/social-change-some-lessons-from-magic-2d95613e535

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Magical Action to Increase Compassion towards Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Australia

This is part of an initiative I have started to…well, the title says it all 🙂

I will be inviting all and sundry on Facebook to be part of this – and you good MOTO folk here also 🙂 And please, even if you are not Australian, feel free to be part of the magic. I have a nice little outline of the plan and all in good pdf form HERE.

Of course, since some folk like to just read on screen, I will paste the text below also.

This form of magic obviously does not abide easily with the fourth side of the pyramid – silence. The symbol and principles are out there. However, the individual methods people and groups choose, the names of their sacred One(s), contacts and Gods are not on display. So please keep yours mum too 🙂

In my personal experience I have had mixed success with magic like this. As I recount in this post a similar initiative over ten years ago concerning the forthcoming Iraq war failed dismally. However, as I say in this other post:

In my experience the best and most successful forms of practical magic are those performed collectively for altruistic purposes and which work in alliance with spiritual beings under the presidency of the higher powers. These are keys elements: a collegiate experience to go beyond the self; altruistic and transpersonal intentions; working in harmony with beings in the other realms where we at best can but blunder around, and; an attitude of surrender to the One.

And this current magic ticks all these boxes. I’ve seen some wonderful results from this form of magic, as well as failures. So we will see on this one…but remember magic is like hugging a tar baby; it affects the magician as much as it does the world. So working inwardly, magically and working hard and non-personally for compassion will affect each of us and move us towards a more compassionate state. And that can’t be bad! 🙂 THANKS 🙂

– – – – – – – – – – – 

  • This is for everyone concerned about the current government’s actions in regards to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. Polling suggests this is well over half the population.
  • While magic is predominately the realm of Witches, Magicians, Pagans, Druids and others, the invitation is here for any and all people to help open the group mind of Australia towards compassion for those seeking refuge.
  • This form of magic does not impede on anyone’s sovereign will. But it does provide opportunities for change should there be an inclination towards that change.
  • The daily reports of appalling conditions in offshore detention centres, the military style secrecy of the Australian government, the universal and repeated condemnation of these centres and practices by international sources and the increasing whistleblowing by those working in these centres is a concern for all Australians.
  • These actions by the Australian government are supported by choices and non-choices we have made and are currently making; as individuals, as groups and as a nation.
  • From a magical point of view these choices ultimately stem from the fabric of the collective unconscious, the hidden side of culture and society where our deepest assumptions and beliefs lie. We have all experienced transformation from reworking the weave of our own inner depths. We facilitate these changes in others through initiation, prayer and healing. Now we need to go broader and work directly with our nation and our culture.

 

INTENTION

To increase compassion towards asylum seekers and refugees within the Australian group mind.

METHOD

Everyone is invited to contribute to this magic which will be conducted in five phases from 9 January to roughly 7 February. The magic centres around the symbol below as a representation of compassion in balance within the Australian group mind and as a focus for the intention given above (please see ‘Notes on the Symbol’ below).

Compassion Australia web 96 J

PHASE 1 – SPREADING THE WORD (January 9 – 16). During this week, please share this invitation to all magical people you know, far and wide, personally, via social media and other means.

PHASE 2 – CREATING THE SYMBOL (On or around Full Moon, January 16). The symbol is created within the ‘astral’, inner realm and strongly exists ‘above’ Australia, and is ‘ALIVE’.

PHASE 3 – CHARGING THE SYMBOL (January 16-26). Additional magic is done to empower the symbol.

PHASE 4 – BIRTHING THE SYMBOL (On or around Australia Day, January 26). Magic is conducted to ‘bring down’ the symbol into the group mind of Australia.

Time of ‘gestation’ (January 27-31)

PHASE 5 – PRACTICAL ACTION (On or shortly after New Moon, January 31). Practical action such as letter writing to earth the magic.

SUGGESTIONS FOR MAGIC

  • Those skilled in magic can readily apply the principles below and should work as they normally do.
  • All magic should ‘start grounded and finish grounded’. This is very important. It means we begin connected to the earth, knowing ourselves and our boundaries, and we finish the same way. Grounding is normally one of the first skills taught in most magical traditions. Grounding exercise examples can be found here.
  • Another key point is that straight after grounding we connect with our Sacred One(s) and ask them for assistance in the magic.

Creating the Symbol

  • Visualisation is the key here. After grounding and asking your Sacred One(s) for assistance, strongly visualise the symbol. Keep in mind the intention. Once the symbol is strong, see it grow larger and larger and rise to fill the air above the whole of Australia. Keep visualising for as long as possible.
  • At this time experienced folk around the country will be working deep magic to create the symbol on the inner realms, so it will be easy for you to add your bit by simply visualising.
  • When finished visualising, thank your Sacred One(s) and spend some time grounding.
  • More experienced magicians can use other methods to create the symbol. A group can use dance, ritual, chant etc. to empower the symbol. Wiccan groups and couples can raise the cone of power or use the Great Rite.

Charging the Symbol

  • Magic here involves two forms of action. Firstly, the aims and hopes of the people of Australia to make a compassionate society are directed ‘upward’ into the symbol. Secondly, the blessings of the spiritual powers and beings we are working with are also directed into the symbol. These may be seen as being directed ‘downward’ into the symbol, but only because these beings are transpersonal not because they are ‘beyond the earth’.
  • So in meditation, in ritual, in group or solo settings, we charge the symbol in these two ways.
  • As individuals (after grounding and asking for assistance) we know ourselves to be representative of the thousands of others in our locales that wish for a more compassionate Australia. As representatives, we imagine ourselves taking their thoughts, wishes and love, as well as our own, into the symbol. We may create a chant to help with this.
  • We then pray and ask our Sacred One(s) to bless the symbol. We see their love and power and light enter and enliven the symbol. We do this for as long as possible as on each day in this phase, if possible.
  • Remember to thank your Sacred One(s) and ground at the end of each session.
  • If you are in a magical group, create sacred space. Have one or two people in each direction. Raise energy and go into trance. Consciously identify the quarters of the circle with the quarters of your city; see the east of the circle as and overlapping with the east of the city and so on – so that your circle IS your city. The people at the quarters now open themselves to represent the people within that quarter of the city. In trance they collect and channel the good wishes and intentions of the people of the city. They direct these, in unison with the rest of the group, into the symbol above Australia.
  • Now invoke in your usual manner your Sacred One(s) and see them enter the symbol with their love and power and light to enliven the symbol. Thank your Sacred One(s), close your sacred space and ground as normal.

Birthing the Symbol

  • We do this on Australia Day, when our nation is self-conscious and open to influence.
  • Again, after our preparation, we visualise the symbol. Once it is strong we again ask for the blessings of our Sacred One(s) to enter the symbol. We repeat our intention strongly. Then we slowly and clearly see the symbol come ‘down’ to cover the whole of Australia. We see it enter the group mind of Australia – see it enter the land, the towns, people in your neighbourhood, people in your city, politicians and media people.
  • Then clearly see the symbol produce results – these may be visualised as you wish, for example newspaper headlines like, ‘Australia Leads the Way with Refugees’ or ‘PM’s New Approach to Asylum Seekers Heralded by UN’. Or see people you know who are not now compassionate expressing compassionate thoughts. Use some clear and simple visualisation that shows the completed magic. Hold this visualisation for as long as possible.
  • Once again, when finished, thank your Sacred One(s) and ground.
  • In a group setting the ‘birthing’ process can take many forms from a group meditation to a full ceremony. Wiccans may like to link the birth to the Great Rite:
  • The Coven once again creates the circle as their city. Then the Priestess and Priest will take on the Gods, standing centre circle. Then the Coven will dance the Cone around them and draw the symbol down to just ‘above’ the Priestess and Priest who then perform the Great Rite, birthing the symbol into the Cakes and Wine. These are then shared with the Coveners, who are representative of the city, and thereby take the symbol and magic into the whole city. Some Cakes and Wine should also be offered to the four quarters of the city by people who live nearby.
  • Other methods of birthing will present themselves to experienced magicians.

Practical Action

  • We leave the symbol to affect the group mind of Australia from birthing (26 January) through the dark moon until the new moon (31 January). This is an important period where the ‘ferment’ of the magic grows.
  • On and after new moon is the time for practical action to fully ground and make the magic work on the material level. Without doing something physical the magic will not work. Suggestions include:
  • Speaking to people about the issues; sharing accurate information;
  • Writing letters to the media;
  • Writing letters and contacting politicians clearly stating how you wish things to change;
  • Creating a simple flyer and letterbox dropping it for a few streets around your home;
  • Donating to various Refugee and Asylum Seeker advocacy groups; and
  • Volunteering at refugee agencies.
  • Groups may like to spend a night writing letters and emails. Each member is assigned one letter to write (to local MPs, the Prime Minister, the Immigration Minister Etc.). They bring along a template, and all of the group copy and write and sign all the letters. These are sealed and stamped and magic done to bless them before posting.
  • On all letters or emails it would be good to include the symbol as this will help bring the magic to the fore for those reading it. The symbol can be found here: small (jpg), large (png), for letters (jpg).

 A NOTE ON THE SYMBOL

  • The symbol expresses the intention. Yes, it is a little twee, but we want it to be simple and clear for people from all traditions and backgrounds.
  • The colours are from the Australian Flag to help link to the Australian group mind.
  • The blue in this case represents the raw consciousness of Australia, which we act on and inspire.
  • The red heart represents the compassion we are seeking, rising out of the raw consciousness.
  • The Southern Cross represents the Australian soul, now surrounded by compassion. It also can be used to bring in the stellar forces for those working this form of magic
  • The presence of the symbols of the Sun and Moon represent the balanced approach to refugees and asylum seekers. The symbols also represent the binaries of the Goddess/God for Wiccans and other polarities for those working them.

RESOURCES