While I wanted to do a post on Justice for a while, much of this post is inspired by this one, and adds to the argument presented there. TRIGGER WARNING for discussion of rape, abuse, murder, marginalization, etc; do not read the comments in some linked articles unless you have a strong stomach.
Witchcraft gives us power.
I won’t deny this. It’s what attracted me to it in the first place. I was a disempowered, powerless pre-teen dealing with divorce, bullying, abuse, and a lot more shit. Witchcraft, I thought, would give me power to bring back some balance in my life – to stop the bullies (among whom was my father).
I soon learned that Witchcraft would not give me the sort of Hollywood-type control I imagined over my life – I could not, for example, make my dad stop being a jerk. But I could empower myself to not feel so wretched all the time.
Something I didn’t learn for a long time, not until I’d been practicing Witchcraft for years, is that the tweeny vaguely-NeoWicca books I’d read and the ‘advice’ I’d received from older pagans had been full of lies: there is a place for bindings, and jinxes, and curses. And they give you just as much power as the practice of Witchcraft itself.
We live in a world where laws & law enforcement hurt more than they help; where people do not find justice unless they exist on specific, correct axes of privilege: how many outraged news stories will swarm around a young, pretty white girl getting murdered, for years on end, when the news of a brutal murder of a black teenager is silent for over a month, and quickly loses radio time and becomes a joke?
How many murders of trans folk can you name or even remember? How many trans folk are continually misgendered in most media stories about them? How many people know the difference between transgendered and transvestite? How many people are actually aware of trans non-binary genders?
How many actual rapists go to jail? (Though I don’t agree that jail = justice 100% of the time, that’s a discussion for later.) How many times do we question a rape victim’s word? How many times is it suggested, that, say, an 11-year-old who was gang-raped was ‘asking for it’ because she ‘dressed sluttily’? Or any other example of a woman not being properly virginal, and thus deserving such assault?
How many rape victims are afraid to come forward because of these attitudes? How many refuse to go to the police because they know they can be treated as liars and refused rape kits? How many men are afraid to speak up because our rape culture says that if you were raped you were asking for it, and that makes you weak, and therefore men could never ever be in that position, and we will ridicule any man who says he was? Or talk about how it’s so funny, and he should be “careful what he wishes for,” or told to “man up” already – because all men, everywhere, want sex so bad they don’t care if it’s nonconsensual, right?
How many people continually use the word rape as a joke, or to refer to things like getting scammed or losing money or watching the earth get destroyed, with no thought to how triggering it can be to a rape victim? ‘Cause, honestly, I don’t care if you do feel it was the right word for the situation — you just reminded me of two of the most horrible experiences of my life. To describe losing at a video game/getting overcharged/desecration of sacred places/pollution/a whole host of things that are not anything like rape. Especially when there are a host of other words out there that will work just as well: English has 250,000 words. You can find one other than rape.
We live in a world where there is little the individual can do to protect the earth for future generations: how much of a difference is picking up litter on the beach going to make in the face of oil spills, fracking, nuclear disasters, and corporate policies that keep the earth good and poisoned?
We have very little power in this world. Witchcraft gives us back some power.
If you’re not using it for justice, then what the fuck are you doing?
I am sometimes called on by my Triad to do curses or bindings in the name of justice. My Ladies are really big proponents of social justice, and that’s part of the work I do for them – whether it’s being an activist by going to rallies or marches or signing petitions, or by cursing rapists and abusers.
Yes, I have cursed abusers, and yes, it does work.
Waiting for “karma” or “the universe” to do its work is bullshit. While you’re waiting, innocent people are suffering.
Using magic for justice is not an ethical debate. It’s a godsdamned responsibility to the people you share the earth with. And I swear to gods, if one more person starts going “BUT BUT THE THREEFOLD LAW, WHAT ABOUT THAT? WHAT ABOUT THE REDE? *screeches; wrings hands*” I will use my wand as a physical weapon.
Not a magic user? There are other ways of supporting justice.
- Make offerings to your deities, asking Them for Their intervention.
- Bring attention to injustice when you see it, and make it clear that it cannot stand.
- Donate time, energy, money, or awareness of to organizations that try to help victims of injustice.
- Fucking pray.
- Call out people when they make statements that contribute to racism, rape culture, transphobia, queerphobia, misogyny, etc.
- Believe someone when sie says sie’s been raped. Period.
- Pick up litter.
- Center the voices of oppressed people.
- Stop using the word rape to refer to anything but sexual violence, and stop using it as a joke. It’s not a joke, and it’s not pollution/losing at Halo/getting scammed.
This list is actually full of things magic-users should be doing too. It’s not an either or. Magic should be backed up with non-magical action.
It’s also an incomplete list, so if you have things to add, please do so in the comments.