It had been a shitty weekend. The drunk people outside my apartment seemed even more aggressive than usual, mixing their incoherent yelling with increasingly awful sexist and racist slurs. On Friday night this yelling was filled with screams and crying, and looking out my window I saw the tail-end of someone being stabbed. Volunteering myself as a witness, the officer who took my statement then text me later asking: “If I could keep a secret, lol.” (I didn’t text back to discover what his ‘secret’ was). Talk about abuse of power. Gross.
On Saturday night I marched with Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and Black Lives Matter in the annual Take Back the Night march. We were met with zero support from bystanders. Either people averted their eyes, or stared aggressively and heckled. I don’t know which response felt worse.
By Sunday and I felt so sick of people, hopeless and sad about the poverty, violence, oppression and entitled-ness that surrounded me. I felt full of fear and concern for the stabbing victim. I felt angry and hurt by the creepy officer. And I felt like trying to create positive change was impossible amongst streets and streets of apathy and negativity. It was time for some magic.
Sunday night was the the supermoon and lunar eclipse – a well-timed auspicious evening! I had a moon watching date with ‘the yogis’: a group of some of the best women I know, who completed their yoga teacher training with me. We met at a secret beach far east of the city, found by sliding down a bank through musty forest and arriving at the edge of Lake Ontario. The night was balmy, unusually warm for late September, and the air was still, sweet, and full of potential.
We dug a hole in the sand and built a fire. I watched the full moon slowly eclipse into a crescent, a line of white, a sliver. At the point of full eclipse the clouds rolled in, the sky was dark and we couldn’t see anything anymore. We snuggled in closer to the fire, and everything was still, reflective, gently lapping waves from the lake, cool, soft sand and a crackling fire. Dark chocolate with sea salt. Gentle conversation. It felt like the night sky was holding us, pausing time for us to cast our spells.
We talked about my weekend, about our collective struggles, about oppression and sadness in the world. We talked about what we need to give us the energy and hope to keep doing the work to change, support, heal, to create something better. Our immunity needed to be boosted, so we manifested a ritual….
We cast the following spells for immunity (against the baddies!). Written on separate pieces of paper:
Community! (This one is my favourite because it rhymes)
Empathy and compassion
Love (for self and others)
Trust (in self and others)
To seal our ritual we read all the immunity building words out loud and threw them one by one into the fire. We held hands and breathed together, filling our lungs and hearts with all the good magic, warm night air and smokey fire. Ritual completed!
On my way home I looked out the window of the streetcar and saw the clouds slide away to show a crescent moon coming out of the eclipse. By the time I returned to my apartment, the moon was huge and full once more. I imagined that it had witnessed our magic, and now revealed itself, shining and glowing white with immunity.
This was a couple of weeks ago, and I keep it in mind as I go about my day. If I feel beaten down, saddened or hopeless about the shitty things that happen in the world, I breathe in my immunity, manifested and held by these magical women.
And then I lift my head back up, and get to work.