“Feeling like we need a real life Aradia right now.”
“I guess we need to be Aradia for each other.”
In folklorist Charles Godfrey Leland’s 1899 work Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches we are told the story of Aradia –daughter of Darkness and Light– a female avatar who descends to earth in order to teach an oppressed humankind the art of witchcraft-as-resistance. This is not the pleasant fertility-and-flowers style of working that is often the focus of a fair portion of modern witchcraft, valid though it is, but instead a sober imperative aimed at the obstacles to freedom and even to basic survival.
As tens of thousands are poised to lose their healthcare and in some cases their lives, as government agencies are officially restricted from sharing information with the public, as the official statements from the head office of our government spew blatant and demonstrable lies fueled by the petty narcissism of a petulant child who pretends to be our president, we find ourselves at the potential dawn of a new tyranny, operated from within the still-warm corpse of our imperfect experiment into democracy. We are afraid. And we are angry.
In these times we may draw on the strength of our myths and our magic. My friend and sister-of-the-art Laura Tempest Zakroff has written about how the #WeAreAradia hashtag inspired her, both to make art, but also as a magical focus. She’s right: we don’t need avatars. We don’t need to be saved. We have to save ourselves. We have to save each other.
That means ALL of us. And this means all of our magic, too. #WeAreAradia is a call to action for witches and warlocks everywhere: Stand up. Speak out. Cast proud. We offer whatever magic we can to the cause of freedom and resistance to tyranny. Some of us are healers. Others are artists. Some are diviners. Still others are warriors. Aradia wasn’t teaching us how to enable our oppressors, but how to defeat them. It will take all of our skills together in order to survive what comes next, if we pay attention to what history has taught us. I believe that the time has come for witches to remember our history. Dark times require dark arts.