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Political ritual reconsidered

This essay first appeared in Moonshine magazine, Winter Solstice 1987.


The injection of a political dimension into Western magick has a number of encouraging side-effects, these being:

  1. Mass ritual generates community and raises the scope for further collective action.
  2. It helps draw together people of differing orientation through the commitment to bring about change.
  3. It is empowering - re-emphasising the inner certainty that we can act to make a difference.
  4. Feedback from participation in such rites is directly proportional to the initial input given to power the rite or build it's organisational structure.

Having made these positive points about our enterprise it is necessary to look critically at the process and look for ways and means of extending the politicization of magical activity. A first point to make is that it does matter what kind of power raising technique you utilise for the ritual. the most convenient technique is solo meditation, but solo meditation is not the most effective means of raising energy - drumming, dancing, chanting, hyperventilating - the more energetic ways of raising power are preferable. When this is done by two or three people, better yet.

The site of the ritual is also important. The back bedroom is probably the easiest, but again, ease is not the prime consideration here. To go outside is preferable, particularly some high place where you can see a large tract of land about you.

Obviously the more effort you take in organising something; choosing a site, getting people together and deciding what is to be done, then the more special the event becomes. And special; the event must be if it is going to be effective in any way. Remember that this is a Sacred act being performed - which is not to say that it must be totally serious, just don't go about it in a half-hearted fashion.

Since the targeting of present political ritual is the group consciousness of the world at large, or at particular sections of the populace, the results of such workings are going to be subtle and long term. there is no reason why we should be content with this situation, so it is neccesary to look for other ways in which we can intervene as a magical act.

Our xtian bretheren are in this respect way ahead of us. When the more militant xtian sects get wind of something they find morally reprehensible, they organise a pray-in to stop it going on. Any small group, empowered with daring and will (and a little know-how) can throw quite a number of "spanners" into the machinations of the state and the corporate "idiot-gods".

Out Demons Out

This is the sharp end of political ritual - selective psychic terror waged against those institutions and dogmas which maintain the current levels of psychic/physical pollution. The first point to make is that targetting these rites of resistance is of the utmost importance. It must be in an area which is going to bring about some kind of result. Trying to "waste" individual figures is rarely any good. To use the 'beast' analogy - chop off a head and five more grow in its place. So put away the pins and Ronald Reagan image dolls.

More useful is the idea of cursing institutions rather than individuals. Complex and delicate data networks have been shown to be highly susceptible to magical interference, and there are a wide range of electro-elementals and gremlins who can easily be persuaded to go and play around with the hardware of some company who'se been messing you about.

Magi-Prop

The most subtle forms of opposition are those which are not immediately recognisable as such, those which are aimed not at the waking awareness but the deep mind. the best example of this kind of Sorcery is the advertising media. its very banality lulls us into a false sense of security whilst the real message sneaks in unawares. To counter this, the politically-inspired magician must be equally, if not more, cunning. The least effort for maximum effect, using secret weapons - humour, superstition and chaos, to counteract stupidity and narrow-mindedness.

Assuming you have some kind of code or identifiable ideals, print them on a broadsheet and hand them out to local shoppers. You never know, someone may be illuminated by your words.

Such is the role of the shaman - to inject chaos into order and shatter reality for an instant - opening the gateway to liberation. in other words, be sneaky. Leave a false name, proclaim a new age of enlightenment, not to your friends, but to total strangers. Become a legend in your own lunchtime. Don't hang around to quibble, exit stage right! But most of all, don't get caught.