Samhain: Divination and…politics?By: Elysia Gallo
Samhain is traditionally the best time of the year for divination. Don't we all wish we were brilliant psychics or spot-on astrologers right now, so we could predict the outcome of the presidential elections in November? While witches will be witches, and we will certainly celebrate, I have the feeling that the elections are going to overshadow Halloween this year.
We write these articles for New Worlds several months in advance- this is not a breaking news magazine, in case you hadn't noticed. So here I am, in the distant past to you, a past where a Democratic nominee has yet to be named. For all I know, both Clinton and Obama could be running. Or neither. There could be a tremendous uproar about something. Or it could just be the "same old, same old" in an election season that has already been dawdling along for far too long.
Think about it. We are an earth-centered (or nature-centered) path. Who better to protect and conserve our natural resources? Who would be more interested in building roads and far-flung malls in the name of economic development than small, sustainable communities linked by alternative transportation solutions? Who is going to push for an acceptable alternative to oil, one that won't have us all starving for food or waging another war?
And how about tolerance? Are any of the candidates going to speak up for equal rights of all religions, not just their own? In favor of Wiccan chaplains in the military and in the prison systems? Are any of them going to speak in favor of the separation of church and state? What about public displays of Christmas trees, menorahs, and pentacles on the town hall lawn?
You see, politics directly affects our way of life, no matter which side of the debate you are on. (Even Pagans disagree as to whether Pagan religious symbols should be displayed on government property.) That's why it's so important to take a stand and let your voice be heard. So get out there and do your thing on Election Day.
Rather than trying to sound divisive, I really would love it if everyone looked at both sides of the issues we are facing. One resource for better interfaith understanding is Pagans & Christians by Gus DiZerega. Another is ChristoPaganism by Joyce and River Higginbotham, a book that will be released by Llewellyn next February. A great resource for understanding how even the littlest actions in your backyard or community can be politically empowering and can change the direction our planet is going is Sacred Land by Clea Danaan. To read what the big Pagan thinkers of today have to say about our future, including Starhawk, Ly de Angeles, Emma Restall Orr, and others, read Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future.
Okay, back to Samhain. Since divination is a major theme of this Sabbat, why not try doing a divination on the presidential election? Record it in your journal on October 31: besides just the outcome, try to describe the mood of the election. Somber, tense, exhilarating? A landslide victory or a bitter battle followed by recounts and months of litigation? This can be a challenging way to hone your skills as a reader of the Tarot, runes, or scrying, an exercise in which you'll have to work hard to put aside your personal feelings and the constant chatter of the pundits' predictions.
And how about spellwork? Though I don't believe a spell can affect the outcome of such a large-scale event, where millions of people's wills will be working directly against your own, you can do spellwork for your own community in order to ensure fair and safe elections. The moon will be a waxing crescent both on Samhain and on Election Day, so you can use the increase of energy for an increase in goodwill, community building, and the ushering in of a new season of our country's history. Isn't it interesting that in the darkest part of the year, between the election on November 4 and the inauguration on January 20, Bush will continue to preside? Let's hope that, just as the Wheel of the Year turns, the light rays of Imbolg will shine on a president who will turn our cycle of decrease into a cycle of increase. So mote it be!