Visioning vs Fixing Bent Nails
We must respond to injustice and oppression, but we can waste our time and energy trying to fix bent nails. By this, I mean trying to fix systems that are broken. Our bureaucracies and organizations are established in ways that protect the status quo. Systems and organizations create their own group entity that takes on a life of its own. In magic this is known as an egregore, a psychic entity made up of the thoughts of people in the group and taking on a life of its own to influence the group.
Working for non-profits I can not tell you the amount of time, energy and resources that were used responding to requests from systems that had no intention of changing. Often the intended outcome was known, and the calls for presentations and briefs were only to demonstrate that they had done public consultations. Once a nail is bent you can not straighten it. Our systems and organizations are formed in the context of colonization and privilege, and serve to self perpetuate within systems of racism, white supremacy, sexism, transphobia and homophobia, classism, ableism, the list goes on. Those at the edges see what’s happening the clearest. They haven’t been allowed to join the club, have less privilege and the least to lose by not upholding it, and with that and the oppression they experience the greatest understanding of how it works.
In magic, we also tend to address these ills instead of the vision. I want to know what the possibilities are away from the status quo. I try and do magic that names possibilities and visions of what we want to bring into the world rather than what is wrong. It fits with how we create spells. We tend not to make a spell to manifest something and name all the reasons why things are not good. We focus our energy to envision having the thing we desire in our lives and our emotional response to how that would feel to create resonance. It is like calling to like.
It is not like there is no occasion for naming what’s wrong, words and naming are powerful magic, but I think we need to lean more into what could be. There are more possibilities than we can imagine and magic can open the door.