It was two months ago that we met for our first book club. At that time we were pretty solidly in the midst of the lock-down. I remember thinking that the world had gone just a little mad back then.
Today, we would have been having our second book club. Looking back, those early quarantine days were relatively calm and peaceful. Yes, we were (and are) all still living in a state of trauma. Yes, there was a lot of fear and anxiety. But things seemed to be moving just slow enough for us to keep up.
But things have shifted drastically.
When I was a child, I went to a number of peaceful protests. I loved the rainbows, the music, the flags and banners. I loved the feeling of hope and power that came for being in a crowd of like-minded people, speaking up, calling out for change.
My parents had very few qualms about bringing me along. They were relatively confident that the marches would remain peaceful and that I would come to no harm. (Of course, we had the privilege of being white people surrounded by other white people. We were not afraid, why should we be?)
I was not able to go to protests in Pittsburgh this weekend. I wasn't there to see what happened with my own eyes. I am relying on word of mouth and shared videos and, hesitantly, the news to decipher what happened. Those of us who are in Pittsburgh are similarly relying on second and third-hand accounts of protests across the nation. There is a lot of mud in the water.
But there is one thing that has been clear throughout almost all stories of protest. In almost all cities where protests turned violent, there are unending accounts of police being brutal, using extreme unnecessary force, and initiating confrontations. There are videos of police shoving citizens as if they were in a bar brawl. Of police driving right into crowds of citizens. Of police shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at people who were not trying to cause harm. I've seen the videos and I think that everyone should see them. Those of us who are privileged need to see the police force that Black and other BIPOC see every day. They are power-mad and terrifying.
In light of all of this terror..... we could not, in good conscious, hold book club today. To talk about anything but the blatant injustice taking place at this very moment would be impossible, and frankly, we believe it would be disrespectful as well.
We will reschedule book club. We cannot wait to see you all again and send you energy and hugs and talk about witchy things with you.
But right now, something else is called for. Today at 7:30 we will be lighting candles for the incredible losses we've seen so far. We will be lighting candles for healing and hope. And we will be sending strength and power to those who are on the front lines fighting this fight.
It is not enough. It is not the only thing we are doing... Indigo and I have both been fighting for right in our own personal ways for many years now. But this is what we can do together with you right now in this moment. So please join us in your own home or in your yard, somewhere safe, somewhere that feeds you energy, a place where your roots reach deep. At 7:30 we will be lighting
a white candle for Hope
a blue candle for Healing
a red candle for Strength
a purple candle for Power
a silver candle for the Goddess
and a gold candle for all of the black Americans that have already died brutal deaths.
We will not be lighting a candle for peace.
From where you are, light a candle (you only need one and the color doesn't matter) and spend a moment filling your heart with energy and sending it out into the world. We will be doing the same. I send you all my love, dear ones. Athena