Because if you’re a woman, gay, trans, a PoC, not Christian, or vocally anti-fascist, you’re gonna need it.
Women and girls are having their genitalia grabbed. Churches are having anti-gay and racist epithets spraypainted on them. Muslim women are being told to hang themselves. If you’re not a white, cis, heterosexual, Christian man, you run a greatly increased risk of having someone try to get in your face and possibly harm you. It’s not a joke. It cannot be overstated– protect yourself.
First, I’m obviously going to recommend taking a self-defense course. In a perfect world, the onus would not be on victims to protect themselves. Unfortunately, even somewhat-misguided-but-nonetheless-well-meaning attempts at hypervisible solidarity like the safety pin are being co-opted by white supremacist groups to bait people.
I can’t really give you any practical advice other than to know your rights, avoid going where there won’t be witnesses if at all possible, and, if it comes down to it, go for the eyes. Even if you’re broke and can’t afford a self-defense class, please try to YouTube some basic tutorials on how to get away if someone tries to grab or hurt you. It’s not a perfect solution, but do what you can to look out for yourself and those around you.
If you are white, cis, heterosexual, Christian, or a man, your job is to speak up. Join a local antifascist organization. If you know a martial art, be prepared to use it in defense of those who can’t. You can cover every square inch of your clothing in safety pins, and it won’t mean a damned thing if you don’t do something to back them up.
With that said, I want to talk to my witchy people about protection and invisibility. I don’t mean literal invisibility, of course, but I’ve definitely used some tricks to help myself blend in and avoid notice when I’ve needed to (e.g.: waiting for the bus in dodgy areas).
- A basic trick anyone can use involves creating an energetic shield around yourself. Picture it as a brilliant bubble of whatever color you choose. If a smooth bubble isn’t doing it for you, picture yours as barbed wire or intertwining thorny canes. Now picture this protective bubble distorting your body’s outline, the way the tendrils of a leafy sea dragon distort theirs. Picture yourself becoming blurry, indistinct, difficult to distinguish from the world around you. Hold this image in your mind, and call it up again when you’re preparing to go out into the world.
- The moon rules illusion, and with the moon as close as its ever been to earth in 70 years, now’s a good time to call upon its energy to help you in this area.
- If you work with herbs, you may wish to consider carrying a small sachet of amaranth, chicory, fern, mistletoe, cherry bark, devil’s shoestring, poppy seeds, or sow thistle. Adding a piece of shed chameleon skin can boost the mixture even further.
Now, invisibility and illusion are all well and good, but protection is vitally important. Even if you aren’t being physically targeted, you need to protect yourself against the miasma of absolute bullshit that you will be moving through on a daily basis. Picturing a protective bubble that keeps the bad out and lets the good in is one step, but there are other measures you can take.
- For one, it might be a good time to make a protection bottle. If all you’ve got is a couple thumbtacks, a few packets of salt, and a jar of spaghetti sauce, boil up some pasta, empty that sucker out, and get to it. Work with what you’ve got to do the best you can.
- A lot of magick revolves around protecting oneself, so, fortunately, there are an absolute buttload of protective herbs you can go to here– even ones in your own kitchen cabinet. Sunflower, valerian, vervain, witch hazel, woodruff, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, chili pepper, or angelica can all work in a protective sachet.
- If you wear makeup or moisturizer, create a sigil for protection. Remember to use a declarative statement, like “I am safe” or “I am protected.” Make the sigil as simple and easy to replicate as you can. When you apply your foundation or moisturizer, apply it in the shape of the sigil before rubbing or blending it in. Visualize it sinking into your skin and imparting its energy to you.
- Craft yourself some war water or protection oil. Use it at your door, windows, or other areas of entry into your home, or, if you own your property, the perimeter of your yard.
- Sprinkle wormwood around your home for protection, and to send problems back to their source. Be careful, though– wormwood is toxic to pets and children.
Rosemary’s a pretty good protective herb, according to some sources.
Sometimes, it isn’t even the general public that’s the problem. If you’re someone who can generally fly under the radar, you might discover that the biggest problems you experience are from people in your circle– co-workers, neighbors, family, or acquaintances. While I absolutely recommend challenging racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, white supremacy, or generally fascist attitudes whenever they enter your notice, be smart about it. Take care of yourself, because an antifascist who’s been taken out of the fight isn’t able to help anyone. If you find that you’re dealing with one specific person’s terrible choices and awful attitude, you can do things to minimize the harm they do.
- Write the offender’s name on a slip of paper or parchment, stick it in a bottle or baggie, fill it with water (leave some room for expansion!), and pop it in the freezer.
- Create a box for containing and reflecting harm. Use a wooden or cardboard box, paint the interior black, glue fragments of mirror to the inside of the lid, base, and sides, fill it with thorns and protective herbs, and place the names or photos of those doing you harm into it.
- Take a photo, representative object, or piece of paper with the offender’s name written on it. Using a piece of twine, black ribbon, yarn, or whatever string you have available, begin winding it around from one end to the other. As you do, empowder it by chanting. Something like, “I bind you, [person’s name], from doing harm against others or yourself,” but feel free to use whatever words you deem appropriate. Hold the string in place with a few drops of black candle wax.
I wish I could do more for you, but I can’t. Hopefully some or all of these help you make it through the days ahead.