Back in 2014, Dana and I performed magic with Agent’s M and V to aid Scottish Independence and shake the UK Westminster government to its core. M and V created a custom made image based on the 16th major arcana of the Tarot, The Tower, which they renamed ‘Enlightened Independence‘.
The card looks anything but enlightened, the tower card rarely does, and yet it does actually symbolize the moment of enlightenment. Enlightenment means shattering realization that the whole world view that you have built up around yourself is based on illusion. In modern more scientific terms, we might say that our experience of the ‘the world’ not only happens inside our heads, but is actively shaped by our beliefs, preconceptions and cultural conditioning, and as a result may greatly differ from the actual reality ‘out there’, which remains forever unknown. However, whilst actual reality might be unknowable, we still inhabit it, and sometimes our interactions with it can trigger awakenings, where our beliefs about it are challenged and need re-evaluating.
Magicians and mystics often seek such experiences for similar reasons. Personal and spiritual liberation. Liberation of the self from our own false ideas about ourselves.
For example, some years back I had a what I thought was a close friendship with another magician. Sure they seemed a bit flakey on occasion, but I put that down to them having had a rougher time of life in general, and overall believed their heart was in the right place. After years of friendship I came to trust them. So when they eventually betrayed me, in a way totally at odds with my vision and mental construct of them, at first I made excuses for them. It was a misunderstanding. We were all drunk. We could talk it out and get straight. But that reconciliation never came. When I tried to talk to them about it, they deflected the conversation and avoided the subject.
Confused I began some workings with Dana to see the truth. She brought some sigils and poems relating to serpent and mountain symbolism, whilst I decided to work with the Japanese Tantric deity, Fodu Myo-o. When I went into the ritual, I expected to find the answer to how to reconcile the misunderstanding. I had invested a lot of myself into the friendship, and sacrificed much.
Instead, the awakening came in a very different form to what I expected. Suddenly I released that I had been a fool. I began to realise how I’d been first charmed and then successively undermined, bullied and my confidence eroded by this so called friend. I realised how they had poisoned my relationships with others, how I had unwittingly been too open with them, and how this all lead to where I was. Of course I still couldn’t see the absolute truth, but I could see enough to know that even if I was wrong about some details, I had nothing to gain and everything to lose from staying in that friendship, and that wasn’t an easy thing to admit. I had to admit that I had been on the wrong side of many disputes, for example.
The point is, that the first stage of enlightenment is terrifying. And it seems that the awakening of Scotland and indeed Britain in general, is no different. Like me, Scotland needs to awaken to the fact that it has nothing to gain from remaining in partnership with a toxic and bitter friend that continually undermines its confidence through bullying and bad taste jokes. It has to awaken to the reality that choosing to remain in league with this toxic and bitter friend stems from a misplaced sense of loyalty to an abuser that doesn’t love or respect its friendship, but actually resents the differences and limited independence it already has.
Immediately following this rude awakening comes a period of compassion. This compassion starts with compassion for oneself. This usually means untangling yourself and removing yourself from the influence of the toxic individual. And then it means giving yourself the space to heal. You might need to renew old friendships if they’ll trust you again, or make new friends if they won’t, but either way, understand that trusting people again will take time, and that old friends hurt by the same toxic person may also have trouble trusting people they associate with them. Yes, your compassion reaches out to the other victims, extending beyond your immediate self.
England is clearly currently affected by some horrible xenophobic infection, a strain that seems to run through the politics of Putin, Trump and many far-right groups in Europe. Scotland has so far bravely resisted this infection, and unlike the xenophobia based Brexit campaign, the move for Scottish Independence is based on protecting the rights of all who live here. The SNP are to be commended for trying to put the minds of the 3 million EU citizens currently residing in the UK at rest by voting to assert a commitment to their right to stay. Sadly they were voted down by the, largely English, conservative party that prefers to use the lives of millions of people as bargaining chips in its negotiation strategy, showing its nasty colours once again.
If I had any confidence that England might turn away from its self-hating and self-destructive voting habits and make authoritarian parties like the conservatives as fringe as UKIP and the BNP, then I might say we stay in the UK and help reform it. But as things stand in the polls, if you combine the percentage of UKIP and Conservative voting intentions, you get well over 50%. This means things are only likely to get much much worse for the UK before they get better.
Scotland has a clear choice ahead, allow itself to get dragged down into the toxic spiral, alienated from the rest of Europe by its alliance with country that holds it in contempt, or break free, reaffirm its friendships with nations England wants to isolate it from, and most importantly, start building a new life for itself. There is already talk amongst some in the English right wing about how it was a mistake to give Scotland a regional parliament and that it should be disbanded!
To this end, Dana and I will be working magic in the build up to the next Independence referendum; this time focusing on a more healing energy. We have chosen Blue magic in this regard to represent the generous and benevolent ruler-ship of Chesed as opposed to the judgemental and limiting red energy of Gevurah employed in the previous working. This time, rather than focusing on the war of liberation, we want to assert our right to the wealth and prosperity granted by the freedom of movement within the EU, strong trade partnerships, exchange of skilled workers to where they are needed and the ease of forming personal relationships with who we want.
To symbolise this compassionate, caring and prosperous intent for independence we will be working to empower the people of Scotland through the national animal, the unicorn. During our ritual a couple of years ago we made, or started making, a small idol of a unicorn that we employed in the ritual. This time we will be finishing decorating the idol to symbolize finishing the work of independence we began last time around.
And when Scotland is prosperous and England has learned its lesson and feeling like playing nicely with other nations again, having healed itself of its current toxic tendencies, maybe then it will find in Scotland a compassionate and caring neighbour willing to help. The brave little unicorn of happiness will eventually heal the demon of solitude…