Collage by Shawnie Hamer
Today is the full moon in Sagittarius. Today is the Strawberry moon, representing a time when berries ripen full & red. When we pick them from the vine & let the sweet juice drip onto our chins. When we are reminded of the aspects of life worth treasuring & protecting & fighting for. Today is also a penumbral eclipse encouraging us (with the help of Venus in retrograde) to treasure these aspects while exposing the deep shadows of our society, our relationships, & our self.
Today, the United States burns. & today, I am not going to make the same kind of full moon offering. Because today is the day for me to listen to my black brothers & sisters, to turn the volume up on their mics in any way I can.
Some of my favorite humans on this planet are Sagittarius. I am so inspired by the way they combine raw intensity, fire, creativity, adventure, & brutal honesty. They do not believe in adhering to rules, especially if those rules are wrong. They will lovingly tell you exactly what steps you need to take next to do & be better, if you are willing to put your ego aside & accept your path. Sag are perfect examples of (as Mairead Case once said) hearts that are also fists.
As Sagittarius queen & Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, Ella Baker, said at the 1974 Puerto Rico solidarity rally, we have to “make the struggle and make the fight for freedom every day in the year every year until they win it.”
This fight includes acceptance of, & education about, our privileges. Understanding our role in perpetuating the same systems of oppression & violence that caused the death of George Floyd & so many others is hard & vulnerable work, & it is the only way that the putrid infection of hate & racism can be completely destroyed. As Chani Nicholas writes:
Unpacking our white privilege (and all our privileges) is meant to challenge every part of our lives that have been made unfairly easy. Solidarity means nothing if it doesn’t also dismantle our unjustly attained power. Peace is sometimes only possible when we are unified in disruption.
Sagittarius energy pushes us to embody this unified disruption, & the eclipse asks us to examine our shadows in the process. As my friend Sarah recently said in a conversation about activism, art, and disruption, we can do it afraid.
& here are some ways we can do it:
1. Educate yourself: the first step to becoming an ally is understanding how systemic racism works, and the parts that we ALL play in it. Education is one of the most powerful tools against the oppressors, because the more we know, the more we can identify and dismantle the rhetoric they use to turn us against one another. The Dismantle Collective has put together an amazing list of resources here: https://www.dismantlecollective.org/resources/
2. Listen: turn the mic up for People of Color, don’t take it away from them. Listen to what they tell you, listen to what they need, even if it makes you feel varying levels of shame or guilt. It is okay to feel these feelings. They are growing pains. The more you face them, the more mindful you’ll be in the future and the better ally you will be.
3. Have the tough conversations: change happens in big and small ways. By having tough conversations with family, friends, and colleagues about privilege, or about the importance of what is happening now, you are planting seeds that will hopefully make them (and yourself) more aware of the part we play in systemic racism.
White people: it is not the responsibility of People of Color to stop racism—that is our job.
We need to be having these conversations with other white people so that People of Color don’t have to. Here is a great list of resources for thinking about//talking with others about whiteness and white privilege: https://www.racialequitytools.org/…/whiteness-and-white-pri…
4. Say something: I think of this point very differently than a conversation. Sometimes racists aren’t interested in learning or talking. Sometimes they just want to perpetuate violence, period. In this case, you must act. Silence is one of the biggest reasons so much hate and racism still exists today. If you see a Person of Color being harassed or attacked, do something about it.
5. Exercise your rights: contact your local, state, and federal government officials and demand accountability. A very user-friendly way to do this is by using Resistbot: https://resist.bot/ which helps you locate and draft letters to your representatives. Also, don't forget to vote.
6. Donate: movements need a lot of support, especially financial support. Here is a list of great organizations you can donate to, as quoted by The Cut:
If you don’t have the financial means to donate, consider donating other resources, such as time or space. Cook meals for the protesters, create safe spaces for rest and reprieve, drop off a case of water bottles, check in on your friends, etc. The possibilities are endless.
7. Take care of yourself: Audre Lorde wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” No matter how you are protesting, self-care is essential not only for stamina, but also to ensure you are well enough to truly show up as an ally. You are not doing any good for yourself or the movement if you are emotionally/mentally/physically fried. Self-care looks different to each person, but here are some examples:
Tarot Reading: 5 of Swords Reversed
The 5 of Swords is a card of conflict & tension. Swords represent the element of air, which is associated with knowledge & strategy. On this card we see Athena, goddess of wisdom, justice, & military victory. This card is asking you to work through suffering & grief with strategy. Not to be distracted or divided, but to come together (with your community, but also with the light & dark parts of the self) to persevere.
The card being reversed tells us that we need to be mindful of our intentions & balance, constantly checking in to ensure we are staying true to the movement. That we are checking our privilege & listening to black leadership. That we are constantly being mindful of how we are feeding ourselves & others so that we remain steadfast in unified disruption.
We can do it afraid. We can do it together. We are always with you.
Stay safe, comrades.
Poem Offering: "Riot" by Gwendolyn Brooks, read by Chris Slaughter
Shawnie Hamer / founder of collective.aporia
© 2019-2020 collective.aporia