The Imperative of Apocalyptic Witchcraft

Stephen Reid
Oct 24 · 4 min read

An extract from the final chapter of Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey

So what is the imperative of Apocalyptic Witchcraft? What prevents it being another glass bead game to vainly attempt to cheat death of her prize, but merely deludes the player by absolving them of all responsibility for their petty actions? The answer has already been given, and it is animism. Witchcraft is part of a living web of species and relationships, a world which we have forgotten to observe, understand or inhabit. Many people reading this paragraph will not know even the current phase of the moon, and if asked for it will not instinctively look up to the correct quarter of the sky, but down to their computers. Neither will they be able to name the plants, birds or animals within a metre or a mile radius of their door. Witchcraft asks that we do these first things, this is presence.

Animism is not embedded in the natural world, it is the natural world. Our witchcraft is that of spirit of place, which is made from a convergence of elements and inhabitants. Here I include animals, both living and dead, human and inhuman. Our helpers are mammals, reptiles, fish, birds and insects. Some can be counted allies, others are more ambivalent. Predator and prey are interdependent. These all have the same origin and ancestry, they come from plants, from copper green life. Bones become soil. The plants have been nourished on the minerals drawn up from the bowels of the earth. These are the living tools of the witch’s craft. The cycle of the elements and seasons is read in this way. Flux, life and death are part of this, as are extinctions, catastrophe, fire and flood. We avail ourselves of these, and ultimately a balance is sought. Our ritual space is written in starlight, watched over by sun and moon.

So this leaves us with a simple question. How can there be any Witchcraft if this is destroyed? It is not a rhetorical question. Our land, our trees, animals and elements hold spirit. Will we let our familiars, literally our family be destroyed? If we have any real belief and experience of spirit, then it does not ask, it demands us to fight for it.

Our civilisation is not one of life. It is not the lioness muzzling the breath from a gazelle, nor the striving of a virus, nor the honesty of a bronze blade. It has no sense or awareness, no presence and no orientation.

I have heard it said that a land wight does not care about the politics of who summons it. This is a glib statement. It is politics which enables the destruction of the very land which the wight stands guard over. Man is a political animal, those who say that they are outside of, or above, politics are the esotericists whose clean hands are washed in the blood of those who have no choice but to put their hands in the machinery. Politics is not optional for First Nations, women, queers, blacks, or any of the other slave classes. Abstention is a position of privilege which aids the pattern of destruction, arguing only for our impotence. There is no left-right dichotomy, there are those who are destroying the body, and those who stand against them. Economics is war by other means, and in this asymmetric war against life itself, you do not have the luxury of choice. This is the time when our witchcraft again becomes an imperative, or perishes.

Witchcraft cannot come in any colour other than a deep green, a resistance to this despoilment, this sacrilege. Picking up litter at our ritual sites makes no difference when our world is a landfill of broken consumer dreams. Calling the quarters oblivious that the water table has fallen and the sea levels are rising, firestorms sweep Australia and Brazil, our soil which takes a thousand years to grow an inch has blown away, is mindless indulgence. Animism cannot disengage from the struggle of life, shamanism cannot disengage from the struggle of life, neither can a living witchcraft. No-one else is going to do this for us. We are the Witchcraft and must stand for our land, and with those who fight for their own.

Despair haunts those who know the cost being exacted from the earth. They are driven by pain, rage and despair, they hurt. We have a duty to them, and all those who suffer, drawing no distinction between spirit, animal, plant, stone or man. What drives us is our blood, the passions and emotions arc our power which makes it sing with fire. Like the land, these passions arc not owned by individuals, but are subsumed in Love, shared in communion; we arc the daughters and sons of comfort. Life itself is at stake in not some longed-for Apocalypse which opens into a Golden Age, but the betrayal of our ancestors and our duty of care, of balance. We will not watch as the final price is exacted in the blood of all living things. Without action, these will be the last hundred years, not just of man, but of all life.

Witchcraft is inoculated against despair with poison, our bones given over, our blood promised. We who are already dead will baptise our children in the name of the witchcraft. Our Sabbats will grow. The witch will not lie still in the ground. This is why we are burned, liberated, that we may not walk with our vengeance, nor rise on Judgement Day. But the moon rises, red with the blood that endlessly replenishes the cup. We are present, manifest in flesh and dream. We return, with the vengeance of love singing through our veins.

Stephen Reid

Written by

Transdisciplinary thinker, cultural changemaker and metamodern mystic ·

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