11 - justice
Updated: May 2
liberation, ethics, accountability
Judith Butler theory ancestor ritual
tools: something to invoke the element of spirit (an object that holds divine value to you; a representation of a god/goddess/deity); string; paper and something with which to write.
part 1: invocation of the element of spirit
incantation: "We can always fall apart, which is why we struggle to stay together. Only then do we stand a chance of persisting in a critical commons: when nonviolence becomes the desire for the other’s desire to live, a way of saying, “You are grievable; the loss of you is intolerable; and I want you to live; I want you to want to live, so take my desire as your desire, for yours is already mine.” The “I” is not you, yet it remains unthinkable without the “you”—worldless, unsustainable. So, whether we are caught up in rage or love—rageful love, militant pacifism, aggressive nonviolence, radical persistence—let us hope that we live that bind in ways that let us live with the living, mindful of the dead, demonstrating persistence in the midst of grief and rage, the rocky and vexed trajectory of collective action in the shadow of fatality." -- from The Force of Nonviolence: The Ethical in the Political
take a few deep breaths. spirit accompanies water, fire, earth, and air as the element that gifts every being with energy and life. spirit is called many things: inherent value; god or goddess; divinity; the unknown, the ethereal, the mystical, magickal, mysterious. what does spirit mean to you? let the word tell you its meaning. what does spirit feel like? for me, it's a flame in my belly that i can kindle when i concentrate hard enough; it's also infinite candles in infinite windows in infinite nights through time. you might want to focus your energy on the tool that you chose for this ritual. let yourself become stronger, surer, more spirited with every breath.
call forth the energy of spirit to fuel you in this ritual.
part 2: ritual for interconnected action
1. create a list of vulnerable people with whom your life intersects (see strength), in direct and less-direct ways. start close to your everyday life: yourself; a child or young person in your life; an elder in your life; a lover or sibling or friend.
2. branch out to people who are some degrees of separation away: a person, perhaps a service worker or neighbor, whose face you recognize but name you do not know; a social media acquaintance who appears to be suffering; a mentor with whom you have lost contact.
3. reach across geographic lines: the nurse interviewed on the news this morning who recently lost his partner to covid; a child detained at the us-mexico border; a student protester in hong kong.
4. tie a knot for each person on the list. as you do so, conjure their image in your mind and speak these words:
you are grievable.
the loss of you is intolerable,
and I want you to live.
I want you to want to live,
so take my desire as your desire,
for yours is already mine.
5. when you have tied knots for everyone on your list, tie the ends of the strings together to create a loop. wrap the loop around itself until it is the right size for your hand to slip through. as you pull the loop over your wrist, speak these final words:
i bind myself to you in the shadow of fatality: may collective action be born from our collective precarity.
6. with this energy of relationality, what do you feel called to do? maybe you are inspired to donate to a meaningful cause, or reach out to an old friend, or learn more about something, or send a thank-you note. do it now -- feel how it feels to be conscious of connections, deep and wide, close and far away. what would your world be like if you felt this web of connection every day? how would you speak, act, or move differently?