What Now?


Painting: “Light Weavers” by Autumn Skye Morrison.

People often turn to me for comfort, and I’m not sure what solace I have to offer on this morning when the country has been submerged under a wave of toxicity.  It’s a moment when we crave some deeper faith in goodness, but my faith is not, ultimately, a comfortable one.

The Goddess, as I understand her, is not a personality, not a Big Mama who somehow guides your life and makes everything turn out all right, not a love-worn blankie we can cling to when we desperately want something to make us feel better.  She represents the great cycles of birth, growth, death and regeneration that move through nature and through human lives and history—cycles that include death and decay and loss. But her promise is simply this—that out of decay ultimately comes regeneration.


So today is a day to commit ourselves to the forces of regeneration—even if we can’t see clearly what they will be or how they will manifest.  Reach out to your friends and community.  Consider how you can have one another’s backs.  Consider how you can have the backs of those whose sacred and precious lives have, today, become all the more precarious and risky—people of color, immigrants, indigenous people, Muslims, the LGBT community, women, the defenders of water and justice.  Consider how we can somehow still protect and heal our threatened and beautiful earth. Plant a seed today, or create something beautiful; care for a child or an elder or a person on the street.  Be kind to someone.  Be kind to yourself.

And do it as a magical act, an act imbued with intention: that whatever comes down around us, we will choose compassion.  We will serve regeneration.

We always have that choice, and whenever we do, whenever we choose love over hate, we become one small weight to tip the balance.

Today, be good to yourself.  Heal.

And tomorrow—consider how to organize and take action, so that out of  decay we can bring some new rebirth.


Painting: “Chrysalis” By Autumn Skye Morrison

13 comments to What Now?

  • Mary Gomes

    Posting this on my office door so that my colleagues and students can read it.

  • Jung Mee Kim

    Thank you so much for this inspiring and hopeful post, Starhawk. Many of us Canadians stayed up late last night alongside our American neighbours waiting with baited breath for a positive outcome, and woke up feeling profoundly disappointed and devastated that the values we thought we shared were not reflected in the stunning decision to elect Trump.

    There have been many jokes made about our federal immigration website crashing twice last night and how Canada needs to start building a wall. Your message puts everything into perspective for me, and helps me to remember that the ideals we hope for a peaceful, healthy planet full of opportunities for all need to be fought for, as human, civil rights and peace activists, suffragists, and many others have been doing over the centuries.

    Canada is not much different in its electoral system – the first past the post system is broken and we need reform. Don’t like the party that’s in right now? Cast a “revenge” vote and swing to the other side like we have been doing in Canada for a long time. Vote for someone who promised to protect the environment who turns around and approves pipelines and LNG fracking…same old story of politicians lying during the campaign trail and does the opposite when in power.
    The day after Obama was first elected, I was insulted by my co-workers for celebrating the first person of colour to be elected President of the US – told that it isn’t about the colour of the skin or gender but whether he was the right person for the job. This coming from white, middle-aged, higher-income executive colleagues who also told me that racism no longer existed in multicultural Canada.

    While I am and always will be grateful to have been adopted to a Canadian family (leaving a country where my village was attacked by North Korean soldiers and I was nearly killed by shrapnel at the age of 3 alongside neighbours and children who were gunned down and bombed in front of my bewildered eyes), I have lived the rest of my 41 years in Canada filled with hateful words thrown at me like: “Go home chink” … “We don’t like slope-eyes” … “Bring me my wontons Jap!” Ridiculed in front of my classmates by a Chinese teacher because on the first day of grade one, I couldn’t understand a word of English, having just arrived to Canada at age 5. I was punished by being forced to sit out in the hallway for the rest of day after starting to cry when kids pointed and laughed at me, pulling up the corners of their eyes with their fingers, chanting “Chinese, Japanese, look at these” (the boys lifting up their t-shirts and touching their nipples). I didn’t understand what those words meant at that time, only that I was an outsider and unwelcomed, humiliated for not fitting in.

    Racism and sexism is alive and well here in Canada, with local white supremacist organizations flooding politicians’ mailbox with their hate pamphlets. Anti-Muslim slurs are being yelled out by racists on transit buses and mosques are being set on fire and graffitied across Canada. Girls are being gang-raped, bullied and committing suicide after being further victimized and being blamed for being raped.

    I was molested by my adoptive father, then by my adoptive cousin, beaten by my adoptive mother, raped at age of 16 by a serial rapist after accepting a ride along with my friend to go another so-called party, then told by the female prosecutor that she was sorry it was just a bad “date” and that it is unfortunate that an older man took advantage of me but it wasn’t really rape…this after a gruelling four-hour testimony and cross-examination by the defence attorney who kept asking me what I was wearing at the time of the assault. Charges were stayed, but I was called to the rapist’s dangerous offender hearing two years later by another (male) prosecutor who told me the previous prosecutor had been transferred to another jurisdiction after being seen dancing drunk and topless on top of a table at a local strip bar. He could not explain her decision to stay the charges, as he felt my evidence given at the preliminary hearing was compelling and credible, which were the words the female trial judge said to me at the dangerous offender hearing when she locked the offender up for an indeterminate sentence for his crimes against me, an elderly woman he tied down and raped after he robbed her in her own home, a well as the other scared survivors who gave written statements but were afraid to face him in court. I was lucky to get my day in court and get justice, which was not the case for the majority of young female survivors I advocated for and supported in court through my activism work with a women’s centre. The notion of building a wall and reacting out of fear for what might happen with Trump as President is an understandable human reaction, but all of us, Canadians and Americans alike, share a lot in common. The reality is all of humankind — flawed though we may be — want the same basic things, in spite of the divisive and hate-filled rhetoric of the vocal minority. In the midst of our many diverse opinions, religions and cultures, we all want love, family (whatever variety of unions we call family), respect, kindness, community, abundance, and a peaceful society where we can raise our families without fear.

    I grieve for the lost opportunity for your country to move forward and keep fighting for progressive policies to help bring about equality. But there is much we can do in our individual lives to keep fighting for, and putting into action the words, ideals and values we are passionate about. We must never give up…that is only way Trump and the other fear-mongering, hate-filled bigots will truly win. While Trump’s win is disheartening, it is a wake-up call to all of us North America that the fight for equality is far from over.

    Thank you for reminding me that the work for justice and equality never stops, and that we must never become complacent and just sit by waiting for our elected leaders to do the right thing. I heard a comment from a post-election political analysts’ panel on the news today: “Leaders are really followers…they are heavily influenced by the people who elect them to do the right thing, and they are still flawed, human beings.” The Goddess gives us the power to raise our voices, to do the hard work that will culminate in rebirth, fertility and growth. True (em)power(ment) rests with you and me…in how we treat one another, how we care for our families, children and the marginalized, and how we handle ourselves in the face of conflict and disagreement with others. Let the revolution begin!

    Goddess bless you and all the incredible work you do Starhawk. You have been my greatest source of inspiration throughout the lows and highs of my life. Brightest of blessings of courage and hope.

  • Barbara Hill

    thank you for sharing your story.
    As a time-to-time resident of Ontario for the last 12 years, it affirms all I read.
    Your sentence… “The goddess gives us power…” and I modify this one, “Let the revolution continue!”

  • Eclipse Neilson

    We need to navigate our soul ever so gently, ever so calmly, ever so methodically. We must steady our boat in a stormy sea. As Mother Earth shakes, and the cosmos tries to realign from a massive schism and a flood washes away what we have known we must hold onto our truth what ever you choose to have that be. Yes, I am saying be still in the heart, be strong in the soul, build one day at a time in small measures-May we hold the power of the best of humanity to rise without fear, rise without hatred and move forward step by step,side by side with the invisible forces and realign what clearly is an untruth. I am holding onto the Chosen Electors of the Electoral college will not vote him in on Dec 19 if this is a true possibility. Eclipse neilson Director of Woman Soul

  • Janet Blayone

    Once again, my deep gratitude for your wise, heartening words, Starhawk. As a lover of soil and growing, your language settles, then stirs me like no other.

    And awed appreciation to you, my fellow Canadian, Jung Mee Kim, that, despite all the pain you have suffered, you continue to work for justice and equality. I am so sorry for all you have suffered, for how poorly your adopted country has treated you. There is much I love about Canada but see much that needs changing before we become a just, equitable and inclusive society. This old lady from northern Alberta is committed to the forces of regeneration and rebirth.

  • Andrew

    Totally agree with this! I´ve been reading Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy the past week, and it gives a long-term perspective on life that makes the events in the past days look trivial. The Mycelium are there, slowly working underground, making connections, bringing nourishment to the plants that need it, decomposing the dead and re-distributing their nutrients to the right places. Humans are totally oblivious to what goes on under their feet, but that is where the magic is 🙂

  • Jan Johnson

    Thank you, just – thank you! Your words have resonated with me more than any others I have seen or heard in the past 24+ hours.

  • Sue Gee

    Thank you Starhawk. Your words have been a big help throughout this election process. I would like to apologize to you for all the negativity that was expressed when you posted your support for the female candidate. It got so awful and was so uncalled for. Let’s look to the positive and take action in any way we can. This week end I will meet in Ceremony with other like minded people. We will place our prayers for this country and the broader world in the sacred fire and hope for the best. Thank you for all you do.

  • Thank you mostly for the leadership. Its so needed. My own choices and thoughts through this election have closely aligned with your own… I see the moment unraveling before us as “the moment”…. a drastic change is up ahead. Standing our ground, being of service, reminding our friends or students or clients that they are not alone, that sky has not fallen … all so very vital now. That ‘something’ that was approaching, I think it’s here. And hey! We’ve know for nearly 30 years it was coming. So, uplift in position of fulfilling that deal you made when you came… this is the moment. imo.
    Thanks Starhawk. So mote it be.

  • Judith Spater

    I am grateful for the perspectives presented here. What I want to add is that now is the time for us to accept that we all have power to bring about change and to move the collective consciousness in the direction of humanitarian ideals and healing of this planet. We do this by non-partisan work together, by reaching out in love to those who elected Trump and finding our common interests and giving voice to these interests in non- partisan and bipartisan messages to legislators on both sides of the isle. Continue to plant wildlife habitat; continue to strengthen community and to celebrate diversity; get involved in your local community to strengthen your schools and to hold your local governments accountable for the health of the community. We all have work to do. We all are responsible to create the reality we choose to live in. Every moment , every decision. Every gesture of kindness. Every courageous statement of truth and justice. No moaning and blaming. ACTION!!! Blessed be. Judith

  • Beautiful words to inspire all into being better humans. We all have a role. Some may lead and others follow, but we can all facilitate change if we work as one.
    PS. The top painting on this page is titled “Light Work” , not “Light Weavers”

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