I raise up my voice – not so I can shout, but so those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.

Malala Yousafzai

Tomorrow we have a high-stakes election and a full blood moon eclipse. The moon will turn red in the earth’s shadow on election day for the first time in U.S. history.

For our ancient ancestors, a lunar eclipse signified world chaos that required ritual intervention. The Hupa believed the moon was injured and could be restored if the moon wives stepped in with healing rituals. The Luiseño believed the moon was ill and the tribe would heal it through ritual chants. The Inca believed the moon was under attack and shook their spears and raised their voices in a ritual meant to help it resist the evil forces. It’s interesting to consider that voting is a ritual as well.

Rituals are a pattern of activity infused with value and meaning. In coming together as citizens to cast our votes we use terminology similar to casting a spell in magick – we are taking an action in ritual to have our intentions affect the future. Psychology tells us that rituals can be a powerful way to connect to ourselves and one another at times of challenge.

It can also be helpful to think of the long game:

  • In 1866 citizenship was granted to native-born Americans,
  • In 1869 the 15th amendment gave African American men the right to vote,
  • In 1920 the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, 1n 1966 poll taxes were deemed unconstitutional,
  • In 1965 the Voting Rights Act barred barriers to voting based on race,
  • In 1971 the voting age was moved from 21 to 18. In 1975 the Voting Rights act was amended to provide multilingual voting materials and in 1982 to add accessibility for people with disabilities
  • In 1993 it became possible to register to vote at the DMV (increasing the voter base by 30 million people in one year).

We cannot be complacent; With each move forward new barriers arise and we must be forever willing to rise up in ritual to “cast” our vote with intentions for a better future.

Here is a link to a sweet and inspiring video “reclaiming the right to vote as an act of love.”