Last night I was reading the first few chapters of one of Michelle Skye’s Goddess books. Back in the late 1990′s, early 2000′s it seemed like there were kajillions of Goddess books being printed. I miss that. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until recently when I saw a bunch of Patricia Monaghan’s books grouped together on a shelf at Half Price Books and sighed, remembering how much those same books had meant to me circa 2001 or so.
That nostalgia is how I ended up with Skye’s book on doing magic with Celtic and Nordic goddesses.
I’m expecting the book to be good, but I just could not let some of her statements in the opening chapters go. She had a little quiz to find out more about your personal style before you do magic. Under “to know, to will, to dare, and to be silent” she placed it as an example of “to dare.” It went something like this (paraphrased):
You’re watching the 11 o’clock news when you hear a scream followed by expletives and a sob. What do you do?
She has three options, none of which involve scanning the headlines online so you can watch something better than television news. Her choices are ridiculous, such as running outside with a baseball bat, calling the police while glancing through a window, or turning the TV up louder.
She seemed to think that if you turned the TV up louder, you don’t need to be doing magic since you clearly accept things the way they are and don’t dare to invoke change (such as the changes that might occur to your face if you go running out there with a baseball bat).
This told me one thing for sure about the author: she’s never lived in an apartment in a city. Period.
You can’t just call the police every time someone screams at night. They take your name, phone number and address every time you call and they will not be amused if that turns out to be every time someone screams.
For one thing: the scream is followed by “a sob.” Clearly a domestic argument. If it wasn’t followed by begging, pleading, the sound of something being hit or dragged…if you didn’t see or hear a gun…stay out of it.
There have been a few times I’ve felt I had to call the police.
One time a man was walking into a gas station with a gun in his hand. I thought he was going to rob the place. The police weren’t nearly as concerned about it as I was and they made me feel pretty stupid for bothering them. A few weeks later when I was in the baking aisle at Kroger and a gang member with a gun was browsing brownie mixes, I knew better than to freak out. Gang members get the munchies and guns are legal.
A second time, someone was trying to break into the apartment upstairs at 2 in the morning. The entire building was shaking from the impact of him slamming into the door repeatedly and screaming. Turns out: it was the guy who lived there. He forgot his keys and his wife had passed out so she didn’t hear him and since he didn’t have an ID with him the police didn’t know for sure it was really his place. They broke through the door and arrested them both for the large quantity of drugs on their dining room table.
The third time, the police were already on their way when I called. Lots of people had called. The woman downstairs was not letting a guy in the front door so he’d gone around to the back (she had the bottom apartment and it had a patio with a sliding glass door). He was throwing rocks at the sliding glass door and calling her names. When the police came, she apologized to them and let the guy in. Yes, she sent the police away and let her drunken ex-boyfriend in. The violence I heard after the police were gone and he was inside was disturbing, to say the least. This is the choice she made and the police would not come back and get in the middle of it. Sigh.
The world is full of people who are not you. They are busy living lives which are not your responsibility and making choices you wish they wouldn’t make. Running outside with a baseball bat doesn’t make you the take-charge type, it makes you an idiot. Calling the police can be a good idea if it honestly sounds like violence. Turning the TV up louder doesn’t make you unfit to do magic…it’s a natural response when you realize the screaming is just your neighbors trying out their favorite scenes from 50 Shades of Gray and you don’t want to hear the rest of that.
When we finally moved away from the city to a nice quiet town, we heard gunshots. The police were overwhelmed with calls, including ours. It was a guy shooting his sister-in-law in the Walmart parking lot (she lived). So much for small towns being safer than cities.
I agree that to do magic you have to know, to will, to dare, and to be silent. I disagree that you need to be the kind of person who gets into the middle of every interpersonal dispute in your neighborhood. Your choices create your life, other people’s choices create their lives, and you can’t solve everyone’s choices. Sometimes getting involved makes it worse, like when the neighbor sent the police away and let the ex in. The only time I can say you should absolutely try to help is if you hear a child. Children aren’t creating their own situations yet, they’re living the situations the adults around them are creating. Always help children if you can. But if your adult neighbors are yelling at each other at 11 pm — again — don’t feel guilty for turning your TV up louder.