Whether it be through prayer, meditation or dream speak, now is the perfect time to begin to navigate this power we are all capable of holding.We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We pay gratitude for their continued communicative efforts with us, for their guidance on our healing and their acts to ensure our return to them; our return to ourselves. Give thanks for our communion. Ase.
Natoya Hall is a seer who knows that her purpose in this life is to awaken others to their healing gifts, and carry messages of divine healing from the ancestral realm to ours. Her method is millions of years old, practiced by her Caribbean ancestors, and it has not only allowed her to transform the lives of her community, but it has healed her along the way. Hall is an energy worker, which she describes as an individual who “can harness the intricate energies of the Universe to heal self and others…[someone who] can access that portal within themselves that activates their infinite healing power.” And through opening this portal, one can freely commune with guides and ancestors, such that divine healing knowledge is communicated in-depth. As a Spiritual Guide and Tarot Reader, she works through clairvoyant and clairaudient communion with whom she defines as guides, ancestors, angels and God (Creator). She, like other healers/witches, works with spiritual energy. Spiritual energy, called ‘ase’ in Yoruban teachings, is the life-force that breathes existence into this earth, and it is with this force that we can create and shift circumstances on this earth, through blessing from the gods and our guides. It is this spiritual energy, or ase, that is fueled with the ancestral love that Hall believes facilitates her ability to heal (with) energy.
Learning about hoodoo has taught me that Black people lived normal lives and that has allowed me to connect with my ancestors in a way that all of the extraordinary stories of Blackness did not.By Donyae Coles My mother really wanted me to be Afrocentric. She tried so hard, flooding my room with art and books that would teach me about my heritage and empower me with stories of people who have lived through some of the worst oppression and abuse in the world. It didn’t work. I was more concerned with books that featured dragons and superheroes and for a long time, I felt completely out of touch with my heritage. It wasn't until I discovered hoodoo and that I found the link that connected me to my ancestors. Hoodoo is an African American folk tradition concerned with healing and protection (and a bit of hexing). It is also called conjure and rootwork. It was developed by enslaved Black people and takes many forms but is different from Voodoo. It is a type of magick practice but is areligious and does not invoke any deities, unless you want to. It is worked by using roots and herbs in conjunction with personal items and candles.
"I want our presence, our voices, and our herbal gifts to be a reassurance for protestors that the Ancestors are watching, our Spirit Guides are with us, and we can win our collective liberation."
Queer Magic for the Resistance (QM4R) is a collective and political affinity group based in Oakland, California. Since its inception in early 2017, QM4R has trained and mobilized street medics, energy healers, and artists to show up for local demonstrations against fascism and police violence. Among its many goals is the reclaiming of magic and healing (both physical and spiritual) as central tools in the fight against systemic oppression. I spoke with Vanessa, a white genderqueer person and founder of QM4R, and Iman, a Black queer femme who has worked closely with QM4R since its inception, about how they envision the role of magic and healing in militant resistance movements.
WYV: What inspired you to create Queer Magic for the Resistance? Under what conditions did it come about, and what role did you envision it playing within other types of resistance work?
Vanessa: Queer Magic for the Resistance began as an offshoot of another project I had been engaged in, called the Queer EcoJustice Project, which connects with queer folks in rural areas, including those creating community in queer autonomous land projects, as well as those living on the front lines of environmental harm; queer folks who have been displaced from land-based livelihoods due to homophobia and other intersecting violences, including homeless and incarcerated queer youth; and queer folks who work within environmental, climate, or food justice organizations, and those whose work builds a queer ecological future.
Queer Magic for the Resistance began in early 2017 out of a pressing need we saw for a contingent of queer medics, artists, and healers who could, for example, provide supplies for and treat stab wounds during street demonstrations; hold space for emotional first aid during confrontations with police; and weave and paint and sing and dance a powerful healing resistance.
We have always needed protection from police as we’ve always been sites of violence for them.We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We pay gratitude for the times they have blanketed us with their love like armor; when they have directed us away from unnecessary pain; the way they continue to guide us towards fulfillment. Give thanks for their support of our strength. Ase.
We cannot deny that police violence is still a legitimate and real fear for black and Indigenous people in the western world. We have seen and heard the painful documentations of the unjust losses of our community members at the hands of police, and have been forced to internalize the message received about the value of black and brown lives in North America. However, we have simultaneously watched as our communities have fought to change the way we are handled by the most notorious gang in blue.
I am excited to talk about magick: the resistance work, not the aesthetic; the accessible, not the hierarchical; the broke bitch version, not the capitalist one; the ancestral connection, not the dogma. We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give