Many of us might remember the “Brujas Hex Trump” video from last September. The premise was to get a number of folk magic practitioners together and cast curses on the then-Republican frontrunner.
They cast their curses and put them on video. Those curses worked so well that Trump overcame all opposition and is now the presumptive nominee.
What went wrong? Why did their magic fail?
No matter who you support or what your political position, I suggest this as an opportunity to look into why political magic is often a bad idea.
1. TOO MANY VARIABLES
Ever notice how polls are rarely accurate throughout any primary season? This cycle’s been the exception, largely owing to the candidates themselves and the current anti-establishment mood of the voting public. On the Democrat side, the nomination wasn’t always Hillary’s to win; in fact it’s a race she could still lose in the (at this point very) unlikely event that the superdelegates suddenly decide to turn against her in large numbers.
On the Republican side, the polls started out expecting a coronation for Bush III, and the GOP establishment put everything they had into making sure that happened. And guess what? For all of $100 million put into the race, Jeb! failed miserably to the cries of “Good riddance!” The thing is, polls are only good for giving a snapshot in time, and that only selectively owing to factors such as size of polling sample. What they’re not usually good for is the disconnect between what one person says in a poll versus how they actually vote when in the booth. For example, in 2012 pollsters told us that anywhere between 6 to 8 percent of the voters preferred Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, but he got less than 1 percent in the actual election. Current polls give Johnson 10% versus Trump and Clinton, and it’ll be interesting to see if he does any better this time.
The reason I’m going on about polls is that they fail for the same reason political magic often fails: there are too many variables in the situation. If political magic is to be successful, one has to take into account not only who’s leading in the polls (or even in actual votes!), but how popular they are, the emotional climate surrounding this person and his/her supporters, this person’s own access to magic (conspiracy theory time?), and whether the energy you’re sending would be able to reach its target or be absorbed in the goodwill (or fervor, or rage, or whatever) coming from the candidate’s supporters.
The people in the “Brujas Hex Trump” video failed to parse out all those variables and went for the “full frontal” approach; probably also didn’t help that these practitioners seemed to have a “fluff bunny” understanding of magic, either. Disastrous from a perspective of strategy; the best they could hope for is their energy being cancelled out, while the worst would be their energy ending up added to the pool coming for his supporters’ emotions and helping him coast to where we are now.
2. TOO MANY WILLS
When throwing magical hand grenades into someone’s political campaign, one may literally be “pissing into the wind,” these winds and cross-winds being the various strengths of will coming from the candidate, the candidate’s staff, the candidate’s opponents, and the candidate’s supporters. Each of these people has their own whims, thoughts, desires, criticisms, dreams, hopes, and goals, and each of these people is (usually unwittingly) sending energy out in an attack-or-defend pattern both to this candidate and to his or her competitors.
This means that to send a magical action to this candidate – be it helpful or harmful – you need to navigate these winds and cross-winds successfully if you even expect your magic to reach them. While these winds generally do establish themselves as having a prevailing direction, political magic is most often conceived for use in going against that direction: either to help a candidate who’s struggling, to impede a candidate who’s winning, or to affect various processes like the passage of a given piece of legislation.
Navigating the gaps in those wind-currents is not an easy thing to do and requires a LOT more subtle perception than humans are typically capable of. Some may think this can be circumvented by evoking a spirit with the intention of telling it to do the work as it sees fit, but an action like that can open up a whole Pandora’s box that smart summoners prefer to avoid.
By taking the direct assault, the people in the “Brujas against Trump” video showed no real understanding of these currents or these subtleties, which effectually put their magic in the role of eggs being thrown at a brick wall.
3. TOO MANY COOKS IN THE SOUP
Okay, so you’ve decided to do magic for (or against) a given candidate. Do you honestly think other magicians aren’t working for the other side?
If you didn’t consider that, you need to abort your plan NOW. Because you’ve already shown you’re not taking a “big picture” view of all the subtleties needed to make your magic work.
For example, we know it’s fashionable in the magical community to poo-poo Trump and support Clinton or Sanders, yet I personally know a handful of High Magicians privately working to help him win. Which means your magic isn’t just entering a cross-current of (literally) millions of people’s wills and emotions, it’s also going to have to fight against people actively working magic for the goal completely opposite your own. And even if you’re a competent magic-user in your own right, you alone aren’t likely to take down a veritable army.
In fairness, these people aren’t working against you personally. In my Ritual Magic for Conservative Christians, I wrote that other people doing magic on the same objective is just a fact of life, that sometimes people end up at cross-purposes, and what you can do about it. On the bright side, this is something you’re less likely to encounter in smaller issues (local elections or town hall meetings), as the chance of other magicians working on it typically decreases proportionately with the number of people being directly affected by it.
4. TOO MUCH NEGATIVITY
We’ve kind of covered this one, but it never hurts to be more thorough. When you do political magic, it’s usually going to be either to help the losing side win or to help the winning side lose. This means it’s going against the current.
That means that whatever it is you stand for, there will be more people (and perhaps even more magicians) standing against you. That “standing against” is what I call negativity in this section, because it’s negative (i.e. opposed) to your own intentions. You are the +1, they are the -1.
In the average day-to-day situation, most negativity can be handled by simply cleansing, banishing, choosing a different target, or finding a way to work around the people opposing you. In a large national election or legislation issues, working around your opponents isn’t an option. You’ve locked yourself into a zero-sum game, and there can be no victory unless the other person loses. Your benefit is that there are likely to be others on your side (we’ll call this “positivity”), but if you’re working this at all, chances are it’s because enough negativity’s been worked up as to make your desired outcome unlikely.
If you’re going to do political magic, you need to factor this in as well. If you want to help the winner keep winning, fine – you’re working with a lot of positivity and along with the dominant wind currents. But if you’re trying to cut against the current, then you need to realize there may be too much negativity in place to keep you from doing much good. If you think it’s still worth a try, then be my guest and have at it to your heart’s content.
5. BONUS: WHAT TO DO?
Since we’ve discussed how political magic doesn’t work, what are some things we can so that’ll at least help us a little bit?
1. Stick with small issues. The smaller or more unknown a political race or ballot issue is, the fewer wills will be competing over it. These are the areas where you’ll be more likely to be successful.
2. Start early, before there’s trouble. Starting at day one of a campaign or a legislative push gives you the chance to throw energy at something before all the opposing headwinds have a chance to take root. It may not (and most likely will not) survive in the face of opposition-to-come, but at least it gives you a better chance at steering things in your preferred direction.
3. Never do magic on candidates directly. Treat all candidates as though they’re resistant to magical work, because the emotions surrounding them pretty much makes that the case. Work instead on venues where they may speak, or cast magic targeted to help (or hinder) protesters or law enforcement (which may also have issues with emotions and cross-currents), look to transportation arrangements, and to lesser-known people on the campaign staff or co-sponsoring a piece of legislation.
Ultimately, this can all be summarized as: Play the Stealth Game. In a situation with lots of headwinds and opposing emotions, your magic is better spent playing the nuances and the gaps where people don’t pay a lot of attention. Even with these tips you still may find your efforts ending in frustrating, but finding the gaps and leveraging them is likely to give far better results than trying to approach the matter head on.
Today is breaking my biggest rule, because there are two things I prefer not to discuss on this blog: politics and “social justice.” I want the information here to be useful to everyone who clicks this site regardless of whether they’re card-carrying Marxists or die-hard Libertarians, and these subjects tend to start flame wars that distract from the blog’s core message of theologically-orthodox Christian occultism.
Today we walked close to the precipice by bringing political stuff onto this blog, and not with the intent of endorsing any one candidate or party – I’ll state emphatically that THAVMA Publications endorses no one. Rather with the intent of describing something I’m sure a lot of people have tried this election season and why such magic can tend to be unsuccessful.