The Missing Witches Prescriptions

MW Rx. Take My Hand But Not My Light

"We got to make this land a better land."

By Risa Dickens, Amy Torok,

Nov 18, 2023
5 min read
The Pointer Sisters | Natalie Merchant | Jeremy Dutcher

This week we laugh and cry, holler and listen, and just try to keep feeling our way through propaganda and our inherited systems of control to see clearly.

Witches, may we gather the scattered seeds of kindness and truth to find the leylines back to care for all beings.

Amy draws prescription inspiration from Lakeesha Harris, Viktor Frankl, Labyrinth, and The Pointer Sisters.

In Neutron Dance, The Pointer Sisters sing:

I don't want to take it anymore
I'll just stay here locked behind the door
Just no time to stop and get away
'Cause I work so hard to make it every day
And it's hard to say
Just how some things never change
And it's hard to find
Any strength to draw the line

But in Yes We Can they also remind us:

Now's the time for all good men
To get together with one another
We got to iron out our problems
And iron out our quarrels
And try to live as brothers
And try to find peace within
Without stepping on one another
And do respect the women of the world
Remember, you all had mothers
We got to make this land a better land
Than the world in which we live
And we got to help each man be a better man
With the kindness that we give
I know we can make it
I know darn well, we can work it out
Oh, yes, we can, I know we can, can
Yes, we can, can, why can't we?
If we wanna, yes, we can, can

Remember: We can help each other be better with our kindness.

When self-doubt or propaganda comes your way, try holding up your hand in a "stop" position and say, "You have no power over me!"

Risa is taking comfort this week from Wolastoqiyik composer and tenor Jeremy Dutcher. His first album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, is a meditative act of language preservation and reverence. The new album is in both the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy language and English. It's called Motewolonuwok which means "people of great spiritual power, who work with what cannot be seen: Witches." It's an album about the holiness of two-spirit people and it offers gentle but firm guidance on the pathways to new worlds, new possibilities for hope, new love.

The prescription is Jeremy Dutcher's first music video from Motewolonuwok: Take My Hand.

Take my hand but not my light
The words that we find are new
And all of the ghosts that we sing back to
Teach us our way of listening
Give yourself to dancing days
Sorrow and grief create a place
For new love to enter in
If you listen for its name
I will always be there for you
New love.

Dancing, sorrow, and grief together make a place for new love.

It's not impossible, it's not too late.

The second part of Risa's prescription this week is another music video - actually, they all are this week. We invite you to sit down with these when you have quiet time. Channel your teenage self, wide-eyed in front of early MTV, learning about the joy, resistance, weirdness, mess, and all the kinds of music in the world. All the sounds we make, reaching for each other.

This one is new from Natalie Merchant, a loving epic ode to a warrior Witch every-woman, Sister Tilly.

Your fortune telling cards, prayer flags in the yard
Your Rilke poems and your stacks of Mother Jones
Your feminist raves in your Didion shades
And your Zeppelin, so loud and so proud
Here's to your days at the barricades.

The video is full of archival footage of women's rights activists in the 60's and 70's. We invite you to take in their anger, their collectivity, and their joy as well. Remember it's a wave, remember the wave is with us still.

Sister Tilly, you go on without us
Sister Tilly, you don't think about us now
Everything fades away
Sister Tilly, you're a superpower
Sister Tilly, you're a lotus flower now
Everything fades away
Sister Tilly, you're a constellation
Sister Tilly, you're a white light vibration now
Everything fades away

The video is dedicated to Joan Didion and so it's with Joan Didion's words to a graduating class in 1975 that we root ourselves this week. As usual, she offers no simple answers, no real solace. She asks us to live in the world as it is.

I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it. – UC Riverside commencement address (1975).

Dig your roots into life, and embrace all the world's children while you can. Let us not be divided. Let us gather, and make ourselves unconquerable.

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