At long last, McCrory has conceded!
Like a duped sitcom mortal, Pat McCrory spent the last month comically unable to save his seat as governor no matter what he tried. Republican judges, his pals in the NCGA, and even many Republican voters ultimately flushed the one-term disgrace.
While the conservative toad will go down in history as the defender of HB2, a legislative assault on transgender people, progressive municipalities, workers, and LGBT+ people as a whole, his role in other Carolina travesties should not be ignored. The people of this state have been mobilizing against McCrory and the GOP’s bullshit since the start of his term, and his re-election loss is a reminder of what we’re capable of accomplishing.
For some Pagans, this is also a more specific reminder of what we are capable of accomplishing. I remember the passage of HB2. I remember holding each other in candlelight and re-learning the urgency and necessity of Queer Love that would be needed again after Orlando (and again after Oakland).
I remember the Dark Moons and Full Moons that followed. I remember our priestess, a Trans Dyke, wielding a Masonic sword and commanding the wights and devils of our circles. I remember summoning up that Horned God other Wiccans turn away from in panicked fear, that Lord of Earthly Delights we embrace, the Light-Bringer, the Accuser, the Adversary, the first to question the authority of gods, Lucifer, our comrade.
Skyclad and screaming on the mountain wind, I remember our magic worked those spring evenings. This was not worship. This was not devotional adoration. This was the ritual work of revolutionary demands. Wights were ordered to hound McCrory in the media, and the Devil was set loose on his power itself. That we still live in a world of presidents and governors, capitalism and corrupt state power is a testament to our lack of faith, persistence, and imagination, not the failure of these spirits that arose and acted in accordance to our direction.
We offered no food, no offerings, no incense, or incentives to the devils we conjured. No praise and no adoration was bargained to them. And although I have described these rituals and magical workings elsewhere, I have held back gratitude in acknowledging the diabolical forces we count among our comrades.
Today I proclaim that the Devil is alive and magic is afoot! Say what you will about the Devil in Wicca, but to at least one coven in North Carolina, the Devil is among our circle, and he makes our magic manifest. Hail, you Devil who is so worthy of respect!
And to that race of oppressors still in office and still in power: be warned, the King of Earth and Hell is at hand. Cling to your golden bull and your false pantheon of capitalist bigotry, but listen to the winds and listen to the streets, because there the Devil is laughing at your fate. Your Tower will fall and your empire will crumble.
The Devil is comrade to the people, and I would be remiss to celebrate McCrory’s loss or the role of the Devil in that magic without emphasizing the obvious: this magic became material because it was brought into the material world outside of circle. Whether the Devil Himself inspired the material activism and public outcry against the McCrory administration, or whether the Devil was simply an archetype accessed or performed (consciously or unconsciously) by those outraged at McCrory’s reign is a theological discussion Satanists and Pagans have been debating for the better part of at least the last century, but at the end of the day, there was a sustained public objection to McCrory’s politics that enabled this victory, supernaturally supported or not.
Does that mean all the Devil talk is worthless? No. Even for atheists, ritual work can be cathartic. Finding power in a group of people so intentionally hated by so much of this state is necessary healing, and an incentive to continue doing the material work that produces political change.
From my perspective, the symbol of the Devil is also a critical one for the U.S. South, given the near-paralysis Christianity frequently leaves us with. Although Christians continue to play a significant role in this state’s justice movements, their religion is also the one that more often than not incites the injustice that demands response in the first place. The Devil speaks to that power they possess, questions, criticizes, and opposes it relentlessly. The Devil is a refuge for those cast off by society. He is an archetypal accuser, adversary, and advocate–a character of courage in a world that wants us to feel powerless. Where Christian values voters side with crony capitalism and bigotry, I see Satanic values voters siding with the marginalized and oppressed. In a world where Christian values are equated with hatred of trans people, I want to stand clearly with the Satanists who count trans people among their friends and families, and who advocate for them socially and politically across this state. Where Christianity shelters the Klan while disowning their own Queer children, I favor the Satanic Witches, Faggots, and Dykes chasing the White Knights out of this state.
Ousting McCrory is an excellent blueprint for what is possible–for Witches, for activists, for marginalized communities–moving forward. It is also, obviously, not the end. Just as the defeat of neoliberal Clinton will not usher in a utopian world with Trump, my expectations for Democrat Roy Cooper (who campaigned on NOT addressing “social issues,”) are low enough that I anticipate much more diabolical ritual work in the years to come. Nevertheless, the Christian god and his followers aren’t the only arbitrators of morality in Carolina politics anymore.
Those in power best remember that as we all watch McCrory’s fall.