While it will probably solidify Trump support in the minds of some Christians – for instance the US versions of Australia’s Sydney Anglican Archbishop and Southern snake handlers – a campaign is being conducted by Michael M. Hughes to ‘bind’ Donald Trump.
In essence binding is a magical ritual related to witchcraft. While witches have had a very bad rap (as Donald would say) in the past, and alleged ones still get far worse than a bad rap in parts of India, they tend these days to be more counter-cultural and probably no more odd than Mary Lincoln’s White House séances following the death of her and Abe’s son.
But we know from history that those accused of being witches basically had the misfortune to be strong women and often healers skilled in botanical knowledge and much safer to deal with than medieval doctors.
Their latter-day followers are probably similar to an American, Grace Lee Boggs, who is part of the binding movement, and argues they are among many groups seeking to battle capitalism and its evils. She says: “Most of them are small and barely visible, but together they are creating the largest movement the world has ever known. Many of these groups are inspired by a philosophy that replaces the scientific and reductive rationalism of seventeenth-century Western male philosophers (such as Descartes and Bacon) with the ways of knowing of Indigenous Peoples (which include the perceptions of trees and animals) and of women, based on intimate connections with Nature and ideas of healing and caring that were part of European village culture prior to the sixteenth- and seventeenth century witch hunts.”
Well the author is a passionate supporter of both the scientific and reductive rationalism of the Enlightenment, Descartes, Bacon, Maxwell, Einstein, Dawkins et al and Indigenous knowledge but is prepared to think that if some people want to use some other method to get rid of a predatory President -who is not scientific, rational, truthful or sane – they ought to get a shot at it.
The binding started on 24 February 2017 when Michael Hughes (presumably a warlock, a wise man or a prankster rather than a witch) and 30 of his “friends gathered around a bonfire in a backyard in Baltimore City to cast a binding spell on Donald Trump and all those who abet him. It was the culmination of an extraordinarily surreal week of intense international press coverage, nonstop phone and email interviews, all accompanied by my growing sense that I had not merely written a humorous spell that had not only gone viral, but had unknowingly assisted in the birth of something far bigger.”
“Every waning crescent moon since that February evening, people around the world have gathered at a minute before midnight (US Eastern Time) to focus their consciousness in a ritualistic effort to bind Donald Trump and his kakistocratic cohorts from doing harm. Some gather in groups, but most do the ritual alone or with a significant other.”
The next will be held to coincide with Halloween on October 31. Parents and others should keep in mind when dressing their children up to go out knocking on doors asking for trick or treat goodies that they could add some of the Boggs/Hughes ideas as a Pascal-type wager on the children having a future if Trump stays there too long.
Interestingly Hughes says that rather than flying through the air – a quality invented by inquisitors who could believe anything after subscribing to the virgin belief stuff – the witches, magicians, artists, and activists involved fly in a different way through Facebook and other social media to share photos of their altars as well as their emotions, visions, and experiences.
Hughes says: “From Greeks and Romans of the ancient world inscribing lead tablets with binding spells against government officials, Medieval peasants creating wax effigies of hated monarchs, enslaved Africans calling to the loas in their fight for freedom in Haiti, to British witches raising a ‘cone of power’ to prevent Hitler’s invasion of their homeland, magic has always been employed by the common people against their oppressors.” Hughes omits to mention that Hitler was himself was a notable believer in the occult and that the Russian Army did far more to destroy him and his regime than the cones of power did.
However, if you are beginning to have some doubts about Mr Hughes he does have sense of irony claiming that “One can debate its (his campaign’s) efficacy, of course, but its tactical appeal is deep and timeless.”
And, if you want to have a go yourself here’s the Hughes’ approach.
The components you need are a small unflattering photo of Trump; Tower tarot card; tiny stub of an orange candle; pin or small nail (to inscribe candle); white candle (any size) representing the element of Fire; small bowl of water representing elemental Water; small bowl of salt representing elemental Earth; feather (any) representing the element of Air; matches or lighter; and, ashtray or dish of sand.
If you like you can also use a piece of pyrite (fool’s gold); sulphur; black thread (for traditional binding variant) and you can substitute a baby carrot for the orange candle stub. While Hughes doesn’t comment on the significance of these items the orange colour and the fool’s gold are presumably designed to doubly guarantee that the right person is bound.
But to make sure the bind happens you then write “Donald J. Trump” on the orange candle stub with a pin or nail and arrange other items in a pleasing circle in front of you and lean the Tower card against something so that it’s vertical.
Then you say a prayer for protection and invoke blessing from your preferred spirit or deity. Despite the horror of some US Christian Trump supporters Hughes recommends reading the 23rd Psalm aloud “as is common in Hoodoo/Conjure/Rootwork traditions.” Although he adds experienced magicians may perform an appropriate banishing ritual.
While an atheist the author has always thought that the Psalm was a wonderful example of just what a great piece of literature the Tyndale-King James Bible is. Its global influence rather than literary influence was seen, when he was serving in Vietnam, by the number of US soldiers who had Zippo lights engraved with the words “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because I am the evilest son of a bitch in the valley.”
Hughes then recommends a binding ritual which starts with the lighting of the white candle and the words: Hear me, oh spirits; Of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air Heavenly hosts; Demons of the infernal realms And spirits of the ancestors; (Light inscribed orange candle stub); I call upon you To bind Donald J. Trump So that his malignant works may fail utterly; That he may do no harm To any human soul; Nor any tree Animal Rock Stream or Sea; Bind him so that he shall not break our polity; Usurp our liberty; Or fill our minds with hate, confusion, fear, or despair; And bind, too, All those who enable his wickedness And those whose mouths speak his poisonous lies; I beseech thee, spirits, bind all of them As with chains of iron; Bind their malicious tongues; Strike down their towers of vanity (Invert Tower tarot card); I beseech thee in my name (Say your full name); In the name of all who walk Crawl, swim, or fly Of all the trees, the forests, Streams, deserts, Rivers and seas; In the name of Justice And Liberty And Love And Equality And Peace; Bind them in chains Bind their tongues Bind their works; Bind their wickedness; (Light the small photo of Trump from the flame of the orange candle stub and hold carefully above the ashtray) (Speak the following loudly and with increasing passion as the photo burns to ashes); So mote it be! So mote it be! So mote it be!
(Blow out orange candle, visualizing Trump blowing apart into dust or ash)
(Pinch or snuff out the white candle, ending the ritual)
Hughes says you don’t need to say so mote it be because there is now a preferred version which uses “You’re fired!” in place of “So mote it be.”
Finally, after all the ritual “ground yourself by having a good, hearty laugh, jumping up and down, clapping your hands, stomping your feet, and having a bite to eat. Grounding is very important—don’t neglect it. And remember—he hates people laughing at him.”
But the mediaeval and ancient traditions are not forgotten when Hughes says the final part of the ritual is to bury the orange candle stub or discard it at a crossroads or in running water.
Noel Turnbull is retired and blogs at http://noelturnbull.com/blog/