What’s your ritual? Becoming Dangerous editor Katie West talks anxiety and nightmare rituals

The editor and publisher of Becoming Dangerous writes about why now is the time to become dangerous

What’s Your Ritual?

A brilliant and empowering new book, Becoming Dangerous, an anthology about ritual and resistance, starts its Kickstarter campaign (20 Sept-20 Oct) with small UK publisher, Fiction & Feeling aiming to promote the diverse and complicated world we live in: http://becomingdangerous.com/.

BECOMING DANGEROUS is a collection of deeply personal essays by marginalised people operating at the intersection of feminism, witchcraft, and resistance to summon power and become fearsome in a world that would prefer them afraid. Exclusive to SciFiNow, editor and publisher Katie West takes us through her own ritual to help battle nightmares and anxiety, and why now is the time to become a bit more dangerous.

The other night I woke up in a full-blown panic attack because I was having a nightmare about Nazis in the White House. Tears streaking down my face, my breathing too fast, too shallow; I felt terrified and powerless against a regime who wanted more than anything to take away my freedom and my rights and those of everyone I knew and loved. How could I possibly resist those who had all the power and were intent on keeping it? How could I stop this panic attack from becoming my life?

Luckily, I have a ritual for situations like this.

I keep a small bottle of anti-anxiety smelling salts on my bedside table, and as I’m crying and freaking out, I reach over and grab it. I sit up and put both my feet firmly on the floor and I repeat to myself a spell, an incantation, a conjuring: “I am powerful. I am listening. I can and will resist.” And then I take deep breaths, the small bottle with the pentagram printed on it under my nose, feeling myself becoming grounded and present.

Anti-anxiety smelling salts from Witchcasket.co.uk Photo: Katie West

This small ritual is just one way I try to summon my own power to resist a world that would prefer me powerless. I’m new to witchcraft and the occult, but I’m not the only one using rituals to survive 2017. It seems everywhere I look I see people creating private covens on Facebook, casting emoji spells to protect each other, sharing ritualised skincare routines, using tarot readings to make their weekend plans, making offerings to the Goddess, and performing binding spells on their President. And why shouldn’t they? Now is a really good time to go dark and fuck shit up. Now is a really good time to become dangerous.

From Becoming Dangerous contributor Gabriela Herstik’s Instagram Photo: Gabriela Herstik

Once you realise that being able to summon your own power makes you dangerous, having to resist things like, oh, I don’t know, Nazis in the White House, doesn’t seem like such as impossibility anymore.

Performing rituals to summon your own power isn’t just a trendy way to deal with anxiety either. Recognizing your own power and where you draw that power from can help you to let go of people who are messing with your energy, or to have the confidence to speak up in your weekly staff meetings, or to tell your partner how exactly to touch you when you make love, or to give yourself permission to watch seven straight hours of Netflix because you’ve been working 60-hour weeks at two jobs for the last three months.

Not having to rely on outside validation and being able to do your own thing in the ways that work best for you are some of the things that attracted me to witchcraft in the first place. Also the fact that all the witches I know celebrate all the things that the dominant society usually sees as weaknesses—our emotional sensitivity, our non-conforming bodies, our rage.

And this is why I want to publish Becoming Dangerous, a nonfiction anthology that collects 20 witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels who want to tell you about the rituals they use to summon the power to resist. I want to publish it for everyone out there who needs a bit more power. Everyone who needs to be a bit more dangerous.

Becoming Dangerous, an anthology about ritual and resistance is due to be published 02 February, 2018. For more information, visit http://becomingdangerous.com/.

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The cover of Becoming Dangerous. Grow your own power.