“I am afraid of cities. But you musn’t leave them. If you go too far, you come up against the vegetation belt. Vegetation has crawled for miles toward the cities. It is waiting. Once the city is dead, the vegetation will cover it, will climb over the stones, grip them, search them, make them burst with its long black pincers; it will blind the holes and let its green paws hang over everything.”
-Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea
As a reclamation of the spirit of Independence Day, we should get randy and riled, and exercise our right to overthrow power systems that do not value our personhood and the rights of the planet. We can harness the martial melee of the red-blooded fireworks exploding around us and imagine systems of oppression falling to ruins. We can invoke the wrath and ire of rampant over-industrialization & capitalist greed, in order to topple them by the force of will.
I offer up this ritual as a tool for self-sovereignty and empowerment, as an exploration of earth-based consciousness, or a magical weapon to target structures destroying human liberty and the planet. It has been performed on a number of occasions with much aplomb, to target the military-industrial complex, corporate plutocracy, rampant consumerism, the prison-industrial complex, destructive industry, and big pharma.
The witch has been created by the land to speak and act for it.”
-Peter Gray, Apocalyptic Witchcraft
Botanarchy marks the end of the repression and exploitation of natural and human resources at the hands of hierarchical structures, patriarchal paradigms, and opportunistic, parasitic industry. It is the crack in the concrete where the Dandelion crawls through, the stone wall of the cathedral choked in moss, the anima mundi of Swamp Thing. It is the reckoning of vegetative consciousness, of emancipated, green chaos dancing upon the ruins of a toppled society. Botanarchists are agents of rewilding, the biological conservation movement based on re-introducing predatory, carnivorous species back into the wilderness to restore and protect the environment. An homage to the cabalistic power of plants, Botanarchists bow down before their profound provocations of healing and gnosis. The work we engage in is the marriage of traditional witchcraft, indigenous herbal medicine, and anarcha-feminist collectives from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
The purpose of Botanarchy is to support oppressed & enslaved populations (women, the poor, the sick, those poisoned by noxious philosophies and tyrannical religions, those enslaved by autocratic structures that do not value their personhood, any structure that exploits people and the planet for profit), and bring about changes that allow ALL sentient beings to live and thrive. The core of my work is based on Ecofeminist theory, and doesn’t advocate the fire and brimstone destruction of the world marked by apocalypse, but instead advocates replacing despotic power systems with a feminized, earth-based system valuing collectivity and connectivity, representing a shift in PARADIGMS. It hearkens to what Terrence McKenna deemed ’the archaic revival.’ It acknowledges a relationship between patriarchal oppression and the destruction of nature in the name of progress and profit, and looks towards how we can counter the violence inherent in these processes.
“It’s clearly a crisis of two things: of consciousness and conditioning. We have the technological power, the engineering skills to save our planet, to cure disease, to feed the hungry, to end war; But we lack the intellectual vision, the ability to change our minds. We must decondition ourselves from 10,000 years of bad behavior. And, it’s not easy.”
– Terence McKenna
STATEMENT OF INTENT
It is our will to liberate the natural world from its parasitic relationship with destructive technology by invoking Botanarchy, and unleash it as a predatory species to re-wild the ecosystem and reinstate the reign of earth-based consciousness.
Soundtrack: Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi. This is the score to Glass’ film of the same name, a rumination on the Hopi concept of ‘Life Out of Balance’ or ‘Life Disintegrating.’ Koyaanisqatsi is also the mantra of Botanarchy. It is the battle cry of the forest, alluding to three Hopi prophecies harkening to the destruction and disintegration of the natural world at the behest of ‘progress.’ It calls upon the need for a reckoning to bring balance back to the earth in the wake of the wreckage. The tracks ‘Prophecies’ and ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ work exceptionally well back to back for the duration of the rite, followed by a ribald dance party to Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Dancin’ In The Ruins.’
Supplies: Foraged plant material & forest debris used to restrain, choke, batter, whip, assault, and beat parasitic industry into submission. An expedition of Botanarchists can be dispatched prior to the rite to collect vines, cactus paddles, leaf whips, switches, bark, and dirt for this purpose.
The ritual should be performed in the evening, in a temple in the Witchwood. It is also entirely suitable to perform this in public, or in a gussied-up living room of your choice.
Invocants will arrange themselves into two separate camps: Those who will invoke unrestrained industrialization, and those who will invoke Botanarchy. Industrialists will begin naked, standing, in the center of the temple. Botanarchists will begin nude, on their knees, in the periphery, armed with their arsenal of vegetation.
A Priestess of Botanarchy will fumigate the temple with Incense and cue Phillip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi.
Industrialists will invoke the oppressive sprawl of noxious industry, summoning it forth in spews of caustic aggression. If they choose to, Industrialists can invoke a particular archetype, godform, or agent of industry that resonates with them personally, representing the unfettered dominance of patriarchal hegemony. They many choose to invoke a structure they want to see destroyed, i.e. a coal plant, Monsanto, the Northwest Pipeline, etc.
In the vegetation belt, Botanarchists will invoke Botanarchy, crawling, twining, and sprouting forth vegetative consciousness. They can chant the mantra Koyaanisqatsi (‘Life Disintegrating’) silently or lightly, if the spirit moves them.
As the industrial tumult boils to a crescendo, Botanarchists will crawl towards the city armed with their pincers, vines, paddles, switches, and stumps. The plants will strip, restrain, batter, whip and overtake Industrialists with their vegetative weapons. Botanarchists should whip the Industrialists into submission, silencing them with any and everything at their disposal. Chanting of Koyaanisqatsi may become audibly louder at this point. Eventually, the Botanarchists will bring the Industrialists to their knees, enshrining them in plant matter.
With the city now in dust, Botanarchists entwine themselves over the wreckage, covering it with their mossy debris. All will chant Koyaanisqatsi along with the score until the temple falls silent.
Banish with an ecstatic naked dance party to Blue Oyster Cult’s ‘Dancin’ In The Ruins’.
Remember, magic is a weapon. It is the end of complacency, a vector of will shooting in an infinite trajectory toward what you envision. It is a skillful adjunct to radical activism, a hand-forged sword to brandish in the face of oppression along with its bedfellows collectivity, education, and mobilization. Use it well.
“Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”
– Terence McKenna