An invocation ballad dedicated to the late Marsha P. Johnson, the progenitor of the Stonewall Riots. She was a symbol of fierce courage, unwavering hope, and firm faith. This ballad serves as an expression of adoration of her kind spirit.
Oh Great Goddess, before this sacred flame, I invoke thy name.
Oh Great Goddess, bless us with thy presence.
Appear before this sacred flame and dispel the darkness of ignorance.
Appear, oh Great Goddess, to enlighten us with your sacred wisdom.
Appear before the sacred flames burning bright,
And hear this ballad of my sisters, of past, present and future.
Goddess, the war which you fought for so fiercely, still goes on. The memories of the day when you raised the first pitchfork of rebellion at the Stonewall Uprising. The memory of you raising arms against the army of the White Knights is etched into our memories so deeply, oh valiant Goddess. The White Knights that terrorized and suppressed us for millennia were powerless before your valour and spirit.
Seeing your fight, oh Great Goddess, made me realise that you were a fierce war goddess like Harriet Tubman or Sojourner Truth, who were the war goddesses that stood against the imperialism of the White Knights and never bowed to their might, and gave us back our lost spirit. They instilled in us the courage to fight back and not yield to the aggrandisement of our oppressors.
The thirteen-year-old me always looked up to you. In a world which saw me as a boy, it was the tales of your courage and valour that led me to believe once again in the girl inside me. You instilled in me the courage to accept my womanhood. You removed any qualms I had in my mind, about not being woman enough. You reassured me that I defined my own femininity, in my own terms, and no one else could invalidate my womanhood. I reclaim my womanhood proudly today, because you, oh Great Goddess, gave me the unwavering belief to do so. In the darkest times, your valiant self helped me shatter the gilded cage that held me bound. You gave courage to the skylark to reclaim her azure blue skies again.
Courage. Belief. Faith.
Great Goddess, in times of violence, where Patriarchy has burnt, maimed, killed, and disfigured thousands of my brethren, demonizing us for the gender we choose freely, ceaseless violence is a fate we’ve been forced to recede to, for millennia. Tell me, oh Great Goddess, is transphobia valid? Is it valid to demonise us, when we identify as what we truly wanted to? Are we aberrations? Answer this, oh Goddess, because there’s a terror in my heart, a terror that strikes my very being each time I hear that my kith and kin are being killed. Is it valid that we’re subjected to violence for non-conformity to the gender we were assigned to at birth?
Why is our choice met with ridicule, disbelief and vehement opposition? The culture of violence against us has become so normalized, that transphobia has just become a warped sense of humour in the hands of the cisgendered, to deny the violence perpetrated against us.
My anger is valid. My rage is valid. My fury is valid.
Because on one hand, Goddess, my kin is being subjected to a ceaseless maelstrom of violence because patriarchy has demonised our identities. On the other, the cisgendered do not acknowledge this violence, and think of this demonification of our identities as a bemusement to their warped sense of humour, desecrating, and sullying the graves of my already lost kin.
This has gone for far too long. Patriarchy has not ceased in its efforts. Acknowledgement of our sufferings is inadequate. Complicity persists. But not anymore.
So I invoke before the sacred fire burning bright to invoke you, Great Goddess.
I invoke thee, to grant me the strength to raise arms and fight once again as you did in the days of Stonewall.
I invoke thee, to instil in me, the unwavering faith to ceaselessly fight against the armies of White Knights that Patriarchy has unleashed upon us.
I invoke thee, to make our sisterhood regain steadfast faith in itself again and dismantle the reign of terror the Imperialistic White Knights have imposed upon us.
I invoke before thee, this sacred vow, I affirm before thee by this holy vow, to stay true to our sacred legacy of ancient past and to proudly fight for our Reclamation.
Before Sacred Fire, I pledge before thy presence to begin the Reclamation.
We’re Reclaimers, oh Goddess, and banners of blue, pink and white we shall raise, raise the pitchforks of freedom, the pickaxes of knowledge, the torches of enlightenment and will not allow the White Knights to desecrate the graves of our lost sisters anymore. We are the Unbent. Unbowed. Unbroken.
Beware, oh White Knight, in shining Armour, your lance of prejudice does not scare us, your shield of ignorance is powerless in face of the fire and fury of righteous enlightenment that you’ve tried to suppress. We’re a raging wildfire, and it’s futile to stop the Reclamation we’ve sought for. The reclamation has begun and you’d be foolish to stop it.
This piece has been contributed by Liliana ilGraziosco Merlo Turan.