Witchcraft as a form of political activism is making a real comeback.
Back in February of 2018, at the stroke of midnight, and under a waning crescent moon, the world watched as a group of American witches cast a binding spell on Donald Trump outside of Trump Tower in New York City. The ceremony made headlines across national news outlets and was featured in Rolling Stone magazine.
Witches across the country joined in. In Chicago, another group of witches gathered outside of the Chicago Trump Tower lighting their candles and performing their ceremony in sync with the gathering witches in New York City.
Around the globe, witches are gathering monthly online to cast binding spells against Trump. The witches who join in these ceremonies are known as Resistance Witches and the movement has its own hashtag…#MagicResistance. The group is 13,000 plus members strong and includes Wiccans, Hedge Witches, neo-pagans, and committed activists.
The Resistance Witches have created a popular Facebook page called Bind Trump. Michael Hughes, one of the creators of the group, has penned a book about the political movement titled “Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance.”
According to the Bind Trump Facebook page, another Binding ceremony is scheduled to be held on May 31, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.
It’s not difficult to see why witchcraft as political activism, is making such a strong comeback in the Trump era. We have “Bern The Witch” and an inordinate amount of misogynistic witchcraft rhetoric that was used during and after the election.
Political witchcraft actually has a long history. In the 60s witchcraft emerged as a spiritual movement that embraced nature as sacred. The movement slowly became a radical social presence for the progressive cause. Elderly British witches used magic to stop Hitler from invading France back in the 1940s. In 1967 a group of feminist witches, known as W.I.T.C.H., which stood for Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell, made headlines in the United States. The group opposed the idea advocated by radical feminists that feminist women should campaign against “patriarchy” alone. The group argued that feminists should ally with a range of left-wing causes to bring about wider social change in the United States.
Today’s “resistance witches” share a great passion for the collective aspect of their practice, which allows them to channel feelings of powerlessness about the current administration, while they revive a sense of community.
Resistance Witches have the same feeling of closeness as others get at their traditional “Sunday morning” gatherings. It also deeply roots them in the internet culture, while allowing each individual member to practice their binding spell in their own favored way. It brings anti-Trump activists together in a magical way.
Casting spells as a form of political protest might sound strange to some, but that, said Michel M. Hughes, is precisely the point.
“My thought from the beginning,” he said, “was that Trump’s presidency was surreal and abnormal, therefore there was a need to counter him and resist his administration beyond the normal channels like public protests, petitions, emails, and calls to representatives.” Hughes, likewise saw the spell’s efficacy as, in part, granting a kind of power to its participants: “One very powerful element of the spell is its ability to allow participants to take back their power from the out-of-control administration.”
The binding spell itself requires certain symbolic elements: a black candle, a white candle, a shorter orange candle to represent Trump. If a participant doesn’t have an orange candle, they can substitute with a baby carrot, a photo of Trump or even a Cheeto. They are encouraged to modify the spell in ways that feel meaningful to them.
With the alt-right growing in power, it seems the perfect time for the magical left to reclaim power on the internet. This movement is proof that at times anger and fear can bring people together in ways that hope never could.