August 07, 2019
Whether it’s hexing the president, chatting in WhatsApp covens or featuring in TV reboots, radicalised women have been finding strength in the ancient pagan arts
Monsters, men and magic: why feminists turned to witchcraft to oppose Trump
‘This is the time for getting scary,” the writer Andi Zeisler told Elle magazine on the eve of the 2017 Women’s March. “We need to go full witch.”
At the dawn of the Trump administration, witches were suddenly everywhere in the US. Neo-pagans used blogs and social media to circulate popular rituals for hexing Brock Turner (who served less than three months in jail after he was convicted of sexual assualt), the supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh (accused of sexual assault, which he denies), and Donald Trump himself. The Trump curse was enacted by thousands of people, including the singer Lana Del Rey. “I’m a witch and I’m hunting you,” declared Lindy West in the New York Times; Jess Zimmerman and Jaya Saxena wrote a self-help book, Basic Witches, in which they explained: “If you speak when you’re told to be quiet, take pride when you’re told to feel shame, love what and who you love whether or not others approve, you’re practising witchcraft.” Half the women I know called their group chats “covens”. Trump developed a penchant for tweeting the phrase “WITCH HUNT” in caps whenever he felt persecuted, which the conservative political cartoonist AF Branco dramatised exactly the wrong way around, with the Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi depicted as gun-toting witches on the hunt for a helpless mortal man.
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