“W.I.T.C.H.es Brew” (2017)

Molly Birnbaum writes for Topic on the Trump-era revival of W.I.T.C.H. as a tactic of political protest and occult resistance:

“Anonymity is dramatic,” says a W.I.T.C.H. (Anonymity also prevents doxxing—a real threat in this day and age.)

“The witch is a powerful figure when so many people feel like they’re losing control,” another W.I.T.C.H. explains. To be using this imagery right now, in this political climate—one in which the idea of being a witch was used to attack Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign—is “an affront to the current power structure,” she adds.

But the history of witches and witchcraft is not all about fear and power and the Salem witch trials. For the W.I.T.C.H.es, it’s about inclusion and representing everyone who is oppressed or unseen. “We are everywhere. We are your sisters, your neighbors, your teachers, your bartenders, your mechanics, your check-out clerks, your drivers, and your nurses,” reads their online manifesto.

It’s also about shaking up the status quo. “To brand yourself as a witch today is associating yourself with a kind of disruption,” says Alex Mar, author of 2015 book Witches of America.

“From the outside, it’s still seen as frightening, jarring, shocking,” she explains. “I think that’s something that these activists are having fun playing with.”

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