Trumpcraft: Using Spellcraft as a Form of Political Dissent
If you're of a certain age, you likely remember when The Craft was released. Some of us, who shall remain anonymous, also might’ve dabbled a bit in the occult, either due to The Craft or out of adolescent desires to exert control over the universe or play around with the stuff that our stodgy, middle-aged male pastors warned us against.
The Craft is fiction, or so I’ve been told, but witches,* those who practice Wicca and/or witchcraft, exist, and their religious activities are certainly not restricted to adolescents. Individuals who engage in spellcraft are not as powerful politically in the U.S. as conservative evangelical Christians, but they do have one thing up the sleeve of their collective cloak: Magick, which is guided by strict ethical principles. Wiccans abide by the Rede and the Rule of Threes, which guide practitioners’ ethics. The Rede instructs Wiccans to "harm none and do what you will," while the Rule of Threes “whatever you send out from yourself will come back threefold.”
If this sounds a lot like other religious ideas, including Jesus’ edict to love your neighbor as yourself, we have similar opinions about comparative religion. Just don’t tell Christian fundamentalists that they have something in common with individuals who practice spellcraft. Conservative biblical literalists are not keen on this group. According to (some) conservative Christians, anyone who practices spellcraft, for whatever reason, risks her or his eternal soul. They believe that individuals who practice Wicca exist, are dangerous, and recruit impressionable youngsters via YA literature.
I study religious communities, and I’m fascinated by the tension between religious belief and political action. Although I primarily study evangelical Christians, I have a large, warm spot in my otherwise small, cold heart for anything that deals with spells and/or the occult. Imagine my utter joy when I learned about the ways in which witches, both online and in “real life,” have been politically active and harnessing their goddess-given powers for the nation’s benefit. These witches aspire to bind Trump “from doing harm to others and to himself, rather than asking any forces to do harm to him”. The witches intend to repeat this ritual this during every waning moon, a time set aside to quash negativity, until the end of the Trump Administration. This activity isn’t as sinister and creepy as it might at first sound to individuals who don’t know a lot about Wicca. These spells are similar to Christians praying for the president—or, more accurately, praying for the President to be unsuccessful. Both groups, like individuals of other religions, beseech their interpretation of the divine for aid and comfort during troubling times. (There is a bit of interfaith tension on that topic right now.) The witches’ goals are laudable; they want to keep someone they view as dangerous from harming the country they care about, but do not wish harm upon the POTUS himself.
Will this coordinated effort to bring down the Trump presidency via spellcraft work? Only time will tell. While we wait, if you’re so inclined, there are plenty of ways to track the moon’s cycles so you can join in this neopagan political activism.
*For simplicity’s sake, I’ll refer to these individuals as “witches,” but I concede that this is not universally agreed-upon nomenclature for a wildly diverse group of individuals with varying practices, traditions, and beliefs.
Tamara Watkins is a doctoral candidate at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is obsessed with religion, politics, and pop culture.
pic credit: Space Weather Live.