magic and activism08 Jan 2021
(little piece from my zine-in-progress Witchcraft Is Social Change)
WHAT IS WITCHCRAFT? AND WHAT IS WITCHCRAFT IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIAL CHANGE?
There’s two ways to define witchcraft or magic that intertwine. The first one is to play it safe. It’s when you define magic as a a way to change reality in order to attain some results. In this context, everything is magic. Seduction can be magic. Coding can be magic. There’s in my opinion nothing wrong with that, except that it can also allow the interpretation of a rationalized magic that would eventually deny the real magic.
The second definition of magic would be the one that specifically in describe this magic we believed in when we were children. The magic of the unexplained. The magic of nature’s mysteries not yet discovered (or even impossible to discover/apprehend). The magic behind a shaman levitating, behind your first birth chard reading that illuminates so many things of your life.
I will – of course – not stop myself at the first definition and rather extend to and englobe the second when I will talk about magic or witchcraft here. I do use magic and witchcraft interchangeably, but I do recognize a little nuance in the two. Magic is everywhere, naturally. Witchcraft involves human interventions. But at the same time, I recognize that magic is a human concept and that, maybe, we just label magic things we cannot explain since the beginning of time, that maybe, at the end of the day, what we are doing when we are practicing magic are acts that are less supernatural than we could think.
What does witchcraft means in the context of social change? What does witchcraft looks like as a political tool? Well, if we look at our first definition, we could dare to say that activism, or any kind of attempt to alter status quo, is witchcraft. But this does not satisfy me. It would be a ‘‘play if safe’’ answer. For me, to use witchcraft as a political tool is :
- an answer to Audre Lorde famous words saying that ‘‘we cannot unbuild the masters’ house with the masters tools’’
- to acknowledge the importance of the symbolic and engage in fight on symbolic ground (and therefore acknowledge that the “battle of the imagination” is not frivolous)
- in the spirit of diversity of tactics, to leave the realm of the purely rational and include the poetic and the magical in our arsenal
- to follow emergent strategies that mimics the wisdom of nature
- to use divination tools to better guide and strategize our actions and movements
- to reclaim personal power and agency
- to allow the bigger forces of the universe to help us in our quest for social justice and to recognize the relational nature of all things
- to cherish our intuition as our intuition is our strongest tool to keep us in satefy while we march toward the tommorow we seek (because the world is now too complex to be apprehended in its entirety by the mind alone)