*Witches, Wizards and other Self-Identified Magickal Beings
The Witches* Union Hall is a project that uses mutual aid to create media and space(s) dedicated to education, skill sharing, cultural events, critical dialogue and organizing within a community based on similar values and spiritual practices.
The W*U Hall is a project recently conceived and still forming, based on Unceded Coast Salish Land (Vancouver B.C. Canada) with networks of magickal beings that extend beyond the region. The idea came about from one person’s musings on the nature of Magick and its connection to labor and from the feedback and encouragement of those who shared in this thought process. The W*U Hall is proposing that Magick (as defined as the art of changing consciousness at will) is a form of labor and an Earth-based spiritual community grounded in radical politics can access and adapt the organizational structure of Unions to fund and support this work. Within a set of shared values around social and environmental justice, anti-oppression and unsettling we can provide mutual aid and pool our resources (financial and otherwise) to create a Witches* Union Hall that can take form in temporary, mobile and indefinite manifestations. With community space(s) dedicated to our shared values and spiritual practices that also honor diversity of experience and expression, we can build our capacity for organizing, skill sharing, cultural events and move towards solidarity with other groups that have common goals. This model will be one that can be shared and adapted by communities in other places who also wish to create dedicated radical, magickal spaces. The intent of this project is to test this theory through research, writing, conversation and action. The ongoing results will be shared as a kind of commons.
–So mote it be–
Propaganda is a tool. It has been used against Witches for hundreds of years with both horrific and humorous results. This project is an attempt to reclaim some of this propaganda and use it to our own ends. By juxtaposing images and texts; from medieval woodcuts depicting torture to Hollywood’s favorite villains and many obscure sources in between, the images created may be used to playfully counter some of the centuries-old stigma against witches that is deeply rooted in our fears and fantasies about shadow, mystery, feminized sexuality, death and the power of nature.
Our strategy is to confirm and confound expectations. We are, after all, Shape Shifters!
What makes queer theory so useful to those marginalized communities that must confront the pigeonholing stereotypes that overdetermine and essentialize identities? The tactics of reclamation, reappropriation and disidentification used in queer theory and praxis give non-normative identities agency as well as question the seemingly stable systems that render them as other. These tactics acknowledge stereotypes, transpose them and then subvert them to form new models of identity.
The W*U Hall is currently working on a workshop series and accompanying zine/publication/pdf titled: Cultural Appropriation in Spirituality: how deepening our understandings of settler-colonialism, race and privilege can help us reland our practices with humility, accountability, and reciprocity. witchesunionhall.wordpress.com/workshops/
By Aja Bond