5 thoughts on “#WitchnBitch Topic: Witch, Ya Basic!

  1. I believe this is a good place for debate but I’m not sure how to answer the question. I just finished reading a feminist book on the history of witches oriented around the history of medecine and the one focus there was on witches is that it was invented men who had an agenda on the of women in society and didn’t like female healers, self-thought women and most probably free spirit. The thing is that we can’t ignore the fact that the word witch and what it means was first invented by christian to scare the population and kill every woman who didn’t want to follow the church orders, basically. So in that sense, I understand the view of the people who wrote that book, reclaiming the word and something close to it’s original meaning to say “I have control over my body and my mind, I’m free to be who I want to be”. I think that’s great, especially from a feminist point of vue.
    On the other hand, witchcraft means something else for a lot of people today and I feel it wouldn’t make sense to say you can be a witch without practicing. For example, you can’t buy crystals for their meaning but do nothing with it at all, nothing spiritual in any form, and say you are a witch because you have crystals. It just doesn’t work with the spiritual definition of witchcraft. It’s like saying you are a yogi because that one time you did a Tree position and posted it on instagram.


  2. The thing that first jumped out at me was actually the use of the word coven. Like, “witch” has been really used and abused as a concept, but when you pair witch with coven? It really starts to lean in a magical direction for me. What does a coven DO if not practice witchcraft? (Granted, I’ve not read the book, so I assume it’s answered therein).

    But that’s the real sticking point for me. Reclaiming witch in a non-magical way is one thing, but taking witch and coven and whatever else, without taking the rest of it seems weird to me. I would love to know what they feel they get out of it.

    (Also, this train of thought REALLY begs the question “what is witchcraft”, if doing it is how I define a witch. My knee jerk is “any conscious manipulation of reality, through whatever means is comfortable”, but that would totally include protesters and I’m not saying they automatically are. Ugh. So messy.)


  3. As someone who attends a very liberal university, I have noticed the word “witch” become extremely popular among the many women I know. Often it is a term not used to denote religious/spiritual beliefs, but rather an identity of “fuck-the-patriarchy-I-am-a-strong-independent-woman.” (Which is an awesome identity to have!) This is something I’ve been thinking about lately, as I see my own spirituality and practice become a commercial trend at stores like Urban Outfitters and Free People. I’ll admit…I’m torn. On one hand, there’s a part of me that believes claiming you’re a witch for simply owning a crystal is like claiming to be a Christian because you own a cross necklace. Adopting the term “witch” due to its current trendiness likewise seems to be adopting an identity while ignoring the history of intolerance towards practitioners. But that being said, I have to remind myself that the thousands burned on accusations of “witchcraft” in early modern Europe rarely identified as witches themselves.

    With this in mind, I have to ask–what “counts” as witchcraft, and isn’t imposing strict rules inherently contradictory to the nature of the craft itself? People choose this practice for many reasons, but one reason I hear over and over again is the desire to break free from the structure of organized religion. If we start creating strict rules for what type of witchcraft “counts,” we run the risk of falling into that same pattern. In addition, to disregard a witch for being an atheist becomes a slippery slope. Not all witches are pagan. There is a long tradition of witchcraft that exists in Christian countries such as Romania, and practices such as Voodoo and Santeria often involve the blending of pre-colonial African faiths and Catholicism. (That also brings in the issue of race and prejudice against the practices of marginalized groups, which you delved into beautifully in the last #WitchnBitch.)

    Anyway, looking forward to the podcast and excited to hear your thoughts!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pingback: Book Review of Shadows: Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman – The Fat Feminist Witch

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