Witchcraft — The very name of this ancient religion has been one of the longest enduring means to induce a community to panicked frenzy. Even in 2015 you don’t need to go far to find witchcraft’s continued legacy of damnation by other religions. Witchcraft is so hated that the very word “witch” is still used throughout the world to oppress. To be a witch is de facto guilt, not uncommon to be followed by public humiliation, mutilation, and death.
In this 38-minute talk called Fly on the Wings of the Storm, Peter Grey of Scarlet Imprint and author of Apocalyptic Witchcraft urges his fellow witches to awaken to the historic “battlefield” and current state of That Old-Time Religion. Drawing a parallel between the current ethics and practices of global war, endless urbanization, the surveillance state, and planetary climate catastrophe with the religion’s historically near-ubiquitous persecution, Grey urges witches to suspend their differences and begin including a more politically-conscious dimension to their religion. Grey is not shy in his language, “Apocalyptic Witchcraft is about a world at war [over] the last remnants of wild nature.”
The talk is an unlikely one insofar as it is so uncommon to have such an artistic speaker on the subject and practice of witchcraft, along with such a clearly articulated and adversarial public stance against institutions of oppression. It is further rare to hear a witch rally other witches to begin identifying and engaging common aggressors; in Grey’s words, “enemy,” and further still at the same time create a new narrative for the religion. Grey states:
“To define one’s self in opposition to your closest allies in a battle for authenticity seems fatally flawed. Especially when much of our shared history is chronicled by our enemies[…]Our emails are after all read by the same intelligence agencies. Our ritual sites are photographed by the same military satellites. Our wells are poisoned by the same fertilizers, fracking, and pharmaceuticals. We must never forget our enemy. No matter how peaceful we are, they define us with violence. Witchcraft was born largely in the torture chambers of the Inquisition. Unclothed, bound, broken[…]”
Among what Grey identifies as enemies includes the historical and current persons, institutions, and belief systems that have lead genocidal campaigns against not just witches, but also women, and marginal groups in general. Grey also targets “[…]corporatist fascism. As such, witchcraft is the last line of resistance.” The talk might be lengthy for some but is far from tedious, as Grey’s poetic flair, deep knowledge of the history of witchcraft, and his political focus is sure to interest, if not empower, the hopeful and curious alike.
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