FOR CENTURIES, THE DOMINANT CULTURE HAS PERSECUTED ANYONE WHO DARES TO BE DIFFERENT. THE GENTLE HEALERS, THE MIDWIVES, THE QUEERS, THE LONERS, THE WISE ELDERS, THE PAGANS, THE FOREIGNERS, THE WILD WOMEN. DISSENT IS THREATENING TO THE STATUS QUO, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S SHROUDED IN UNFAMILIAR CUSTOMS AND THE MYSTERIOUS SACRED FEMININE. THOSE WHO SEEK TO OPPRESS AND SUPPRESS US HAVE ALWAYS CALLED US ‘WITCHES’ TO SILENCE US. NOW, WE STEP OUT OF THE SHADOWS, EMBRACING THIS WORD AND ALL IT STANDS FOR.
A WITCH IS A FEARSOME CREATURE, INSPIRING TERROR AND AWE, CHANNELING A PRIMAL, VISCERAL ENERGY IN THE NAME OF PEACE, PROGRESS, JUSTICE AND HARMONY. A WITCH IS A CONDUIT FOR TRANSFORMATION. A WITCH TAPS INTO THE POWER WITHIN AND HARNESSES THE POWER WITHOUT IN SERVICE OF A BETTER WORLD.
A SINGLE WITCH IS A DANGEROUS OUTLIER. A COVEN IS A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH. AN INTERNATIONAL CIRCLE OF WITCHES IS UNSTOPPABLE.
TOGETHER, WE ARE W.I.T.C.H. (WITCHES’ INTERNATIONAL TROUBLEMAKER CONSPIRACY FROM HELL), REVIVING THE SPIRIT AND INTENTIONS OF THE 1960S ORGANIZATION OF THE SAME NAME. WE AIM TO USE OUR POWER TO FIGHT INJUSTICE IN ALL ITS INTERSECTIONAL FORMS, AND HELP DISMANTLE THE WHITE SUPREMACIST PATRIARCHAL SYSTEM THAT PERPETRATES IT. THE NEW GENERATION OF W.I.T.C.H. CONJURES OUR COLLECTIVE RAGE, JOY, GRIEF, STRENGTH, DETERMINATION AND FEROCITY INTO A FORCE FOR CHANGE.
WE WILL NOT CONFORM. WE WILL NOT OBEY. WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.
WE USE ANONYMITY AS A TOOL TO DISMANTLE THE WHITE SUPREMACIST PATRIARCHY
The figure of the witch is a powerful symbol. Though most iconic in the popular imagination as a dramatic silhouette with a pointed hat and black garments, a witch can be anyone. Witches are not just from Europe, and don’t just practice Wicca. We exist in a broad range of cultures and traditions (and in fact, black and indigenous witches have historically been persecuted by witch hunts more than anyone else.)
We are everywhere. We are your sisters, your neighbors, your teachers, your bartenders, your mechanics, your check-out clerks, your drivers and your nurses.
Our costume is theatrical, instantly recognizable and unifying, reflecting the millions of witches who came before us and the legions of us who exist today. For every black-veiled witch in a pointed hat you may see holding signs on street corners or performing rituals in public squares, there are vast numbers of anonymous witches, solitary or working in covens, sending their energies into the swirling mass from which we draw our inspiration and motivation.
We have always been here. We will always be here.
W.I.T.C.H. began as a feminist activism project in 1968, and though it was only around for a few years in its original form, its legacy lives on. We pick back up the mantle of our forebears and adapt their purpose and spirit to the modern era. For us, that means retaining their desire to dismantle the patriarchy and fight for justice using the symbol and innate power of the witch, while being inclusive to all genders and centering intersectionality and anti-oppression as our core values. [Learn more about the original W.I.T.C.H.]
W.I.T.C.H. can stand for any number of things: it can mean ‘Witches’ International Troublemaker Conspiracy From Hell,’ riffing off the original group’s name, ‘Witches Invoking Transformative Channels of Healing,’ ‘Women Inspired to Tear down Constructs of Hate’ – shapeshifting along with us.
W.I.T.C.H. PDX officially formed in November 2016 in response to oppression and injustice throughout the world and in our own city. We have since inspired dozens of other independently operating W.I.T.C.H. chapters to emerge nationwide, and remain dedicated to working within the Portland area.
In addition to the original W.I.T.C.H., we draw from a wealth of activism and radical thought in our region, including the Riot Grrrl movement and Black Lives Matter. Our city has a history of marginalizing and displacing people of color, and Oregon as a whole has a violently racist past and a large population of white supremacists. There are a lot of things to work on right here. We’re hoping to help effect change in our own community and inspire people to do the same, wherever they may live.
ANTI-RACISM – ANTI-FASCISM – ANTI-PATRIARCHY – INDIGENOUS RIGHTS – GENDER SELF-DETERMINATION – WOMEN’S LIBERATION – TRANS LIBERATION – ANTI-RAPE-CULTURE – REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS – SEX WORKER SUPPORT – LGBTQIA RIGHTS – ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION – RELIGIOUS FREEDOM – IMMIGRANT RIGHTS – ANTI-WAR – ANTI-CAPITALISM – DISABILITY JUSTICE – PRIVACY RIGHTS – WORKER’S RIGHTS
WE DISAVOW ANY INDIVIDUALS OR COVENS CLAIMING THE NAME OF ‘W.I.T.C.H.’ AND FAILING TO UPHOLD THESE VALUES.
ANYONE PUBLICLY CLAIMING TO BE ONE OF US IS NOT ONE OF US – WE ARE ANONYMOUS.
A STATEMENT FROM THE ORIGINAL W.I.T.C.H.:
“You don’t have to call yourself a witch to be a W.I.T.C.H. – Woman Imagining Theoretically Creative Happenings, but you should dress up like one, be in a coven, with no more than 13 others, though anonymous ones, who as a group, should never commodify their craft, always aspire to do good, have fun and move on. W.I.T.C.H. actions are usually the most fun those involved have ever had and raise their consciousness about the worthiest things they strive for throughout their lives. Good W.I.T.C.H. Crafting and Creating, is very serious and not serious at all and inspired by women everywhere. It should be something that women care about that men are not addressing, that does good for everyone and you do it in a way that’s fun. Guerrilla Girls could be W.I.T.C.H. because they never say who they are. So the possibility of putting on unifying masks to do good, have that spirit. Regarding the communal ownership of revolutionary magic: the important difference between movements and institutions is Revolutions catalyze and Institutions stabilize. W.I.T.C.H. Craft is non-proprietary, anonymous and not just resistant to proscription and prescription, but POOF! whatever magical power it had is destroyed and destructive when claimed as definitive. SPOOF, however, survives healthily!” – W.I.T.C.H., October 31st, 2016
Quote obtained via interview by writer Zora Burden for an upcoming book on women activists and human rights organizations
NEW W.I.T.C.H. CHAPTERS: PLEASE DOWNLOAD THIS GUIDE (PDF) FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Follow us on Twitter @witchpdx for opportunities to support our efforts, and keep an eye out for us around Portland!