The witch has many roles in modern society. As healers, we work with herbs and plants, and many other alternative therapies to bring healing to those who come to us. As educators, we show others the truths of witchcraft and work to dispel stereotypes and falsehoods about who we are. As seers, we give people encouragement and insight into their lives with the use of tarot cards and other divinatory methods. There is another role of the witch that is equally important: the role of activist.
As witches, it is our duty to be an advocate for others. We have the responsibility to speak for those whose voices are being silenced. Witches are called to speak out against bigotry, racial injustice and inequality. We are called to speak out against homophobia and discrimination. As a minority, the pagan community needs to be more understanding of the struggles that other minority groups face. Unfortunately, many witches shy away from activism. When gross injustices occur, such as we have seen on the news in recent months, they remain oddly silent. We are not on this path only for ourselves, but also to be of service to others. While we’re casting spells to meet our own needs, it is important that we are also doing magic to make the world a better place. Some seem to think being a witch is all about pretty crystals and Enya music. The truth is that witchcraft will often take us out of our comfort zone. It is not always comfortable.
Another unfortunate truth is that there are bigots and racists even in the pagan community. Some witches refuse to get political because they’re afraid they’ll lose business. They don’t want to offend any of their followers who might be bigots or racists, so they say nothing on these issues. After all, these followers might stop buying their books or coming to them for readings. For these unethical witches, money and popularity are more important than the people they serve.
I once had a magical blog with over a thousand followers. I wrote about many subjects related to witchcraft and magic. The blog won two awards and was moderately popular. When I wrote some posts about social issues and speaking out, some people got upset. “Why are you getting political?”, they asked. “I’m not following you anymore”. They loved reading about the spells, the herbs and crystals, but when I spoke out against government corruption, discrimination against the LGBT community and racial injustice, that was a problem. I was getting “political”. I lost some followers, but I didn’t care. I still don’t. There are far too many pagans and witches who are content to live in their little New Age bubbles. Candles and incense won’t make it all go away. Witches and druids are peacemakers, yes, but maintaining peace sometimes means being a voice and speaking out.
Being an activist does not mean you have to stand on the corner with a megaphone. There are many things you can do, and there are different kinds of activism. Join environmental groups like Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace. Support equal rights for the LGBT community by getting involved with the Human Rights Campaign or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Work with racial equality groups like NAACP and Black Lives Matter. Get involved with animal rights groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the World Wildlife Fund. Use social media to raise awareness, and expose bigotry and discrimination wherever you see it. Don’t just be an armchair activist. Go to rallies, participate in protest marches, boycott companies with unethical business practices. It is time that we as witches embrace our role as activist. It is our sacred duty to be advocates for others. It may not make us popular, but is that really the point?