When your life is a disaster and you’ve tried everything to fix things, and it’s just not working, where do you turn? For many throughout history the answer is: witchcraft.
Witchcraft has long been the last resort of the oppressed. One of the earliest practical texts documenting this relationship was published in 1899 as “Aradia: or the Gospel of the Witches” by Charles Leland. Leland was a folklorist who befriended different marginalized groups and helped tell their histories through sharing their folklore. “Aradia” was produced courtesy of his Italian witch friend, Maddalena, whose assistance resulted in a number of Leland’s books. “Aradia” is in the public domain so is easy to obtain in various editions, including as a free ebook like the one here.
Leland’s “Aradia” has been important not just for its encouragement of activism, but as a foundational text for modern witches. Quotes from “Aradia” have been used in Wicca, particularly in “The Charge of the Goddess” which many consider to be a central Wiccan ritual text.
“The New Aradia: A Witch’s Handbook of Magical Resistance” edited by Laura Tempest Zakroff is a newer book building on “Aradia” with special emphasis on social and political activism using witchcraft. Along with Leland’s “Aradia”, it’s a must-read for witches of all stripes.
Other books that focus on using witchcraft for activism include:
“Magic for the Resistance: Rituals and Spells for Change” by Michael M. Hughes
“Revolutionary Witchcraft: A Guide to Magical Activism” by Sarah Lyons
“Hexing the Patriarchy: 26 Potions, Spells, and Magical Elixirs to Embolden the Resistance” by Ariel Gore
“Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power” by Pam Grossman
“Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance” by David Salisbury
“Becoming Dangerous: Witchy Femmes, Queer Conjurers, and Magical Rebels On Summoning the Power to Resist” edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliott
“All Acts of Love & Pleasure: Inclusive Wicca” by Yvonne Aburrow
“The Spiral Dance,” “Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex & Politics,” “Truth or Dare,” and the more recent “The Empowerment Manual” all by Starhawk. Starhawk’s Reclaiming tradition of Wicca is very much a social and political activism focussed Wiccan denomination and is worth exploring no matter what type of Witch you are if you’re interested in activism.