On “Witches for Trump,” a Facebook page liked by over 2,000 people, someone posted a meme — a still from the 2004 movie Finding Neverland with text edited on top. In the meme, a child tearfully looks up at Johnny Depp and says: “But dad, we’re Pagans, shouldn’t we be on the left?”
Depp responds, “Paganism existed long before modern politics, and the gods don’t give a fuck about your feelings.”
The meme represents a growing fracture in the digital witchcraft community as intensified political polarization among witches drives conservative-leaning practitioners to feel isolated online.
Gwendolyn Peterson, a conservative witch, told Digital Trends that right-leaning witches are fleeing and establishing their own communities.
As a result of feeling isolated online, Peterson created “Witches for Trump.” It is one of many Facebook pages for conservative witches that popped up after the 2016 election, such as “Pagans For Trump” and “American Pagans For Trump.” These pages all seek to create a space for witches who feel marginalized by their more liberal peers.
“For a small community such as conservative pagans, it’s even more important to connect with each other,” Peterson said.
Her page has over 2,000 likes and the admins post daily. The posts span from witch-related memes to Ben Shapiro videos. The group even sells merchandise, including a shirt with the slogan “Not all Pagans vote Democrat” and a thong that says “Witches for Trump” next to a pentagram and a drawing of Trump’s head.
The inherent politics of witchcraft?
The isolation Peterson describes can be devastating because, for witches, online spaces are crucial. Although a 2014 Pew Research Center report estimated about 730,000 Americans identify as a pagan or Wiccan, these people are scattered across the country; Facebook, Reddit, and, more recently, TikTok have become places for witches to meet their own.
“I live in the Bible Belt. Finding other Pagans can be a challenge — online, I can meet others without the risk of dealing with some of the fundamental Christians that live around me finding out,” Luna Ravenwoods, a member of “Witches for Trump,” wrote in the group.
These digital communities can teach “baby witches” how to start practicing witchcraft, as well as give established witches a forum to discuss and debate modern witchcraft.
“Many books on paganism can be filled with some pseudo-history and science,” Peterson said. “The online community has helped keep that accountable.”
But after the 2016 election, political arguments began to dominate many witchcraft groups. These conflicts ranged from who had a right to use Native American practices, to whether supporting Trump disqualifies you from practicing witchcraft. Often at the core of these social media fights was a fundamental disagreement on the nature of their shared practice: Was witchcraft inherently political?
“If you go back to the narrative of the witch, the kind of archetype and character through time, they were the persecuted one,” Isabelle Rizo, a politically independent witch, said. “To really embody practicing witchcraft, you’re honoring that part of the narrative and then you’re going to be a speaker for the people that don’t have a voice.”
Although she doesn’t consider witchcraft political, Rizo said she understands witches who view activism as central to their work. Several members of “Witches for Trump” disagreed almost entirely.
“The belief that witchcraft is inherently political is a metastasizing cancer that has caused insurmountable and unfathomable harm to the way our communities are viewed by others,” John Stone commented in “Witches for Trump.”
Several “Witches for Trump” members also felt that, since the majority of witches identify as liberal, the liberal view won out in online groups.
“Since hard leftists dominate pagan spaces, centrists, libertarians, and conservative pagans’ voices are silenced there,” John Lewis wrote in “Witches for Trump.” Peterson agreed.
“In the past six years, it has become very difficult to be open about our political beliefs in the pagan community,” Peterson said, claiming that “certain radical witches” have tried to curse fellow conservative witches for their political leanings.
A space for the conservative witch
As liberal-leaning witches on TikTok have organized mass spell-casting events in support of Black Lives Matter, Peterson’s group has done the same for other issues.
“Last winter, we organized a Truth spell during the eclipse to reveal crooked politicians and the mainstream media,” Peterson said. “Most of our group rituals and spells involve protecting ourselves, Trump, and anyone who is being threatened with magic.”
Rev. Rapid Cabot FreeMan has had similar success with his page “American Pagans For Trump.” He said “at least 100” of his nearly 1,000 members thank him for giving them a community.
“I had a couple of guys contact me and say, ‘you know, look if it wasn’t for your page […] I would have given up on this life. I love the craft, but I didn’t think I was wanted,’” FreeMan said.
These pages are seen as a haven for conservative witches in an increasingly splintered online community.
“Welcome to Witches for Trump, whether you are a witch, pagan, druid, heathen, occultist, mystic or whatever! We are coming together to support our president,” the Witches for Trump description reads. “And it doesn’t mean we ‘aren’t pagan.’”