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  • 'Why is witchcraft so popular with queers? What does it have to do with capitalism?' Regan Lynch asks in an article published by Overland, 'A curse on capital: queer occultism as radical spirituality?'.

    I've been wondering this! Several years ago, in my circles of Australian friends I barely knew any queers who were into astrology, tarot, crystals and other spiritual/magical practices. Now it's part of a lot of my discussions with friends. What's its radical potential? Is it a reflection of the self-obsessed side of identity politics or a source of personal and group empowerment, a useful tool for subverting dominant power structures?

    I think it can be both, depends how you use it. But I am happy to see the unification of spirituality and politics, as I've been thinking for a while that political communities (our ways of thinking, talking and relating), can be overly critical, harsh, rational, lacking in the kind of empathy that comes from the willingness to forgive, love, trust, surrender, see our similarities instead of always dividing along lines of difference.

    I think we have a huge struggle ahead of us in the next few decades, as we can all agree that things are getting pretty bad in the world on a number of levels. For me personally, in order to feel hopeful, I need something that will sustain me beyond anger, political analysis and rhetoric. These things are important, and maybe it’s wrong for me to dismiss anger as a source of power, but I’m speaking for myself here. You may agree, or not, or have other ideas, which I encourage!

    My experiences of being Othered have given me enough to be angry about, but they have also deepened my understanding of what it means to be human and to love humans. Sometimes people look at me or treat me as if I’m not human, not worthy of dignity. I have had to find ways to reclaim my humanness, my self-respect and dignity. This has encouraged me to move into spiritual practices in order to continually connect with others, to meet people on a deep level so that these surface level negative experiences based on my appearance are easier to move through. It’s important, but it’s not enough for me to just connect politically with people who share my identity or my experiences of discrimination. I need to be positively connected to all of life.

    I do believe that as a queer, gender diverse person I have special powers ;) That's because I am frequently situated as an outsider by society, and from that perspective I get a decent look at the whole situation. I've been forced to think about things in different ways. I wonder why people treat me differently, why they are disturbed or uncomfortable at the sight of me. and I feel bad that sometimes they are not ready to accept me, when I am always trying to open my heart (trying and sometimes failing). I couldn't find answers to this paradox in identity politics alone, so I looked to my spiritual practices. I looked to self-love to heal myself. Then I started telling everyone else about this incredible power. Through my zines, my music, tarot card readings, sharing astrological knowledge, and having conversations with people. That's one way to create self-loving, whole communities with incredible resilience.

    I feel a deep need for people to become more powerful for our current and future struggles. Queer magic is one way, there are others. Like transgender singer/composer ANOHNI says, we need to find ways to move through hopelessness. ANOHNI has been warning us about allowing ourselves to be distracted from the current reality. Let's not use witchcraft, occultism and all things woo as a distraction, or worse, a materialistic aesthetic. Let's share and apply our knowledge to empower ourselves to face the system of interlocking issues that are only going to intensify, especially if we hide in the shadows.
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