Art + Activism + Magic: Answers to Questions About the Mass Ritual to Bind Donald Trump
Friday, March 3rd, 2017
42nd day of Trump’s reign
My, oh, my, what a difference a week makes!
As I’m writing this, the Fall of the House of Trump is all over the news—Sessions’ bald-faced perjury, ongoing revelations of the president’s men’s lies about their contacts with Zelig-esque ambassador Sergey Kislyak, then-Governor Mike Pence’s use of a private email server (that got hacked), and mounting calls for Congress to open serious investigations into Putingate. It’s almost as if the administration got hit with, I don’t know, some kind of massive magical whammy or something.
A week ago, at the stroke of midnight under the waning crescent moon, thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of people from all around the world, alone and in groups, took part in ritual to bind Donald Trump and the circle of crooks, liars, white supremacists, and xenophobes who have been abetting his kakistocratic shit-show of a presidency. The massive act of magical resistance went viral across the globe, and the Medium article that started it all is now closing in on half a million views. Even celebrities joined in the fun.
As expected, it also generated an enormous amount of controversy. Not only from evangelicals and biblical fundamentalists, but from Wiccans and occultists and magicians of all stripes. Some of the critiques have been very thoughtful, some downright laughable.
The sheer number of critiques makes it impossible to answer many of the criticisms, so let’s do it here, shall we? I will address the common misconceptions and outright falsehoods about me, the binding spell, and the people who participated, while also shedding some light into the thinking that went into the ritual’s conception and its execution.
I’ll also discuss what, exactly, magic is and how it operates.
So let’s get started!
So you’re a witch, huh?
No, I’m not a witch. I’m an eclectic magician.
What the hell does that mean?
I practice magic, but I don’t align myself with any particular tradition. I work with elements from ancient Coptic Christianity, Graeco-Egyptian traditions, Neoplatonic theurgy, Hoodoo, shamanism, Ifa, Cunning folk magic, New Thought, Hinduism, folk Catholicism, Druidry, chaos magic, and other traditions from around the world. Quite simply, I try out different techniques and use what works, with the goal of elucidating the underlying core principles of practical magic. I am not a Wiccan or a witch, although I have many Wiccan friends and respect their religion.
But every article I read said this was all about witches!
To most people, even journalists, spells are cast by witches, therefore any spell is witchcraft. And yes, witches by the thousands embraced this binding and ran with it, which made me extraordinarily happy. I love witches! But plenty of non-witches performed the ritual, too, including many people who had never considered practicing any form of magic.
What’s beautiful is that many, if not most, of those people got a taste of their own inner power and how it could be focused and channeled by simple ritual actions (although if you believe the designated exorcist for the archdiocese of Indianapolis, those poor souls are entangling themselves with the devil).
Do you take this seriously, or is it some kind of prank? Is it serious magic or, like, a massive art project?
What does that mean?
Embrace paradox. Things don’t have to be either/or, they can be both/and.
I don’t understand.
Magic has many definitions, and it works on many levels—inner, outer, cultural, practical, and artistic. Magic is art and art is magic—the two are inextricable.
But you realize it’s all nonsense, right? Science has proven that. Magic isn’t real.
Well, magic is most definitely useful. To me and many other magicians, that’s what’s important. One doesn’t need to understand how magic works to practice it. In fact, as one very famous magician, Peter J. Carroll, put it: “Magic works in practice but not in theory.”
I still don’t understand, but let’s move on because this is making my head hurt. My Wiccan friends tell me this spell is dangerous. They say that anything negative you put out comes back to harm you threefold.
Ah, yes, the “Three-fold Law” or the “Law of Return.” It is a core belief of many Wiccans, witches, and pagans.
But you’re not afraid of it?
Actually, no, because I’m not Wiccan. But not every witch accepts it as relevant anyway. It originated not in some ancient European coven hundreds of years ago, but in High Magic’s Aid, a 1949 novel by Gerald Gardner, one of the inventors of modern witchcraft.
What’s your next question?
But don’t you have to be experienced to do magic effectively?
We live in a magical universe, and we are instinctively magical creatures. Do you pray? That’s an extremely potent form of magic. Do you play your house number or wedding anniversary date in the lottery? Do you pay attention to signs and omens? Do you leave flowers at the graves of loved ones and talk to them? (That’s ancestral magic.) Humans have worked magic since we could draw a circle in the mud with a pointed stick. Magic is a practice of the people, and always has been, despite thousands of years of priests attempting to take it away. Those who say you need to be trained in specific techniques by their order or coven or do magic in a defined way are just spewing their brand of dogma.
The only way to learn about magic is to do it. The only way to get better at it is to keep doing it.
But isn’t it dangerous to muck around with magical spells?
Anything can be dangerous. You know what’s far more dangerous than doing a magical ritual?
Driving a car. You do that a lot, don’t you?
Okay, point taken. But this spell calls upon spirits, even demons. That’s black magic.
The demon part was added to freak out the evangelicals.
Kinda-sorta. It takes a lot of work to conjure demons, and they’re not just going to do what you ask them—like any employee, they won’t do anything unless they’re paid (cue wicked laughter). But I would be delighted to have the cooperation of any and all infernal spirits willing take a whack at the demons infesting the Trump administration—the demons that make a man believe grabbing women by the pussy is kosher, for example, or the demons that make him mock someone with disabilities. The demons that make someone believe dumping coal waste in mountain streams is acceptable seem especially malign. That’s some seriously demonic shit, am I right?
Yeah, okay. But lots of Christians support Donald Trump.
Then they don’t qualify as Christians. Jesus spoke up for the poor, the sick, the hungry, and refugees (see the Good Samaritan story). He said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. These so-called Christians are supporting a lying, narcissistic, crass, hateful, bullying, hypocritical billionaire grifter—in other words, the complete inversion of everything Jesus taught. If you think Jesus would support someone like him, I suggest going back and reading the words in red ink in your Bible—because you’re not spreading the Good News, you’re spreading some ungodly fake-ass news.
But they’re praying for him to counter your spell. Putting up prayer shields around him. You said prayer is potent magic, so won’t that nullify your magic?
We’ll just have to see, won’t we? And they’ll have to counter all the Christians who prayed along with us to remove Trump from office (and there were a lot of them). I’m quite confident there are more of us than them, because most people are actually decent, kind, and recognize the unparalleled awfulness of this administration.
Why not do a spell to enlighten Trump and make him realize he’s wrong?
Oh, come on. Seriously?
Yeah, okay, that is pretty stupid. But isn’t this just slacktivism? Shouldn’t you focus your energy on practical activities, like demonstrating, calling Congress, and sending money to organizations—like the ACLU or SPLC—that are out there fighting the administration?
What makes you think we aren’t doing that, too?
But all this spell stuff is just a way to make yourselves feel good. It doesn’t accomplish anything.
What’s wrong with doing things to feel better? As I previously stated, the spell also functions as a self-exorcism—a way to banish the nasty, oppressive Trumpiness out of one’s mind and soul. And according to hundreds of people who have shared their experiences, it did just that. And that’s magic, don’t you think?
If you say so. So what’s next?
The #MagicResistance is growing larger every day. Our next ritual is March 26th. Even more people around the world will be participating this time, adding their directed, conscious energy to stop the president and his cabal from doing further harm.
I might give this a shot, though I’m still skeptical. Where do I start?
The original spell is here. Modify it to fit your style, spiritual system, or tradition. Or just do it as a bit of personal theater. The key is to do it at the same time as everyone else, and to put your all into it (as the 15th century grimoire The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage says, inflame thyself with prayer). If you want to join with others, there’s a Facebook group where you can find people in your area.
Okay, I’ll try it. I really hope it works.
Dude, it‘s already working :-)
Michael M. Hughes is a writer, speaker, and magical thinker. The American Spectator said, “He may play footsie with the devil, but at least the man has a sense of humor.” You can sign up for his newsletter, check out his YouTube channel, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook. The official Bind Trump group is also on Facebook, so if you’re looking for a group to work some magic with, that’s where you’ll find them.
Happy binding, magical people!