Witch hunt: Occult Trump opponents plan Halloween spell to bind him
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord." -Isaiah 54:17
A week before Halloween, opponents of President Trump will gather in the thousands to cast a spell on the administration to prevent the administration from harming the country.
Participants in the ritual, which has been performed regularly since Trump's inauguration, are taking particular encouragement from Democrats' recent launch of an impeachment inquiry, which they see as a sign their efforts are working.
“I’m willing to go on record and say it’s working,” said Michael Hughes, the self-described magical thinker and activist who came up with the ritual.
The spell is crafted “to bind Donald Trump and all those who abet him," and is supposed to be performed during every waning crescent moon until Trump is removed from office.
The ritual calls for the use of an unflattering photo of Trump, a tarot card, a stub of an orange candle, a pin, and a feather. Participants then call on the "heavenly hosts, demons of the infernal realms, and spirits of the ancestors" to bind Trump "so that his malignant works may fail utterly."
Against Hughes’ expectations, the ritual took off, and is still being performed almost three years later, with this month's event likely to draw thousands of participants at small group gatherings and covens, or meetings of witches, around the world.
Hughes told the Washington Examiner the spell went “immediately viral and just completely exploded” after he posted it on Medium, prompting attention from major news outlets. He said he thought any response to Trump’s election “had to have an equal sense of surreality or strangeness to break through the media and social media.”
While he said it is difficult to calculate how many people participated at the first event in 2017, Hughes said it was “definitely in the thousands” and spread “across the world.” He noted that several thousand people continue to participate in the ritual every month.
Hughes considers this spell a way for people to feel reempowered in the wake of the 2016 election.
“Knowing thousands of people are gathering together at the same time from all over the world to do this ritual and to put our beliefs and our desires into sharp focus, and to do that ritualistically, I think that has a really powerful effect,” said Hughes.
Karen Tibbits-Williams, a New Zealand-based witch and paranormal investigator, said the point of the ritual is to prevent Trump and his supporters from causing harm, but the ritual does not specify how that result should be achieved.
“It could happen by creating unity and strength amongst his opponents, it could be brought about by his impeachment and removal from office,” she wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner.
But while the means by which Trump is bound is not clearly defined, Tibbits-Williams is also confident the ritual is working.
“I’ve seen for myself, many times over, the power and effectiveness of magick. My confidence in the power and efficacy of our Binding — and the effect which it is having — is absolute. I don’t ‘believe’ that it works … I know it does,” she said.
Hughes’ spell comes at a time in which witchcraft is on the rise in the United States. From 1990 to 2008, the number of individuals practicing Wicca, a form of witchcraft, increased from about 8,000 to about 340,000. In 2014, the number of Wiccans in the United States may have been as high as 1.5 million, based on a Pew survey.
Hughes said that a desire for a more direct spirituality, is driving the popularity of paganism and witchcraft.
“They’re embracing spiritual paths, spiritual ideas that allow them to be empowered in their spirituality without that middleman,” such as a priest or rabbi, said Hughes.
And Hughes’ ritual is not the only effort to cast a spell on the Trump administration. Last year, a group of witches gathered to perform a hex to cause suffering on Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, using effigies of Trump, Kavanaugh, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Father Vincent Lampert, a Roman Catholic priest and the designated exorcist of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said that Hughes’ ritual and the occult more broadly give an opening to evil in the lives of participants.
“Some of them may be doing it thinking it’s just fun, but they are gambling with evil, and just because their motive is one way doesn’t mean they’re not opening up an entry point for evil in their own life,” Fr. Lampert told the Washington Examiner.
And while more people might be turning to magic and witchcraft to find meaning, Fr. Lampert warned they are dangerous solutions.
“I think evil will present itself as something good, maybe initially to attract people’s attention, to draw people in, but then ultimately people are going to discover it’s all about fracturing their lives,” he said.