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Why Do Internet Witches Keep ‘Hexing’ Things?

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Jul 21, 2020

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Image Credit: Hitesh Sonar For The Swaddle/123RF

A bunch of young women who identify as witches recently attempted to ‘hex’ the moon and a few other sacred deities. Previously, witches have attempted to hex everything from Wall Street to U.S. Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to U.S. President Donald Trump, and U.S. police amid the Black Lives Matter protests. Even though we all know that hexes have little real-world impact, the practice has captured the hearts, and now the attention of the world.

According to fantasy lore, a ‘hex’ is a negative spell performed by witches, and it can bring about anything from great misfortune to serious physical harm. The term is derived from the German word hexe, which means ‘witch.’ But, as witchcraft evolved from something women were hung for, to a spiritual lifestyle that many people take quite seriously, the ‘hex’ is now a means to register cultural malcontent as much as it is a fantasy curse.

Modern day witchcraft practices are an amalgamation of multiple ancient and tribal religions and practices, and are often critiqued for appropriating various sacred indigenous practices around the world as an aesthetic tool. Yet, the potential of a powerful being, once oppressed, but now rising to use her power to ‘right’ things is irresistible to many. From entire internet subcultures to India’s Bulbul — an attempt to potray the terrifying witch as a feminist avenger — revisionist witch-lore is now a mainstay in cultural conversations. In this case, the ‘hex’ becomes a feminist tool to exert one’s spiritual power over those who threaten to harm the harmony and peace of the world.


Related on The Swaddle:

Reimagining Witchcraft as a Refuge for Marginalized Groups


Another way to look at witchcraft’s popularity is that it is a means to express rebellion against unjust cultures. Witches who hexed Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh may have done so as a rebellion against a culture steeped in misogyny and women’s fear. Recently, when young witches hexed the moon and the gods of health and medicine, they may just have registered a rebellion against the pandemic.

As of now, both science and the witch community confirmed that hexing the moon is not going to mess with the tides or anything else the moon controls. Potentially, the only fallout that this hex might cause is troubling the emotional attachment certain witches feel to the moon. Amid living exhausting lives in an increasingly unstable world, believing in sacred rituals and presence of a powerful being provides a means to cope and make sense of one’s surroundings. As long as it is done with knowledge and respect for the cultures that created these spiritual practices, a hex is a great way to make a point and won’t harm anyone.

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Written By Aditi Murti

Aditi Murti is the senior culture writer at The Swaddle, with an interest in cultural analysis, environment, and the science of mental health.  Write to her using aditi@theswaddle.com, or find her on social media @aditimurti.

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