Ana Matronic, best known from her role as lead vocalist with Scissor Sisters, has joined forces with local artists and activists in New York to create the Crystal Ball, a night of magic, music, and community in aid of PAI, an organization protecting reproductive rights all over the world. The Crystal Ball is the first event by WAFT - Witches Against Fascist Totalitarianism and will be held on March 19th at House of Yes in Brooklyn.
We caught up with Ana while she was flyering for the Crystal Ball in Bushwick, and found out the origins of WAFT and the significance of witches in Trump's America.
"WAFT was formed in a minivan on the way back from the Women's March," Ana says. "I'm part of a group of people who throw wizard and witch themed parties, and we had talked for years about doing one in public. After the amazing experience of the Women's March, we were all really fired up and thinking about what more we can do. In a time when we really need to fight against this fascist spirit invading and infecting society and being normalized, we need to politicize everything we do." They thought it was time to take the wizards public and "come out of the broom closet", while making it community and activist based, and also raising money for the groups affected by the Trump administration.
The proceeds from the Crystal Ball will go to Population Action International, which provides reproductive health services around the planet. "Everything America does has repercussions throughout the entire world," Ana says. "Trump not only reinstated the Global Gag rule, he also expanded it. This is going to cause death — through HIV, tuberculosis, botched abortions — so many different things that can be avoided. Any organization that's being affected by Trump policies, we need to gather and support them. They're out there doing this work, and there's a million ways to engage and get active. WAFT wants to present a way to get active, and we encourage everyone to do same in their own circle. We have to care for each other, we have to care for the planet, we can't close any boundaries."
Witches and witch symbolism are in the spotlight more than ever in the last few months, and Ana feels that resistance against the Trump administration is at the heart of this resurgence. "The term 'witch' has been used to marginalize people throughout history, so when you adopt that term for yourself there's a certain amount of defiance that goes along with it. When you say 'Yeah, I'm a fucking witch,' there's a certain 'fuck you' to that." Ana says. "Witches tend to be on the fringes of society; they don't live or think or work or believe along with the mainstream, and when Republicans are in power it's incredibly important to maintain that defiant attitude."
"When you take on the mantle of the witch you stand for education, the earth, and people of all ages — particularly the elderly, children and mothers. You believe not only in people getting together to express themselves spirituality but also in a direct connection to the spiritual yourself. So to me, when you use the word 'witch' you talk about so many different things. Putting on a pointy hat and a cape right now is a great context for people to come together. In putting on the costume and getting involved in something that's intended to run at a high vibration, you shed a lot of your ego in the process. Along with fighting and resisting, we need care, love and communing; it's a way for us to join our circle with others and way to expand our community."
As a practitioner of magic herself, Ana heard about the Mass Binding Spell on Trump that took place a few weeks back but didn't take part in it, as she doesn't believe in binding spells. "I see it as high and low magic, rather than black and white magic, and the intention behind binding is to stop or afflict or curse. In my practice, it's more beneficial to think what you want to get back. Whether you believe in karma, the threefold law, or tenfold return, if you put out binding, cursing or hexing you can expect to be bound, cursed and hexed in return." She would rather send out more positive intentions. "For example, a love spell for trans youth who feel they need to be protected is a more beneficial type of magic to me personally, and runs at a higher vibration than a curse or a hex."
Ana's best advice for witches opposed to and suffering under the current administration is to "have your people on speed-dial. Put your favorite witches in your phone and check in with your people. My sister in law is a fantastic person; she lives 10 minutes away from me and we get together to make bread, write our senators and representatives, and we keep that line of communication open. In addition to fighting, protesting and writing letters, being there for each other is just as important."
Along with card readers and palm readers, the Crystal Ball will also host some important local activist organizations that attendees can get involved with, including Lady Parts Justice, The Feminist Press, and representatives of CUNY School of Law's CLEAR project, which provides legal advice and representation to Muslim, Arab, South Asian and other communities in New York City who are affected by counter-terrorism policies and practices. Some of the incredible performers on the night include Witch Camp: Nath Ann Carrera and Amber Martin, Javier Ninja, Bridget Barkan, Bleue Liverpool, Daisy Press, and WAFT core members Corey Harris and Juan-Carlos Castro, as well as the amazing House of Yes aerialists. There will also be lights by Ana's husband Seth Kirby, and Brock Monroe of the Joshua Light Show. At midnight, Ana herself will host a witch-themed cabaret with Severely Mame, before taking over DJ duty into the early hours.
The Crystal Ball promises to be a totally inclusive event, open to "people of all ethnicities and gender expressions, witches and wizards, magical creatures, shamans, healers, mystics, kindred spirits, and members of all (or no) faiths."
"WAFT is into creating what we call 'new and open source tradition'," Ana says. "We want people to get involved in making intersectional, inclusionary traditions. If your soul is offended by the Trump administration come to the Crystal Ball and we'll hug you. The world is not black and white. It's full of color, shade, and nuance. There's no going back-- we can't be painted in black and white anymore. All I can say is it has to become more intersectional, it has to become more inclusionary. Otherwise, we're done."
Join Ana Matronic and Witches Against Fascist Totalitarianism at The Crystal Ball at the House of Yes, 2 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn on Sunday, 19th March, at 10pm. Tickets are available here.
Top Photo by Suki Dhanda
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