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Naming myself witch


By Anna Hill

As a kid I desperately wanted to be a witch. Now I’m grown up (kinda…) and I am one! I was always fascinated by the idea of witchcraft, but it was only in January 2017 that I really decided to dedicate time to witchcraft and develop my own practice. I think my first witch was The Worst Witch, and then the next were from Harry Potter. I vaguely remember that when I was five I wore a beautiful black and gold velvet dress to be Hermione Granger to go and see the first film in the cinema. I was so proud to be dressed as such a powerful magical girl. I’ve come a long way since then, in terms of perspective, age, understanding, dress sense and more. Despite this, that core spark that draws me to witchcraft stays the same: femme power.

Before I talk more about my witch identity I just want to be clear – being a witch is not the same thing as being a wiccan. Of course, you can be a wiccan witch, but you could also be a Jewish Witch, or a witch of any other faith (or no faith). Secondly, there are many ways to be a witch, many different paths to choose (or not choose) from. Examples of these might be an Eclectic Witch, or a Kitchen Witch, or a Solitary Witch (here’s a video about 13 types (although there are many more!)). Lastly, you don’t need anything to be/come a witch – if you want to be or decide you are a witch, then that is what you are! You don’t need to spend money on anything (unless you really want to, of course)!!

Dodie Bellamy once wrote that “the monstrous and the formless have as much right as anybody else,” and this quote – I think – speaks to the core of how I make magic and how I make sure to centre my rage, ugliness, and wildness in my craft. I feel very lucky to be able to share my energies within a coven, although not all witches do practice in groups. My coven is a space of care and sharing, where we practice collective self-care and validate the shit out of each other – both in terms of our traumas and our victories. The solidarity and inspiration I feel from practicing with such a lovely group of strong, interesting and open people helps me survive under the oppressive hellscape we live in.

Being a witch to me is also about seeing and stoking my own inner power and using it to make the world better and to heal/endure my sometimes sad, always queer life (and yes, I do believe cursing people is a valid way to engage with magic). Naming myself as witch is a way to mark out that I should be feared because I am vengeful and emotional, I am fluid and free.

Witchcraft, and specifically the eclectic type of witchcraft I practice, is also very accessible to me as a disabled person. I am in control of what I do and can adapt or create spells and rituals that need only small amounts of energy or that don’t require me to stand up for long periods of time. Being a witch whilst you’re sick is also a way to contribute to the revolution(s) even if you can’t leave your house, or even your bed.

To me, being a witch is about making sense of myself; using magical tools to understand myself and find wisdom. Through tarot, for example, I can figure out potential ways to change my behaviour or perspective on topics or my future/past/present. Naming myself as Witch is also an invitation to look closer at the world, and noticing is a kind of worship. “Looking closer” includes re-examining my identities, holding myself accountable, working towards self acceptance – and maybe even self love.

Being a witch allows me to trust in something or somethings, whether that’s my own inner power, the moon’s protection, the earth, my coven, or even the stars. I’m a Capricorn, so I feel connected (and often disconnected) to the Earth. I’m also invested in a kind of activism that centres our roots; the lineages of survival of mad and queer people. Naming myself as witch is a way to resist dominant toxic ideologies and instead focus on the “smaller” things, on the histories and people who are erased and hurt, and to lift them and myself up.

Being a witch is fun! The joy I take in my practice is radical too; it keeps me alive, it keeps me connected, it gives me a vocabulary and even a culture that helps me enjoy life and my friends. The art of my witch identity is inspiring – I make zines and watch art that is about, or is, actual witchcraft and it’s fun and exciting and close to me. Naming myself as witch is a way to see the beauty in the world and the beauty in being alive and present.

With all that being said, it can be overwhelming to know where to start with your own craft so I have compiled some resources that I hope will be helpful to you!

Cool resources/people to follow and check out

For those interested in activism and witchcraft

the yerbamala collective

This is an incredible anonymous collective who create and share words and poetry and artwork that is about countering fascism (focused in the US). They release these incredible and powerful spell books and encourage other witches to make their own as forms of antifascism!!

YOUWILLNOTWIN is my favourite spell book, but they are all incredible! You can see links to all the documents here.


I’ve written about W.I.T.C.H before, but it is basically an international witch group, with anonymous branches in various places, fighting against oppression of all kinds. On the starter groups website (W.I.T.C.H. PDX)  it says this: “A single witch is a dangerous outlier. A coven is a force to be reckoned with. An international circle of witches is unstoppable.” For more inspiration and witchy activist art check our their winter 2017 zine here!

For those interested in tarot

Little Red Tarot

This is the best tarot resource I’ve found online so far!! Not only does the blog try to centre marginalised, and especially queer, voices, Little Red Tarot is a cute shop based in the UK (really helpful if you are looking to buy some independent tarot decks but you can’t afford shipping from the US). There are some regular columnists on Little Red Tarot and my two favourites are called See the Cripple Dance by Maranda Elizabeth (about disability and tarot, generally) and Heathen’s Journey by Abbie Plouff (about Runes).

Other specific folks to check out:

Asali Earthwork

Maranda Elizabeth – especially their zines Telegram #36 and Telegram #38.

I really like this tumblr although it hasn’t been updated in a little while!

For those interested in astrology/horoscopes

Chani Nicholas writes amazing horoscopes and I personally love Mask Magazine’s monthly poetic and radical horoscopes written by Corina Dross!

General people to follow/information

To ensure your witch practice isn’t culturally insensitive or appropriative I would recommend firstly doing your own research and also checking out this zine as a starting point!

Haylin’s beautiful and gentle witchy newsletter is a must read – it often focuses on the moon cycles and rituals of self care.

The Hoodwitch, or Bri, has a great website

Two Witchblrs (witch tumblrs) to check out: Wishful Witchy and The Witchy Stuff.

PBG’s Top Queer/Feminist books 2017

1 we are never meeting in real life the militant baker samantha irby jes baker

By Anna Hill

Do you like feminist and queer books? I’ve read some really incredible stuff this year – some are just new to me in 2017 and some were published in 2017!

We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samanth Irby

I read this at the very beginning of the summer and it was so enjoyable, incredibly funny and heart warming. It had me crying and laughing regularly. I also loved the honesty with which Samantha Irby talked about her life as a marginalised person – the book is a collection of personal essays basically talking informally about Irby’s life as a queer poor fat black woman and about life (lessons) in general. Some of it was so relatable! Some of it was a little heartbreaking and tender in this very self-depreciating voice.

Irby is so so funny and I would 100% recommend this to everyone but especially people who enjoy reading memoirs by women. There is some cissexism, especially in the first chapter and ableist slurs used throughout as well as some depictions of abuse, vomiting and drug/alcohol use.

The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson

This is such an incredible book!! It’s a mix of memoir and queer theory and it focuses a lot on pregnancy and motherhood. Nelson’s style is really poetic and the work she does in making space for motherhood to realise its queer potential is really beautiful, and I personally found it pretty accessible.

Her work comes down to a discussion about caring, how we care, who cares for us – that’s something we all need to consider within our lives. Never to undermine or erase carers or care work but also to see the radical potential mothering has. I really think all feminists should read this and also all queer theorists – most of whom love to misogynistically disregard mothers as heteronormative and disregard people with wombs as irrelevant to true queer futures!! Which they aren’t!!

Sea-witch Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Never Angel North

Sea-Witch Volume 1: May She Lay us Waste is an experimental trans-memoir graphic novel about love, community, girl-ness and pain. It speaks to the experience of Sara and the time she spent living inside a witch god named Sea-Witch. It’s also about family and Sea-Witch’s community of sisters and the 78 Men Who Cause Pain (78MWCP) via making laws and being cops and fighting against so called monsters like Sea-Witch. The story is told through scribbles and sigils, words, quotes, drawings and photographs.

Sea-Witch Volume 2: Girldirt Angelfog is just as weird, interesting and beautiful as the first one! Both are so expansive and monstrous, creative and painful, confusing and challenging. The second volume continues Sara’s journey but linear narratives aren’t particularly important to Never Angel North, who is such a fearless breathless author.

These books are for all the freaks who love mythology and all the sapphic witches and lovers of the sea. Its for all the people invested in caring for one another and in creating and sharing hope even in the face of holding pain.

I was lucky enough to read the second volume via pdf because I support Never on patreon, I would just say its difficult to content warn for this series because it so tumultuous and open but there is definite discussion about trauma and pain laced throughout both volumes. I’m so excited for the third volume to come out in 2018!!!

Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang

Small Beauty is a short but poignant and affecting novel about grief, processing and ghosts. The book tells the soft and introspective story of Mei, a mixed race trans girl, whilst she is mourning and evolving, unearthing the lives and deaths of some of her relatives. Its also about this deep love and community, about support and identity, rage and, yes, sorrow too. The writing is subtle and quiet and lyrical – I marked so many of its pages because I found it so beautiful.

The novel is an own voices story and it consistently refuses to cater to cisgender people, Mei isn’t forced into narratives that eroticise or fetishise or simplify what being trans is like and Mei and all the other characters, including a transphobic dyke, are treated with forgiveness and represented with nuance. It’s a book for folks who are growing but not grown and for those who are new to adulthood. Content warnings for grief and death as well as a depiction of a transmisogynistic physical assault on pages 66-67.

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

This year I became invested and interested in care and mothering in a way I never was before and as such I couldn’t resist listening (via audiobook) to this novel about a woman named Yejide and her husband, Akin, trying to get pregnant and have a family together.

This was on the shortlist for the baileys women prize for fiction and that’s how I became aware of it, and I’m glad I did! It’s a very readable book chronicling tragedies and peaks in Yejide’s attempts to create a family and its complex representations of the behaviours and wishes of people are interesting and emotional. The prose is animated and so is the dialogue – it’s a very enthralling if sorrowful read. 

Power And Magic : The Queer Witch Comic Anthology edited by Joamette Gil

I loved this comic anthology so much!! All the comics are centered around queer witches, were made by women, demigirls and bigender writers and illustrators of colour. The 15 different comics all vary in tone and size. Some are adorable and sweet and others are sad but powerful or healing and kind, they cover themes of love, community, family and recovery.

My favourites were Your Heart Is An Apple by Nivedita Sekar which was a fairytale inspired love story including an ex-mermaid who was now a cane user and a girl with an apple for a heart. I cried at its utter loveliness. I also really enjoyed As The Roots Undo by Joamette Gil, especially the line “They called her witch. I called her moon.” And lastly the tender and gorgeous Songbird for a vulture by Naomi Franquiz. There are content warnings for each story on the contents page.

Here’s to a 2018 filled with beautiful, educational and healing reading!! If you want to diversify your reading in the new year you could continue looking for suggestions via this list of books to be published in 2018 by women of colour!

Happy Playland webseries review

happy playland

By Anna Hill

Do you like musicals? And stories that centre women loving women? Then oh boy is this the webseries for you!! Made by the incredible Candle Wasters who have also made great and queer inclusive adaptations of the Shakespeare plays A Midsummer Nights Dream, as BRIGHT SUMMER NIGHT, Much Ado About Nothing as Nothing Much To Do and Love’s Labour Lost as Lovely Little Losers. Their latest creation is the brightest and most charming of them all!

Happy Playland is the story of 3 people (Billie, Cris & Zara) who work at a children’s play gym – one of those ones you might have played in as a child; with a ball pit and obstacle courses and climbing nets. The story is told in multiple ways – from social networks outside of youtube (namely Cris’ Instagram) as well as within the episodes themselves. Sometimes we glimpse Billie’s internal monologue, or her dream. In another episode Cris is on skype but she’s present within the shot and it works really well – Cris even has a whole song in another episode where she orchestrates some romantic entanglements and narrates them, dancing the whole time. The webseries also shows a really sensitive and accurate representation of what anxiety looks like for some people, which was a bittersweet surprise!

For someone who is interested in arts I found a lot that reflected my experience in terms of chasing my own dreams. I am currently part of an art collective, so when Billie says her parents said that “anything with the word collective in it wasn’t a real job” it hit pretty close to home! How do you “follow your dreams” without losing people you love? And the discussion of success and anxiety was really pertinent too – the idea that you have to “be successful to make it worth it” has made me consider how I approach my own artistic success (whatever that means!).

The characters are so enjoyable to watch and the dialogue is funny and relatable. Zara and Billie are a lot more fleshed out than Cris but in some ways that’s refreshing because Cris is the token straight character in the series. She’s helpful in furthering the development of the two queer women together and is also some comedic relief – mimicking the way that queer characters are often used (and dehumanised!) in mainstream plots.

The aesthetics of the show are super fun! A riot of colours! With each character loosely wearing one of the primary colours (so Billie is yellow, Zara is red and Cris is blue), the clothing and colours make the whole show even more alive and vibrant (plus I have fringe envy over Billie’s cool punk pink/black hair).

The music in the show is melodic and varied and there are some really intense moments that show how talented everyone involved is! The harmonies are really great and the lyrics are generally painfully relatable and/or funny. You can listen to the music here. My favourite songs I think are I’ll Be Here and For Once and also maybe Stop and Think!! (this is hard, they are all so good and fun)

One of my favourite lines comes from Zara: “she talks in all lowercase letters, do you know how sexy that is? that’s like the modern day equivalent of Marilyn Monroe breathing too much when she talks”. This show was probably made for me – a lowercase writer, a queer femme musical lover; its so incredibly awkward and enjoyable (I think lots of us will have felt like the “stakes are too high forgotten how to flirt”). The bittersweetness of the way it represents relationships is what has brought me back to it to watch over and over again.

The literature of hope #2


By Anna Hill

Sorry for the 8 month break this series took, but hope is a pretty scarce resource when the whole world is on fire. But I’m back and ready to share some hopeful bits and bobs with you. Hopefully you can find something that nourishes you and renews your faith in yourself and your community.

Happy playland – webseries

If you like musicals and queer girl love this is the webseries for you!! Made by the incredible candle wasters (who previously have made adaptations of the Shakespeare plays a midsummer nights dream and much ado about nothing), it explores billie, cris and zara’s relationships as they work at Happy Playland – a kids playground in its last few weeks of being open. Its also about anxiety and following your dreams and is so wholesome! Definitely an incredibly cute relief to the absolute horror that being alive is.

Amandla Stenberg’s video on Teen Vogue – “You Are Here”

Amandla has made this really sweet and calming video. It’s a very soothing thing to watch. Its also a lovely reminder to check in with yourself about how you are and how your body is doing. A space for you to listen to Amandla’s voice and remember that you deserve self kindness and comfort.


W.I.T.C.H PDX is a branch of an international witch conspiracy fighting against oppression of all kinds, inspired by the 1960s group of the same name. From their website:




They even have information about how to set up your own W.I.T.C.H. group, with three simple rules: you must be anonymous, intersectional and differentiate your group with the name of your city – so if that sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to do it! There is so much power in witchcraft and community!

On top of their general inspiring amazingness they also fairly recently came out with a zine which I proceeded to print and stick to my walls! I would definitely recommend you do so too!!

radical softness by soofiya

this tiny poetry book is full of vulnerable, poignant poems and inspiring images. It’s about survival and self love, post traumatic stress disorder, resistance, domestic violence, gardens and swimming and much more. Its also funny too – one of my favourite poems is this one:

I prayed to Allah

to make me special.

I wanted superpowers


God gave me a hormonal imbalance

I think if you like rupi kaur’s book milk and honey that you will enjoy this collection too!

Audre Lorde – A litany for survival poem

(it’s the first poem in the pdf file this link takes you to)

my favourite lines are the last three, but the whole poem is a glorious reminder of how we have survived and how resilient we are. How we can get through this because we have!!

So it is better to speak


we were never meant to survive

I hope you found these helpful! Sending you resistance and power!!

You can read the first literature of hope post here.

The literature of hope – a new series


By Anna Hill

What exactly is hope? And how can we use it to keep going in the face of oppression, fear and trauma? I don’t have a solid answer for the first question (except maybe the words “warm yellow light” like physically, but also in ur soul), and as for the second I think there are a lot or resources that discuss this very topic! In this new series, created in response to my own rising hopelessness (coupled with my mental and physical illnesses) in the face of Brexit, Donald Trump and the continuing rise of fascism throughout Europe, I am going to highlight different texts (including films, books, articles, paintings and so on) that focus on Hope.

To start the series here are some emergency hope pills in the form of a comic, a non fiction book, an article and a twitter thread:

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

This book was offered for free after the American election and so has sprung up again, although it was written during the Bush administration (so around 2003/4).

Solnit explores what is powerful about hope and I think its important to cultivate that – even if hope feels like lipstick you don’t like wearing, or an uncomfortable jumper, its in the interest of the political elite [those who benefit and uphold the current structures of power [like Donald trump]] to keep us hopeless. Because without hope there will not be energy or vigour in our protests, in our resistance. You can start with a baby step towards hope, you can start by looking after yourself, by hoping for a kinder world, for justice, for peace.

“Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.” – foreward to the third edition, 2015

How To Be Ungovernable

I recently read this article and I thought I would mention it because it’s important – I think I sometimes forget what noncompliance can and does look like, so this was a good reminder. Share the article as much as you can so you can be ungovernable too. Fascism shouldn’t be given a platform and we need to do our best to disrupt and fuck it up as much as we can. It’s amazing how people are organised. You can do this. You. Can. Resist.

This Fuck Theory Twitter Thread

This twitter thread made me do a 180 on my own approach to hope, political action and queer theory! This is, in part, because I am a massive theory dork, especially with queer theory – but anyone who has read queer theory can tell you it’s a pretty dismal world view.

Queer theory hinges on futurity – that is that queerness will only be redeemed in the future, that we will always strive for queerness but never get there and the death drive i.e the will to die – that is such negativity that death and loss and pain are the only queer things and the only pure resistance to heteronormativity that you can put up with. Theory is only useful if it can be used on the streets – but if this theory is used politically on the streets then queer people are in even more danger than usual. Being invested in your own survival and happiness is not “buying into” heteronormativity and capitalism, it’s necessary if you want to stay alive. Glorifying death, loss and horizons is theoretically interesting but in the present day it fucks over a lot of people and discourages them from taking part in politics and imagining a world that we CAN get to that allows more of us to be free and to cared for. Your joy is radical! Cultivate it! Share it!

The Movement by Gail Simone and [readable in full here]

This comic book series is one of the best I have ever read! It has, in true DC fashion, been stopped only 12 issues into the series, HOWEVER, what we do have is wonderful. The comic is about 6 homeless teen vigilantes who care for a neighbourhood in coral city. They call themselves the Movement and are basically fighting against police brutality – the issue starts with a policeman being sexually violent against a young girl, who is then protected by The Movement and who then try to take the policeman and put them on trial on their own court.

The lead members of the movement are a great mix of people (which is basically accuracy tbh) – some of the group are survivors of abuse, some are physically and/or mentally ill, many of them are queer, some are immigrants, some are poor, most of the group are women! The group as a whole is lead by an incredibly powerful, wondrous black girl named Virtue. Plus there is an Aromantic, Asexual character!!! Cannonly!! This is what a resistance team actually looks like! And I think that’s why it gives me such hope – rather than shifting a story of fighting against evil through a white cis middle class straight boy (looking at you Harry Potter), it is a story we can legitimately dream ourselves into. When I wrote my notes on why I loved this I wrote in capital letters: JUSTICE, REVENGE, COMMUNITY. Which I think sums it up nicely!

(As I said this series does start with sexual violence which is alluded to/replayed throughout the first six or so issues – so if you can’t deal with that I would skip this. The comic is also, on the whole pretty bloody and violent, so stay safe and stay away if you need to.)

That’s it from the first instalment of the literature of hope, hopefully some of my fellow PBGers will contribute so we can create a bank of warm yellow light for each other when our own resolves are low.

What gives you hope? Let me know! I’m on twitter @_lily_luna_

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