Katherine Bradford, Julie Curtiss, Jessie Homer French, Cy Gavin, Anna Glantz, Sanam Khatibi, Rainen Knecht, Lazaros, Nicky Lesser, Ana Mendieta, Walter Price, Anna Sew Hoy, Marianne Vitale
“W.I.T.C.H. is an all-women Everything. It’s theater, revolution, magic, terror, joy, garlic flowers, spells. It’s an awareness that witches and gypsies were the original guerrillas and resistance fighters against oppression — particularly the oppression of women — down through the ages. Witches have always been women who dared to be: groovy, courageous, aggressive, intelligent, nonconformist, explorative, curious, independent, sexually liberated, revolutionary (This possibly explains why nine million of them have been burned.) Witches were the first Friendly Heads and Dealers, the first birth-control practitioners and abortionists, the first alchemists. They bowed to no man, being the living remnants of the oldest culture of all — one in which men and women were equal sharers in a truly cooperative society, before the death-dealing sexual, economic, and spiritual repression of the Imperialist Phallic Society took over and began to destroy nature and human society.” – Excerpt from the W.I.T.C.H.* manifesto written in 1968
* Brazenly anarchist, anti-hierarchal, and wildly playful, W.I.T.C.H. was a female-led collective, including members of all genders, that engaged in political and surrealist protest actions in the late 1960s – 70s. Although poorly documented and understudied, the group was principally associated with the Women’s Liberation Movement and its acronym would change according to the group’s needs. It was also one of the first collectives to link the international history of witchcraft (worldwide traditions include Vodun of West Africa, Vodou of the Caribbean, Santería of Cuba, Santa Muerte of Mexico, Hoodoo of the Southern U.S., Shamanism of Asia, Stregheria of Italy, Wicca of England and much more) to political activism and the relentless fight for civil rights. This history, powered by female leadership, craft, and medicine, can be traced as far back as 2nd Century writings on Hecate: the Hellenic goddess of light, entrance-ways, knowledge of herbs and poisonous plants, magic and moons.