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An Interview with Michael M. Hughes

1. Your new book is Magic for the Resistance. What inspired you to write this book, at this time?

Like many people, I was increasingly horrified by what I saw happening after Donald Trump's election. I wanted to do something to push back against the daily nightmare of attacks on things I care about—the environment, immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, reproductive rights—but I wasn't sure if the same old approaches, like protest marches, were the best way to energize people. I mean, they're important, absolutely, but in our new surreal Trumpian dystopia I felt any response that was going to get through the jaded media had to be surreal and unusual, too.

As someone who has been practicing magic my entire adult life, I thought a spell, especially a mass spell that was simple but direct, might be a novel way to help others express their dissent and resistance. I simply had no idea how many people would respond to that idea.

2. Magic for the Resistance includes spells for change and social justice for a wide range of causes, from LGBTQ+ rights to racial equality and women's rights. From where did you draw your inspiration for the spells and rituals?

I've practiced an eclectic form of magic for many years, based on study of a large number of traditions, including witchcraft, chaos magic, ceremonial Qabalistic magic, neo-shamanism, New Thought, and folk traditions like Hoodoo. Since I have always been an activist, it made sense to utilize magic to advance the causes I care about. And I always try to make my spells adaptable to a large number of traditions, because I believe the majority of us are working to make our society more just, fair, and inclusive. So if you're a Wiccan, a traditional witch, an unaffiliated Pagan, or even a Christian, you can adapt any of the spells to work for your particular practice.

3. Can anyone use the spells in the book, or is a magical background needed?

That's the beauty of this book—anyone can work with the rituals within it. You don't need to be experienced, and it is written for beginners as well as longtime magical practitioners. One of the most wonderful and heartening things the Trump spell did was introduce a lot of people to magic and rituals. So many people said, "Why not? I'll try anything to stop what this man is doing to my country." So many of them discovered their power and the utility of ritual and have kept at it. The book is very newbie friendly and covers a lot of basic ideas and techniques, but it doesn't talk down to those with years of experience.

4. What do you hope your readers will take away from Magic for the Resistance?

I hope readers will realize that magic is not just about themselves and making their lives better, but can be utilized to make the world better. Life is political, so magic, too, is political. Even better, doing magic to heal others and your world heals you in the process. We are living in a time of great turmoil in which liberal democratic values are under attack by a rising tide of authoritarianism, nationalism, xenophobia, and racism. Our planet is rapidly warming and ecosystems are in upheaval. The earth needs us. As Pagans, our spirituality is based in our connection to the natural world, so we must be its defenders.

For too long, politics and spirituality have been a toxic mix associated with the religious right. Now it's time for progressive, compassionate Pagans and magical people to show our brothers and sisters that we, too, can apply our spirituality in defense of ourselves and our allies and the planet upon which we live. So mote it be!

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About Michael M. Hughes

Michael M. Hughes (Baltimore, MD) is an author, speaker, magical thinker, and activist. He is the creator of the internationally viral "Spell to Bind Donald Trump and All Those Who Abet Him," the largest magical working in ...

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