On June 5, Mikayla Pevey cast protection spells alone in her room for the Black Lives Matter protesters. As she lit candles and recited chants, 5,000 people were watching.
“It was a really surreal moment,” she said of her TikTok livestream. “It was so nice to see that there are people from all over wanting to help.”
Pevey is a prominent member of the massive witch community on TikTok, commonly referred to as “WitchTok.”
Pevey’s livestream gathered fellow WitchTok creators together during the full moon to cast protective spells and raise money. It was one of many events that have helped turn the WitchTok community from a gathering place to share spells to an organized movement for fierce political mobilization.
Witches are mobilizing for equality
After feeling like she needed to use her platform to speak up, Pevey created the hashtag #WitchesForBLM. Within five days, the hashtag had 1 million views; in less than two months, it now has more than 32 million.
“Being a witch is inherently political,” said Frankie Wilkin, a WitchTok creator who has more than 350,000 followers. “Therefore we have to stand with those kinds of groups that are also marginalized.”
Wilkin not only contributed her own livestream for the #WitchesForBLM movement but also cast protection spells and raised money for Native American protestors at Mount Rushmore. Another WitchTok creator, Mycah Westhoff, created a Discord server where she offered her 38,000 followers tarot card readings in exchange for donations to BLM organizations.
‘All activism in magic has to be backed by action.’
Westhoff said the community’s events on TikTok have garnered a surprising amount of support from non-witch groups.
This is in part because of the app’s format — users typically scroll through the For You page, a feed of videos TikTok has curated for them based on previous videos the users have interacted with. So even if you don’t follow any WitchTok creators, you still might see their content.
“There’s a lot of acceptance I’ve seen that we haven’t experienced before,” Westhoff said, specifically referencing Christian groups that have stumbled upon her videos.
Wilkin described one particularly heartwarming video she saw of Christians praying in solidarity during one of her livestreams.
“It was a very sweet moment because it kind of brought together two very opposing communities,” she said.
Battling the backlash — and hexes
But as support increased, so did the backlash. After Wilkin reposted the video of the Christian TikTok users praying, it “opened up a floodgate.” She said an anti-witchcraft group found her IP address and doxxed her.
Pevey had a similar experience when her videos appeared on For You feeds of racist TikTokers.
“I got so many white supremacists in my DMs,” she said, prompting her to take a brief break from the app.
“I got so many white supremacists in my DMs”
Pevey and Wilkin have also faced pushback within their own community, where the consequences go beyond DMs. According to Wilkin, she gets hexed about once a month from witches who disagree with her content.
Pevey claims she was a target of a mass hex on WitchTok creators; she said she knows she’s been hexed when she suffers a sudden “inconvenience,” like her candle holder breaking.
Pevey said most WitchTok creators deal with being hexed at one point or another. As Wilkins put it, “I’m kind of used to it.”
None of them let the fear of hexing restrict their activism. WitchTok creator Dimitri Parker said he’s been hexed before, but it’s nothing he can’t handle.
“I’m going to say what I say and mean when I say it, and if you don’t like it, then […] there’s the door,” he said. He added that, just in case, he lights a protection candle during the day and sets up protective wards around his home.
Wilkin said the criticism they receive is usually based on misunderstanding, like people disregarding their activism as nothing more than “spicy thoughts and prayers.” On the contrary, many WitchTok creators are adamant about taking steps beyond spellwork to make a change.
“All activism in magic has to be backed by action,” Westhoff said. “We can’t just do magic — you have to do the legwork to make something happen.”
Wilkin has similar instructions for the audience of her livestreams.
“Before you do any spell work, I better see you guys donating,” she tells her viewers. “This isn’t just something where we can say a couple of chants and change systemic racism.”
For both Wilkin and Westhoff — and many WitchTok creators — recent events are just the beginning. They said they’re determined to keep using their WitchTok platforms to advocate for sustainable change.
“Online presence is activism,” Westhoff said. “We are coming into a new era of magic where online spaces are more important now than ever.”
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