Dozens of witches say they plan to gather in New York City this month to hex Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was sworn in to the nation’s highest court last week despite facing several allegations of sexual misconduct.
Dakota Bracciale, a Brooklyn-based witch who is organizing the Oct. 20 event, said the witches see the hex as a radical act of resistance that continues witchcraft’s long history as a refuge and weapon for the “oppressed, downtrodden and marginalized.”
“Witchcraft has been used throughout history as a tool and ally for people on the fringes of society who will not ever really get justice through the powers that be,” Bracciale told HuffPost. “So they have to exact their own justice.”
Bracciale, who organized three hexes against President Donald Trump last year, said the ritual is meant to be cathartic for victims of sexual assault. Kavanaugh will apparently be a focal point for the hex, but not the only target. The public hex is meant to exact revenge on “all rapists and the patriarchy at large which emboldens, rewards and protects them,” a Facebook page dedicated to the event states.
Days before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, California professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she was “100 percent” certain Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in the 1980s when they were both in high school. Two other women also came forward with sexual misconduct allegations against the then-nominee for the high court. Kavanaugh denied the allegations against him.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation unleashed a wave of anger from survivors of sexual assault. Many believed it sent a harmful message to victims ― suggesting that even if they are praised as “credible,” as Ford was, their assailants will still escape punishment.
Bracciale said Kavanaugh’s confirmation was more proof that survivors of sexual assault may not get the justice they need by going through the courts, and that the hex is about “exacting justice that would otherwise be denied to you.”
Hexes are “not something you do lightly,” Bracciale added, “but it is something you have in your arsenal or toolbox.”
Bracciale said a hex is fundamentally different from a “binding” spell, which is about trying to block someone from doing something and limits others’ agency. A hex is a more direct attack that treats its target as an equal in a supernatural fistfight, Bracciale said.
While some modern-day witches are opposed to the idea of placing hexes or curses on others because of the potential harm it could cause, Bracciale said witches who claim witchcraft is all about “good vibes and good thoughts” don’t have “an existence that calls for this type of thing.”
“But many of us do,” Bracciale said. “Witchcraft was always practiced by people who were cast out, harmed by society and had to make their own way.”
The hexing ritual is scheduled to take place at Catland, an occult bookstore and spiritual community space in Brooklyn. It will involve photos and effigies of Kavanaugh, Bracciale said, along with graveyard dirt and coffin nails.
The exact spells spoken during the ritual will be determined by the needs of the group that assembles for the hex, Bracciale said, explaining that some people may want to add words that place a hex on their rapists or abusive partners.
About 1,000 people say they have plans to attend the sold-out event, which only has a capacity for 60. Catland is planning to livestream the hex and distribute instructions on social media for people who want to replicate the ritual at home.
Half of Catland’s proceeds from the event will be donated to Planned Parenthood and the Ali Forney Center, a New York City shelter for homeless LGBTQ youth.
While many at the event will likely believe in the power of the hex to harm to its target, Bracciale said the event will probably also attract secular people who are drawn by the sense of community the ritual creates.
“Even if you don’t believe in the magic of it, you’re given the space and the affirmation, having your voice heard, feeling a sense of fellowship and camaraderie,” Bracciale said. “We’re putting out the message that you’re not alone, we’re not leaving you alone with the monsters.”