Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


French Studies

Reader 1

Nathalie Rachlin

Reader 2

Emilie Carrigou-Kempton

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Rights Information

© 2019 Alexandra E Rivera


Witches and pagans have long faced historical persecution from the Catholic church and other patriarchal systems of power. In the eyes of mainstream society, they have been reduced to fragments of ancient history and entertaining media stereotypes. Real practitioners of witchcraft and paganism have remained fairly marginalized and trapped in the shadows, but this is starting to change. Witches and pagans have begun to involve themselves in large-scale political movements, combining spiritual power with direct action. While this phenomenon has a longer track record in the United States, in France it is extremely new. France is a country that has an even deeper history of pagan origins and Inquisition witch trials, wih a currently conflicted religious dynamic of being both secular and Catholic. Therefore, the reclamation and practice of witchcraft within an activist setting has even more revolutionary significance. Because the basic tenets of most witch and pagan spiritualities emphasizes fighting oppression, witchcraft has attracted marginalized groups, especially the LGBT community. The occult offers valuable new ways of examining activism and social justice using spirituality and magic.