On October, Andrea Valencia made the video conference ‘The sorority within Cali’s female artist scene’ at the Taller Muros Gilberto in Cali, Colombia. The video conferenced emitted from Lisbon, Portugal, aimed to all women who answered the call, reunited in the warm of a chocolatada, to converse about relevant issues that befall to contemporary witches.
In the meeting room at Muros Gilberto, witches from every corner of Cali started to arrive at the conference. The herbal scent that flooded the room comforted the spirit of every single one of the attendants to the event. One of the members of Las Brujas study group, the founder of the company Amor Silvestre ritualist Natalia Izquierdo, prepared the ambient of the conference by using, one of the most diverse ways of phytotherapy, the odour of incent.
As part of the conference ritual, there was a display of incents in one of the meeting room’s tables. Those incenses were prepared using a Native-American technique learned by Natalia, who explained that the dehydration technique applied to herbs by Native-Americans is the best way to preserve their properties.
The ritualist explained that one of those incense, Amargo (bitter in English), serves to open paths and cleanse energy. The Amargo incent has incense, myrrh, copal, rosemary, sage, cloves. Another incent called Dulce (Sweet in English) serves to bless and to activate energy and contained anise, cinnamon, mint, basil, vetiver root and chamomile.
This ancestral and medicinal ritual makes the spectator immerge in the ritualist atmosphere. This conference uses natural medicinal and shamanic knowledge to talk about academic subjects in a said type of gathering.
It created a modern coven through a set of meetings since women gathered to talk about female knowledge, techniques, and ancestral practices that manifest themselves in contemporary art fields.
In the conference, Andrea executed the conceptual part, who in her face wore a fluorescent flower used in rituals by female moon worshipers. She began her talk by outlining the subject of sorority setting as background the events that happened during this year.
In Mexico, Spain and Argentina, female groups protested in capital cities against sexual assaults, gender violence and political views that affect women nowadays.
Witch-hunt is alive and well today when governmental policies force women to fit in a model created by the patriarchy. Where decisions about female bodies, their believes, and the kind of occupations women can perform are subdued to the will of those who govern today.
Although the prejudice of being called Witch, female herbalist, female healer or female magician lost their pejorative sense, other terms such as feminists earned it. Groups of women that talked about subjects that affect their free will and development.
Those women who exchange knowledge, deserve that said paradigm gets destroyed especially feminist women who stated not liking that prejudice.
Slightly remembering how women have been suppressed, tortured, burned, raped, forced to child marriages throughout history and all this summarised in Malleus Maleficarum. This document written in 1486 B.C. by Dominican monks Heinrich Kramer and Jacobo Sprenger, constructed the image that a knowledgeable woman in the use of herbs is a vicious, ugly woman, that uses a pointed hat, a broom. This woman, according to the text, should be punished or destroyed by God’s will.
This disseminated stereotype in Europe and western civilisation has been deconstructed, but it reappeared under a different set of words such as crazy women or hysterical women. The stereotype found a new enemy beyond the inquisition.
According to the speaker philosophers, such as Schopenhauer and his infamous phrase “the worst enemy of a woman is another woman”, kept creating this concept that women were incapable of uniting or empathising among themselves.
To counteract this notion against women, Andrea talked about contemporary female philosophers like Marcela Legarde who coined the term Sorority in 1989 as a policy in the feminist struggle. In it, Legarde posed women should gather to see their common needs, violence and damages done to them in the new century.
Her strategy is visualising how to dismantle any policy that denies violence against women as well as its normalisation. Nowadays, the risk is not to get burnt in a pile but symbolical and political violence against women.
The speaker mentions that society is going through a historical moment where the modern witches rebel against misogynist states. The same states that minimise feminine practices such as herbology and the use of magic to cure diseases and to heal souls, for said practices do not fit into the positivist model.
The same states that relegate women activities in the workplace as trifle or female produced artwork such as crafts and all things related to the role women play in the modern world should be deconstructed.
Then, the speaker explains how Sorority, which derives from the Latin Sor and means sisterhood, is used to unite common interests of a group of women that work on visualising them. Per example: to make arts, magic and healing recognisable as knowledge methodologies.
By the end of Lina Hincapie’s video conference, the artist and member of the group The Witches questioned how many female artists exhibit in a year, how much they earned yearly, how they survived.
Well, artist practices exist, so the next step is to consolidate a female artist directory with women interested in female ancestral practices to create their art curating and to teach through art all lost magic.
Art as a weapon to denounce and to canalise the anger generated through the years should be used to unite women against the concept of rivalry among themselves. A rivalry created centuries ago to create vulnerable women, not allowing them to gather in covens used as information and witchcraft systems for feminine revolution.
Afterwards, organisers gave a cacao-based beverage, as they state that it serves to cure the heart. As they shared the drink, each one of the participants started to introduce themselves and talked about what events have marked their lives such as artwork, spells and herbs that healed them from what the world has done to them.
The talk moved to the backyard, under a tree where the participants formed a circle. Fashion designers, street artist, herbalists, visual and plastic artists, managers, alternative medicine students, historians, all of them are witches at heart that met at this event and promised to keep attending to create projects, to learn white magic.
Agnis will teach the magic part, one of the members of the study group, where she will train to use “Magic to transform and heal realities.”