Witchcraft honours neurodiversity. Witchcraft can and should be where all bodyminds exist freely and chaotically in “collected rage and unconditional love” — as Sins Invalid co-founder, Shayda Kafai, writes in their book Crip Kinship about the disability justice and art activism of Sins Invalid.
My name is Jasmin Stoffer. I am a female presenting, fat, multiply neurodivergent (ADHD/OCD/Synesthesia/PTSD) and chronically ill (PCOS). I am a 2nd gen Canadian, and first-gen university doctoral candidate and a full-time educator. I am a daughter, a sister, and an Aunt. I learn stuff, teach some things and do witchcraft. I dream that I will exist with all of you in a fully accessible and accepting world. It's the dream that helps me get out of bed in the mornings when everything hurts (including my heart).
So hello folks, the following words are some ideas I have. Maybe you'll like them, maybe not - and that's okay. I'm just happy to be able to connect with you through these words. In the words of Frida Kahlo “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her (them), and imagine that she (they) must be out there thinking of me, too." So thank the Goddetc (all of them, HAIL!), thanks be to my own personal connection to Freyja, Brigid, Hecate, and Baba Yaga who remind me that being a rampant hag and agent of chaos is an act of absolute love. Thanks be to the All-Father and Donar who protect my life partner (a fellow weirdo), and thanks be to the Missing Witches community - may you all live for 1000 years.
My witchcraft is, at times, lovingly infused with my unmasked rage. It is part of a (sometimes) daily practice that reminds me of why I do the work I choose to do. I research anti-ableist pedagogy and disability justice, I’m a multiply neurodivergent and chronically ill settler, and a PhD candidate at St. Francis Xavier University. As I work to channel my love and rage into liberation pedagogy, Witchcraft has become core to my praxis.
I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do.
Witchcraft is a verb; it is an action, love, rage, everything, anything the witch wants it to be. It is a reminder that as much as we have learned, there is always more to learn about in this world. The witch is a student forever. My learning includes the lesson that disability is not a bad word, and we refrain from euphemisms - witches tell it like it is. We remove the layers put upon our language that hide and shame others. Perhaps witchcraft helps us decolonize our hearts and minds by first decolonizing our tongues. Witches want a connection with all things, all beings. We know language matters and honour all communication forms. Witches appreciate the beauty of all kinds of bodies and all kinds of minds.
Witches do not need inspiration porn; they inspire themselves to learn more, do better, and keep fighting for what is fair and accessible for all. Witchcraft can be mutual aid.
Witchcraft is unmasked. I enjoy it being chaotic, just like my neurodivergent mind. Sometimes I light a candle, sometimes I remember to clean my altar, and sometimes I do not do anything for so long that I even forget I am a practicing witch (and educator, and phd candidate, and, and, and.) But it is always there waiting. The goddetcs and ancestors that I connect with wait patiently for me to remember who I am, for they are neurodivergent too. Moreover, of course, Goddetc is neurodivergent. Neurodiversity is human fact. Dr. Nick Walker’s book Neuroqueer Heresies (Walker, 2021) teaches us about a collective effort to become neurocosmopolitan, where all minds (and their corresponding bodies) are free, loved, honoured, and a part of the foundation of how we form society. Witchcraft must be neurocosmopolitain. It must celebrate and honour neurodiversity in all forms.
Witchcraft is a practice. A healing practice, a connecting practice, a spiritual, punk rock, fat, disabled, neurodivergent, mad, and beautiful fucking practice. It is me, and it is you. It is us and them, and we are all together. It has so much potential to be at the front of the revolution, our altars creating the space for the weirdos, every single one of us, supported by the weirdos (all those lovely ones) who came before us, so we can keep the candles lit for the ones who come after. For weirdos, my friends, are as certain in this world as rage and love.
Weirdos are as certain in this world as rage and love.
Witchcraft is possibility. And isn’t that the most remarkable thing about it? It can be whatever we want it to be! Yes! So I choose to let it be everything I need it to be. I choose to let it be a part of my multiply neurodivergent identity. I choose to let it be as accessible to interested folks and me. I choose to let it be as chaotic or as organized as it wants to be because I honour the meds in me, but they wear off too, which is okay (taking medication is part of my daily practice). I choose to let it honour my ancestors, like my 14th great-grandmother Petronella because maybe she was not a witch, but maybe, just maybe, she was a weirdo like me.
Witchcraft just is. When I initially set out to write about neurodiversity and witchcraft, I decided to write about how we make our practice honour neurodiversity - but I realize that Witchcraft is, and has always been, a way to honour neurodiversity. The inherently ableist dominant culture of nondisabled and neurotypical society divides them and us and has always othered the Witch. The magic(k) of and by the Witch has always been weird and neurodivergent. Neurodiversity has always been here; we’ve always been here. It is part of the collective truth. Whether the altar exists in our physical spaces or within the spaces of our bodyminds (those beautiful, wonderfully amazing bodyminds), witchcraft honours the diverse and the divergent - always.
So mote it fucking be.
Jasmin Stoffer (she/her/they/them) is a multiply neurodivergent and chronically ill settler, community member and educator residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is also a PhD candidate at St. Francis Xavier University, where her research focuses on anti-ableist pedagogy and teacher training programs. Jasmin is also on the Advisory Committee for the Disability History and Identity curriculum development project (Led by Katie Meyer, PhD Student, Boston University). Jasmin’s witchcraft is a perpetual work in progress, connecting with her pre-christian European roots (Dutch, Bavarian, Hungarian). You can find/connect with Jasmin and her/their regular musings about life, public education, ableism, adhd, and advocacy on social media:
Local causes that Jasmin supports:
Halifax Mutual Aid: https://www.halifaxmutualaid.com/#donate
Disability Rights Coalition of Nova Scotia: https://www.disabilityrightscoalitionns.ca/
Gender affirming Care Nova Scotia: https://sites.google.com/view/gacinnovascotia/home?pli=1
Kafai, S. (2021). Crip Kinship: The disability justice and art activism of Sins Invalid. Arsenal Pulp Press.
Walker, N. (2021). Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the neurodiversity paradigm, autistic empowerment, and postnormal possibilities. Autonomous Press.
- Photo of a t-shirt of Jasmin's - a black shirt with white lettering that states "I don’t do functioning labels." The concept of high and low-functioning humans has its roots in eugenics, fascism, and white supremacy.
- Photo of Jasmin’s altar - in the corner of the bedroom, we make the small space of a ground-floor apartment work. :)
- Photo of part of Jasmins’ “work altar” in the office at home (besides the one in the classroom) - full-time PhD student, full-time teacher, part-time napper and procrastinator. :)