The Wyvern Witches of UAB is a student organization that was established in the fall of 2021 by its current president, Savannah Williams. I sat down with Williams, who is also a member of UAB’s Student Media, to ask her what Wyvern Witches is all about.
Q: In your words, what would say is the purpose of The Wyvern Witches of UAB?
A: Wyvern Witches is a club dedicated to providing a space for those who practice witchcraft with the hope of learning from one another and having a sense of community. We also work to educate the student body in order to eliminate the stigma surrounding witchcraft on campus.
Q: Where does the word “wyvern” come from?
A: Wyvern is a type of dragon and, with UAB’s mascot being a dragon, it was fitting to use a name like that. We had a few other name ideas, but that one ended up being the fan favorite.
Q: Did you receive any pushback when trying to get the club established?
A: We did not receive pushback when trying to establish the club. However, it was a little bit hard to find a faculty advisor, but that was only because a lot of faculty advisors did not have the time for it. Dr. Walter Ward (professor in the department of history) ended up being our first and original faculty advisor. We now have Dr. Tola Roderick, who is new to UAB, as our second advisor.
Q: What does a typical meeting look like for Wyvern Witches?
A: Most of the time, our meetings are educational meetings because we do have a lot of what we like to call “baby witches.” This is a term referring to people who are new to practicing witchcraft. And of course, being on a college campus really lends itself to being more of an educational club when it comes to helping our “baby witches” learn about witchcraft and practicing witchcraft safely.
There’s a lot of people who are just getting out of their parents’ “shadow” and are living on campus or in apartments, and so they can practice witchcraft without the influence of their parents. There are several closeted witches in that regard as well —“closeted” meaning that they can’t tell their family about their practice because they’re afraid of backlash.
The need for being closeted is exactly why I really want to educate about witchcraft. I want to at least partially eliminate that need and give people the information they can use in order to educate their family if and when they tell them about their practice, in order to prevent the backlash that they might receive.
Q: What is some of the ‘stigma’ surrounding witchcraft that you would really like to change the outlook on?
A: I want to stick to talking about Christianity because that is where my knowledge base is from. The history of the stigma surrounding witchcraft stems from Christians’ belief that it came directly from a demon in disguise. So, while one may believe that it came from a god or whatever spirit they believed it to be, through a Christian lens, they were convincing people that those who practiced witchcraft were getting their knowledge and power from demons.
In the past, lots of things that were considered witchcraft were things such as herbal medicines and whatnot, and Christians would recognize that they did work and could heal but assumed that it came from the devil. And therefore, it was bad.
Of course, times have changed now, but with the belief of science, the stigma has still remained. And whenever you tell someone that you believe in pagan gods or that you practice witchcraft, they still see it as practicing something of the devil.
Q: If someone wanted to join Wyvern Witches, how could they go about doing so?
A: There is a discord link on our Engage page which they can join and chat with us there. All of our upcoming events are located on Engage as well.
On Oct. 31
st, The Wyvern Witches will be hosting a Samhain Masquerade from 5-8 p.m. in the Hill Student Center Ballrooms A and B.