Gilbert Speaks on “Coven” Screening at Hot Docs

When I say the word “witch,” what comes to mind? In this documentary, we join three women as they explore their identity as witches in the modern world.


What is a witch? According to the dictionary: A witch is a person thought to have magic powers, especially evil ones. Witches are generally depicted as a woman wearing a black cloak and a pointed hat, and flying on a broomstick. We can thank religion and movies for this depiction, but the Catholic Church and Puritans were famous for burning innocent women at the stake when their only crime was understanding the healing powers of nature.

Coven is a Canadian documentary from Hot Docs and Espresso Media International that follow three millennial women as they explore what it means to identify as a witch in today’s world. Written and directed by Rama Rau, we follow these women as they delve into their history and acceptance of witchcraft. Ayo uses her love of hip-hop to become a Witch Prophet. Raised in a religious family in Canada, she was drawn to the occult as a young teen.

Andra was a baby when her family fled from Romania. She learned about the ancient traditions from her grandmother. Feeling that she has hit a crossroad in her studies, she travels to Romania to meet with the Queen of Witches. Will a visit to a famous haunted forest help Andra reconnect to her spirit world and powers?

Laura seeks to increase her knowledge and power by connecting to her ancestors from Europe. Laura learns that her ninth great grandmother was Mary Towne, who was tried as a witch and hung in Salem in 1692. A past life regression session sends her to Scotland for more research.


Coven is a very interesting documentary because we follow three women as they try to learn more about Witches and their part in this practice. The Witches believe in the power of femininity and the healing powers of Mother Earth. Women have always been the healers from the beginning of time, and it is because of their understanding of the healing properties of plants and herbs, but like most orthodox religions, there are rules to follow, and as Anne Marie Greymoon, a High Priestess notes…it is a dictatorship.

I enjoyed the documentary, but I felt that Wiccans, Witches, and Shamans are no better than organized religion or cults. It is about control and secrets. That is my opinion, but I do suggest you watch this film and make your own analysis. If you’re in Toronto, you can see Coven at Hot Docs.

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