All matters deemed witchy and spooky seem to be in growing popularity. Witches are suddenly trendy and hot, but let’s not forget exactly why they have all eyes on them. Modern witches are in the spotlight because of the rising witch aesthetic, which is basically the new goth girl look. Many people see witches as an idea or stereotype, not as real humans who don’t get to work on a broomstick and aren’t losing sleep from casting spells all night.
Modern witches who practice Wicca, which is the technical term for performing witchcraft, have not been properly represented in media. The inaccurate, over-the-top representation of witchcraft has left a gaping hole at the core of what it really means to be a modern-day witch.
There are multiple misconceptions about what it means to be a modern witch. For example, witchcraft is often interpreted as something evil, and many people firmly believe that witches worship the devil. Witchcraft has many parts, and much of the beauty of practicing Wicca is that there aren’t as many rules that witches must abide by.
Wicca is about doing what feels right and harnessing intuition. Although some modern witches practice darker arts, people who specifically practice Wicca are not worshipping the devil — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Although Wicca is free from many regulations, its belief system is rich and full. Wicca has 13 principles that form the basis of what it means to call yourself a modern witch, and, in principle No. 12, it strictly resists the claim of worshipping the devil:
“We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as Satan or the Devil, as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.”
Witches have had a traumatic history with false accusations and labels being forced upon them. This misrepresentation has given them a bad rep and has turned many people away from exploring Wicca. At its core, witchcraft is about celebrating and honoring a connection to nature and the kinetic energy that the world carries.
Modern witches are firm believers in karma; they feel that whatever energy and thoughts they put into the world will be returned to them. When you hear about witches casting spells, it is simply about practicing manifestation.
This ideology is also derived from the law of attraction, which is centered around the belief that the mind and thoughts have divine power. Modern witches repeat positive affirmations to graciously ask for what they specifically need in their life. This act is like a prayer, except modern witches focus on power, light and magic instead of a god. The tools witches use to perform rituals have healing properties and carry energy that depends on what is put into them.
Crystals and burning sage are now stylish and popular. In fact, clothing stores often have chunks of rose quartz for sale by the register. Society is finally highlighting the magic that crystals have to offer. However, the newfound hype surrounding crystals can lessen the power and magnitude they offer because many people don’t know how to harness their medicinal properties.
It can also diminish witches who have been using crystals long before they became trendy and fashionable. Many witches have an altar — a safe space in which they lay out their crystals to charge in the sun. They spread out their tarot cards like a fan and pull out one that they are drawn to. Witchcraft is all about looking for signs and trusting that they will lead to the right place.
Modern witches use the moon and the sun as means to connect and align themselves with the rhythm of life. An event such as a blood moon is often celebrated as an opportunity to breed connectedness and wishful thinking.
Another tool that is used to assist modern witches in their practice and spiritual journey is a “familiar.” I’m sure you have seen black cats portrayed in media as the token symbol for witchcraft. This is because witches have had a long-standing and intimate relationship with animals, particularly cats. Cats are often interpreted as being spiritually inclined — in mythology, they have been worshipped as gods.
However, cats are just one example of a common animal used as a familiar. According to Witchipedia — yes, that’s a real thing — familiars are defined as “a magic-user’s spiritual helper manifested in animal form. For many it takes on the appearance of a common household pet and many have reported the same spirit returning time as a household pet, moving from the body of the elder pet as it passes on, into the body of a younger pet who is brought into the household.”
The foundation behind the concept of a familiar is rooted in embracing all the gifts nature has to offer, including animals. Many modern witches practice their rituals and magic in isolation; some might join a coven, but, for most, it’s a personally intimate experience. Having the accompaniment of a familiar can offer solidarity, comfort and aide.
The beauty that lies in witchcraft is centered around simply acknowledging and believing that magic exists in the world and that you have the power to use it. Principle No. 3 states, “We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called supernatural, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.”
Sometimes, all you need to believe in is the power that you have inside to make this life whatever you want it to be. Witchcraft is about showing gratitude to the many gifts nature and animals have in assisting us throughout our journey. At the end of the day, everyone is on their own individual path. Witchcraft is here to accompany you on your spiritual journey and asks you to nourish your dreams.
So, the next time you see witches being praised only for a superficial dark aesthetic, or you sit down on a Friday night to re-watch “Hocus Pocus,” keep in mind there is so much more depth to witchcraft. Although witches are a fun and spooky symbol in society, many real-life witches aren’t being portrayed accurately as a result. It’s time for modern-day witches to emerge from the shadows and be loved for all the magic they have to offer.