A Guide to Modern Witchcraft: Demystifying Mysticism
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It doesn’t take being a historian to know that witches haven’t had the easiest time throughout history. From the infamous 1692 Salem witch trials to the European Trier Witch Trials, many people paid the price for their beliefs (as well as many more “innocents”).
Fast forward to the present, you can scroll the #WitchesOfInstagram on social media with thousands of snapshots into witches’ alters and rituals. All shared for the world to see. There’s no witch hunters banging on their door. They feel no shame in what they practice.
This is a modern day witch and they’re on the rise.
What is Modern Witchcraft?
Let’s remove the stigma surrounding witches being evil. Most modern witches are all about doing good and not hurting anyone, in fact many place emphasis on healing. A large proportion of witches aren’t actual followers of the Wiccan Religion but do follow their Threefold Law: “three times what thou givest returns to thee.” Karma is therefore an important aspect in their work and the use of bad magic will result in worse happening to them.
It is about “magick”, the k being intentional to prevent confusion with the illusion based magic. Magick is famously defined as “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity to the will”. Witchcraft is therefore the practice of using different elements like tarot cards and crystals to cause a change in outcome in alignment with their desire.
Can I be a Witch?
Yes. Anyone can be a witch. Despite the image that conquered up in your head at the word, a witch doesn’t even have to be a woman. Men can be witches too. Queer and Trans people have also found a sense of belonging and community within covens that they typically don’t find with other organised religions. It’s inclusive and for everyone.
And you don’t need to be from a long line of witches to get in on it. Even though hereditary witchcraft is a thing, it’s more about family traditions like passing on family recipes. Witches say that the magick is in you, you just have to unlock it as “witchcraft is a way of claiming a power that we all inherently have.”
I’m sure you think that there’s no way you’ve ever practised any kind of witchcraft. And you may be very mistaken. Old magical spells are rooted deep within some of the things we mindlessly do such as those little superstitious rituals. Knocking on wood or throwing salt over your shoulder? Yep, that’s essentially a spell for preventing bad luck. Who knew.
Do I need to join a coven?
The word coven is still a creepy and dark sounding word despite the stigma around witchcraft being slowly erased. But there are covens everywhere you wouldn’t even know about. Search for your local neighbourhood coven, I bet you have one.
If you prefer to work alone, its perfectly ok to practise in solitude, there’s no obligation to join a coven. But it can be a great way of meeting new people and learning new things. But witches make a point of saying that it’s important to only join a coven if their practise and values are in line with your own. Always stay true to yourself.
Why choose be a witch?
Witchcraft practices vary greatly from individual to individual. It is thought to be the aspect of personalised spiritual understanding that draws modern women towards becoming a witch versus entering into another organised religion.
With many millennials already partaking in many spiritual practices like meditation, yoga and mindfulness, there is a natural step towards delving deeper into the significance of modern witchcraft practices. It also goes hand in hand with feminism and women empowerment.
At the very core, it comes down to rituals (which are almost therapeutic and centering) and paying attention to nature, a framework which in turn allows women to focus and work on their self.
If one can look past all the outdated misconceptions of witches, and open their minds to the idea of witchcraft, they too may find solace in an unlikely place like the thousands of witches among us. Don’t forget to check out our Instagram.