Modern witchcraft is on the resurgence, and it takes many diverse forms. The Atlantic explains that there are sea witches, kitchen witches, city witches, and even influencer witches. In fact, witch is now a catch-all term, which encompasses Wiccans, pagans, wisewomen, and more.
So, what’s driving this new interest, and what does modern witchcraft involve? Here’s a quick guide!
The history of witchcraft is of course riddled with terror, injustice, and persecution as well as power and magic. The shocking witch hunts of the 15th and 16th centuries saw thousands of innocent women wrongly accused of crimes and put to death without mercy. It was a time of rampant misogyny and fear, and it drove the concept of witchcraft firmly underground.
The myth of the wicked witch with a pointy hat and cauldron still persists strongly in our culture today, but modern witchcraft is as far removed from this stereotype as possible. It’s really too diverse to sum up in a short article, but many modern witches channel the positive energy of the Earth for self-care, and to increase their connection with nature.
They may work with crystal kits for healing, essential oils, stones, or candles to help them perform moon rituals. This involves using the lunar cycle at strategic points to help you access and release positive energy. For example, the full moon is thought to be a good time for celebrating your achievements, while a new moon is a good time to manifest your goals.
It’s not all about mysticism and magic: in ancient times, people really did live in much closer harmony with nature. The comforts and conveniences of modern life have many benefits of course, but they do tend to isolate us from the natural world, and more people are waking up to the fact that this is bad for our mental and spiritual health.
The growing awareness of the environment and the looming climate emergency, which becomes more obvious with each passing year, may have driven some of the current interest in modern witchcraft. Maybe this is linked to the current yearning to regain some of that lost kinship that humans once had with the rhythms of the Earth.
For example, we may have sophisticated technology to forecast the weather now, but ancient people had an intuitive sensitivity to the cycle of the seasons, and the movements of the moon and tides. Their survival depended on being able to read nature, after all: they were reliant on raising crops for survival without any of the resources we have now.
The awareness of our dependence on the Earth to nurture and feed us was much stronger and more immediate in pagan cultures, and this led to a harmony and respect for nature which we have perhaps lost sight of.
The resurgence of feminism over the past decade has also been a factor: witches have always been a symbol of female power, which is seen as a threat to the patriarchal society we live in. However, modern witches are people of all genders and backgrounds, and the focus is all about channelling spiritual energy in a positive way.