Spirituality has always been a hallmark of civilisations, even today it has manifested itself into religions and faith. However, witchcraft has always been seen as something else entirely. The Bible preaches that “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18) And so-called witches have been notoriously persecuted throughout history, most notably in the Salem witch trials. So, if witchcraft is such a bad thing, what is Wicca and why are so many women today attracted to it?
The wellness industry is booming thanks to the younger generations of today and with it is an insurgence of astrology and mysticism. Wicca itself is the practice of rituals that are believed to harness energy and cosmic harmony that bring about change. This also includes the worship of the Goddess instead of a male God. (It is worth noting that not everyone who practices witchcraft identifies as a Wiccan). Wicca can be traced back to the mid-twentieth century where it was influenced in part by pre-Christianity in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It focuses largely on understanding nature and the earth as well as free thought and will. The religion has a long and complex history that has now been commodified by the beauty industry and mainstream brands – all in an effort to bring in more sales.
In an ocean of commodified Wiccan trinkets and clothing, it can be hard to decipher what the true meaning of Wicca is and why so many young women today are turning to spiritualism for guidance and faith. What does modern witchcraft mean and how is it helping women today cope? Feminism is a large part of modern-day witchcraft, with practitioners like Courtney Brooke who class themselves specifically as ‘feminist witches.’
Many have theorised that it is this feminist aspect that has drawn the interest of millennial/gen z women. While the word ‘witch’ itself used to be (and still is, to some extent) considered a slur, young women are reclaiming the word in attempt to battle misogynistic views and the patriarchy itself. It is a religion that focuses in liberalism and individualism, something women have struggled with historically. The recent boom of Wicca and witches can also be attributed to the mindfulness aspect. Aspects such as yoga and meditation can lead young women on a journey to moon gatherings and zodiac signs: all in the pursuit of change and freedom. In-keeping with popular culture, witches share their practice on social media, which influences others who need a community. There is not any one way to practice witchcraft and this allows women to write their own stories and find their own particular corner. It is this freedom of choice that is said to draw people to the religion, which is understandable in this current political climate – and indeed in the history of women everywhere.
It becomes easy to be sceptical about the healing powers of crystals and spirit dances, but for some witchcraft is an outlet and a faith, a way to keep healthy and centred. That is something that we should never be cynical of.
Featured image credit: Friendly Atheist