What’s Up Witches?

Modern Witchcraft And The Stigma Surrounding It

Dusk Johnson, Assistant Editor, Designer, Writer

Magic is something I feel gets brushed under the rug or undermined because it’s  often times seen as “silly.” It’s hard to really pinpoint how witches like myself create this magic through witchcraft. After all, it is an art of the old world that is quickly being forgotten, and is often mistaken for being a religious practice (which is a general taboo in our society for whatever reason). While witchcraft can be linked with religion, it in itself is not. Put simply witchcraft as the name suggests, is a craft, nothing more. That being said, witches have absolutely nothing to do with Satanism, or any kind of cults, despite what many have come to believe.

So then, what exactly qualifies as witchcraft? From a personal standpoint, I would describe it as using magic or magical rituals as a means to manipulate energy. This can be done through a number of things such as altars, tarot cards, sigils, and a ton more that would take entire pages to list off. Really the term witchcraft is incredibly vague, describing no more than the practices of a witch, even though each individual does their craft differently. It is a way of expressing and influencing one’s own energy or their connection to the energy surrounding them. It’s something like a self reflection, at least that’s the way I look at it. Another witch might see it entirely differently, but as most communities go, we all have our individual ways of doing these things. Many even believe there are different kinds of witches. These different kinds can be labeled based on different elements, beliefs, or practices they partake in.

I for one do not label myself as any specific kind of witch, but instead describe myself as “eclectic.” I call myself an eclectic witch because I don’t feel I really have any specialty as far as witchcraft is concerned. Some may primarily deal with herbs and natural healing, or may be focused on a specific deity they dedicate their craft to, but the way I see it, I’m just a baby witch. I don’t know enough about myself to really identify where I belong in the spiritual sense. I am still learning and trying things out, figuring out what works for me. Even my mom who has identified as a witch for more than half her life still often feels this way. She’s taught me most of what I know about it, and done so in a way that no books or documents could really tell someone. Maybe being a witch isn’t always something you’re taught, but rather a feeling, or a self reflection toward yourself helping you find what your spirit resonates with. I see it as a form of self care personally.

The reason I feel this way about witchcraft is because I’ve sort-of always believed that magic isn’t something physical, which is why many don’t believe in it. Magic is more of a manifestation of feelings and energy. It’s something that you create within yourself, and the belief that you are able to create this manifestation is what makes magic real. It’s personal and heartfelt, not some ridiculous super power only bloodborne witches possess. If you truly don’t believe in magic, that’s one thing, however tearing down someone’s beliefs because you can’t understand them is just an awful thing to do. It’s been happening to witches for centuries, even non-religious ones. Little do people realize you could believe in any religion and still be a witch if you really wanted to. It’s because of this stigma and antagonizing attitude people have had towards witches that you don’t really hear much about them anymore. It’s sad really, but the damage has been done, and it’s now up to modern witches to carry on magic! Or rather the belief in it, as that is what makes it truly meaningful.