What It Really Means To Be A WitchOctober 25, 2019
Green skin, a nose as pointy as her hat, and a flying broomstick—there are plenty of colorful depictions of witches engrained in our culture. But, what does it mean to be a witch in the 21st century? We’ll get into common practices and stats on modern-day witches, and investigate some commonly held misconceptions about them, their magic, and feminine spirituality.
How The Salem Witch Trials Shaped the Witch
When you think about witches, the Salem Witch Trials most certainly comes to mind, and this is for a good reason—it shaped the way that society views witches and witchcraft today. Despite our cultural fascination with the slaughter of 20 people during the witch trials of 1692 and 1963, most of the victims were not witches, but outsiders that could not fit into the strict Christian, God-fearing social mold of the time. The Salem Witch Trials by default pegged women (and sometimes men) who practiced witchcraft as individuals in cahoots with the devil and this association—although not necessarily always true about witchcraft—has stuck.
Halloween and the Witch
Halloween is a time we all can leisurely slip into another persona without too much thought as to why we wear costumes, beg for candy, and watch cult horror movie classics. For a witch, however, Halloween has a more spiritual meaning. Samhain, for witches and pagans, is the part of the year from late October to early November when the “veil” between the living and the dead temporarily lifts. This presents a particular time for witches to communicate with their dead ancestors. During this time, it is common for witches to hold intense rituals as a way to connect to and celebrate the energies that have passed on.
What is Wicca?
Not all witches worship the devil and more commonly, a modern day witch might call themselves a Wiccan. Wicca is a mix of ancient rituals, paganism, and spirituality based in nature. Despite being informed by ancient practices, Wicca itself is a new spirituality. Wiccan rituals include the reverence of nature, special observance of seasonal cycles, and celebrations of harvests. The devil-obsessed witch in your imagination in most cases is pure fiction.
What Do Witches Look Like and What Do They Do?
Most witches you know are invisible in the sense that they do not wear any markings that give their beliefs away. Equally mysterious, each witch practices their craft in their individual way and on their terms. There is no one right or wrong way to practice witchcraft. It is common, however, that witches will practice in covens and enact initiation rituals where the new witch must undergo training with a priest or priestess of a local coven. Each individual’s reason for practicing witchcraft is just as unique as the other, making practices varied and specific to each practitioner.
With a better understanding of witches’ spirituality and spiritual practices, it might be time to leave the overly dramatic, old school associations to cult-horror movies and Halloween costumes!