More Brits practise paganism than dentistry, so let’s bring witches out of the broom closet, this
International Women’s Day!
Words: Liz Frost
Have you every wondered what a real witch looks like? If fairy tales are to be believed, they have a green face, a nose wart and a black pointed hat, but we all know that the women practising witchcraft today are a far cry from this parody. In fact, the only way to identify one might be by the magickal glint in her eye. She could be the woman behind you in the queue at the supermarket, or strolling beside you in the park. With 68,386 known Wiccans and Pagans in the UK – that’s almost twice as many as there are dentists – they are woven tightly into the fabric of our society. You wouldn’t know it though, would you? ‘Some witches simply don’t believe in being ‘missionaries’ for witchcraft, and others keep it a secret as they feel it may not be accepted by family, friends or colleagues,’ says Soul & Spirit’s kitchen witch, Silja, who once conducted a Handfasting (witchy wedding) where the couple went to take photos outside the local church afterwards to appease the in-laws.
Witches on the web
But social media tells a different story, with Instagram accounts like, @thehoodwitch and @witchywisdoms amassing tens, even hundreds of thousands, of followers. Beauty and fashion industries, often the first in the queue for new trends, have responded with products like Therapie’s Restore Aura spray, Adorn’s crystal-infused fragrance range, and an endless array of witchy apparel, like spreadshirt’s #wicca t-shirt. And whilst there have always been witch-related TV shows (remember Charmed and Bewitched?) Netflix’s chilling remake of classic Sabrina attracted a massive following, which shows that even those of us who aren’t witches are certainly pretty curious. It’s a level of societal acceptance, perhaps even a warm embrace, that is thankfully a million miles from the Salem witch trials of the 1600s.
It isn’t just trendy to be a white witch now though. All this love for witchery has also contributed to a surge in what’s known as Big Witch Energy (BWE) – a term that has become synonymous with powerful women. In other words, being a witch is considered the ultimate in Girl Power. ‘Never before has the world needed magic so much,’ says Soul & Spirit’s spirit animal specialist, Tudorbeth, ‘The White Craft is about healing, whether that is healing a generation, a people, a country, nature or flora and fauna. We recognise the fragility of our universe and want to do something about it.’
#Magicresistance: Witches protect against Donald Trump
When the news of Donald Trump’s presidency broke, instead of moaning to their friends and colleagues, many witches got together to form healing circles and sent wisdom by lighting white or blue candles, to prevent him from causing harm. From it rose the social media hashtag #magicresistance, that attracted more than ten thousand likes. ‘I like to believe that witches are known for flying because they’re not afraid to dive within,’ says Juliet Diaz, white witch and author of Witchery, Embrace the witch within. But before you think about forming a coven to overturn Brexit, be warned, as spells like this should not be taken lightly. ‘We cannot interfere via a spell the natural transition of a country or people,’ says Tudorbeth. ‘What we can do is send healing and love – always.’
Witches and magick
The word magick can be a stumbling block for some who aren’t educated in the ways of the witch. It has connotations of being something imaginary or fantastical, even deceptive or dangerous (think the trickery of Derron Brown or David Blane) that’s why it’s spelt differently in the context of witchcraft. According to Juliet magick is very real and alive in every single one of us, whether we are practising witches or not. ‘Every entity in our world – the ocean, the trees, the mountains, animals, and people – is just one aspect of reality,’ says Juliet. ‘Most are used to the physical workings of our presence here – what we see, feel and hear. However, we miss the mark on what’s beyond our physical perceptions: energy, spirits, ghosts. We’re all an embodiment of energy, of power. Everything we do sends a command, created from our intent, into the collective web we weave, the single reality which together we all mould. This is how we create magick – and make magick work for us.’ It doesn’t sound so ‘threatening’ when put like that, does it?
That’s the thing about witchcraft; it isn’t about standing over a cauldron chanting. It can even be as simple as lighting a candle, saying a blessing or communing with nature, because that connection with the universe is the very definition of being a white witch. Do no harm is the number one rule.
So, white witches of the world, we say come out and be proud of your powers. Dance in the moonlight and share your love with the world, because you are ancient, yet modern day miracles. As Juliet says in her book, ‘Remember that those who don’t see your light are clouded by their own darkness.’ We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! White witches, we salute and embrace you and your beautiful white power. So mote it be.
To find out more about becoming a witch, visit: thebritishcollegeofwitchcraftandwizardry.org or facebook.com/SiljasGreenWiccan
Therapie restore aura spray, £10, cultbeauty.co.uk
Adorn Amethyst Balance eau de parfum, £20, Urbanoutfitters.com
#Wicca t-shirt, £20.57, spreadshirt.co.uk