Tales of witches have been around for centuries. Scary stories of warty old women putting spells on unsuspecting men and children were told to scare those misbehaving. We imagined pointy black hats and black cauldrons full of eye of newt and herbs, powerful women flying into the night on enchanted brooms, and godless souls finding power from other worldly spirits. We find these stories in every culture, all over the world and in their own fashion but its America that allows its little girls to paint their faces green and don all black on Halloween to showcase the popularized image of the wicked witch in “The Wizard of Oz.” Times have changed though, and now we see something very different when we picture a witchy woman. Gone are the days of green face paint and pointy hats and in its place a more sophisticated look. Today we see the modern witch.
Witchcraft has made a booming reemergence in popular culture. Where practitioners used to hide in the shadows, they now find strength in numbers. The symbol of the burning witch in 1600 era Salem has become a power emblem for strong women who practice out loud and without fear. As someone who was obsessed with “Hocus Pocus” and “Matilda” as a child and was mesmerized by the thought of magic powers, I obviously beelined toward the community the second I could. I started reading everything the dial up internet had to offer in the early 2000s, when there was still semi secret and haphazardly pieced together websites deep within askjeeves.com. As a girl in the Midwest, there wasn’t exactly organized covens around the corner, and it remained that way for a long time, until now.
With several different types of witches and the craft, there is no shortage of space for inclusion. Anyone and everyone can find their place in this world. From green witches and kitchen witches to seers and mediums, there is a way for those interested to find their own magic. A quick google search will direct you to page after page of “how to” guides and groups with likeminded individuals, even quizzes to determine if you’re a natural witch. Social media apps like TikTok and Reddit have hashtags and communities that bring together modern witches of all sorts. It’s become a fashion statement to have the witch aesthetic, all black outfits and a modern witch’s hat. There are Etsy shops, subscription boxes, and more mystical stores opening than ever before. Witchcraft is everywhere we look and has become a space for all types of individuals, it’s easier to access than ever.
But there seems to be something more to trend, a new focus: self-care. Popular books like “Basic Witches” and “The Witch’s Book of Self-Care” are aimed at baby witches and offer spells and mantras to increase confidence and address the readers mental health. WitchTok, the community on TikTok for witches and newcomers, touts love spells and money mantras that are wildly popular. Like every platform, there is the good and the bad, but the hashtag has gained a large following with viewers looking for ways to heal and enhance their lives. It seems that those newly interested came for the magic but stayed for the ways that witchcraft helps care for themselves as a person.
As someone who has always held an interest in witchcraft, the change is refreshing. This new trend pushes those interested to really focus on themselves and the world around them. I have seen posts on Reddit encouraging baby witches to do more for the environment and I’ve seen others teaching newcomers how to keep plants alive and grow herbs. I’ve seen countless TikToks that encourage the viewers to love themselves and take care of their own mental health. There was even a post on Reddit once that focuses specifically on baby witches with ADHD. It was incredibly open and helpful without any negative judgement. There is a vibe today that I’ve never seen before, an overwhelming amount of acceptance and love within the community. Like every other trend, this is not free of any negativity, but it seems most come and stay for the positivity. Being a witch has become synonymous with self-love and care, and it’s a trend I can’t see fading any time soon.