How Did Witchcraft Empower Women in 2017?
Tis the season to be jolly and merry and remember all the biggest happenings of 2017, be it personal or world events. It’s a time of year when we look back on milestones in our lives, achievements we have made and perhaps the less nice things (such as all the things President Trump has been up to in the office).
But we won’t be talking about that today. Today, we will be talking about the sudden rise of Witchcraft.
For a very long time, witchcraft has been represented with hunchbacked ‘crazy’ old ladies who carry broomsticks and have long noses peppered with warts. Witchcraft was pushed to the side as a practice reserved specifically for ugly old women who have a thing for Satan. Each to their own, I guess, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Take it from this witch, who has been studying the rise of Witchcraft on social media like a cat observes wildlife videos.
Recently, it seems like something has flipped. The term Witchcraft has taken on a new face; the face of young people, often women. Tumblr has even got a new community, nicknamed Witchblr. Witchblr is a term used for the side of Tumblr brimming with help, advice and pictures of altars, crystals, tarot cards and other magical items.
The common factor is that it’s mostly young women taking Witchcraft into their own hands and using it for the greater good. I’m sure there are plenty of male witches out there too – but statistics are difficult to collect as most people hide their Witchcraft out of fear, embarrassment or rejection by their families and communities.
Personally, I don’t think it’s a rise in the number of Witchcraft practitioners (though I’m sure social media has inspired plenty of people) but rather the rise in exposure. The internet is, in some ways, as hateful as humans can make it – but a lot of other humans make it a space for expression and open-mindedness. Witches have taken full advantage of that.
This rise is clearly tied into politics.
Who can forget the inspiration of Brujas Against Trump?
Many women have started to feel like it’s the 1950s again, with Trump in office. It seems Trump’s mindset and beliefs are set even further back than the 50s, especially when it comes to women’s rights. He has become a threat – and such a major one that it seems we have turned to unconventional ways, such as Witchcraft, to deal with it. Trump is harming women every step of the way. No matter how much we raise our voices in defiance, no-one seems to be hearing us. This is where Witchcraft has come into play.
The practice of Witchcraft itself can be very empowering anyway, and not just for women. It is a practice where you position yourself as the centrepiece and there is no one there to lead your prayer for you, or tell you when to kneel. You yourself choose when you kneel, how you pray and how often you do it.
When talking about Witchcraft in terms of Wicca and Paganism, it is the worship of the god and the goddess. That, right there, is an equality which most modern religions cannot offer. The idea of the goddess being more than just a mother (or a servant to the god) is empowering to women.
The goddess is also wise and intelligent and capable of protecting from harm. She’s the ultimate role model, and an ancient one who has been erased from history by modern religion time and time again.
Witchcraft is also not an organised practice with strict times and prayers. Though there are guidelines (both physical and spiritual) for your safety, they are just guidelines and can be followed loosely without being threatened with the punishment of a higher power.
This comeback of Witchcraft practitioners is more than just exposure for long-time witches. It’s a resounding call for help from our peers and the non-physical world. It is a mass action for change that we are desperate for.
When someone who’s a lot higher up in the social hierarchy than you starts to control your healthcare and rights, you’re bound to feel powerless. Witchcraft is a way of taking that power back. It’s one of many ways of taking that power back.
Some newcomers are misguided by this anger, and feel Witchcraft will just work straight away and deal with all women’s rights issues. I don’t ascribe to their point of view – but they cannot be blamed for it.
As someone who has practised Witchcraft for a little while, I am by no means angered at any woman who has recently taken up Witchcraft in a hunt for answers and spells. I get it, and I really don’t blame anyone for the sudden interest.
If marches and protests don’t work, we need different means of dealing with the situation at hand. It seems we’ve collectively chosen Witchcraft as the way forward.
Whatever your personal reason for taking up Witchcraft may be, take from it the empowerment it offers.
We have a tough fight ahead of us, and we cannot give up. So enjoy being the centre of your energy field and enjoy feeling in control of your life. It’s something we all deserve.
Ania Rybak is a freelance blogger and content writer based in the UK. She is passionate about equality, diversity and fruity tea. Find out more on her blog, Filth of the Void.