By Maddy Bergey
The supernatural, sorcery, and spells – key words associated with witchcraft. By definition found in Oxford’s Dictionary, witchcraft is “the practice of magic, especially for evil purposes or the use of spells.” Though witchcraft started as a medieval practice, variations of this mysterious art are still surfacing in today’s world. In the present day, however, sorcery has many different connotations from when it was used centuries ago.
In the medieval times, witches were prevalent throughout Europe; though not necessarily an oddity, they were still feared. Typically, this resulted in witchcraft-practicing people being suspected, accused, and then executed. Throughout witchcraft history, patriarchal beliefs were prevalent. This led to women being disproportionately accused of sorcery; thus, women were also disproportionately burned at the stake for participating in such activity.
Despite the notion of education – which was readily accessible to men, yet a rare opportunity for women – being needed for witchcraft, women were seen as more “susceptible” to temptations of the devil. Instilled by the patriarchy came the understanding that women had “uncontrolled” sexuality or lust, which made them inherent conductors of any satanic magic. Participating in witchcraft was actually a way that women could indirectly assert power, though they still got ridiculed and were made to feel inferior. Many people condemned women for practicing witchcraft because they thought it was a foolish concept. In reality, though, a majority of the magic was positive, healing magic rather than dark, black magic.
Today, a resurgence of “witchcraft” is occurring, though it looks very different. Rather than being viewed as something worthy of condemnation, it is being regarded as a form of empowerment for practicing witches. Despite its dark history, the meaning of sorcery is essentially getting a facelift in the present day. People are seeking security, individuality, and divinity through the practice of magic. Witchcraft practices today include intention setting, manifestation, crystal usage, moon phase rituals, tarot card pulling, or even medium readings.
Although the actual terms of what it means to be a “modern witch” are constantly being questioned, Carrie Eller – an owner of a crystal shop – says there has been “a resurgence of people embracing earth-based religions who go by the terms of witches and warlocks” (Broverman). Primarily, the usage of crystals to cast spells is pondered because it is inevitable these naturally occurring beauties have some power within them. As Eller also stated, science supports the fact of every object vibrating at its own frequency, which is true for crystals, trees, water, and humans ourselves.
These gemstones – though beautiful decorations – can be really useful for many people. They can be utilized for any energy work, which may include reiki, yoga, meditation, and manifestation. Each crystal holds different properties, which may help relieve various ailments – from self-doubt to anxiety to instability. Furthermore, crystals correlate with certain chakras – energy points in your body – to help keep those areas “open” and aligned. In order to unblock these energy centers, it is best to promote alignment through certain yoga poses, meditation practices, and breathing exercises. Sometimes, these rituals of chakra alignment and energy balance with crystals take place during full moons, which could be seen as a sort of sorcery.
Another practice that modern-day “witches” may partake in on full moons is intention setting or manifestation. Though these practices vary, the goal is essentially to find clarity or seek goodness from a higher power. There are many ways to participate in your own manifestation: making a vision board, saying positive affirmations, speaking aloud, or journaling.
Whether or not one may realize it, we have all probably participated in witchcraft. One of the most common examples would be through blowing out birthday candles. These sticks of wax that are stuck in your birthday cake were actually rooted in candle magic, since candles were used by witches to enhance their intentions.
Practices of witchcraft – from casting spells to using crystals to setting intentions – have historically been viewed with negative connotations, and an air of that still resides today. Contrary to popular belief though, variations of sorcery today are being used for empowerment and enlightenment, rather than being used to harm people. Perhaps the next time you are blowing out your birthday candles, you will consider the spectrum of what being a “modern-day witch” looks like.
Broverman, Jessica. “The History and Modern Application of Witchcraft and Crystals.” Weelunk, 27 Oct. 2020, weelunk.com/history-modern-application-witchcraft-crystals/. Accessed 19
Maddy Bergey is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of 17 area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its 24th year.
Sandy Webb says
Yes, empowering women benefits all humanity. And living with intention benefits all humanity.