Navigating pop culture with a pointed hat and a sharp cackle, the witch is an elusive figure of power and mystery. Portrayed as notorious child haters (see Roald Dahls The Witches) and for their love of evil (look no further than the Wayward Sisters in Shakespeares Macbeth), as much as for their knowledge and ability to create and heal (cue Harry Potter), witches have always reflected the zeitgeist. Whether that be societys feelings towards womenoften ill feeling, especially towards those with poweror the collectives relationship to ritual and magick. The modern witch, however, has emboldened herself with a fierce feminism that defies definition; she does not exist in the black or white spaces, but in the grey. Todays witch isnt good or bad, she just is.
Witchcraft exists in the liminal. Like the archetype of the witch, it is always shapeshifting, neither here nor there, never quite fitting in a box. Its best defined as an age-old spiritual path rooted in the cycles of the earth and the seasons, in the cycles of the cosmos and in the cycles of the self. Its entrenched in personal empowerment and impacted by the culture that each witch is surrounded by. The beauty of magick is that its most effective and potent when its deeply personal.
My journey with the craft indirectly began with my parents. My father, a reform rabbi, and my mother, from the Jewish community in Mexico City, both encouraged my obsession with the spiritual from a young age. My father has always fostered my curiosity of the unknown and religion, while my mother shared practices like yoga, crystal healing, mindfulness and meditation with me since I was a toddler. But, when I discovered witchcraft at the age of 11, they thought it was a phase; the stigma around what witchcraft meant was still heavy, many considered it evil, especially in the Bible Belt where I grew up. Thirteen years later and a lot has changed. Witchcraft and magick have once again entered the zeitgeist, with more and more people discovering the positives of the practice, based around ideas of connection, communion with nature and love.
My personal practice means being devoted to the Divine Feminine; working with sex magick by using orgasms to raise energy for a desired intention; working with the cycles of the moon and seasons; and using a daily meditation practice alongside tarot, breath-work, therapy, energy healing and ritual to find empowerment in the everyday. It also means seeing myselfand my power to healas part of the collective consciousness.
The nuances of witchcraft are different for every witch. So, for an insight into the craft the world over, three women from Mexico, Japan and Arizona share why its one of the most inclusive practices of our times.
Bere Parra is a freelance communication consultant helping clients with copywriting, social media and community management. Parras magick contains multitudes: her witchcraft is rooted in devotion to the self, in Satanism and in honouring the divine rebel. My personal brand of magick and witchcraft incorporates principles from LaVeyan Satanism, Luciferianism and some Wiccan traditions. I also often work with the powers of the moon and with the aid of [goddess] Lilith, depending on the matter at hand, explains Parra.
Parras magick stems from a matriarchal lineage of healers. Her great grandmother was a witch, a curandera (a traditional folk healer) from Oaxaca in southern Mexico, who people in the community would turn to when they needed healing in matters of the body and spirit. This passed down to Parra and her mother, who incorporate their own magical rituals and practices into their day-to-day lives. And while Mexico is steeped in Catholicism, magick is often a heavy part of the culture as well. Mexicans are open, unique and contradictory, Parra adds. We dont like to follow the rules too closely. Even if theyre Catholic, many follow astrology, or consult the tarot, or visit brujas [those who specialise in witchcraft] for limpias [cleansings].
Being a Satanist in Mexico, however, is still taboo, since many people around the world have misconceptions about what the practice entails. Satanism is about individuality, at its very core. Its about subversion and rebellion, about being bold and daring enough to be original and to walk to the beat of your own drum. We do not worship the devilits a lot more rich and complex than that, Parra explains. LaVeyan Satanists dont worship any deity, as they are atheists. Theistic Satanists, like myself, will engage in different rituals or practices that do involve worshipping, but not all of us adhere to a specific canon.
Madoka is a virtual and augmented-reality researcher, whose spiritual and personal artistic practice combine as she explores witchcraft, divination and shamanism. Based between Tokyo and Los Angeles, her work dissects the differences between the two cultures and the fusion of feminism and witchcraft in the US. Madokas experience with witchcraft began after a friend showed her Aleister Crowleys Thoth tarot cards. As an animator and artist, she became instantly hooked by the hallucinatory beauty and archetypes of the cards; a year later and she wears the title of witch with pride. Im very interested in the culture of the US west coast, and studied witchcraft with [California-based] feminist activist Starhawk in San Francisco in 2018, says Madoka. I practice a lot of ritual and spells, vision quests, invocations and I meditate every day. She also works with many kinds of eastern and western divination, including the I Ching (ancient Chinese text), tarot, feng shui and Four Pillars of Destiny (Chinese fortune telling).
While witchcraft is a predominant part of the culture of the US, and steeped into the energy of Mexico, it takes on a different tone in Japan where the majority of the population is polytheist. Witch culture in LA is very big compared to Japan, but the biggest difference is that witches are not counter-culture in Japan, since Christianity is not the majority [there]. Paganism and Buddhists are the majority, which is probably why its hard to find those who identify as a witch, Madoka explains. Japanese people believe that there are eight million deities in the world. Stone, wood, soil, seas, rivers everything is a deity. Its normal thinking for us.
Taylor Cordova spends her days immersed in magick. The artist and art historian moonlights as an art teacher for an elementary school, and runs an online shop called The Flowerchild Bruja. This is where she sells crystals and handmade herbal smoke sticks made with sacred plants such as rose, lavender and mugwort, used to energetically cleanse a space. My personal practice involves a lot of communion with the spirit of Gaia [the Mother Earth goddess]. Altar work and cultivation of sacred space is one way I love to connect with spirit and practice my devotion, Cordova explains. She also engages in other rituals rooted in the mysticism of the divine feminine. Sex magick and working with my menstrual blood are some of the more taboo practices I engage in, but honestly it all depends on what feels right at the time. Spirit communicates what kind of work is most beneficial in that moment, she adds.
Growing up in the desert has been an integral part of Cordovas journey with her craft. The mountains, specifically the South Mountain Park and Preserve, have initiated her deeper into this ancient wisdom. As an Afro-Latina witch, Cordovas culture intermingles with the wisdom of the desert in myriad ways. My culture dictates every step I take. Its in the way I use my hands, its in the way I cast spells with my hips, its in my voice and in the way I pray. Each of my cultures are present in the way I offer my devotion. The Sonoran Desert, the south Phoenix community I was born and raised in, and my African ancestry are super-relevant factors in my practice, but they happen to be very nuanced and so beautifully blended together, that its hard to dictate all the ways in which my practice is shaped by my culture.
Halloweenor Samhain for those who observe the Pagan Wheel of the Yearis the New Year for witches, and the perfect time to start exploring magick. However, one can walk this path whenever they feel ready, no matter where they are. Its always the season of the witch, and everyone is welcome.
Gabriela Herstik is a Los Angeles-based writer, witch and author of two books Craft: How to be a Modern Witch (2018) and the forthcoming Bewitching the Elements: Finding Empowerment through Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit (2020)
The most memorable horror film heroinesor scream queensin history
How to have sex like a feminist: A Vogue guide
The gritty reality of reality TV: What happens after the cameras stop rolling
Read the original here:
- Occult symbols found on New Forest animals killed, and in church vandalism - The Wild Hunt - December 6th, 2019
- Concert Review: Spinal Taps Derek Smalls Revives Mock-Rock at the Wiltern - Variety - November 11th, 2019
- Curro pupil speaks: 'Stop the satanic panic, art is meant to provoke thought' - News24 - October 27th, 2019
- Creepy countdown the 20 scariest horror movies of all time - NNY360 - October 27th, 2019
- Judas Priests Rob Halford: The metal community has always been inclusive, yet weve been kicked around like a football over the years - NME.com - October 23rd, 2019
- The 20 scariest horror movies of all time - The Columbus Dispatch - October 20th, 2019
- What are the 20 scariest horror movies of all time? - Peoria Journal Star - October 20th, 2019
- I'm a founder of the Satanic Temple. Don't blame Satan for white supremacy. - Washington Post - August 25th, 2017
- Wash Post column cheers Satan, jeers Christians - WND.com - August 25th, 2017
- The Devil's Cradle: The Story of Finnish Black Metal - The Gauntlet - August 25th, 2017
- Court orders new trial in satanic sacrificial murder case - RT - August 25th, 2017
- We Asked Diehard Swedish Metalheads What They Consider to be 'Metal' - Noisey - August 22nd, 2017
- A Brief But Very Informative History of How Fascists Infiltrated Punk and Metal - Noisey - August 22nd, 2017
- Why Some Christians Are Calling White Supremacy 'Satanic' - HuffPost - August 20th, 2017
- Satanic Leader Calls Upon Christian America to Face Their Contribution to Racist Right - Patheos (blog) - August 16th, 2017
- The Wild Hunt | Tag Archive | paranormal investigation - The Wild Hunt - August 16th, 2017
- Nottinghamshire sees increase in Witchcraft complaints - The Wild Hunt - August 11th, 2017
- Secular doctors are realizing that demonic possession is real, and needs special attention - Catholic Online - August 8th, 2017
- Nocturnes Mist announce Sept 15th release of "Diabolical Baptism" - The Gauntlet - August 6th, 2017
- 'Embrace ICT with caution' - The Herald - August 4th, 2017
- Kangaroo Court: Of Chief Lundu orders to ban ECG church - Nyasa Times - August 3rd, 2017
- How the Satanic Temple Became a Queer Haven - VICE - July 24th, 2017
- Coltrain: Satanism and paganism are not the same thing - The Daily Iowan - July 20th, 2017
- theartsdesk on Vinyl 30: Moby, The Beach Boys, Napalm Death, John Coltrane and more - The Arts Desk - July 13th, 2017
- Satanism Making Comeback Through Witchcraft and Atheism: Rabbi - Breaking Israel News - June 27th, 2017
- Theistic Satanism - Wikipedia - June 24th, 2017
- Outlast 2 Garishly Exploits Your Sexual Hangups For Horror - Paste Magazine - June 24th, 2017
- Ritual Skulls and Other Magical Objects, in Photos - Atlas Obscura - June 24th, 2017
- Christians and Jews Combat Witches' Summer Solstice Satanic Spells on Trump - CBN News - June 22nd, 2017
- Paganism Is Back! Now What Are We Christians Going to Do? - Patheos (blog) - June 22nd, 2017
- The Occult Roots of Modernism - The New Yorker - June 19th, 2017
- Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture - Chris ... - June 17th, 2017
- Witch Hunts, Resurgence and Defiance: Heavy Metal In The Middle East - The Quietus - June 12th, 2017
- The Alt-Right Is the Modern, Hideous Face of White Supremacy - AlterNet - June 12th, 2017
- Understanding contemporary white supremacy: Is the alt-right really something new? - Salon - June 11th, 2017
- Catholic Priest: MN Park's New Monument Will Attract Satanists Who Want to Molest Kids - Patheos (blog) - June 7th, 2017
- The Gallows Pole By Benjamin Myers: A Playlist - The Quietus - June 6th, 2017
- Exclusive: Bloody Hammers Use Old School Horror For Blood Video ... - Dread Central - June 3rd, 2017
- We are using witchcraft, Satanism and magic confesses ... - June 3rd, 2017
- Pagan Community Notes: Memorial Day, Manchester, Pagan Dawn, and more! - The Wild Hunt - May 30th, 2017
- What witch-hunters can teach us - The Daily News of Newburyport - May 26th, 2017
- Column: What witch-hunters can teach us about today's world ... - Gloucester Daily Times - May 23rd, 2017
- Duterte to Trump: What witch-finders can teach us about today's popular leaders - Philippine Star - May 18th, 2017
- Alison Sampson & Steve Niles Stir Up Satanic Panic in Winnebago Graveyard - Paste Magazine - May 17th, 2017
- Exposing Satanism and Witchcraft - May 11th, 2017
- Ghost Rider De-Mystified Part 1 - Movie TV Tech Geeks News - May 9th, 2017
- Meet the modern-day Pagans who celebrate the ancient gods - Salon - May 7th, 2017
- Satanism is Becoming More Saintlike Than Catholicism - ComicsVerse - May 6th, 2017
- Neo-Pagan Witchcraft vs Satanism - May 4th, 2017
- Taken For Granted Ghostbusters - 411mania.com - April 27th, 2017
- Report: Aaron Hernandez Drew 'Illuminati' Symbols in Blood - Heavy.com - April 23rd, 2017
- TEST SPIN: Ulver The Assassination of Julius Caesar - Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun - April 21st, 2017
- Forgotten American Religion Finds Home in India: Selective Consciousness and Increased Awareness at the ... - Huffington Post - April 15th, 2017
- In literature and art from over 100 years ago, images of the cow as mother - The Indian Express - April 5th, 2017
- 5 Things You Got Wrong About Modern Witchcraft And Those Who ... - PopWrapped Entertainment Group (blog) - March 31st, 2017
- Neo-vlkisch movements - Wikipedia - March 27th, 2017
- An Intro to LaVeyan Satanism and the Church of Satan - March 27th, 2017
- No hats or brooms: ASU witches express individuality within own ... - The State Press - March 27th, 2017
- DOOMguy Knows How You Feel - lareviewofbooks - March 17th, 2017
- 'Bible torching,' 'neo-satanic' college group planned 'lamb sacrifice' at Clemson University - TheBlaze.com - March 17th, 2017
- The Awolowo Legacy And Its Message For Nigerian Youths | The ... - The News - March 9th, 2017
- Witchcraft is the new feminism - NME.com (blog) - March 5th, 2017
- How Does the New Turkish Curriculum Look Like? Conservative Changes Dominate - PoliticalCritique.org - March 2nd, 2017
- Delusions of Antiquity - Splice Today - February 24th, 2017
- Coming to America: The History of Mail-Order Brides - Utne Reader Online - February 20th, 2017
- Zeal & Ardor Devil is Fine: Album Stream - The Independent - February 20th, 2017
- Deconstructing Pagan religions - Daily News & Analysis - February 18th, 2017
- Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA - Heritage Florida Jewish ... - Heritage Florida Jewish News - February 18th, 2017
- Female cultism in Nigerian universities and other dangerous cults ... - NAIJ.COM - February 15th, 2017
- Russian lawmaker: Ancestors of Jewish politicians 'boiled us in cauldrons' - The Jewish Standard - February 15th, 2017
- Russian Lawmaker Says Jews Once 'Boiled Us In Cauldrons' - Forward - February 14th, 2017
- Unhinged 'Professor' Whose Hissy Fit at NYU Went Viral Turns Out to Be Lobster Porn Artist - PJ Media - February 6th, 2017
- The Week in Art: Sarah Crowner at the Guggenheim's Wright Restaurant and Jake and Dinos Chapman in LA - artnet News - February 6th, 2017
- Christians think 'the Rapture' is coming and the signs are already ... - Metro - February 6th, 2017
- Modern Satanism - Anatomy of a Radical Subculture | Satan - January 22nd, 2017
- An Introduction to LaVeyan Satanism and the Church of Satan - November 23rd, 2016
- F.A.Q. Fundamental Beliefs | churchofsatan.com - November 23rd, 2016
- Modern Satanism: Anatomy of a Radical Subculture by Chris ... - November 10th, 2016
- Historical Satanism - dpjs.co.uk/historical.html - August 19th, 2016
- Modern Satanism | Spiral Nature - July 27th, 2016