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You’re practicing witchcraft without knowing it

Photo Courtesy of Zoran Kokanovic

Wicca, also referred to as witchcraft, has been on the rise in the last 30 years. About 1.5 million people practice today, which is a sharp rise from the 8,000 who practiced in 1990 and 340,000 in 2008. Objects of the religion are becoming more and more prominent as society adapts to them in a rising trend. Loosely based off Paganism, Wicca uses elements such as the pentagram, crystals, tarot cards and spells, many of which are entering the mainstream.

Owner and founder of Phoenix and Dragon: Metaphysical Bookstore, Candace Apple, created the store in order to form a community dedicated to healing and peace. Recently, she’s seen more people coming in asking about Wicca.

“We’ve seen more traffic come through the store the last few months. I don’t really know why, but I’m really happy about it. Some of my employees say it’s becoming more popular for people to be spiritual rather than religious,” Apple said.

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Apple’s employees could be right. Prevalent stores like Urban Outfitters have begun to sell “starter” packages including many Wicca staples such as sage, amethyst, palo santo wood, tarot cards and trendy books including simple spells, leaving many practicing Wiccans concerned.

“I don’t love that stores like Urban Outfitters sell stuff for witchcraft because a lot of people don’t know what they’re doing. But as the same time, it’s a good way to get people to look into Wicca and become a part of it,” Jaden Potts said.

One of the most prominent of these divine items are crystals. For those practicing Wicca, wrapped crystals act as objects of energy, giving protection and safety.

“I mostly use my crystals. I like to charge them in the sun or cleansed water. Then I’ll carry them around with me wherever I go to bring their energy with me. I’ll light my candles and arrange my crystals around me in a circle, so I can channel their energy,” Nicole Lucaci said.

At Phoenix and Dragon, Apple said crystals are very popular.

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“We have a section in the front that pertains mostly to Wicca,” she said. “Our most popular items are usually crystals because they look pretty, and they’re great for people who are just starting their spiritual path.”

Crystals aren’t solely used in Wicca — people have long believed that they enhance spiritual growth and bring good luck. Romans would use them to bring them good fortune when heading into battle, Chinese would use needles tipped with crystals for acupuncture and Egyptians would use them in rituals for burying the dead.

Today, wrapped crystal jewelry isn’t restricted to any one religion. It can be seen around the necks of many of the hottest celebrities and is sold everywhere from Urban Outfitters to Walmart.

“It’s kind of weird seeing this trend take off and then people don’t even realize that some of the things they’re doing are part of being a Wiccan,” Nicole Lucaci said.

Another item of witchcraft you can find on the shelves of Urban Outfitters is tarot cards. These cards are used to gain insight into the future as well as answer any questions the one receiving the reading may ask.

“I like to use tarot cards especially for my friends. It’s funny to see them freak out about how correct they are,” Emily Wilson said.

The beliefs of Wicca are centered around energy. By lighting certain candles or incenses, those practicing can attract positive energy into their lives. However, Wiccas highly discourage people from dabbling in magic without learning how to properly practice. Wiccas believe dabbling to be dangerous due to the possibility of bringing unwanted, harmful energy into your life.

“My grandma never wanted to teach me that much about magic because she knew it could be dangerous if I didn’t do it correctly. So now, when I see all these people buying Wicca stuff at Urban Outfitters or whatever, it makes me mad because they don’t even know what they’re doing and karma’s gonna come for them,” Emily Wilson said.

From a Wiccan’s point of view, praying to the God and the Goddess can bring good karma into the world. Since the Goddess is tied to the earth, some believe that by praying to the Goddess they’re helping the environment and by honoring her they can lead to healthier plants and animals on the Earth.

“It’s given me a better outlook on life. Now I realize that if you put good things out into the world, you’ll get good things back. It’s not just beneficial to me, it’s also good for the world because I’m putting these positive energies out there to counteract the bad energy,” Nicole Lucaci said.

And while Wicca may just be entering the spotlight, it is a practice that has been around for centuries, sometimes unknowingly running through family lines.

“My great-grandma was actually a Wicca, but I had no idea because my dad was really against it, so he never talked about it,” Nicole Lucaci said.

Like many religions, Wicca can be passed down from generation to generation. Families rather and pass down traditions and grow their bonds with each other.

“My family is from Scotland, and my grandma is a witch. According to her, my family comes from a long line of witches and the youngest daughter of every generation is meant to be the family witch. I don’t get to be the family witch, but my sister does. My grandma has taught me some stuff though about practicing magic, and I’ve learned a lot on my own,” Wilson said.

Although Wicca can be passed down, it can just as easily be learned. Today, young witches can look to the internet for getting started.

“I was always interested in ghosts and occult stuff, so when I moved into my own house, I started dabbling in Wicca and learning as much as could. I joined some online communities with other Wiccans who were just starting out, and it was really helpful. We would share what we’ve learned and what spells we’ve done that worked or didn’t work,” Jaden Potts said.

Who do they pray to?
Wiccans pray to the God and the Goddess which are thought to represent everything masculine and feminine in the world. Some Wiccans pray to lesser deities, but most pray solely to these two. They can be called different names and can be represented in different forms, animal or plant. A common name for the God, usually pictured with horns, is Cernunnos, and the Goddess is often called Gaia, an earth goddess who represents motherhood.

Do they have holidays?
There are eight annual holidays, or Sabbats, Wiccans celebrate, revolving around the seasons and yearly cycles. One of the most common ones to celebrate is the Midwinter Yule during December. For most, this time would be called Christmas. Some witches celebrate all eight holidays, others only celebrate their favorites and some don’t celebrate any of them.

Where do they worship?
In witches’ homes you’ll find a sacred place known as an altar where they keep the tools they use for magic. Most altars have similar items, but like everything else in Wicca, it’s unique to the witch. Wiccans will use pentagrams on their altar for protection, shielding them from negative energy as they do spells and meditate. Another common item is candles; each color is thought to represent something different. If a Wiccan wants to summon more love into their life, they may light a pink candle to attract it.

1 Comment

  1. You should REALLY research and get your facts straight before you publish bull shit like this that is offensive to the real Witch community. Learn the difference between Witchcraft and Wicca before you write an article about it. They are NOT synonymous. Witchcraft is a Practice which has been around for ages. Wicca is a Religion started in the 1950’s that incorporates the use of Witchcraft. Not all Witches are Wiccan. Not everyone who reads tarot is a witch. Please have an understanding of what you are writing about or just dont do it at all.

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