• Reading Level 5
History | RE

Curses and crystals: meet the modern witches

Should we take witchcraft seriously? A surprising number of young women are becoming witches, and not just for Halloween. What does magic and mysticism have to offer the modern world? If you were to think of a witch, you would probably picture an old woman with a wart on her nose, cackling over a bubbling cauldron. But perhaps not for long. A growing number of young women are embracing witchcraft and magick. "A witch is simply someone who is aware of their own power and puts that power into action," writes Sophie Saint Thomas, a practising witch. She says that witches can use their power to drive out negative energy. Witchcraft can include reading tarot cards and crystal balls, and cleansing your home with herbs, but spells are best. According to Thomas, a spell can be as simple as writing down your intention and performing a ritual like lighting a candle. Skulls, altars and spellbooks are optional extras. Witchcraft "can bring yourself more positivity when you're not given much power by society in other ways," says 20-year-old witch Harmony Nice, who has more than 450,000 YouTube followers. Black magick is discouraged, although not unheard of. In fact, a covenAn assembly of witches. in New York recently put a hex on US Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh. These women are reclaiming witchcraft from a dark past. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," reads the Bible. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII condemned witchcraft as heresy, triggering a violent wave of moral panicA widespread, often irrational fear over the future of a society’s values, interests or security.. Between 1484 and 1750, around 200,000 alleged witches were tortured, burned or hanged across western Europe. Most of the accused were poor, elderly women on the fringes of society, but some men were convicted too. Most modern witchcraft is associated with Wicca, a nature-based religion which emerged in the 1960s in England and the US. Wiccans often worship pre-Christian, paganSpiritual beliefs other than those of the main or recognised religions. Often used in a historical context. gods and goddesses. In the 2011 census, there were 57,000 pagans and 18,000 Wiccans, Druids and heathens in the UK. By the next census in 2021, many expect these numbers to double. Is it time to take witchcraft seriously? Toil and trouble Absolutely, say some. Witchcraft is a celebration of personal agency in a society where young people, especially women, feel disregarded by those in power. In addition, it offers us a way of reaching beyond the everyday and into the mystical unknown, without the need for traditional religion. No way, respond others. If anything, it shows how disconnected and troubled our society is that young women are resorting to "spells" and "potions" to feel confident and gain a sense of control. Rather than mess around with self-indulgent hexing, we should seek practical ways to resolve our problems and fix the world around us. KeywordsCoven - An assembly of witches.

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