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The concept of witchcraft has always intrigued me and ever since I've become aware of the reality of modern witches, my interest has only grown!
The summer before last I met up with an old friend for the first time in years. At the time I wasn't aware she identified as a witch, but later that day she ended up reading my tarot cards. The reading began with us meditating, something I hadn't done before. Initially I felt uncomfortable and a bit giggly. At the time I was unsure of my beliefs on tarot readings, however I of course had an open mind. By the time she'd finished reading my cards I felt a huge sense of calmness as well as an overwhelming thrill from how accurate and encouraging the experience was. That day really opened my eyes not only to spirituality, but to Mollies witch identity. I've been meaning to pick her brain about it for a while, so I thought why not do a piece on it too. My first question for Mollie was how she got into such an unconventional practice.
"I've always been spiritual and very interested in religion. I always believed in guardian angels and spirits and had a few sightings. I skirted through a few religions trying to find my 'thing' and I found witchcraft to be so right because of the freedom and beauty in it."
I wondered if witchcraft was classed as a religion, since Mollie found it whilst researching different religions. She informed me that for some it is a religion, and it's called wicca. However for others, like Mollie, it is more of belief system.
"It means power, agency in a time where it is most necessary. There aren't any strict rules, so freedom definitely appealed to me. Self love and care comes into it a large amount as well which is hugely important to me and my recovery. Also the community is so wonderful."
I'd not thought about the community aspect of being a witch and I wondered how one would seek out other witches. Mollie went on to tell me she uses apps and the internet to connect with the community.
"I have recently found a collective that meet monthly and discuss literature and deities and things. It's so wonderful to be in a room with people who share your beliefs."
The topic of witchy gatherings led me to another point of interest: covens. What actually are they?
"A coven can be as simple as a collection of witches (as small or as large as you like) who get together to perform rituals and spells as a group, usually because with more people some believe a spell is more likely to manifest. If I was in a coven I would probably meet up with them at certain moon phases or when one of us had a bad day and needed some extra witches to help out."
Women taking the time to come together to help and support each other is something I'm so here for. In our society that is constantly pitting women against each other, the level of support covens can provide sounds super uplifting.
My perception of witches in modern times is largely based on American Horror Story's Coven, so I wondered how the types of witches film/TV presents to us compares to reality.
"Movies/TV makes out like we are forced to do certain things because of texts or whatever. They usually depict witches in a scary way in order to push the theory that women can't be trusted with agency and power. But not all of us worship the devil. Even if we did it's not the devil that is depicted in the media. We aren't evil, though some of us practice dark magic but it usually isn't for self gain. It would tend to be revenge magic i.e against an abuser."
Mollie's point about the "evil witch" stereotype in media conveying witches as untrustworthy is an issue I'd not considered. One of the main excuses used to argue that women are unfit to be in charge is because we are "unable to manage our emotions." The "evil witch" we see in film/TV with supernatural powers and evil intentions would only make her more of a "threat." Turns out the 'evil witches' we so often see on screen are both a false representation and offensive to women. So if actual witches don't live to use their magick* to curse their enemies, what do rituals and spells actually entail?
"Primarily for me it's positivity spells. Or banishing negativity. But self love spells are great. Blessing and protection spells for myself and friends. Sometimes my friends ask me to perform a spell for them if they're having a hard time."
"We sometimes just add essential oils to a bath for a spell. Part of my witchy routine is stirring my coffee anti-clockwise and banishing the negative energies away to start my morning!"
Since discussing witchcraft with Mollie, I can't stop learning about it. Before I was enlightened I really thought being a witch revolved around worshipping some kind of dark superior, which most of the time just isn't the case at all. There's so much to witchcraft and this piece has hardly scratched the surface.
Follow Mollie! @mollieintheskyy
* Magick is the term used to differentiate Witch magick from stage magic (magicians pulling rabbits out of hats etc). The 'k' is totally optional and dependant on the individual's practice!