Long Reads

Why it’s time to awaken your inner witch

Posted by
Claire Stuart
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Could tarot and magick be the wellness boost we all need?

With Mercury retrograde making its way into the popular vernacular, and covens casting spells as political protests, it’s safe to say that witchcraft is having a bit of a moment. But far from being your average teenage witch phase, which was all about playing with crystals and attempting “light as a feather, stiff as a board” (yeah, I saw The Craft too guys), more young women are turning to witchcraft as a form of self-care.

Of course, witchcraft as wellness is practically old hat at this point. Witches were the original healers and midwives, who provided everything from skin care remedies to contraceptives. Most of us wouldn’t bat an eyelid at turning to a lavender bath to aid sleep, or a mug of ginger tea to settle a sore stomach, but modern day witches are using everything from smudging (a burning of herbs like sage to cleanse and clear energy) to tarot cards as a way of routine, ritual and empowerment.

Illustrator and founder of the free online tarot school Labryinthos Academy, Tina Gong, takes a modern approach to tarot, using it as a form of guidance and reflection. “I thought tarot cards read the future, which was exciting, and what everyone said they did, but now I don’t think that’s quite true,” she tells stylist.co.uk. “I turned to them again when I was going through some more difficult times, and rediscovered it as a way to help heal me.”  

“I rediscovered tarot cards as a way to heal me”

Gong’s approach to tarot reads more like learning a language, understanding the cards and their meanings and finding out what they mean to you to create a conversation. “Each tarot card is an image that depicts a universal circumstance, event or state of being in one’s life,” she explains. “For example, the three of swords represents grief and suffering, and we have all felt that at some point in our lives. When you order them in spreads, we start creating stories about our experiences. It’s not the events that happen to us that create who we are – it’s how we as individuals tell that story.”

This approach is definitely more insular, and is more akin to meditation than fortune telling. It allows you to draw meaning about what you think is going on. You can have the cards guide you on solutions and a better sense of self-awareness, as opposed to the Yes, No, Ask Again Later advice of a Magic Eight Ball.

As much as it can heal, witchcraft can also be used to set an intention and to grow. Gabriella Herskik, the author of Craft: How to Be a Modern Witch, focuses on finding a connection outside of yourself and discovering your own inner magick.

“Witchcraft is a radical reclamation of our energy. It’s a way for us to connect with the divine in ourselves, and work with magick to claim our power and what we want,” she tells stylist.co.uk. “I think that as we feel more disconnected from something bigger, or from other people, we’re going to find more and more young people connecting to nature-based spiritual paths like witchcraft.

“It’s a way for us to weave meaning into our lives. Magick is a lot of things – intention and energy and work – but it’s also fun. I think we’re realising we can all use some more magick in our lives.”

That subversive nature of witchcraft, and using that to feel more connected, is powerful indeed. It can be based on gratitude or play, and adapted for everything from skincare to a broken heart. So much of it is tied to the individual and the power that you already have in you. While traditional spellcasting might not appeal to all, writing sigils (magical symbols) isn’t a million miles away from daily affirmations.

“Witchcraft creates a space in which you can learn what you need and how to honour that,” Herskik adds. “Witchcraft is a way for us to learn more about ourselves and how to care for ourselves. Plus magick is fun, and who doesn’t want to infuse their self-care routine with magick?” 

“Witchcraft creates a space in which you can learn what you need and how to honour that.”

In a society where we’re more likely to say we’re spiritual than religious, adopting witchcraft can be a way to feel connected to something bigger than yourself while also acknowledging your own power. Not everyone wants to align their chakras or read their birth charts. And binding spells or crystal energy circles can sound more hocus pocus than offering a tangible solution.

However, creating routine is healthy and having your own rituals can be immensely therapeutic. Whether you subscribe to the idea of connecting to a larger universe or instead see it as a way to tap into your own inner potential, witchcraft allows you time for yourself and your own value. It’s finding what works for you. I can’t mediate for the life of me, but having something to focus on like a tarot deck allows me to step back and look at the things that I’m worried or excited about, and challenge my own inner monologue. 

 I’ve got friends who tend to their gardens based on moon cycles, and others who swear by astrology. From full-blown practising witches to those who dabble, adopting aspects of witchcraft into their daily lives is as much about play as it is a form of self-love. Our lives could all do with a little more magick, and what better way to start than with self-care?

Images: Pexels, Unsplash, Wyron A, Tobi, Mink Mingle