Every October we’re inundated with images of the stereotypical HALLOWEEN WITCH- pointy black hat, green skin, riding a broom, the works. Many witches embrace this caricature as a sister witch, and others think she’s offensive, frightening, and garish. That’s why every October I pick a facet of popular witchcraft and examine its effect on our practices… and our spookiest holiday!
In 2016 we talked about the true CLASSICS of the halloween witch – eye of newt, flying brooms, turning jerks into toads, the black cat, and overall wickedness. Last year we talked about spiritualism, Houdini, seances, paranormal mysteries and communicating with spirits. This year we’re going to turn our spooky eyes to real modern witches and real modern witchcraft. Satanic witches, blending magick with reality and science, how to actually use things like brooms and cauldrons, and some modern pop culture witches and how the ways we see them have changed.
I actually discussed 👇 this topic👇 recently with Cory on New World Witchery!
One topic that’s come up a lot lately in terms of “real witches”, is what people are calling “Instagram Aesthetic Witchcraft”. This ususally refers to someone who posts really beautiful, high-res, over the top sparkly images of their withcraft practice – which may or may not be an actual spiritual practice for this person. These photos usually feature a lot of expensive witchcraft tools, books, and items in large quantities either out in the woods or on pristine altars that don’t have any candle wax or incense ashes just strewn about! Even those who are practicing witches and genuinley sharing a photo or post about a spell they’ve done or a way they’ve celebrated, they have to pump up the production values just to compete for views (and therefore connection with other witches), if they end up posting anything at all.
I’ll freely admit I wipe up ashes and wax and fix candles before snapping pics… but when I really think about it and look through my own instagram account, I can already tell that some photos are performative or staged for advertising and promotion and that those greatly outweigh any non-sanitized photos of my genuine practice. Some of that is because I’m fairly private about actual spell work, and some of that is because this is just that It’s a “business” account so I get down to business, you know? But honestly, what would happen if I posted pictures of my messy altar, or broken spell candles, or backfires, or the grungey pyjama-clad way I ignore a few sabbats? Burn holes in my shirts, ruined altar cloths, cat scratches from trying to force him into a ritual, or ritual garb consisting of an oversized college t-shirt and a pair of hot pink silk shorts (true story. but only that one time. The shorts are so soft!)?
Listen to my last two Very Fat Feminist Halloween Specials! Vol. 1, and Vol. 2!
Well, let’s find out. All month I’ll be posting pictures of my real practice, real witch tools and moments, real messes and mistakes, and all of the real witchcraft items I unapologetically buy from the Halloween section at a department store. Sure, some of those pictures might be beautiful and witchy looking, but some might be mundane or frustrating or ugly- and that’s ok because that’s how real witches do. If you want to follow along or participate, use the hashtag #HowRealWitchesDo anytime in October on social media. Pick from the list and share a photo, post, story, whatever! If you want to use it as a daily writing prompt, I’d love to read it! If you take pictures, I’d love to see them. Feel free to share whichever one comes up on whichever date of the month – after all this is real and a lot of magick is spontaneous or a surprise!
Try to avoid posing your biggest and best-looking crystals and instead show the tiny ones you put in your pocket or bra daily, don’t use a big impressive tarot spread if all you do is toss them out willy-nilly, and don’t be afraid to let people see your magickal messes! Shattered candle holders, spilled wax, burn marks, failed spells, and other mishaps are normal and a part of being a witch. Plus, maybe someone will have a solution to your problem! (*this should go unsaid but just in case- please refrain from hurting animals or getting really graphic with this one.)
If your lovely, aesthetically-pleasing witch photos are your art and are your practice then that’s great too! Thank you for blessing MY eyeballs with YOUR beauty and eye for composition. Truly. There are just as many ways of being a real witch as there are people on this planet, and your way is never wrong – and that’s the point. I wanna see #HowRealWitchesDo.
I’ll be talking about real witches all month long on the Podcast, the blog, and in the Witch n’ Bitch. Check out my Facebook page for more details.