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Witchcraft has been a part of human history since the beginning, from Old Testament Bible verses to the Salem witch trials. What fascinates me about the age-old witchcraft hysteria is that in order to condemn witches, you have to believe that they have real power. Why fear something you do not believe is real? 

The reality of the situation today is that anyone can be a witch. Our perception of the Harry Potter-esque witch is not what you will find today. Modern day witches look like anyone else. According to Juliet Diaz, a 39-year-old New Jersey seer, a witch is “an embodiment of her truth in all its power.” Witchcraft today is a mindset of female empowerment, spirituality, and individuality. 

I think this quote from, Craft: How to be a Modern Witch, by Gabriela Herstik, sums up modern day witchcraft perfectly, “A witch is many things: the medicine woman, the slut, the one without children, the activist, the outcast; the witch has always lived and will always live. A witch is a healer, a woman in tune with her sexuality, someone who works with the Earth, anyone who abides by her own rules. Very often, witches were the protestors, the catalysts, the ones calling for justice and using all their tools, physical and otherwise, to create change. A witch has always been someone who refuses to abide by the societal constructs of the time. She is an outsider, rooted in her own decisiveness; the witch has always been a threat”. 

This quote got me thinking, and I believe we are living in a time where we need witchcraft. We need strong, individualistic, empowered witches to rise up and demand change and equality in our systemically damaged society.

Now that we established that anyone can be a witch, it's time to talk about Magick. (It is spelled with  “k” at the end to distinguish it from stage magic.) According to Sophie Saint Thomas, “The practice of magick is about raising and directing energy to fulfill your intentions, and if you haven't noticed, witchcraft is in vogue,” Magick is not about conjuring something from nothing, it is about using energy with intention and care. This is why nature plays such a large role in witchcraft because nature is such a force. The concept of redirecting energy can inform a modern perspective on witchcraft because energy is all about balance. As Isaac Newton said, “Every action has its equal, opposite reaction”. 

Men from all periods of history have feared this balance because balance means equality. The patriarchy has felt threatened by witches since their emergence. The modern-day witches I read about should scare the sh*t out of the modern day misogynist. They are confident, sexually empowered, and working purposefully to bring balance to our unjust world. 

I feel so inspired by these witches, and I am ready to dive into the literature and become a witch myself.  Next time my sister calls me a witch, she’ll be right! 

If you are interested in learning more, check out these resources! 

http://www.thehoodwitch.com/

https://www.nylon.com/profile/gabriela-herstik-21841481

https://witchwavepodcast.com/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Craft-How-Be-Modern-Witch/dp/1785037552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509358084&sr=8-1&keywords=craft+by+gabriela

Margaret Bovard is a senior at Furman University from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she is a Health Science major. In addition to being a writer for HerCampus, Margaret works in a cardiology lab on campus and participates in theater. She is very passionate about sustainability and hopes to be an alpaca farmer one day. Margaret is an old soul, in her free time she knits, cross stitches, and complains about her back pain :). She can not wait to see the impact that HerCampus will have on Furman's Campus.
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