You’ve probably noticed the influx of witchy, magickal, and new age woo on Instagram and TikTok in the past few years. Since about 2015, the witch trend has been absolutely exploding. Magick, astrology, and crystals are having a renaissance. Everyone you know is writing down what they no longer want in their lives and burning that shit.
Maybe it sparked your interest. Maybe you’ve wondered if those sparkly crystals really do more than look pretty. Maybe you’ve always been one to point up at the sky and go, “wow, look at the moon!” no matter what phase it’s in. In this post, we’re going to talk all about witchcraft, spiritual self-care practices, and authentic ways you can explore this path.
7 Authentic Ways To Dip Your Toe In The Witch Trend (According To A Real Witch)
That’s right, I’m a real witch! My name is Tenae Stewart and I’ve been a practicing cottage witch for over a decade. In fact, I do this full-time; I’m a professional witch, astrologer, coach, and author. I help modern witches embody simplicity in their rituals and self-care practices so they can have the magickal experiences they desire and deserve – all day, every day. I also wrote a book, The Modern Witch’s Guide to Magickal Self-Care, and my second book is due out in spring 2022.
As a cottage witch, my home and sacred spaces are the heart and soul of my practice, although I also work with the moon phases, astrology, herbalism, oracle cards, spirit guides, and more. Sometimes I practice with a coven but mostly I practice on my own – witchcraft is my self-care.
The truth is that there are no rules in witchcraft so there is literally nothing you HAVE to do and literally nothing you CAN’T do in your own practice.
Sometimes on social media, you may find an expectation that your witchcraft practice should look a certain way and an implication that there are lots of ways you can mess it up or not be “enough” of a witch. I’m here to tell you that’s all nonsense and to share ways you can authentically explore witchcraft and bypass the gatekeepers and the commercialization, too.
Whether your first intro to witchcraft was on TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, or a Cosmo article, I’m so happy you’re here. I believe that the more people, the better, who discover how magick, witchcraft, and the occult can help you to heal, nurture, and care for yourself!
What is Modern Witchcraft Anyway?
You might be wondering how witchcraft is connected to healing and self-care in the first place. Isn’t it all love spells, manifesting, and black goth lipstick?
You might also have some less-than-flattering pop-culture notions about what it means to be a witch. Although there are a few gems like Practical Magic, a lot of pop culture depicts witches as evil hags or evil seductresses – two sides of the same sexist, patriarchal coin.
Throughout time, witches and powerful women have been feared by those in charge. The Salem Witch Trials in the 1600s were just one in a very long line of deadly and vicious executions. Fairy tales are full of evil witches who cook children for dinner or hand out poisoned apples. For more on this topic and the history of the pop culture witch, I highly recommend the book, Waking the Witch, by Pam Grossman, a brilliant scholar and an epic witch herself.
Witchcraft is really just one form of self-care.
Despite society’s attempts to brand witches as evil or at least relegate us to an aisle at Target, witchcraft is really just one form of self-care. It’s one way that we tap into and access our own power. One way that we begin to see ourselves as powerful, in charge of our destiny, and to see our true inner beauty. The true power of modern witchcraft lies within each of us.
Are You Wondering If You Might Be A Modern Witch?
Anyone can be a witch so if you feel like you are, then you are! It’s really as simple as that. But I know that can feel super overwhelming, especially if you’re just getting started! That’s why I’m sharing some helpful, easy tips to guide you in going deeper without going full overwhelm mode.
Before we dive in too much further, I just want to define a couple of words so that we’re speaking the same language:
- Magick: In spiritual communities, we spell “magic” with a “k” which indicates we’re talking about spiritual magick and not magic tricks or illusion.
- Witchcraft: The practice of working with nature, intuition, and the power of your own mind and body to bring about your will or desire.
- Wicca: A specific religion founded in the 1950s based on primarily Celtic traditions that involves nature and the worship of a god and goddess. Not interchangeable with the term witchcraft, although many Wiccans also identify as witches.
- Sabbat: Another word for holiday or holy day.
7 Authentic Ways To Dip Your Toe In The Witch Trend (According To A Real Witch)
1. Moon Phases
The very first place that I recommend new witches start is with the moon. For many of us, it’s where we start naturally anyway – the moon just calls to us!
That may be partly because the moon is intrinsically connected to our menstrual cycles, for those of us who do menstruate. The moon cycle is just about the same length as a normal menstrual cycle – 28 to 29 days. Whether you have a menstrual cycle or not, the moon does have a profound impact on our moods, emotions, and energy levels.
Tracking your energy with the four basic phases of the moon is a perfect way to dip your toe in the witch trend! The four phases are each associated with a particular action or type of energy:
- The new moon, when the moon is completely dark in the sky – setting intentions and starting new things (three day period)
- The waxing moon, when the moon is growing larger in the sky – taking action and just doing the thing (two week period)
- The full moon, when the moon is completely illuminated in the sky – pausing to celebrate, reflect, and amplify what you desire more of (three day period)
- The waning moon, when the moon is growing smaller in the sky – releasing, banishing, and letting go of what no longer serves you (two week period)
I recommend paying attention to your energy levels and tracking them in a journal or on your phone for at least one to two months. When you reflect back, you’ll likely see patterns start to emerge around when you feel most energized or excited, when you need more sleep, and others.
2. Seasonal Living
The seasons are another big theme for a lot of witches. Just as we flow with the ebb and flow of energy with the moon phases each month, we also flow with the energy of the seasons throughout the year.
This could include cooking meals with seasonal fruits and vegetables, paying attention to the impact of the seasons on your garden or even houseplants, and even as simple as bringing your awareness to the different ways you dress and feel during each season. Being aware of the seasons in your area is also going to bring your attention to the changes in the natural world around us due to climate change – and awareness is activism!
To help mark the passing of the seasons and to bring our attention and awareness to them, many witches celebrate the eight pagan sabbats, (or holidays), which we collectively refer to as the Wheel of the Year:
- Samhain (October 31): Halloween and the Witches’ New Year. The most magickal day of the year, all about intuition, witchcraft, and ancestor worship.
- Yule (December 21): The winter solstice, the longest night of the year, all about deep rest, reflection, and celebrating the eventual return of the sun.
- Imbolc (February 1): The harbinger of spring, all about radical self-care and nurturing your own needs before springtime comes.
- Ostara (March 21): The spring equinox, one of the two days of the year when day and nighttime hours are equal. The start of spring and a celebration of fertility!
- Beltane (May 1): A very mystical, magickal day full of faery fun and mischief, as well as a celebration of fertility and sensuality.
- Litha (June 21): The summer solstice, the longest day of the year, all about fun, celebration, and rejoicing in the sunshine.
- Lammas (August 1): The first of the three harvest festivals, focused on bread, corn, and wheat, and all about abundance.
- Mabon (September 21): The autumn equinox, one of the two days of the year when day and nighttime hours are equal. The start of autumn and a celebration of abundance and gratitude. It’s also called the Witches’ Thanksgiving.
Celebrating these eight holidays does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. In fact, you may have noticed that several of them align with Christian or secular holidays you may already be celebrating! Just bring a little magickal intention, self-reflection, and a few candles to the mix. These holidays and rituals are really just about bringing our awareness to the natural world around us.
3. Dream Work
One of the pillars of witchcraft is intuition. It’s so important to nourish your intuition because the more that you’re in touch with it, the more you trust it and are aware of how it speaks through you. And the more you know that, the better decisions you’re going to make because you can just feel if something is a “yes” or a “no”.
Dream work is my favorite way to get started with intuition because it’s so accessible and you don’t need any tools or to really learn any tricks or techniques. You can place crystals such as amethyst on your nightstand or diffuse lavender oil to promote sleep and meaningful dreams, although these tools are a bonus and are not required.
Keep a journal by your bed and as soon as you wake up in the morning, write down anything you remember about your dreams. This starts to train your brain to pay attention to your dreams and can help you release anxiety or nightmares as well.
4. Tarot Cards & Oracle Cards
Tarot cards are a type of divination tool which can help you connect with and nourish your intuition as well. Tarot is an Italian Renaissance tradition of reading cards to divine the future or to understand a situation.
It includes the Major Arcana cards, some of which you may be familiar with, such as The Lovers or The Tower. It also includes the Minor Arcana cards, which are divided into four suits: wands, pentacles or coins, swords, and cups. There are some great resources online for learning tarot but if that sounds too confusing or complicated, you can also check out oracle cards!
Oracle cards are card decks designed for this same purpose but without the specific constraints of the Arcanas, suits, and card meanings associated with tarot. One of my favorite ways to work with either tarot or oracle cards is to pull a card every day and journal on it.
Below are a few of my personal favorite tarot and oracle decks:
5. Start A Grimoire
A grimoire, also called a Book of Shadows, is basically a journal where you record your practice as a witch. This is a great way to dip your toe in because you can record your thoughts and experiences as you explore witchcraft and have a place to work out what truly feels right for you.
Your grimoire can be in a spiral bound notebook, a journal, or even on your phone or computer. I recommend writing down things in it such as:
- What the moon phase is and how you feel so you can track those energies
- Any steps you took in a ritual for the moon or one of the seasonal sabbats
- Your dreams and what you think about them
- Anything you’re trying to manifest or visualizing for your future
- Your tarot or oracle card readings
- Anything else that calls to you and feels relevant to your practices
Tea & Herbs
These last two ideas are for tools you might want to work with. Tools are never necessary or required for witchcraft and it’s important to remember that all you really need to practice magick are your mind, body, and intuition. However, sometimes tools can help direct your energy more effectively and help ground you and your magick in the real, physical world.
Teas and herbs are a great option to incorporate into your practice! Herbs and plants are associated with particular magickal outcomes so you can choose which to cook with or to make tea with based on your desire. I recommend searching for a local herb or botanical shop or you can buy herbs online from Mountain Rose Herbs.
A few I recommend having on hand to start with include:
- Rose for love and opening your heart
- Lavender for sleep, dreams, and relaxation (try Araceli Farms, a local lavender farm)
- Mint for safe travels and prosperity
- Chamomile for sleep and prosperity
- Yarrow for banishing what no longer serves you and for menstrual cycle support
Lastly, of course, is crystals. They’re sparkly, they’re beautiful, and, these days, they’re everywhere! I was a childhood rockhound – had a rock polisher and everything – so I’ve long known the power of rocks to support and uplift us. You can find small polished crystals to keep in your pocket, (or in your bra), striking crystal clusters, crystals carved into figurines of goddesses or animals, and even amazing crystal sex toys like these from Chakrubs.
Simply placing crystals around your space, such as on your nightstand, windowsill, or desk, is a great way to bring their energy into your sphere. You can also meditate with crystals in your hands or resting on points of your body. Here are a few I recommend starting out with:
- Clear Quartz for cleansing and purification
- Rose Quartz for love and self-love
- Smoky Quartz for protection and banishing what no longer serves you
- Amethyst for sleep, dreams, and intuition
- Citrine for energy, abundance, and prosperity
Remember that you don’t need to do all or any of the ideas in this post in order to be a witch. Being a witch simply means that you know how powerful you are and that you have the ability to transform your world in alignment with your desires.
I hope this post has given you some inspiration to finally take that next step on exploring your witchy journey and dipping a toe in the witch trend! Witchcraft truly is so powerful and healing and it’s my privilege to be able to support and share in your journey.