Why the world needs more Witches

Why the world needs more Witches

Witches have been given a bad rap but that’s starting to change and here's why

Lately I’ve become fascinated with Witches. The term ‘‘which’’ has forever been used as a derogatory expression with a long history of being used negatively to depict women, particularly in a way that reflects broader societal attitudes towards women and their roles. What we’re starting to realize is that women’s power put fear into the hearts of men and society. This is evident the horrific persecution of women in Europe and North American between the 15th and 18th centuries.

The accusations that led to their deaths were based on misogynistic beliefs and fears about women's supposed propensity for evil and chaos. Women who were independent, outspoken, or who did not conform to societal norms were particularly vulnerable to these accusations which led to their deaths.s

Since then, literature, folklore, and the media have continued to depict witches as malevolent figures. These portrayals often feature old, unattractive women who use dark magic to harm others. This image contrasts sharply with societal ideals of femininity, beauty, and nurturing roles which is the true core of witchcraft. The "hag" or "crone" archetype reinforces negative stereotypes about aging women, portraying them as bitter, vengeful, and dangerous. And it doesn’t escape me that the crone has the features women experience as they reach menopause (skin tags, warts, dry hair, dry skin, wrinkles, rage, osteoporosis, etc.).

Overall, the negative use of the word "witch" to depict women is an undeniable reflection of deep-seated gender bias and continues to serve as a historical and cultural tool to police women's behaviour.

But today, women are having none of that! In fact, I have started to notice an increasing interest in witchcraft among women in midlife – including myself. So why is witchcraft gaining traction?

Witches are powerful

Witchcraft offers a sense of empowerment and our personal agency. Many women find that engaging with witchcraft allows them to reclaim control over their lives, make decisions based on their intuition, and feel a stronger connection to their own power. This is particularly appealing during midlife, when we are already experiencing significant life changes and self-reflection.

I am woman, hear me roar

Witchcraft has very strong ties to feminist movements. Historically, the figure of the witch has been used to oppress women, but contemporary witchcraft is changing that narrative and image and replacing it with its rightful identity as a symbol of resistance and empowerment. Maybe we’re being drawn to witchcraft as a way to align with our feminist ideals while we challenge patriarchal beliefs.

Spirituality vs. organized religion

I think many women are turning to learning more about witchcraft as a means of seeking spiritual fulfillment outside of traditional religious frameworks that don’t always support feminist ideologies.  Witchcraft emphasizes a connection to nature, the cycles of the moon, and personal spirituality, which can be appealing to those of us seeking a more individualized and holistic spiritual path. The idea of healing, nurturing, and connecting to the earth resonates strong with me.

#FOMO be gone

I’m learning more and more about different witchcraft communities, both online and offline. What comes across loud and clear is that they offer a sense of belonging and support. For those of us on our midlife journey who may be experiencing changes in our social networks, family structures, and isolation from representation in media and society, finding a community of like-minded individuals can be incredibly rewarding.

Heal thy self

Far from bubbling cauldrons, malicious spells and eye of newt, witchcraft incorporates rituals and practices focused on healing and self-care. They use their power for good, not evil (politicians and governments could use a lesson here). You can imagine how appealing this feels to women in midlife who are navigating physical and emotional changes. Practices such as herbalism, meditation, and ritual baths offer ways to prioritize self-care and well-being. We are all guilty of neglecting self-care and most of it is tied to guilt of not performing enough or being enough. 

Expanding knowledge

Reaching midlife can be a time of renewed intellectual curiosity and a desire for lifelong learning. While society makes us feel it’s time to throw in the towel, the reality is that we are only just getting started. Exploring witchcraft provides an opportunity to delve into new areas of knowledge, including mythology, folklore, astrology, and herbalism.

While I am far from being a witch (in the positive, well-intentioned meaning of the word), I am fascinated and drawn in to rituals, beliefs and practices that support my need to heal, nurture, support and be supported and to be surrounded by a community of powerful and purposeful women. The more I read, the more I understand the curiosity and attraction. As I listen to the third episode of Witches on BBC, I am in intrigued by the history of witches and the struggles women were put through when they demonstrated their powers. While that may all be in the past, there is much to learn about the healing nature of their beliefs. If you want to learn more – I highly recommend tuning in to the BBC podcast “Witch”. Listen to the trailer here.

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