X Close

Why are women becoming witches? Humans have always turned to magic when they feel helpless

Bri Luna, magical influencer. Pic courtesy of @thehoodwitch

Bri Luna, magical influencer. Pic courtesy of @thehoodwitch


May 22, 2021   9 mins

Seattle-based Bri Luna, aka @thehoodwitch, has 472,000 followers on Instagram. On her website, thehoodwitch.com, her profile picture shows an attractive young woman wearing a black dress that reveals both tattooed cleavage and one tattooed thigh, holding a crystal ball in a ring-bedecked hand. The image is fiercely sexual and deliberately powerful, but this is a power that is linked to magic, which, she says, is open to all who choose to claim it: “The universe is vast, and we need as many healing information sources as possible. It is time for us to awaken and tap into the deepest parts of ourselves and into the natural magic that is offered to us by this very planet we inhabit.”

Bri Luna is a magical influencer, whose posts appeal to the increasing number of people — especially young women — who self-identify as witches, and who account for the 6.8 million Instagram posts with the hashtag #witchesofinstagram. It’s clear that many of those posting use it simply to attract attention to their hot Goth selfies; to interior design ideas with not-much-of-a-twist — “Last Minute Beltane Ideas … place a bouquet of fresh flowers in your home. Light a red (passion) and a white candle (purity) [sic]. Decorate your home with ribbons and flowers…”; or to promises of a miracle — “Any Finger That will like this will never lack of money” (though they may lack of grammar).

On TikTok, witches are even more popular: witchtokboy, who offers spells and curses, has had 8.2 million likes and offers bookings. But it’s not just a digital phenomenon — Taylor Swift’s latest album, Evermore, has seen witches welcome her to their tribe. In the last few years, witchcraft manuals, such as Ariel Gore’s 2019 Hexing the Patriarchy: 26 Potions, Spells and Magical Elixirs to Embolden the Resistance, have been published in number and sold well. Gore writes that “magic has always been a weapon of the disenfranchised” and promises to teach her readers how to make “salt scrubs to wash away patriarchal bullshit” and “mix potions to run abusive liars out of town.”

Elsewhere, self-identifying witches have become political, like the protestors in Boston in August 2017 who dressed as witches and carried signs saying, “Witches against White Supremacy”, “Hex White Supremacy”, “Good Night Alt-Right”, and — note the acronym — “We Interrupt Those Choosing Hate”. Some of this has been taken very seriously: when, in February 2017, Michael Hughes posted online “A Spell to Bind Trump and All Those Who Abet Him” and urged other witches to join him in casting it, Christian Trump supporters put out urgent calls for prayer and fasting to counter the spell.

Having studied the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries, I find this resurgence both fascinating and a little disturbing. Historically, people turned to magic when things felt uncertain or inexplicable. They were more likely to accuse their neighbours of witchcraft in times when money was tight or disease was rife. And while men could be and were accused of witchcraft, in most places in Europe women made up the vast majority of those who were prosecuted and executed as witches, because women were perceived to be innately weaker and more sinful than men, and so more easily tempted by the Devil.

In a culture fixated on fecundity, older women were especially vulnerable to accusation, because the witch was seen as infertile, an anti-mother. Above all, it was the idea of magical, diabolical power being used by the socially powerless that made witches especially scary. In today’s world, when money is tight, disease is rife and many people feel politically impotent, the resurgence of witchcraft among young women is both a mark of powerlessness and an attempt to reclaim power.

Professor Ronald Hutton suggests that the word “witch” was once used as a kind of smear campaign for all types of folk magicians. Many names that were originally insults — Protestant, suffragette, sans-culotte, queer — have been reclaimed, and that seems to be happening again as, for many modern sorceresses, “witch” has become a synonym of “feminist”. Much of the identification comes from seeing the history of the witch-hunts as a story of female oppression. Modern-day witch Gabriela Herstik told Sabat Magazine that “Witchcraft is feminism, it’s inherently political. It’s always been about the outside, about the woman who doesn’t do what the church or patriarchy wants.”

She is echoed by April Graham, whose sweep is even broader: “A Witch is somebody who stands against patriarchy and everything that is currently wrong with our society and any society throughout the ages.” By that definition, we could all be witches — which may, indeed, be the point; Luna says, “Every woman is a Witch.”

Witchcraft, then, has been repackaged as a kind of female empowerment. Erica Feldman, the proprietor of HausWitch shop in Salem, Massachusetts, says that for her the initials WITCH stand for “Woman In Total Control of Herself”. Deborah Blake, author of Modern Witchcraft: Goddess Empowerment for the Kick-Ass Woman (2020) gives away her stance in the title, but adds that “Many women are feeling frustrated, frightened, triggered, and down-right furious with the current social and political environment, but also feel powerless to create positive change … Witchcraft can give them both a sense of personal empowerment and a number of goddesses through whom they can channel those feelings in healthy and productive ways.”

Though not always. There is a burgeoning genre of books on how to hex your ex, including Deborah Gray and Athena Starwoman’s How to Turn Your Ex-Boyfriend into a Toad and Other Spells. You can feel the fun they had composing these: ingredients needed for “The Forget Me Not Spell” are “a square of white cloth, a sprig of mint, a photograph of you and your lover together, a pair of your lover’s underpants, a pair of your sexy underpants, a piece of scarlet ribbon”. The Toad Spell needs to be done at midnight on a Full Moon and involves making a cloth bag, filling it with dirt and a picture of your ex, and drawing a toad on it. If you can’t draw, you can probably find someone on Tiktok to cast a spell for you. This is the commodification of witchcraft.

Some of the modern elision between witchcraft and feminism, however, has a less capitalist edge. The notion of using the figure of the witch to fight patriarchy has roots in the 1960s American women’s liberation group W.I.T.C.H. — Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell — who protested societal inequalities by dressing up as witches, “hexing” Wall Street, and gluing shut the doors to the New York Stock Exchange — but they were using the term with their tongues conspicuously in their cheeks: they didn’t consider themselves to be “real” witches.

Instead they adopted the name because they believed accused witches of the past were “the original guerrillas and resistance fighters against oppression — particularly the oppression of women down the ages” (WITCH manifesto, 1969). The group was revived in 2015-16 and its modern iteration takes its witchiness much more seriously. Its founding members, who all identify as witches, staged a ritual performance to focus attention on the lack of affordable housing in Chicago. One of them, Jessica Caponigro, objects to being called a “witch” in inverted commas, and resents threats from Wiccans who don’t think her witchy enough. She considers witchcraft to have always been “an act of social protest.”

In this reading, witches were always activists, rebels and non-conformers, who were punished for the resistance they mounted to the patriarchy. In the women’s marches of January 2017, protesters wore T-shirts, pin badges and placards bearing the line (from Tish Thawer’s 2015 novel The Witches of BlackBrook): “We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn” (even though, in England and New England, witches were hanged). Witchcraft has become a signifier of both systematic violence against women and of women’s attempts to resist that violence. This creates a binary of “we” — the assumed descendants of the oppressed — and “you” — the assumed oppressor.

This involves holding two dissonant ideas in tension: witches are women who exploit their power, and magic is something used by those who have no power. It is worth noting that neither aligns with the historic reality of the European witch-hunts in which large numbers of powerless, innocent people were prosecuted, tortured and executed — by which I mean that most of the witches accused in the 16th and 17th centuries protested that they were not guilty because they had not used magic. To believe witchcraft is making a comeback, you have to believe it was around in the first place. But today’s witches do, and they believe in both using and celebrating their supernatural powers. But here’s the rub: do they claim to actually practise magic?

Much hinges on our definition of the word. Witches in the past were thought to practice maleficium or evil magic that caused harm to people, animals or property, but Professor Hutton suggests we need a broader definition of magic that includes “any formalised practices by human beings designed to achieve particular ends by the control, manipulation, and direction of supernatural power or of spiritual power concealed within the natural world.” Witchcraft today seems to be about accessing supernatural power without faith in a deity. It promises to tap into unseen sources of power as a way to tackle life’s problems. Luna claims that witchcraft offers “resources for collective healing in our fraught political and social climate.”

But what does this magic look like? There is normally mention of the sort of things you might expect: Juliet Diaz, whose 2018 book Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within was an Amazon bestseller, describes a “Magick” that includes herbs, working with lunar cycles and the solar year, and setting up a sacred space. Others mention shrines, crystals, tarot cards, astrology, reiki, and auras. But there’s much that emulates Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret – that the universe will yield up its bounty in response to repeated affirmations. I’ve seen a spell defined as “a prayer to the universe”.

Diaz offers a “manifesting spell”, for example, for which you need a bay leaf, some matches, a pen (she recommends menstrual blood as ink), a burn-safe bowl or cauldron, and some plant seeds (perhaps sage, eucalyptus or mint). Then: in a place of stillness, repeat aloud your desire as an affirmation (“I am blessed, money flows into my life easily and effortlessly”), and write the affirmation on the bay leaf before burning it in the bowl and planting the ashes with the seeds. Elsewhere magic is presented in the language of self-care – aromatherapy and meditation feature frequently. Magic is aligned with accessing what Luna calls “the deepest parts of ourselves”, Diaz’ “witch within”.

“Natural magic” — what Hutton referred to as the direction of “spiritual power concealed in the natural world” — also seems to play a major part. Here witchcraft manuals overlap with another genre of books that have boomed in sales as the young feel more politically powerless: books about getting back in touch with the world around you and reconnecting with nature.

Dr Alice Tarbuck’s A Spell in the Wild: A Year (and Six Centuries) of Magic (2020) — a beautifully-written meditation for the urban witch — seems to speak of magic where other words might do. Her “healing ritual for winter pains” is an affirmation of the healing power of food. Her euphemism for masturbation — “solitary sex magic is a way of observing the energy of witches’ Sabbats” — made me laugh out loud. But there is much that is metaphorically enchanting about the way she comprehends magic to be about connecting with the earth and attuning oneself to nature.

“Witchcraft is,” she writes, “I believe, the practice of entering into relation with the world, of exerting your will in it and among it, and learning how to work with it in ways that are fruitful for yourself and the world.” The warm, lyrical, and tender tone of her writing wins her many five-star reviews, but you don’t need to be a witch to wonder with her at “the curious magic of the world, the way it shimmers and changes if you walk through it … with your eyes open”. So why do she and others think that you do?

I think the rise in people identifying as witches might come from a combination of factors: not only does witchcraft promise you the mystical power to change your life, but in the same breath calling oneself a witch claims a victim status — as part of a historically downtrodden minority — and offers a reassuring place in the world: membership of a community with a shared language, set of rituals, and an identity. It provides the comforting framework of religion for the non-religious and a fellowship of believers for the unbeliever, and it does so in a very capacious way, as befits an age of identity politics. “Witch” and “witchcraft” have become such all-inclusive, amorphous categories that they can mean anything and everything — and sometimes even nothing.

This mantra is repeated again and again: Diaz states that “A Witch can’t be defined, because a Witch is an embodiment of his or her own unique Magick.” Caponigro argues that “There is no right way to be a witch. If you say you are a witch, and feel you are a witch, you are a witch. End of story.” That there is no definition, no criteria, appears to be a major part of the appeal. Being a witch is conceived, as Luna puts is, as “the freedom to be your most authentic self. To embrace ALL aspects of whoever that may be, and fiercely.” Diaz is even more startingly postmodern: a witch is “an embodiment of her truth in all its power”. Being a witch is whatever you want it to be, as long as it is self-actualising. Focusing on the self is legitimated by the language of healing nature and scaring the patriarchy.

In the European witch-hunts, witchcraft was invoked in times of poverty or pandemic, when people felt disenfranchised, and when things seemed inexplicable, and it chiefly concerned women. For similar reasons it is being invoked today (humans, universally, it seems do not cope well with the brutal unfairness of the concept of chance). But those characteristics in early modern Europe caused people to accuse their neighbours of witchcraft, not to name themselves as witches.

In the witch-hunts, nearly everyone who confessed themself to be a witch did so only out of fear and pain, like Gertrauta Conrad who, in Germany in 1595, changed her robust denial into a confession of witchcraft only after being left to hang for five hours with her arms tied behind her back and lifted above her head, her shoulders dislocating as they bore the weight of her body and of the weights attached to her feet. Today — at least in the West — people freely self-identify as witches. And in contrast to the witches of old, today’s witches practise magic. Or, at least, they say they do.


Suzannah Lipscomb is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Roehampton and the host of the Not Just The Tudors podcast from History Hit. She has written numerous books, including The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII and The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex, and Marriage in Reformation Languedoc.

sixteenthCgirl

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

218 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

I think the author is making a BIG BIG assumption that those who self identified as witches OR were identified by others as witches in the 16th and 17th centuries are the same as those narcissistic attention seeking morons who claim they’re witches today.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Indeed, it was the 16th century ‘woke’ who burned witches.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Yup, these modern “witches” are more likely to be the great granddaughters of the people in the crowd holding the torches and cheering.

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Hardly Mark Preston. Did you completely fail to read her last paragraph?

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

An article has to be interpreted not quoted as the Bible.

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

All cultures view adolescence as a period of a search for identity and one where foundations for adult success or failure are laid. Cultures therefore had rituals and rites of passage to adulthood as forms of scaffolding on which a young person could construct their identity within given social norms.
West has removed all such structures from young people. They are left to create a sense of who they are, bereft of parental control, social responsibilities and cultural obligations.So they are desperately seeking meaning and being. Some as witches, others as social justice warriors, some others as members of cults and extreme movements.
The grown ups have let them down. If the purpose of the pernicious left was to destroy the family by undermining the bonds that held them, the Left has been spectacularly successful.

David Fitzsimons
David Fitzsimons
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Let’s not forget that in some cultures young children are still being killed for being witches.

Christopher Kendrick
Christopher Kendrick
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Parents have less and less influence on their children as the the online world has come to the fore. This online world is dominated by their peer group, and assorted strange people therein, and is a world from which parents are excluded. Another assault on the family as a sanctuary from an often hostile outside world, and model of good sense and values? The most we can do is be constant and ‘be there’ for our children, and hope they grow up unscathed.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Strictly controlling children’s access to the online world for as long as possible would help. It requires a strong nerve, persistence and both parents in concord, but it is well worthwhile.

richlramsey
richlramsey
3 years ago

“…and assorted strange ((people)) therein.” FIFY

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

As always a well done post from you – but the ones you mention are the few. Most structureless youth latch onto ‘Influencers’ at one end, and a wish for empty pleasures and avoidance of boredom with peer acknowledgement at the other. They are purposeless. The end of extended family, the structured community of your Church congregation (which punctuates the year with its wedding, funerals, seasons, holidays, and services) and community where one would have known people of all kinds and ages. Now days we tend to stratify out into people of our demographics and interests, unlike the communities man evolved in.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
3 years ago

This confirms two things to me. First, we are at the cusp of another dark age. Second, a lot of young women have too much time and money on their hands. Witchcract is not a plea from the disempowered, to my reading of this, but a hobby that requires time, and disconnect from reality, both only possible if you come from money.

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago

The poverty-stricken jobless also have free time Hayden Eastwood.

James Slade
James Slade
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

I wonder how they afford expensive phones and the data to upload their photos to Instagram

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  James Slade

In affluent Western nations like the UK or the US, “poverty” is relative. Nearly every young person, no matter how poor, seems to have a very adequate smartphone now. In many cases the service is actually being paid for by their parents or guardians. Or by the government. A teen in the foster care system would definitely be provided with his or her own phone; I think the social pressure to have a phone among kids from age 12 is so intense it would be considered tantamount to child abuse not to provide them with one. Kids’ entire social lives are lived on these devices; they can’t make or keep friends without them. And in these days of hyper-vigilance many parents see it as the only way they can give their teens any physical freedom without worrying themselves sick all the time they’re not with them. In my city, most people on social assistance have smartphones, provided and paid for by taxpayers.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

Yes, in the latest issue of The Big Issue they are looking to provide street people with smartphones. Among other advantages, it will enable them to manage online bank accounts. Makes me feel desperately old. I can remember when smartphones were an expensive luxury.

And Big Issue vendors with those neat handheld card readers can earn 30% more than vendors who rely on people handing over £3 in cash – which is becoming nearly obsolete in some quarters.

Last edited 3 years ago by William Murphy
Paul Rogers
Paul Rogers
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

A quick search on Bri Luna reveals her to be neither.
Her extensive tattoos took many hours and many dollars, for one thing.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Rogers

And of course tattoos are not self indulgent conspicuous consumption …

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Do you check your assumptions?

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

Actually there are many middle-aged so-called witch types with frizzy hair, not pretty, in poorer neighborhoods. The tattooed breast and thigh ladies just found their narcissistic niche.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

If you use the services of these witches is there a guarantee money back if not completely satisfied -just asking for a friend?

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I think it’s a Bernie Sanders deal aka no refunds.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

Agreed. The young have recently embraced something they call “cosplay”, which is dressing up and role-playing your favourite comic character. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because you may have done something similar – when you were, oh, about five. A number of 20 and 30somethings never grew out of it and are still doing it.
This article describes and applauds similar infantilisation.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Feminism is the ultimate infantilisation of the female mind. It treats all women as children and allows for double standards all around.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Well, while we are here, I know it is rewarded in their communities, *I* do feel that the Trans who read books to children are performing the equivalent of blackface.

richlramsey
richlramsey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

Exactly. Why aren’t they chastised for THAT?

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Like the Sealed Knot. Or Morris Men. Or any and all Theatre that requires ‘dressing up’. All of these, performed by adults.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

All fantasy but at least the Sealed Knot is based on,and re enacts, history. So there’s a chance of learning something.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

a hobby that requires time, and disconnect from reality, both only possible if you come from money.

“Come from money” sounds to me as being “well-off above average” at least. Pretend-play witchery can be a very affordable pastime, most of the paraphernalia & raw materials can be bought for a few quids on Amazon, Aliexpress, the high street etc. Tattoos seem to be all over the skins of the allegedly poor, so i guess that’s not really an issue either. And many of the items are supposed to be homemade by the “witch” – that’s probably one good aspect of the hobby, girls / women learning traditional ‘home economics’ skills like sewing, embroidery, knitting etc., not sure what the feminists think of that though haha. But it’s tacky as hell.
It’s certainly a lot cheaper than historical re-enactment which can be eyewateringly expensive, even if you make as much of the stuff yourself as possible – except if you’re a blacksmith of course. Even though a lot of re-enactment garb are sold well below their actual worth (they are painstakingly well-made, with good materials) to keep the cost as low as possible for their fellow re-enactors, it’s not a cheap hobby. But i love to watch. Everybody looks so much better in Tudor etc. clothes, no matter how fat, puny, plain, unwholesome otherwise.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
3 years ago

Dear Hayden,
I think you make a mistake saying they they disconnect with reality. The article is quite good but I think misses something. Reality is not only the things you can touch and see, it is also the things that you do not understand and cannot explain: let’s call that them mysterious. Yes, physics has made great progress in ‘discovering’ the reality of matter etc but when you end up at the smallest parts of ‘reality’ things become very mysterious indeed: even for physicists.
Every layer of reality has its own reality. Depending on your experience and education, the number of layers you are comfortable with will be different. The rest is mysterious and needs some sort of structure or narrative to make sense and to feel ‘safe’.
It is indeed as is mentioned above the lack of structure and sense in society that makes people look for things to hang on to: nothing wrong in this = this is normal human. If you have no references you do not exist.
And then we are all different so we all come out with an expression of the mysterious in our own way and find likeminded groups = normal: we are meant to live in groups, and most likely much much smaller groups than we actually live in. Modern life is quite a big challenge for most (all of us)
And last but not least, what guides us most in life and is often very helpful in unfamiliar situations, and that is our instinct…. what is instinct…?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Ha, ha, yes, a witches shop opened up a couple of years ago in the small town in which I grew up. It’s all a bit of fun and it adds to the variety of life, but to suggest that it’s a response to a lack of female empowerment at a time when women are at least as powerful as men is just absurd. It is no surprise that the person behind this hypothesis is a professor.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Ah that lack of female empowerment. The minute anyone clams that women aren’t empowered is the moment you can discount everything they say as they’ve got a tenuous hold on actual reality.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Most of my bosses/employers are female. Younger women now earn more than younger men. Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that one reason that western women are not having kids is that they can’t find men who earn as much or more than they do. My mother, when she worked full time, earned more than my father. I grew up under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher. Etc, etc,. I am very happy to see the empowerment of women in this way.

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser Bailey:

I don’t think that the author would agree with you that they are as powerful as men. They have achieved more power than in previous centuries where their roles were restricted to those of wife, mother or nun but that does not mean parity on in the world of commerce, industry or politics. If women succeed in these spheres, they are exceptional exceptions like Maggie Thatcher, bless her, or India Gandhi.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

“…parity on in the world of commerce, industry or politics.”
They have parity of opportunity. That is all that they can reasonably expect.

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

Agreed Waldo

But there is such a thing as the glass ceiling and in order to break through it a woman has to be truly exceptional not just of equal ability.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Very funny.
The men at the top of their respective professions tend to be of exceptional ability too.
They are not simply handed those positions because they are men. Having been in “the C suite” for a long time, I know for sure that not one of the people around me was there just because they were either male or female.

Last edited 3 years ago by Waldo Warbler
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Exceptional in what way? A comparitive study of female vs. male CEOs or other top earners would probably find them to have similar abilities and attributes: high IQ, high energy, ferociously competitive, driven, extremely hard-working (at the expense of family and private life), ambititious, self-confident, etc. etc…

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
3 years ago

thank god i am none of those things …. I am of moderate IQ, happy to toddle along in the middle of the pack, balanced not driven, do a fair days work but have a home I want to go home to, wish to achieve but not trample others, aware of my strengths but also my weaknesses, and enjoy a Cwtch ( thats Welsh for a special sort of cuddle).... and thinking about it I believe if all these weirdo witch folk and driven CEOs had had a few more cwtches growing up they would be normal like me ( oh final thing I dont take myself seriously!).
….most of the worlds problems are due to a lack of Cwtches throughout many peoples lives.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Margaret Thatcher was 40 years ago. What you say was true then. It’s not true now. Now it’s my poor straight, white son who can’t get the breaks.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Sounds as if he needs to join WHAM (Working Heterosexual Adult Males), a group proposed by my very sexist Geordie colleague circa 1983. He declared that we were the only oppressed group without our own activist organisation.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

There is an attempt to parity of opportunity. However child bearing and rearing, however minimal, has so far been an immovable obstruction.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

Of course, we are all biologically different. That affects the range of choices we have.
Nothing I could ever have done would have put me in the world of heavyweight boxers. Should my opportunity compete with 6ft 5″ 240lb fighters somehow have been engineered by the government?
I am at least as involved in child rearing as my wife.

Last edited 3 years ago by Waldo Warbler
Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

“Immovable obstruction” or, the gift of being able to give birth and nurture new life into being.
Depends on your outlook.
The thing is for feminists, once you’ve achieved CEO status, if you do, after a while your life comes to an end and so does your status.
If you have a child and have not invested the love, time and effort into bringing them up into a happy, useful adulthood then what was your status worth ? What was it all for ?
Self satisfaction ?
All gone, lost in the mists of time when the end comes.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

I wrote my contribution before I read yours. You say it better.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

Oh no, thank you, but yours is just as valuable and obviously spoken from the heart.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago

Obstruction? Good God, what have we come to? Trust me, by the time you get to my age, every work achievement will have faded into the past and become meaningless. Only the bearing and rearing of children and then assisting with and sharing the lives of grandchildren brings lasting joy and is a legacy that carries you into the future. The fact we bear and rear children is a wonderful opportunity. Not an impediment to some career in a job that the world could go on perfectly well without. As is mostly the case. The law. Advertising. Media. Finance. PR. Who needs most of it? What good does it do?

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
3 years ago

why would you want to move it ?

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

Surely witchcraft would help as they could just magic something else? That was the premis of Bewitched where Samantha promised not to cast any spells and be an ordinary person, but her parents kept interferring.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

The author is a feminist. For her to agree that women are as ‘powerful’ as men would mean her feminism would be unecessary and that’s not going to happen as then any problems women have would be their own fault and we can’t have ideas like that floating around can we?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

It’s actually a sexist assumption to begin with that there should be such parity in the first place.
If you look at pretty well any honest chart of female versus male attributes you find that while the minimum, maximum, mean, mode, and average value are much the same between the sexes, the distribution is not. IQ is an obvious one; these values are all the same, but the female distribution is notably leptokurtic, i.e. there are more women concentrated about the mean. For the area under the two curves to be the same, which it is, there must therefore be fewer females in the tails – fewer geniuses and retards. And indeed there are. The reason there aren’t many female professors of maths is because to become one requires you to be a three or four-sigma outlier, and there are numerically more males than females who are (about 20 to 1 IIRC).
It’s the same even where the curves are shifted along the axis, such as male versus female height. They are still a different shape. Mean female height is about 4″ less than male but there are far more 7-foot-tall men in the world than there are 6’8″ tall women. There are also more male midgets.
In fact, if you take two or three mutually independent characteristics and plot the curve of who has all of them – tall, and smart, and hard-working, say – you get what is called a log-normal curve. This a distribution with the peak right over to one side, so there is one very fat tail (people with fewer than three of these features: most people) and one very thin tail (people with all of them: hardly anyone).
There is no reason other than politics to assume that female leaders – whether of countries or companies – ought to be as commonly found as male. It is far more likely that whatever attributes equip you to become such a leader are rarer among women than men; you need to be in the thin tail of a log-normal distribution. If, as seems reasonable, becoming Prime Minister requires an array of several rare traits, then females in the tail of the curve are going to be rare still.
Non-hereditary female leaders are likely to be either effective and very rare, or where they are not rare, incompetent, because they’re not properly equipped for the position and have attained it through quota or an absence of male competition. If we look at our two female PMs the model works very well, as does the track record of female Met chiefs, female DPPs, the Care Quality Commission, HR departments, and so on.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Excellently said. The things you mention are ‘Sex Linked’ from X chromosomes, the women having two the characteristic is moderated by the other X, and so averaged out. The Men have one X, so the trait is not moderated by a second. Like IQ, and so the males have many at the extremes, wile women mostly without the extreme edges.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Indeed. Roll a six-sided die and you have an equal chance of a result between one and six. If 1,000 men do so the average score will be 3.5 and there will be about 160 rolls of each possible score. 16% of the men will score a 1, 16% will score a 2, and so on.
If 1,000 women then roll two dice and take the average score, only 2.7% will score a 1 (or indeed a 6). 44% of the women but only 32% of the men will have a score between 3 and 4.
Same low, high, mode, mean and median, but more male 6s and 1s.

Victoria Cooper
Victoria Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Being a woman I didn’t really understand that. However I perked up when you mentioned quotas. Ticking boxes has done the Labour party no good. Um “Professor”? of …. where? Sounded more like a school essay by a diligent pupil who had looked up a lot of stuff.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

If we are entering a period of chaos-and there are a lot of similarities with the 17th century , women do lose out as they do ,whether they think they do or not, need the protection of men to live ok. During the English civil war women were left alone to mind the children & the land & an avaricious neighbour could prey on them.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago

“Being a woman I didn’t really understand that.”
Er, I’m a woman and I understood it perfectly.
Perhaps you need to search for another reason for your need to put yourself down and go on bended knee before the male authority?
Ticking boxes has done the Labour Party no good.
But contrary to the UK, here in Australia facts show precisely the opposite: our Labor Parties, state and federal, have had quotas for over two decades, and the proportion of women in the party, in parliament, and in ministerial or shadow ministerial positions, has increased to just under 50%, whereas the Liberal/National governments of the right have actually seen an overall decline in female representation over the same period. This has led to scandals of misogyny and sexual abuse, and a national political crisis.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Data like that can get you fired, because it does not comport with women’s “lived experience.”

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

If you set up a workplace to suit men’s needs, it is entirely unsurprising that they will perform differently from women.
Similarly if you design cars’ driver safety features based on male physical specifications, it’s no surprise to find that women are not just uncomfortable, but actually prone to injury, from the preordained driving position.
It is possible to agree with all the facts you bring forward, while still disagreeing strongly with the general implications of the way you cite those facts. So:

  • There is no reason other than politics to assume that female leaders – whether of countries or companies – ought to be as commonly found as male.

Here you introduce that sneaky little word “ought”. You mean that in a scientific manner, of course, indicating the result one could expect from the evidence.
But “ought” has another shade of meaning. It introduces morality and the whole world of shoulds and should nots. It pertains to desirable human behaviour.
Thus, there is a spectrum of reasons, aside from mere politics, to assume that female leaders ought to be as commonly found as male—reasons of biological health, psychological development, mental health, emotional development, positive moral evolution, spiritual growth… in short, everything that pertains to positive human social relations, which is then reflected in governance systems.
All social and governance systems should reflect the fact that human beings comprise both female and male, who are different from each other. These systems should cater to them equally.
That women are forced to partake in society-wide systems wholly conceived, designed and implemented by men, is the scandal. That should not be. It ought not happen.
So:

  • Non-hereditary female leaders are likely to be either effective and very rare, or where they are not rare, incompetent, because they’re not properly equipped for the position and have attained it through quota or an absence of male competition.

When women don’t fit the driver’s seat properly because it has been poorly designed for them, the remedy lies in changing the design of that seat, not excluding women from driving.
The time of the male Mars leader, and male domination of the public sphere, is over. The male of the species is not God, and has no inborn right to make our commons his own exclusive preserve. Radical redesign of our social and governance systems is desperately required, urgently.
I think the resurgence of witching is indicative of this, and indeed betrays women’s desperate need to partake fully in design of our society’s future, before it’s too late.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
3 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

indeed…. you will like the work of Marc Luyckx Ghisi
https://www.marcluyckx.be/english

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago

Thanks for the link. I had not known about him. I have been working fulltime for the past 27 years out of the Rudolf Steiner teachings.
After briefly checking out Luyck’s Wikipedia entry, I’d offer these thoughts from my Steiner background:
— we need adequate conceptual frameworks if we are to move into a positive future
—these include adequate language and terminology in which to convey new ideas
—Luyck appears to belong to the great majority who still adhere to “religion” as the fundamental umbrella term for things spiritual, tacking on “philosophy” as a means of culturally transitioning to the social/political spheres
—while perhaps okay to describe the preoccupations of the circumscribed European/Middle Eastern vision of mediaeval into early modern times, “religion” is no longer adequate to deal with what is going on now
—we need an umbrella term, “spirituality”, which encompasses “religion” as one subset among others
—according to Steiner, religion only appeared around 3000 BC; prior to that, peoples around the world had enjoyed a shared group-consciousness, a shared “we”, a natural clairvoyance inherited through the tribal blood; this enabled spiritual teaching to occur inwardly; gradual loss of this clairvoyance occurred with the evolutionary shift towards individualised ego-consciousness, a fully physical sense of “I”, from 3000 BC onwards; for the first time, external instruction from an outer, physical teacher became necessary if spiritual teachings were to be given out; thus religions arose, each with its founding teacher, giving out a revelation tailored to a specific people at a defined time, in a particular place; these religions existed as the primary means of spiritual teaching in the places where they arose, until now; contemporary with religions, many cultures around great parts of the world continued to retain a pre-existing tribal structure, with the consciousness it entailed
things are now changing; use of the term “spirituality” enables thinking to go properly global, including those cultures still essentially tribal, such as indigenous cultures in North America, Australia, and elsewhere around the globe; this helps broader planet-wide inclusiveness when thinking about best-possible futures
—”spirituality” also enables inclusion of diverse spiritual paths springing usually from formerly esoteric content, which may or may not have dwelt under the protection of a religion, for example, Steiner’s esoteric Christ-centred path of spiritual science, modern Tibetan Buddhist paths; this helps achieve greater depths and heights in thinking
—”spirituality” provides an extended timeline, pre- and post-religion, to facilitate a longer worldview through time; this helps better thinking about human evolutionary possibilities and potential, such as a new heathenism
—”spirituality” can encompass, quite legitimately, modes of being such as atheism, agnosticism and secularism, which are spiritual choices, be they more or less conscious, deliberate or lazy, partial; this builds on evolutionary achievements such as the Renaissance, Enlightenment to a win-win future where nothing positive that humanity has gained, is lost
—it can also encompass modes of low psychism and superstition, grey and black occultism; this helps an integrated examination of the shadow side
—so finally, most relevant to this discussion, “spirituality” includes witchcraft, Wicca; this would have helped the comments on this thread come from a more useful place than mere reactive accusations and polemics against women, feminism, left politics, identity politics, irreligion; it would have facilitated discussion of the possible place of Wicca in positive human futures, its relation to other spiritual streams, and a measuring of current achievements against that yardstick
—that’s how much language matters.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
3 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

What we do need, desperately, are loads more good mothers. In that way we can fully partake in the design of our society’s future.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  Josie Bowen

While not denying the benefits of good mothering, I think you ignore the overwhelming social, political, and spiritual forces which militate against it, thus preventing it taking effect.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Meanwhile, we have more powerful women and a dearth of white babies – especially white, middle class ones. This can only lead one way, and it isn’t an attractive future.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Tom, no need to fret – once the obviously bad consequences of that materialize, men will be readily blamed for it. Nothing surprising.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

There were a lot of women writers, musicians, composers and artists in the past. Women frequently kept ale houses as they brewed the ale. They ran shops, businesses and estates, depending on their position in society.
Her name was Indira Gandhi.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

This is what feminists-witches claim, the professor who wrote the article described what these women believe in. BTW, I think sorcery is not so funny. There is a spiritual realm and it is unhealthy to dabble with it! Many priests who performed exorcism would substantiate this.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

It depends on what you define as “sorcery”. Even back when I, along with many other women I knew, dabbled in what was loosely called “witchcraft” or “wicca”, I never would have taken part in a seance, or any ritual that smacked of wishing harm on others or of summoning some kind of malign supernatural force. Perhaps there have always been too many vestiges of Roman Catholicism in me, but messing with the realm beyond the grave has always seemed a bridge too far. But none of the women I knew were interested in that, anyway. All of our “practices” were fairly benign, and often – in hindsight – quite silly. But I agree there may be unknown dangers in “dabbling” with what you call the spritiual realm. There is a lot we humans still don’t understand, and I know enough reliable, far from crazy people who claim to have had unexplained ghostly experiences that I can’t fully discount the possibility that there is something beyond this realm – and if so, I want no part of it. If I had kids I would never let them play with Ouija Boards or do any of that other seance or spirit-summoning nonsense (it was all crazy popular when I was a kid in the 1970s); children are just too suggestible and vulnerable. A woman I knew told me the house she lived in as a child became haunted as a result of her and her sister playing with a Ouija Board; all kinds of weird and scary phenomena suddenly started happening and never abated until they eventually moved out of that house. Maybe it was entirely coincidental, and maybe all the things that were happening had some kind of scientific explanation, but still: who wants to even risk that?

Last edited 3 years ago by Kathy Prendergast
Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Well said. My experience and approach is similar.

I would add that I do not think taking an interest in occult matters when young, or old, is evidence of disempowerment, it is a vast subject, ranging across all continents, thousands of years old and explored by men as much as by women.
I do think it can be dangerous and should not be toyed with.

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It’s all a bit of fun and it adds to the variety of life

Sometimes on sunny days we drive down to Glastonbury (not too far from here) to sit outside The Pilgrim with a pint of ale and chunky cheesy chips and watch the pedestrian traffic ebb & flow. It’s like an oddly melancholic theme park, watching all the aged hippies in their seventies, sixties, sometimes eighties, tottering about in their elaborate colourful regalia. I quite like it.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Are the Chinese selling ‘professorships” on TikTok?

Saul D
Saul D
3 years ago

Fantasy and make-believe, but with an undercurrent of hunger for power, psychological scheming, self aggrandizement and latent aggression towards targeted individuals. I’m not sure feminism benefits from an association with witches.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

undercurrent of hunger for power, psychological scheming, self aggrandizement and latent aggression towards targeted individuals”
Sounds like every Feminist I have ever known.
BTW, their targeted aggression, is almost always against other women.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Women’s biggest beef is against other women. They’re socialised to assign blame reflexively to men for everything wrong with their lives, but supposed social pressure on women to do or not do anything – look good, dress a certain way, have a career, have a stylish home, give birth naturally, whatever – comes overwhelmingly from other women.
For example, men famously don’t notice what women wear or how they do their hair or make-up, even if it’s their own wife or partner (there is reciprocal female total uninterest in whether a man’s car is the 2-litre or the 2.5). Yet the majority of the fluff in the women’s pages of any newspaper is about exactly such trivia. So both the pressure to conform, and the audience to whom conformity is displayed, is female.
This is never acknowledged in femwhines about a woman’s lot.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

So both the pressure to conform, and the audience to whom conformity is displayed, is female.
This is never acknowledged in femwhines about a woman’s lot.
1. Some of the main, most urgent work (not whines) among feminists is trying to address the overwhelming pressure to conform experienced by girls and boys in early teen years.
This pressure is, as you say, exerted on girls, but it is also exerted on boys. On each sex it is exerted mostly by their same-sex group.
However, the nature of the pressure is hugely male-sexist, not female-sexist, on both girls and boys. Hence it is destructive of good relations between the sexes, for both girls and boys, and its deleterious effects can last well into adulthood, even leaving permanent scars.
As well as being male-sexist, the pressure is also composed mostly, as you say, of superficial trivia—but not just for girls, as you seem to suggest; also for boys.
Do you think preoccupation with fast cars and violent online games and p***s size is any less trivial than obsession with jewellery or one’s hair or the size of one’s breasts?
2. Looking multiculturally, feminists work frantically to combat superstitious practices of genital mutilation among women. No whining going on here; just desperation, and deep sorrow that this vital work is being left mostly to women, where its effects concern both sexes intimately. Yes, those groups of old women are responsible for the pressures on young women to conform to the operation; but to whose greater pressures do the old women submit when taking on the whole cultural mindset? It seems they, too, are just doing what is expected of them, what they’re told to do, by male leaders.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

Or to put it another way, I’m not sure witchcraft benefits from an association with feminism

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

You beat me to it, Boosh. Was just about to make the same remark.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Great minds

John Jones
John Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Saul D

“An undercurrent of hunger for power, psychological scheming, self aggrandizement and latent aggression towards targeted individuals” sounds exactly like feminism, if you adding perennial lying and hypocrisy.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Seems my mother in law has been an empowered woke feminist fighting the patriarchy for years, and not a malevolent old ratbag like my father in law always claimed

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

LOL

Geoff Cooper
Geoff Cooper
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Good one, that goes for quite a few ‘witches’ I’ve known over the years.

Waldo Warbler
Waldo Warbler
3 years ago

There is a unifying thread that is absent from this analysis: the assault on the primacy of reality as the basis for discussion. Examples:
1.) Trans nonsense.
2.) Gender pay gap nonsense.
3.) The ascendancy of “lived experience” (i.e. anecdote) over data and science.
4.) The modern version of “Deutsche Physik”, which is the contemporary analysis of “whiteness.”
Add to this dangerous trend the fact that is proven rubbish like astrology or quack remedies have tended to be the stuff of women’s magazines, and you have a far better explanation of the “modern witchcraft” nonsense that a search for empowerment. Women have as much “empowerment” as they could reasonably want. Any more and they might as well just withdraw the vote from men.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

I cannot think of any aspect of female activity the mainstream media would even view sceptically, let alone critically, in this age of “women good, men bad”. Menstrual blood pancakes, open hatred of men. Even women who kill men and their kids are treated as figures of sympathy, if not heroes.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
3 years ago
Reply to  Waldo Warbler

Dear Waldo,
I suppose you aim to set the peg right and put us back in reality…..?
I copy this out of an article I put together with some colleagues:
the URL is: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/can-this-couple-work-it-out

Steven Pinkers, in his essay on science and the humanities, laments that the humanities are being abandoned by students. He argues that it is the fault of the humanities for not having embraced science and having remained in the past. He paints an optimistic and positive picture of the capability of science to eventually offer answers to almost everything.

Iain McGilchrist answers by saying that both approaches are equally important to understand the world and that science alone will not be able to resolve many issues relating to life. Note that in his world-renowned book

He finishes by writing: Let us hope we are not being complacent. And let’s hope our children are wiser than we are. For such wisdom they will need science, no doubt; but they will need the humanities far more.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago

The real reason is that, to paraphrase Chesterton, those who do not believe in God will believe in anything. Witchcraft gives an imagined link to the past as well as a load of New Age nonsense. In a world where you can identify as agender and insist on xe/xir pronouns, it is no surprise that people are taking leave of their senses in a manner of ways. The poverty of authenticity is a breeding ground for the woke religion and other such drivel. Women are marrying ghosts and dogs and indulging in this nonsense too. It s yet another manifestation of the narcissistic LARPing of the age. Am sure that Lipscomb would call men who like comics or sports “man-children” but I won’t hold my breath on the feminist liberal elite coming down on witches in a similar vein.

Last edited 3 years ago by Galvatron Stephens
Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

You said what I would have said. This is basically an article about cosplay.

Martin Price
Martin Price
3 years ago

Adult children who are yet to find their purpose in life.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Price

The rebellious child meets the sexualized woman plus they have too much free time so they immerse themselves in fantasy. I think that a big cause is the marginalization of Christianity. When Christ is eliminated, paganism thrives. But many missionaries say that countries that practice witchcraft are poor, and a way out of poverty is to join Christ. This is what I believe in. I don’t need feminism nor witchcraft, my identity is a Christian woman, and freedom means freedom from sin.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

The Jesus Road, as American Indians often call it, does indeed provide quite enough drama, and empowerment, if one really walks it. Sadly, many today treat their religious beliefs (any religion) as kind of a Zoom call. Lacking excitement, self-selecting as victims, avid for triggering as a means of feeling important, some enterprising females check out the witch role… a true hunger but an ersatz bread. Archbishop William Temple said, “One wonders why anyone bothered to crucify the Christ of modern liberal Protestantism.” Church and social organization are letting people down. From ComicCon to Walpurgisnacht, a pitiful spectacle. These women at least sense they are not getting the real thing, but they are still looking for Fool’s Gold. Plenty on the ground, but not the real thing..

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

countries that practice witchcraft are poor, and a way out of poverty is to join Christ

I’m an unbeliever myself, but this could actually be right.

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
3 years ago

Tattoos on women are “fiercely sexual” in the way that smoking is. The message is to desperate men, who hope to get lucky by finding women who have a history of making poor choices.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Indeed. Women even celebrate their “bad decisions” now. Must be hell in the dating game for a young chap.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Thanks, that actually articulates very well something I recall thinking 40 years ago. As a teenager I was convinced that girls who smoked were more likely to come across with the goodies than those who did not. I could not have explained why, but I just sensed it, and I wasn’t the only one because my mates thought the same.
You’ve just stated concisely why I thought that. I thought they’d put out for the likes of me because their smoking proved they had poor judgement.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

A tattoo on a woman is gross. How can they not see how utterly stupid it is to put permanent marks on your body? Sailors and soldiers and some construction workers wore them as badges to expierence and to the hardness of themselves, not as ornaments.

Andrew Frame
Andrew Frame
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

I love this comment. It amusingly articulates something I also suspected. Thank you.

wayne.v.cox
wayne.v.cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Frame

We cannot be the only ones to have thought this. My subsequent scientific analysis of this theory proved true…

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago

It’s probably not a coincidence that many of today’s witches already had cats.

J D
J D
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Very underrated comment.

AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago

Victims of the World unite! You have nothing to lose except that which makes you ‘special’.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Either silly people playing about, or Satan. Hopefully the majority are just silly people. There was always an old saying of – ‘if you summon a demon, what are you going to do when it shows up?’ These games of seances and magic are fun till you actually see there really is some evil there. Careful, what you are playing at, it may turn out to not be a fun game, there is darkness out there best left alone.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The Devil finds work for idle hands.

Rhys D
Rhys D
3 years ago

My advice to these adherents of ‘magic’ (lol) is to grow up and do something with your life. The charlatans that are writing ‘books’ about this stuff are interested only in your cash, and from the looks of it have been quite successful in draining wallets dry.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rhys D
themon
themon
3 years ago

This needs some correction regarding historic witch-crazes.
First, the “witch craze” in Puritan New England, particularly in Salem, MA, involved a major land-grab. The history is all laid out in the Witches’ Museum in Salem, with the specific plots of land, owners, and legal wrangling. This was one of the last witch crazes, in the 1690’s. After that, the use of “spectral evidence” (dreams) was disallowed in the courts, which pretty much eliminated ALL evidence of witchcraft.
The “witch craze” in Europe was a little different, spanning from the 1400’s up through the early 1600’s. Witch trials tended to occur where Catholicism lost religious and secular authority, particularly after the Protestant Heresy gained legs (early 1500’s). Where Catholic/Protestant tensions were highest, witch trials and executions were highest. Another peculiarity was that one village might be crippled or wiped out by accusations and counter-accusations of witchcraft, while another village just down the road would have not a single witch trial. It makes me speculate that “witch finders” might have a lot to do with it, these being “soldiers of fortune” who would would travel from village to village, offering (for pay) to “find” the witches in the community. I find it difficult to believe that these scoundrels walked away from many villages with the diagnosis of, “Nope, not a single witch in your village. You’re good to go, and I’ll be on my way.”
In Scotland, nearly all of the accused and executed witches were male.
I’m not so much trying to be picky, here, as point out that — as with most human conflicts — there is usually a transfer of wealth involved. In particular, one of the peculiarities of the law in Europe was that a convicted witch’s property was forfeit, and if you were in the right position, you could acquire that property. It’s a strong motive for accusing someone of witchcraft.

Last edited 3 years ago by themon
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  themon

Great piece. Very interesting. Thank you.

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago
Reply to  themon

Yes!

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

And these people can vote? Stop the world, I want to get off.

David Simpson
David Simpson
3 years ago

Men! Reclaim your inner wizard now!

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

LOL

Alan B
Alan B
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

As a warlock I resent this 😉

nicholasmacdonald82
nicholasmacdonald82
3 years ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Isn’t that the whole “Mythopoetic Men’s Movement”, the whole Iron John / pre-Jordan Peterson scene?

Edward Lloyd
Edward Lloyd
3 years ago

These sorry pretenders should keep in mind that no early modern ‘witch’ ever enjoyed the fruits of a lucrative book deal. Once again in these postmodern days, the insincere, mocking, and sarcastic actors such as the ‘witches’ of the 1968 generation, gives way to sincere, proselytising, true believers such as these ‘witches’. The reasons why are so numerous that really we live in the perfect storm for the growing of ‘witches’ and materialistic explanations are only triggers. But some of the the seeds were definitely sown by historians who ever wrote heroic oppression epics about early modern ‘witches’. Now ‘witches’ are counterculture. It’s really difficult not to loathe my generation sometimes, and I almost feel a persecuting twitch coming on. But wouldn’t they love that?

Last edited 3 years ago by Edward Lloyd
John Standing
John Standing
3 years ago

It’s liberalism. It makes half-humans.

Matt Spencer
Matt Spencer
3 years ago

Witchcraft was huge and very fashionable amongst young women in the 1990’s, this is really nothing new at all. It really is possible to over-analyse trends.

Ailsa Roddie
Ailsa Roddie
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Spencer

Yeah except it’s different. It serves a different purpose. Compare the tv show Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the 90s to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina from the last couple of years.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Ailsa Roddie

the Entertainment industry is SICK, and is a huge promoter of Evil!

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Spencer

The new witchcraft frenzy is far more lethal than the previous one.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Spencer

The real difference would be if we would starting seeing university departments studying witchcraft – now that would be something unprecedented, and given today’s zeirgeist not entirely impossible.

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago

Sounds like a lot of witchy revisionism is going on. Historically the label of ‘witch’ seems to have been applied to a variety of (mostly) women inconveniently ‘in the way’ in different contexts. The Pendle Witches were charged for practising the Old Religion: well in 1611, the Old Religion wasn’t Wiccanism, it was Catholicism, and Alice Nutter was a known Catholic. The Salem Witch hunt was more about dispossessing people who lived in one part of the village of their land, and the accusers mostly came from the other side of the village. Silvia Federici in “Caliban and the Witch” makes the point that the label of witchcraft was useful to dispossess women of their livelihoods, in favour of a concentration of capital – the primitive accumulation phase preceding capitalism.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago

I think you master very well the cliche language of the Left. The Newspeak.

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

I think you miss my point. Deliberately or otherwise.

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago

I’m confused as to how I get labelled as a ‘lefty’ when all I did in my argument was to quote 3 ways in which women were labelled as ‘witches’ because it suited the powers of the time. Example 1 about the Pendle Witches (I grew up there and I know the history). Example 2 about the Salem witches. Example 3 a reference to a book about smearing people as witches to put them in their (lesser financial) place. So Example 3 contains a critique of Capital, so what? It seems to me all I’m doing is reinforcing the argument of Professor Ronald Hutton, quoted in the article above.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

There are certain parallels with today’s rage mobs trying to get people fired from their jobs over their political beliefs. Good jobs with good benefits are a form of currency; the cancel culture mob is often very frank about their goal of getting “those people” (i.e., conservatives) out of them in order to make more room for “their people”. They don’t see it as punishment (although their victims, deprived of their livelihood, obviously do) so much as a cleansing of the landscape and a kind of 21st century version of a land grab.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

That’s exactly what it is judging by the pattern of their attacks.

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago

Yes, I see. Mobs seem to form inspired by all kinds of odd ideas.
Though reparations for the thousand year Norman land-grab are still overdue.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago

a pen (she recommends menstrual blood as ink)

How trans-exclusionary! Tut tut. What are the transwymmyn witches to do, take laxatives to produce the precious bodily ink? Does the spell work if written with brown ink?

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

Haven’t you heard, apparently trans women (aka men) can menstruate as well now. Not sure how that works, and pretty sure I don’t want to think about it too much. And I’m reasonably convinced a spell won’t work whatever ink they use, because it’s all nonsense.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mike Boosh
Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

We are sinking in madness and have to defend common sense.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Not sure how that works, and pretty sure I don’t want to think about it too much. 

Nor do i, however the mechanics remind me to the old joke about the gay bordello (“No, Miss Harry isn’t working tonight. He’s menstruating, after he overindulged on the prune juice.”)
Potty humour is hard to beat.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I’m not really ready to find out whether that is true or false, and I think even though the company be one of lunatics and hysterics, none them have quite gone that far yet.
My limited exposure to them – in the guise of below the line commentators – suggests that trans women do not approve of menstruation. I suspect there will be some who, even as I write, are trying to find ways to make it law that anyone who menstruates is not really a woman at all, just some strange Frankenstein creation of the trans-exclusionary club.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

A lot of understandable confusion over this, but I’m pretty sure even according to the trans lobby “trans men” (aka biological women who “identify” as men) can still menstruate, as well as give birth – obviously, if they are of childbearing age and haven’t had their reproductive systems altered, or made themselves sterile through hormone treatments. But not “trans women”.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

It’s all got a whiff of Monty python about it doesn’t it? Maybe trans women have ”the right” to menstruate, even if they can’t actually menstruate, due to not having a uterus. I suspect we’d be oppressing them if we pointed that out. It got j k Rowling in trouble.

Cycle Calves
Cycle Calves
3 years ago

Transgendered *women* are not allowed to be true witches, apparently witchcraft/goddess is very intolerant.

Ailsa Roddie
Ailsa Roddie
3 years ago

I think the resurgence is also linked to the lack of positive options for white identity. It’s a natural choice for Taylor Swift because identities such as being a Christian are now considered almost toxic.

The link to nature I think is being taken as a means for white people – whose claim to place especially in the USA as settlers is being challenged – to reestablish a sense of belonging in a form of indigeneity. Witch hunts have been compared to an early form of colonisation, bringing white women into the victim side of this dynamic. And I’m intrigued by Taylor Swift referencing locations like Lake Windermere in her work – is she linking herself to a sense of original place.

I’ve been following this with interest for a while.

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  Ailsa Roddie

Found it Ailsa Roddie,

Good points.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  Ailsa Roddie

There are lots of positive options for white identity. The woke just want to annihilate them. That is, after all, the point.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Ailsa Roddie

It depends if you believe the manipulation of history. I don’t, ergo I claim loud and clear that I am a Christian, I confess my sins to God not the woke mob, and have a different intake of what “colonization” means because I look at other empires and their deeds. In other words, I don’t play the masochist game as a White. I actually believe in dignity for everyone no matter what happened in history.

Cycle Calves
Cycle Calves
3 years ago
Reply to  Ailsa Roddie

Are you okay with transgendered women becoming witches and goddesses..?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

Am I the only one whose spirits sink when I read a sensible article about some women’s issue, turn the page and there’s one like this? Or one about what to wear, how your hair should be or this season’s must-have lipstick, or what your star sign says about how to decorate your home, or some other fact-free bit of farcically trivial new age quackery?
Citing some gormless bimbo’s website photos of her tattoos as somehow evidencing the zeitgeist is either stupid if wrong, or an indication of utterly trivial preoccupations if right.
You can’t really be crushingly trivial and taken seriously. You have to pick one. Do you want to be witches or do you want to be taken seriously?

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Redman
Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

This is not a trivial thing! Ideas have consequences, toxic ideas have very toxic outcomes. Never minimize the power of deranged people who claim to be victims. Learn the lessons of the 20th century. In Russia a handful of lunatic Bolsheviks turned the world upside down. Look at what is happening in universities: the woke mob intimidate decent students and professors, there are riots, blatant racism against Whites, a level of anger that was not dealt with properly and a press which instigates violence openly. Jordan Peterson warns us, Douglas Murray and other people such as Gaad Saad and the signatories of the Paris statement the same. The fact that so many women join witchcraft but not motherhood, is a huge problem for the future of the West and the world! In Freudian terms, the West embraces Thanatos death instinct, instead of Eros the instinct of life.
As Camille Paglia the marginalized feminist acknowledged: without patriarchy, we would still live in huts. I stand with patriarchy!

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

It was Simone de Beauvoir who claimed that men create value by building, inventing, and discovering, while women not. Having children didn’t mean valued to her.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

It’s not believed to have value. Even when I was growing up in the 1970s I got enough of that message, that every bright young woman should aspire to have a career, preferably a high-status one, and not even think about marriage or motherhood until at least her late 20s. It was totally different from the way it was even 20 years before, when most young women graduating from even the top universities swiftly got married (having been expected to find their life partner while at college, if not before) and became stay-at-home home mothers for at least the next decade.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I would agree, only this trend is deeply disturbing. Not a fason, but a wish to play with demonic. There are just some things bad – say childlike sex dolls, this has already been in courts, and sadism, life like horror, cruelty, as an entertainment on today’s Streaming services, that reveal a sickness in society. And when society is becoming sick it is important to figure out why. I look through Netflix and Prime and it seems 50% of the top shows are either demonic stuff, or extremely violent and sadistic. This is some sick sh* t.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The wild popularity of zombie movies and TV shows has always been a head-scratcher, for me. In my city there used to be a very popular yearly event, called the “Zombie Walk”, around but not on Halloween. Hundreds of people of all ages, including children and parents, would dress up as grotesque, bloodied, walking corpses and stagger along a pre-set parade route, complete with police escort. A Facebook friend participated in it with her young daughter. posted lots of photos, and said it was “great fun”.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

Back in the 80s and 90s I knew a lot of women – not all of them as young as me – who dabbled in various aspects of witchcraft, or “Wicca” as most preferred it to be known. As a lapsed Catholic, I recognized most of it as a longing for spirituality and meaningful ritual, among those who had rejected conservative religious traditions. There were aspects of worship, prayer, and meditation that were familiar to me, just in a a slightly different package. Also aspects of indigenous nature worship and European paganism. It was harmless (or certainly was in the circles I moved in), interesting and fun, but often hard for me to take as seriously as many other women did, because it seemed such a hodgepodge of so many different traditions. Nowadays probably a good deal of what we did, eg. praying to the four directions, would be criticized as “cultural appropriation.”

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago

Why is it only Catholics “lapse”?

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

I think Anglicans can go “ronin”…I know I have, of late.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
3 years ago
Reply to  David Boulding

Catholics are not good at backsliding, perhaps. It’s a tricky maneuvre.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
3 years ago

So basically a slightly less fantastical and probably less dangerous branch of wokeism.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

It is very dangerous. Dark Arts and not good things, plus being really ‘Weird’ does not maximize ones success in life.

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
3 years ago

what about good benevolent fairies? Why focus on and write about witches? but UnHerd has been writing about drinking blood .. as something will perhaps accepted as normal..so We do have the evidence how false realities are being cooked and forced on to humanity endlessly,.. for an ever more devastation of humans and beauty .. and then any different view and evidence, that is in fact all around us, is named conspiracy theory.. And ugliness and evil are being promoted as fashion and diversity. The media is the main instrument, the tube for twisting all there is, after an idea is being promoted as fashion, scientific, high tech etc.. –yes it is magic being made with words alone!!- hoping will take root in human minds and souls, regardless of no value for normal human beings, then they move to upgrade ugliness and evil.. That all is evidence of what the media is about, and here it is in front of our very eyes..

Last edited 3 years ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago

You’re not allowed to call them fairies anymore, they’re agender or trans nowadays.

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

well.. you are right to that.. but, is it not the time we bring balance and harmony back?

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago

One of the big problems of our days is that people do not know how to reason correctly. They confuse opinion with facts, use defence mechanisms against facts, replace emotions with reasoning, don’t recognize logical fallacies and assign causal links arbitrarily. It is magical thinking to believe that a claim somehow becomes true because it was stated. For instance, in our times it is not disenfranchisement which causes adherence to witchcraft, it is a lack of moral compass, lack of understanding how Christianity built the West, that a person who is guided by a moral code, lives a decent life and has a purpose, will be able to achieve something relevant. It is easier to blame others and regress to paganism than to take advantage of education and many resources available nowadays. We have more opportunities than ever.
But we have to start with awareness, and that can be frightening! Many people are scared of what they might find in the folds of their own unconscious! But, if you cannot face it, you cannot fix it!

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

Or rather, how skeptical inquirers built the West even in the face of 2,000 years of obstruction by organized christianity. The same organized christianity that repressed the medieval and early modern ‘witches’.
The moral compass we get from Ancient Greece, or from the Buddha, or from Lao Tzu, going back around 2500 years.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dr Stephen Nightingale
Kevin Thomas
Kevin Thomas
3 years ago

Nearly four hundred thousand people identified their religion as Jedi on the 2001 UK census, Jedi as everyone knows being a fictional religion made up by George Lucas. I expect female sad cases prefer to call themselves witches.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Thomas

To be fair, I think that was largely a 2 finger salute to the state jamming it’s nose into people’s living rooms via the census, and British anarchic humour, rather than serious belief in The Force. These are the same people who voted for Boaty mcboatface.

David Boulding
David Boulding
3 years ago

Just shows how our Leftist education system has failed people. This utter nonsense of witchery and magic is pushed by people who are failures and can’t cope in the modern world – along with a few frauds who are cheating people for financial gain.

mrlawson
mrlawson
3 years ago

WitchCraft for Empowerment—– Because Math and Science is hard!

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago

What is really interesting about the comments is that nearly everyone of them is from a man! I wonder why no women, apart from myself, have bothered to comment. I think that means you are safe, fellas!

Ailsa Roddie
Ailsa Roddie
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Hey, I commented too!

Suzy O'Shea
Suzy O'Shea
3 years ago
Reply to  Ailsa Roddie

Sorry Ailsa Roddie,

I didn’t find your comment.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

Are you assuming commenters’ genders? Should men be barred from commenting?

Safe from these childish LARPers? Maybe. Safe from the social trends encouraging this nonsense? Not so much.

Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Suzy O'Shea

I am a she too. Beware of false assumptions, they ruin the entire rationale.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris Sirb
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

I believe males do the majority of commenting here, men are more political I think. Women are about issues, and men politics, seems to just be one of those things.

Andre Lower
Andre Lower
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

Sorry if I sound old fashioned, but women sporting male names in web forums (there is one who admitted that in a previous article comments thread) does not help the image of female honesty.
There are plenty of catchy fantasy names available that don’t hide your gender.

Last edited 3 years ago by Andre Lower
Chris Sirb
Chris Sirb
3 years ago
Reply to  Andre Lower

Among my folks, Chris is a female name and Christian of a male. It might not fit your assumptions but if fits my culture.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sirb

Good for you. I come from a family where the women since the late 19th century, tended to use two initials as a forename, for professional and publishing reasons. When I have listed myself as such, it was not meant as disguise. But I confess to amusement at the occasional accusations of “hairy-chested man-splaining”! But we all know what they say about assumptions…

Bob Bepob
Bob Bepob
3 years ago

I didn’t read the article and went straight to the comments for some humor based on the headline. Disappointed. A dour bunch.

Galvatron Stephens
Galvatron Stephens
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Bepob

Got any good jokes based on the headline, Bob?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Bepob

Witchcraft is a sick trend. Sorry for the lack of laughs. Try the Israel/Palestine one.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

I don’t know any women “becoming witches”. And if I did, I would drop them like a hot potato. This is just silliness,

lachlanborderer
lachlanborderer
3 years ago

In a post-Christian society, people still thirst for supernatural aid.The size, age, and apparent indifference of the “Cosmos” is every bit as frightening to many as setting sail at night alone in a small boat would be. The folks described have cobbled together their own personal religion to cope with the vasty deep.. An it harm none; do what thou wilt.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago

It’s not been a good week for sanity. There was Princess Di’s brother describing his late sister as “a young girl in her mid-thirties”. There was a vigil for a cow run over by the Reading police. And now we have an article pointing us to a book which contains instructions on how to turn your ex-boyfriend into a toad. Let’s hope week beginning 24th May is even more deranged.

Last edited 3 years ago by William Murphy
Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago

Witches are no more stupid than Christian or Muslims or Hindus. It’s all silly belief in magic. But what is most funny is when people of cults with public approval scorn people of cults with less public approval! 😀

J D
J D
3 years ago

It’s too simple an assumption that the vast majority of witch-hunt victims were female. In some European countries the victims were overwhelmingly male.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  J D

And it is straw man really as it was so rare for any to be prosecuted for witch craft. Throughout history they executed people for theft, a thing police today would not even bother investigating, and judges would pretty much let go. To go through history and cherry-pick your examples to then extrapolate some point is not a really good way to understand the past.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

“[H]er profile picture shows an attractive young woman wearing a black dress that reveals both tattooed cleavage and one tattooed thigh, holding a crystal ball in a ring-bedecked hand. The image is fiercely sexual and deliberately powerful, but this is a power that is linked to magic…”
If she wanted an image even more sexual, and even more “linked to magic”, she could have chosen to be “sky-clad”. Except that as any photographer will tell you, a nude is just a nude, but add a scrap of cloth and it’s all about sex. Any eroticism that is there comes from the low-cut, slit-to-the-hip long black dress, as much as from the skin on display.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

And it’s all about look at me, look at what I’m wearing.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

Nope, can’t get my head around it. If witchcraft was really a thing then witches would rule the world. If they could rule the world but choose not to then the likelihood is they would be silent, for fear of alarming the general public. Why would they alarm the general public when they have no wish to control the general public?
It’s a lot like aliens. If you have the ability to travel billions of miles through a warp corridor to reach the Earth in time to get back for whatever is tea time on your home world, then you will either be wholly undetectable by the primitive ape like creatures you find here, or you will knock on the White House door to say ‘hello’.
You are so far advanced that you will not accidentally leave a ‘maybe it is, maybe it isn’t’ trace.
The witches thing might be all about sex, of course. (Duh).
People of nominally female gender (CIS) have traditionally grown up in societies governed by the nominally male gender (CIS) (aka the Patriarchy), whose appreciation and valuation of sex as a liberating force has often been in inverse proportion to their self-proclaimed piety, which, alas, is not in inverse proportion to their cruelty, but commensurate with it.
Male dominated religious hierarchies have often served as refuges for sexually repressed and sexually deviant men, whose suppressed sex drive (where it is suppressed) often finds an outlet via the torture of that which is desired but forbidden.
There can hardly be any other reason for the persecution of those identified as witches, or any male centred persecution or repression of the nominally female cis gendered person.
Anyway, it all sounds frightfully interesting and charged with erotic potential.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
themon
themon
3 years ago

There’s always the profit motive. Convicted witches were stripped of their property, and others could acquire it. The case in Salem involved such a land-grab.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  themon

A respectable way to justify theft is probably the real motive behind many movements. The Reformation in England, the Russian Revolution, liberation movements in Zimbabwe and South Africa….

kadaniel14
kadaniel14
3 years ago

They become witches because they already had the broomsticks!

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

There are two traditions intertwined here, both can be positive but their distinct differences need to be understood: 1. Mutterrecht or Muttereich, the idea that women should be the ultimate arbiters on social and political issues as men are just too, well, male. This is as old as Lilith and the Bird Footed Goddess of the fertile crescent. Its probably the least harmful way to order society tried so far. Romans soldiers feared the Teutonic women more than the men. White settlers had a similar fear of Comanche, Apache and Navajo women. If the hunters hunted and the gatherers went on strike the tribe died, but not the other way round. 2. The Curadora or Wise Woman, who’s empirical knowledge of life, be it plant, animal, human including midwifery was useful and sometimes crucial for survival. Either is good, combined they’re better and would solve many problems we’ve come to accept as inevitable. Due to unherd’s censorship i can’t quote directly but our present predicament was called “human, all too human” but in direct translation it’s “masculine, all too masculine”. Those who choose to marry at midnight will always know some things we do not. We ignore, oppress or belittle them at our peril.

Last edited 3 years ago by mike otter
bestrohl
bestrohl
3 years ago

People have practiced ritual magick for as long as we have recorded history. I’m not sure why the author questions whether or not people are doing it now.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  bestrohl

It might be the lingering influence of old style rationalists and education reformers. These high minded people tended to assume that advances in scientific knowledge and a higher general level of culture would gradually remove both traditional religion and old superstitions. Those prototype Richard Dawkins of the 1920s probably expected that all magik would have faded from the West long before 2020.

Emre Emre
Emre Emre
3 years ago

I think we’re seeing a kind of neo-romantic moment these days. I’d see it as a direct result of the declining influence of Enlightenment through Wokeism. This allows for seeking super-natural explanations for phenomena as anything becomes possible and true in the absence of objectivity.
Another parallel and related trend is the decline of monotheistic religions, in particular Christianity.
Combined together, it’s not a surprise we’re seeing what amounts to a revival of Shamanism as young people tired of unfettered neoliberal capitalism and scared for their future seek solace in spirituality.
What came before Enlightenment was Reformation – at least in Britain. So, it’s telling that the cultural battles of Reformation age are coming back alive as Western society progressively unwinds liberalism and Enlightenment (pun intended).

Cycle Calves
Cycle Calves
3 years ago

The hypocritical intolerant disgusting reality is that *Witches* refuse to accept transsexuals … unless you were born a woman, you cannot be a *true witch*.

They are HATERS and should be treated as such for their hate speech, and their exclusionary practices…

David Yetter
David Yetter
3 years ago

Why? Because as Chesterton remarked, when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they’ll believe an anything.

charleswdhs
charleswdhs
3 years ago

Witchcraft tries to manipulate and control people and events remotely without the give-and-take of normal relationships. How does that differ from narcissism?

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

Pure bullsh*t. Another manifestation of the new Age of Unreason in which we are now living, not least thanks to social media. Does Roehampton ‘University’ have a faculty of witchcraft? Wouldn’t surprise me.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

I was a witch in a former life. The medicine woman version.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Dr Quinn, I presume?

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I think you need to pull yourself away from the TV and do some reading!

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

I am a Wizard.

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Ever since I was a young boy I’ve played the silver ball.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Why be a witch? Grow an herb garden and help women in childbirth and with their emotional problems and spiritual and intellectual development. Hildegard von Bingen, as role model, anyone?

toppszee
toppszee
3 years ago

Warlock envy.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
3 years ago

Wicca – to give it its proper name – is the practice of white witchcraft. Its clear that the author and virtually everyone commenting on this article is here just to sneer about something none of you understand. Keep an open mind people – all this can be attributed to any form of religion in just the same way. Shame on you.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

In my view believing in witchcraft or more formal organised religion are equally silly. Does ‘keep an open mind’ mean ‘agree with me’?

Cycle Calves
Cycle Calves
3 years ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Are you “open minded” to allowing transgendered male-to-female witches?

alex3cordero
alex3cordero
3 years ago

Humans have always turned to magic when they feel powerless but some become witches when they feel powerful. It’s not just women that are turning to magic and witchcraft, men are too.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
3 years ago
Reply to  alex3cordero

Yes, look at the US Senate — the Witch and the Warlock.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

Nevermind that I doubt anyone reading this has ever met ‘a witch’ or is ever likely to, having read this and the following comments, and I’m still half asleep I hasten to add, I wonder how many other people actually did or did they just use it as another vehicle to trot out their own gender and political agendas?

It’s slightly mocking in tone, yes, but the central premise is that people are more inclined to turn to these things, arguably on the fringes, in moments of personal and general stress, distress and unease in order to try and deal with the feelings of impotency that these unwelcome events beyond their control often bring with them.

Religion has traditionally fulfilled that role in the past for some but is currently passé and was always undeniably inherently prescriptive and patriarchal, so whether it’s witchcraft or Jordan Peterson that you go to looking for answers in such times, as long it ‘gets you through the night’, as John Lennon once said, and no-one else really gets hurt along the way then where’s the harm I say.

Now I’m off to, ‘observe the energy of witches’ Sabbats”…..

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

So she left it once she came to believe in its apparent power?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Obviously wasn’t ‘getting her through the night’.

Quite the opposite in fact.

Best off out of it then.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Thankyou for a sane comment in the midst of a plethora of unconsidered misogynies.
You mention that religion is now passé, and I agree, as regards Britain. The situation in the US is very different, however: there, religion still plays an important role in many, if not most, people’s lives.
In that connection, I understand that the resurgence in witchcraft in the US is connected with a fully conscious, determined and organised resistance to—a rebellion against—the extreme fundamentalist pentecostal rightwing version of religion, better called cultism, whose increasingly fanatical grip on American social life has necessitated this response.
This would suggest that rather than power for power’s sake, modern US witches are seeking power to help save the planet from the ravages of an outdated patriarchy masquerading as the cult of the Chosen One.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago
Reply to  Penelope Lane

If men are oppressing women then they’re not doing a very good job at it – now I’m sure you don’t like facts but take a look at which sex is killing themselves at the highest rate, which sex has the most workplace fatalities, which sex gets more prison time for the same crime, which sex loses custody of children post-divorce. Look at all that and then have the nerve to claim we’re being ravaged by a patriarchy. You are out of your mind.

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

…I’m sure you don’t like facts…
…have the nerve to claim…
You are out of your mind.
Each of these statements is abusive. You are trying to score points by attacking my person. Comment space on Unherd is supposed to provide a forum for thoughtful, respectful discussion, not an outlet for unreasoning hatred.
…take a look at which sex is killing themselves at the highest rate…
…has the most workplace fatalities…
You are not reasoning logically. Yes, men have a higher suicide rate, but that does not disprove that women are ravaged by a patriarchy. Men’s suffering here does not show that men don’t exercise control over women. Ditto for workplace fatalities.
A likely reason for men’s greater suicide rate is a relatively greater emotional fragility compared with women. Combine that fact with the statistics cited elsewhere in this discussion, that men show up on the extremes, whereas women cluster more toward the centre, on almost any objective measure, and you have a good case that the cause of male suicides—an extreme behaviour—is to be found here. Ditto workplace fatalities.
Men suffer; women suffer too. But the sexes suffer differently in many ways. It’s perfectly legitimate for women to express their particular suffering and attempt to identify its causes. It’s equally legitimate for men to express their areas of suffering too, and try to find the causes.
The current fashion prohibiting victimhood is dangerous to social and psychological balance. It gives free rein to its polar opposite—the obsessive need to be always in control, always the winner, always the one who metes it out, who initiates. We urgently need to achieve balance between giving and receiving in the right ways, in positive ways which enhance the other’s wellbeing.
There is a link between being on the receiving end and doling it out. For example, if you were abused as a child, you can tend to become an abuser when you reach adulthood. What sort of adult does the childhood bully become? Has that research been done yet?
Flip-flopping between extremes—manic/depressive, abuser/abused, altright/antifa—leads to fragmentation and breakdown. The balance between poles holds out the way to a healthy future.
It is for this reason that I suggest women, clustering as they do around the centre relative to men, now hold the future in their hands. For good reason.

Last edited 3 years ago by Penelope Lane
Cycle Calves
Cycle Calves
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Do you agree with the HATE practice of excluding transsexual women from becoming witches?

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Cycle Calves

Go on then, I’ll bite.

Enlighten me.

richlramsey
richlramsey
3 years ago

Yeah, you go on thinking you’re a witch. Pfft

Marcus Scott
Marcus Scott
3 years ago

The moment I read the title I knew the answer to the question it posed. An answer so obvious I am this very minute thrashing myself with a leather belt to teach myself a lesson. That lesson, which I have failed repeatedly to heed, is, “every problem that every female has on Planet Earth in 2021 has a single cause, the Patriarchy. Don’t waste your time reading any further. You know the answer, move on.”
And yet I did read on. Why? Perhaps I am subconsiously a masochist and was making an excuse to get the belt out.
“In today’s world, when money is tight, disease is rife and many people feel politically impotent, the resurgence of witchcraft among young women is both a mark of powerlessness and an attempt to reclaim power.”
Disease is rife? Really? Among young women in the UK? Are we talking Black Death rife or some other kind of rife? Despite COVID-19 I would venture that the health of young women today is quite a bit better than it was when Matthew Hopkins was going about his work.
Claiming this phenomenon is caused by the the conditions of this country in 2021 being in any way similar to those of the 17th century is laughable. If you want to see what life was like in 17th century Britain I suggest you travel to one of the poorest countries you can find on a fact finding mission. Malawi for example. This will give you some idea as to the conditions in the 16th century but it will still be missing many of the various horrors that existed at the time. One horror that our modern day legal system will make difficult to recreate is being raped for days by the soldiers of an invading army, left for dead and awakening to find your entire family have been murdered in an extremely brutal manner. Try watching Mel Gibson’s film, Apocalyptov, for an insight into that experience.
“Being a witch is conceived, as Luna puts is, as “the freedom to be your most authentic self. To embrace ALL aspects of whoever that may be, and fiercely.” 
Luna is missing the “I offer myself to Satan” aspect of witchcraft. Perhaps as few as 5% of witches wish to assist the Dark Lord in his objectives so we can give that a pass. If the other 95% are spending their time stealing their partners underpants or casting a “Toad Spell” I fear that a considerable number of young women urgently need to see a psychiatrist so that a professional may find out why the woman in question has lost her mind. Then a course of treatment can be discussed. One treatment which is known to be very effective would be for many unhappy young women is to have a baby. This will deal with the primary cause of her desire to be a witch, the fact that she has too much time on her hands. There is nothing like a baby to deal with the “too much time” issue. It is my dedication to World of Warcraft and online pornography that has stopped me from having a baby around. I don’t have the time. Please note, I wrote, “baby” not “little doggie that I treat like a baby and which placates my natural urge to have a human baby probably long enough for me to get to the point where I can no longer have a human baby.”
What is the objective of the Toad Spell? Given that it is being cast on an ex partner I fear this spell is not one that is cast with good intentions. If it is designed to cause harm to the poorly regarded ex boyfriend the witch casting the spell better hope it is nothing more than a manifestation of her own insanity. If it does do what I think it might claim to do then a murder or an assault will have taken place. Back in the day you would have earned a burning alive for that transgression. These days you will serve a prison term of 15 years, more or less. Nothing to worry about.
I am going to need a bigger belt. I’m am also going to need a large bearded man, preferably German, to put his weight behind said belt and thrash me until the pain causes shock to renders me unconscious. That is the price I will have to pay to stop me reading these articles.

dcbatlle
dcbatlle
3 years ago

The sexual revolution has given womyn everything they have asked for, and then some. And yet they are unhappier than ever. Now resorting to “witchcraft” to see if that works for them.

dcbatlle
dcbatlle
3 years ago

The sexual revolution has given womyn everything they have asked for, and then some. And yet they are unhappier than ever. Now resorting to “witchcraft” to see if that works for them.

Julian Penrod
Julian Penrod
3 years ago

As part of their traitorous activities, the slimy “Fourth Estate” declared that Donald Trump’s warnings about opposition from “A-list celebrities” to the Deep State, to Satan worshippers to child rapists were “false”, “crazy”, “conspiracy theories”. “A-list celebrities” did form a movement they called “The Resistance”. The website, The Hill, defined the Deep State as “career bureaucrats pursuing their own agendas”. What is non credible about that? Note that the “Killer Kane” gangster state Democratic Rackets have been promoting systems that facilitate child rape. The system of “handling” adult illegal aliens trafficking children not related to them into the country to be placed in child rape clubs. The system involved doing absolutely nothing! Not asking any questions, just releasing the adults with the children in their custody, to disappear into the Hispanic community where the children would be trafficked into the sex trades! Trump tried to initiate a system to take DNA to see if the children and adult illegal aliens were related and the “Killer Kane” gangster state Democratic Rackets pounced! They said Trump “separated families”, but it was never established that the children were related to the adults trafficking them! Now, “Beijing” Biden,.”The Manchurian Candidate”, has the children enter in hordes on their own, then they are bused wherever the child rape clubs are, waiting for them! And, now, it’s admitted that such as witches are in huge numbers and supposedly even cast spells against Trump’s administration! Trump was right about absolutely everything!
Add such facets as the “Killer Kane’ gangster state Democratic Rackets infiltrating the White House with traitors. The individual who stole papers from Trump’s desk. Cabals, such as the one Miles Taylor belonged to, who admit to working to undermine Trump’s administration!
Trump was right about everything!
Note, even the “virus’ is a lie. They called it a pandemic even before they examined to see if no one had natural immunity, an admission the situation is just a case of the New World Order publishing fraudulent lists of “people getting sick” or “dying”! Charts of “cases” and “deaths” have a seven day pe3rioditiy, which is impossible for any pathogen. They say the “virus’ can survive two weeks in the bloodstream,. Which is impossible for any real virus. They say it survives on the skin longer than true viruses, which, due to salts, acids, oils, perspiration, micro organisms that would eat it, is impossible for a genuine virus. They say it has many, many “effects”, but each “effect” requires a separate mechanisms and, since real viruses are just capsules of protein containing strands of RNA, that is impossible for genuine viruses! After saying the “virus” has so many mechanisms, they also say it can be asymptomatic. It’s not possible for a genuine pathogen with so many mechanisms to be asymptomatic! One or another mechanism would assert itself!
It is important to note, though, people have never been given a valid idea about god and religion.
God is present, but His nature goes beyond even the localized system called “logic” here. He does not want religion. Note, no Creation story has the first people coming into being sitting in pews, holding prayer books! God placed people here to live, to do. He does, though, want inherent nature to be so superior that decisions people would make would be in tune with God’s wishes. God would not make a separate force like The Devil to rule over evil. God rules over all. God is the author of all. He would have no reason to create a being or group of beings who seek to destroy and cause misery. God allows people to act in evil manners as part of allowing them fully free will. People should stop acting like they are not responsible for their acting malignantly. And a primary facet, the assertion that God answers prayer. In fact, God will provide, but, which no religion mentions, the people must deserve it! They must earn God’s special beneficence! The sea change, including acting with utmost scrupulousness; acting to improve the world and onesself; doing it because it is right, not for what someone can get from it. If someone acts in God’s will, they will see Him acting in their lives.
Not that people aren’t beset with misery, but they cause it. Beings that can be called demons beleaguer those who act corruptly or in a wrong way. Often it takes the form of disease. They are specific. Lies cause heart disease; depraved indifference causes cancer; pettiness causes diabetes; back stabbing brings about Alzheimer’s. Lack of faith in God causes sinus type problems. Since all sin comes from lack of faith in God, diseases begin with “cold and flu like symptoms”. Even death is not inevitable. If someone is doing what God wants, God will not remove them! Face it, the craven and conniving powerful would be catatonic if they thought death was inevitable! It can be said such as they have an arrangement with God. Their belaboring of the people acts to give the shiftless the ability to spend at least some time working to surmount difficulties. Their bludgeoning of the public can also act as minor punishments for a number of minor sins, so the people can take a lesson and improve.
God wants all to be like Christ. Christ was only a man. He was the Son of God in the sense that all people are children of God! By saying important things, by doing important things like spreading the word, He achieved a measure of God’s power.
It can be added that, if a curse is cast to abuse someone, and it works, it could be because that person deserved punishment for their actions, anyway. The person supposedly casting the spell looking at it the wrong way, though, for example, as the work of some individual made by God to be evil, can, themselves, be beset by agents of God punishing them.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
3 years ago

I have a few friends on Facebook who are Wiccans – these are older women who have been practising their religion for decades, so hardly jumping on any bandwagons here. The books mentioned in the article however do seem an invitation to the young self-obsessed woman to try something new and vaguely trendy – and has nothing to do with Wicca.

Alex Cotter
Alex Cotter
3 years ago

There is a religious aspect to it too. I do not identify as a witch but as a pagan. I have tried a number of Christian religions but they lack something I need. Wicca has been making a comeback since the 50’s. People are not as attached to their childhood churches as before. I believe there is a ride agnosticism also.

Sue Whorton
Sue Whorton
2 years ago

When my husband had his welcome service as a probationary Methodist minister in 1981, the local coven met at the same time to ill wish us, we were kindly informed of this event. We were in our early twenties at the time. Magical thinking is a very interesting thing and hard not to do. I do this and that happens. Our dog does it all the time. When she barks at the tractors going past, they go away. Thy will be done, is Christ’s main teaching on prayer.

cannonartist
cannonartist
3 years ago

“Having studied the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries…” Oh, have you? Whom have you been reading? Crap-peddlers like Margaret Murray? I doubt that you’ve consulted Norman Cohn or Diane Purkiss.

“In most places in Europe women made up the vast majority of those who were prosecuted and executed as witches…” This is a self-serving feminist lie. Contrary to popular belief, outside of England the majority of the victims of witch persecutions were male. And the vast majority of people making accusations of witchcraft were female.

Yes, it really is true: The witch hunts were persecutions of men by women.

The same thing occurred — and is still occurring — in the United States. There really is no difference between the “visionary girls” who testified at Salem and the female New Agers who now make up the majority of QAnon believers. Need I remind you that, not so very long ago, most UFO abductees and “Satanic panic-ers” were female?

Witch persecutions are just one manifestation of the evil that occurs whenever society’s leaders make the mistake of believing women who cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality.

(Are you under the impression that the previous sentence claims that ALL women cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality? Read it again.)

Last edited 3 years ago by cannonartist
cannonartist
cannonartist
3 years ago

“Having studied the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries…” Oh, have you? Whom have you been reading? Crap-peddlers like Margaret Murray? I doubt that you’ve consulted Norman Cohn or Diane Purkiss.

“In most places in Europe women made up the vast majority of those who were prosecuted and executed as witches…” This is a self-serving feminist lie. Contrary to popular belief, outside of England the majority of the victims of witch persecutions were male. And the vast majority of people making accusations of witchcraft were female.

Yes, it reall