The depiction of witches in U.S. mainstream media has varied greatly over the years. Some witches are presented as haggard and conventionally unattractive women draped in black, stirring concoctions in ominous pots. Others fit into the classic childhood fantasy image of a witch with green skin, pointy hats, and flying broomsticks. And then there are the attractive, mysterious witches who blend perfectly into society while secretly wielding their dark powers against enemies. Though these images are all vastly different, there is one thread that tends to bind many of them together: a prominent focus on the White experience.
From the late 1960s to the mid-70s, occult and witchcraft records became an unlikely phenomenon in the UK and USA. These spoken word LPs included narrations of rituals and spells by witches and covens, usually accompanied by bizarre, early electronic esoteric music. Some were relatively obscure private press releases – just look at The Art of Witchcraft by Babetta, AKA ‘Babetta the Sexy Witch’, and Ian Richardson and Barbara Holdridge’s Malleus Maleficarum, which were both released in 1974 and which today fetch hundreds of pounds online – but what’s odder is that major labels were often the ones putting these records out. It wasn’t unusual to find albums like Alex and Maxine Sanders’ A Witch is Born or Louise Huebner’s Seduction Through Witchcraft arriving through Capitol Records, A&M, or Warner Bros – but why did these occult oddities exist in the first place?
Here’s your motivation: You’re lost! You’re angry, wandering through a hellscape of slasher flicks and torture porn and random demons that show up for no reason. Everything seems derivative and repetitive. You’re on a circular path you can’t deviate from. Hungry for originality, hunted by fat, greedy studios who have manipulated you for eons, you stumble, at last, upon a place of refuge. Friends along the way told you about it (the fisherman, the old woman clutching her purse, the young mother and her crying baby) and you’ve finally found it. But inside, there is no warmth, no sustenance, no creature comforts. There are intimations of violence. There’s a whiff of decay. You breathe in the terror of over a hundred years of legends and lore, your mind whirling with questions, but in the end you come upon a blank wall. You’re left with only yourself, and your fear of what may be behind you.
Have any conversation with a witch today about where they go for their magical inspiration and they’re more than likely going to namedrop The Hoodwitch. The site for “everyday magick for the modern mystic,” The Hoodwitch offers free meditations, rituals and horoscopes alongside a carefully curated selection of crystals, herbal smudges, books, and tarot cards for everyone from beginners to full-on occultists. Bri Luna, a seasoned Bruja, and the founder and Creative Director of the site started her online destination for all things mystical over five years ago and has since grown it into a company that operates both URL and IRL.
The video for Princess Nokia’s “Brujas” opens with a striking yet intimate visual: A group of brown women clad in all-white wade in a body of water, tightly interlocking hands against the horizon of a gloomy sky. An indigenous song scores the cinematic scene as the camera hones in on a single figure veiled in blue, a reference to Yemayá, the ruler of the seas in Yoruba and Santería religions.
Then, the video cuts. The women reappear on screen—but this time, they’re modern-day brujas performing a seance in the woods.
Brujería, the Spanish language word for “witchcraft,” is typically used to refer to various spiritual practices that have been used by African, Caribbean, and indigenous Latin American populations for centuries. The West-African Yoruba religion, for instance, is estimated by some anthropologists to have been practiced for thousands of years. And Santería (also known as Lucumi) is an Afro-Cuban religion that took shape alongside the rise of Spanish colonization—and the arrival of Roman Catholicism—in Latin America in the 15th and 16th centuries. Today, brujería—and its accompanying bruja (Spanish for witch) title—are being taken up by a growing community of primarily Latinx women and femmes who want to tap into the mysticism of their heritage, often sharing images of their practice through social media or incorporating bruja culture into their creative pursuits.
Read More – The Young Brujas Reclaiming the Power of Their Ancestors – Broadly
WELLNESS EDITOR EMILIA ORTIZ SPEAKS TO PEOPLE IN THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY ABOUT HOW THEY NAVIGATE THEIR SPIRITUAL FAITH
Dazed Beauty Wellness Editor Emilia Ortiz is the no bullshit, Brooklyn-based bruja, spiritual advisor, creative, mental health advocate, motivational speaker, empath, fairy Godmother you’ve been waiting for. Passed down to Emilia through the generations of her Puerto Rican lineage, Brujeria encompasses various indigenous forms of spirituality and witchcraft practices used by Latin American, Caribbean, and African peoples. Harnessing her spiritual gift, Emilia decided to turn her attention to mental health guidance – something she felt she never had access to growing up – and set up her own self care platform, Sprititual Mami.
I should have known from the first chapter that Bible study wasn’t going to be much fun. You know the deal: Snake tempts Eve, Eve tempts Adam, they both eat an apple and get kicked out of the Garden of Eden and into the world of sin and death. Thanks, womankind.
When it comes time to write the history of Westerville, Ohio—a project that will be only slightly impeded by the fact that the historians keep having to be replaced every few weeks, as they slip into boredom-induced comas—no one will include the following story. It is too strange, too eerie—to be frank, just too unbelievable. And indeed, many of the girls who experienced the strange phenomenon I am about to describe will deny it. Perhaps they’ve forgotten. Then again, perhaps they are only trying to forget. After all, they are respectable women now. The dark and eldritch forces they once encountered have no place in their lives today.
But it did happen. I know it. I was there. And so I alone shall recount to you this terrifying paranormal tale: for several months, the entire youth culture of Westerville, Ohio, was based on The Craft.
Yes, I’m talking about that one movie, with Fairuza Balk. The Craft was about four teenage girls—representing the elements of water, earth, air, and fire—who formed a “coven” to worship “Manon” and/or make some freaky stuff happen with their minds. They became prettier, caused the downfall of mean girls, made cute boys fall in love with them—you know, the usual witch stuff. As it turns out, The Craft was a horror movie, and the girls’ spells ended in death, attempted rape, and psychiatric hospitalization. But nobody focused on that part. We, the teen girls of Westerville, Ohio, had just learned that banding together in groups could potentially give us freaky mind powers. And we wanted in.
Read More – The Season of the Witch – Rookie Mag
The “witch hunt” has been re-imagined and re-introduced in this cultural moment because an unfortunate tweet posted by our 45th president: “This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!” Social media has introduced the American public to a technology landscape where politicians are able to directly interact in the public sphere, so Salem’s congressman, Seth Moulton, responded a few hours later: “As the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false.” The tongue-in-cheek response by Moulton shows his concern over Trump’s casual assumption of victimhood.