A 21st Century Renaissance for Witches

2 min read
Almos Bechtold on Unsplash
Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

In the 21st Century, a generation has rediscovered the spiritual power of witches. Modern-day witches see this ancient tradition as a formidable symbol of female empowerment that it should be celebrated and deployed as a weapon against male oppression today.

WITCH magazine founder Dr. Carolyn Grace Elliot has spent her career connecting women around the country to this powerful tradition. “I don’t think it’s a mere passing trend … We are in the midst of a beautiful, occult, witch renaissance,” she told Quartz.

Pop culture has embraced witches, giving us many different kinds of characters, ranging from frightening to empowering. In this video, a real witch reviews pop culture witches, adding a real perspective on these characters…

The first stories of witches did not have happy endings.

Witch hysteria first rocked Europe in the mid-1400s. Some witches actually practiced “witchcraft,” casting spells and calling upon the spirits of the dead to help them and others.

These “witches” were deemed by Christian leaders to be pagan heretics in league with Satan. Most were simply what would today be called “holistic healers,” reclusive midwives and medicine-women of the woods who knew the health benefits of natural herbs and other flora and fauna.

They were tormented in “witch hunts” – made to confess under torture and then hanged or burned at the stake. From 1500 to 1660, as many as 80,000 “witches” were executed in Europe. “Witchcraft” was late in coming to the American colonies. The “Salem Witch Trials,” the most notorious spasm of insanity, occurred in 1692 in Massachusetts. 150 were accused; 18 executed.

This vile injustice from centuries ago has now receded into myth and legend and been replaced by the scary-fun “witch” characters of horror movies and Halloween, and the beloved entertaining heroines of “Bewitched” and “Charmed” on TV.

“We live in this time where social structures, institutions, and organized religion is failing us massively … A witch is a woman who worships herself as her own god. She is the creator of her own life, the healer of herself.”

Maura Dillon

The word “witch” can mean many different things today.

There are the modern witches who worship a “Goddess” deity and consider their “Wicca” religion to be as valid and “real” as any other (as it is so recognized in America and Canada). Wiccan witches have this simple motto: “harm none.” They strive to live lives in tune with and balancing of nature and humanity.

Do you know any modern-day witches? Maybe you are one! Your perspective should be shared with Residence 11 readers. Let’s hear from you!

  1. Are witches fun pop culture characters or conservators of the natural wonders of Mother Earth? It all depends on who is telling their story. What do you think?

  2. How do you feel about the centuries of abuse that witches faced? How can we avoid this kind of hate in the future?

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