Witchcraft is on the rise lately. In fact, it’s been on the rise for years.
Next time you scroll through Instagram, check out how often you see #witchythings like crystals, smudge sticks, witches' brews, coven references, the phrase “set intentions,” or astrology memes pop up. Better yet, go on TikTok: #witchtok is booming with modern witches offering 101s on tarot, chakras, the zodiac, DIY moon rituals, and more.
In short, witches are cool now. And they’re coming out of the broom closet in full force.
Who are modern witches?
Modern witchery might have a lot in common with the popular New Age spirituality of the 1990s, but it’s definitely its own thing. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the sinister devil-worshipping caricatures of Creole voodoo or the Salem witch trials, either.
Today’s witchy practitioners tend to skew younger, hipper, and are more likely to have marginalized identities, with the rise of witchcraft driven by Millennials and Zoomers. Often, this form of spirituality is seen as personalized and feminist –– a way to take back power in a troubled world –– and so the biggest proponents of witchery (at least, publicly) tend to be women, nonbinary, queer, or BIPOC.
Because modern witchcraft is so personalized, though, it can be hard to know where to start; you can make your spiritual practice whatever you want! So, if you’re curious, here’s a breakdown of the most popular practices (and related witchcraft supplies) out there.
Green Witches are in tune with nature.
If your pandemic hobby is growing your houseplant collection or you love to garden, green witchcraft is right up your alley –– and green witches are definitely having a moment. Popularized in the last few years by the publication of beginner’s guide The Green Witch by expert Arin Murphy-Hiscock, this style of magick respects the natural world above all.
Using herbs like basil, rosemary, and sage; honoring the seasons by eating what’s currently in season; being a conscious consumer of cruelty-free products; and planting native flowers in your garden are all great ways to start as a green witch. Consider an apothecary or aromatherapy subscription box for spiritual tools like smudge sticks and herb-infused essential oils, a witchy subscription box to learn herbalism, or a plant subscription box for your garden, to start your magickal practice.
White Witches focus on altruism and doing good.
“White” magick –– named after the light, or the opposite of black magick –– is all about helping others. White witches know that self-care starts with giving back to their community, and their magickal practice focuses on doing good for other people rather than on themselves. Think magickal blessings and healing prayers, not spells to cause mischief or personally benefit you. If you’re looking to give back more as a white witch, monthly subscription boxes that give back to a monthly cause are perfect for your new pagan practice.
Kitchen Witchery practice the magic of cooking.
Love cooking or baking? Did you get into sourdough last spring? Gather up your clay jars because kitchen witchery might be for you. This spiritual practice became more popular in the last few years with the publication of two books, Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The House Witch (her followup to The Green Witch) and Cerridwen Greenleaf’s The Book of Kitchen Witchery.
Kitchen witches, like the similarly-named “house witches” (or “hedge witches” if you live in the UK), center their magic practice in food and cooking. (Think Like Water for Chocolate, not Potions class.) Because food has such strong ties to community, memory, and emotion, it’s the perfect way to grow your kitchen skills and spellcasting skills!
Wiccans practice pagan spirituality.
You might have seen “Wiccan” and “witch” used almost interchangeably, but –– surprise! –– the two are not quite the same. Wicca is a type of pagan spiritual practice; you don’t necessarily have to be a Wiccan to call yourself a witch, and vice versa.
In Wicca, pagans celebrate the Wheel of the Year, which recognizes the four seasons and the cycles of nature. Holidays are known as "sabbats" –– think of the Sabbath, or shabbat –– and celebrate the changing of the seasons. The eight primary sabbats of the year are Imbolc in early February (midwinter, coinciding with Groundhog Day in the U.S.), Ostara in March (the spring equinox), Beltane in May (aka May Day, celebrating the approach of summer), Litha (the summer solstice), Lughnasadh in August (midsummer), Mabon in September (the fall equinox), Samhain in October (Halloween or All Hallows Eve), and Yule in late December (the winter solstice). Many of these holidays became Christianized later in history when Christianity grew more popular around the world.
Interested in exploring Wicca for yourself? Witch subscription boxes like Box of Shadows, a "Wicca-inspired" spiritual kit for neo-pagans curated by a practicing Wiccan and witch, are a great place to start collecting altar items, ritual components, and more.
What altar items and spiritual tools do beginner witches need?
So now you know the differences between popular types of witchy practices. But even if it's clear which suits you best, what goodies like altar items, wands, chalices, ritual tools, spell candles, spiritual tools and other witchy supplies will you need to get started? Well... what kind of witchy vibes do you want to develop?
There are a few key concepts to keep in mind as you start on your path to becoming a modern witch, but all of this is customizable to your personal needs and goals. Remember, most of magick is intention. How do you want to live more intentionally? What goals and habits do you want to cultivate in your life? There's a witch subscription box out there for every intention and altar item you can think of, from the gemstones and accessories in Goddess Provisions to the spell candles and serious spiritual tools in The Witches Moon.
1. Crystals heal.
Yes, if you're considering becoming a modern witch, you'll need a lot of crystals. Each crystal, stone, and gem has different qualities and energies to support different magickal intentions, and so you'll want to try out several gemstones like amethyst, citrine, rose quartz, and others to get a sense of what works best for you and your needs.
One way to discover a wide variety of high-quality gemstones and crystals is to subscribe to a witch box that includes crystals for every monthly theme. Often these crystal subscription boxes are designed to work with the current zodiac season, so you'll be able to learn more about your sign –– and your friends and family –– with each passing month.
Once you receive your new crystals, place them in a shallow bowl with water to charge their energies. Do this before you place the crystals on your new altar and they'll be all ready to go when you want to set your intentions for the coming week, month, or big project.
2. Astrology and the zodiac can help.
What's your sign? The answer might be more complicated than you think.
Modern witches use the zodiac as a tool for understanding themselves and the world around them. The important thing to understand is that astrology goes (way) beyond the day you were born! While your birthday determines your sun sign, aka "your zodiac sign," you have a whole bunch of other zodiac signs to contend with too.
Think of this as if you have three zodiac signs:
your sun sign –– who you are deep down
your moon sign –– your emotional side
your rising sign –– your public persona (aka, how people see you)
The ways these three signs intersect, depending on the situation, is the reason why you might not "feel like" whatever your sun sign is... or why someone might be "surprised" you're a Scorpio (Taurus, Virgo, Aquarius, etc.). Your rising sign might have totally different personality traits than your sun sign, for example. Or perhaps you come off very differently than you feel on the inside; that could point to a big difference between your rising sign and moon sign.
Want to discover your three zodiac signs for yourself? As long as you know the time of day you were born, it's super easy to DIY your astrological birth chart online.
3. Tarot Cards and Oracle Decks are tools for clarity.
While movies might make tarot readings look spooky or intimidating, there's nothing to fear! Like astrology, tarot is simply a system modern witches use to better understand themselves and their daily lives. Using tarot or oracle cards –– which are similar to tarot cards, with a looser system of interpretation –– is an easy and creative way to tap into your intuition, practice witchy self-care, and get more clarity on situations that might be causing you stress.
Many witch subscription boxes include tarot cards or oracle decks in their curated boxes, along with crystals, energetically infused bath and body care, and more. If you're looking to learn tarot specifically, a tarot subscription box might be more up your alley! After your box arrives, get familiar with your new tarot or oracle deck by pulling a random card once a day; most witches do this in the morning before their day gets going. Drawing a random card can help you frame what's to come that day.
4. Book of Shadows for thoughts and Grimoire for rituals.
Your Book of Shadows is unique to your practice, whether you follow the path of Wicca or witchy living. This extremely personal book is meant to represent a shadow of yourself and captures your feelings as you move through your craft. A Book of Shadows has information only important to its owner, and should help beginner witches learn the ways personality, mood, and emotion affect the practice.
The personal is the most important here. Your Grimoire, or spell books, acts as your reference guide to magical rituals, many witches record everything from infusion recipes to research on circle magic and conjurations to runes, magical charms for protection and healing. From Death Protection Poppets to
Beginning your practice is up to you.
Remember, new witches, modern magickal practice is customizable to your interests, routine, and environment. Use tarot, candles, crystals, cooking, herbalism, or leave out any one of them! Because magick centers on your own sense of intuition, you can shape your witchy practice to what you already care about. Listen to what your intuition is telling you –– and have fun!