These days, it seems like witches are everywhere.
Is it a hipster marketing movement or something more? Good witches dominate TV and the big screen, from Harry Potter to Netflix’s dark reboot of the once-peppy Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Instagram influencers tout “Big Witch Energy” (BWE) and stage elaborate photo shoots with "magick" ingredients like rose quartz, amethyst, and sage; girls in their teens and 20s gush about astrological signs and stroll down the street in Etsy-made “Witch, Please” T-shirts.
If you’re not part of the witchcraft trend, it can seem frightening and confusing. And if you check your teen daughter’s Amazon history and see witch gifts like spellbooks and crystals, you might be tempted to call for a priest.
But hold the phone – what your daughter is experiencing is normal, and has way more to do with ordinary teen psychology than with a genuine desire to practice dark arts. So don’t fear – we’re here take a level-headed look at the social pressures our girls face today, examine the history of witchy girl power, and unpack what’s really going on when teen girls turn to witchcraft.
Girls and Witches: a Brief History
Photo credit: Just Add Moon
The term witchcraft can be defined simply as the practice of magical skills and abilities. The precise meaning and moral implication vary wildly from one society to the next, but one thing’s for sure: We have a long history of worrying about witches. Old Testament verses advise caution against using magic or divination, and note, “Thou shalt not permit a witch to live.” Anti-witch hysteria grew in Europe in the 1400s and peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, when more than 80,000 people, men and women, were put to death for witchcraft.
So who were these early witches? It’s unlikely that they comprised a single group or belief set. Typically, accusations of witchcraft were political and had to do with power. Single women, widows, and those on the fringes of society were especially targeted – certainly, in the American Salem Witch Trials in the 1690s, single women with contested land rights were at special risk of being accused and tried. (Ultimately, 200 people were accused of witchcraft in Salem and 20 killed for it – trials which the colony later admitted were a mistake, and for which it compensated the families of the victims.)
Basically, from ancient Greece to the “Satanic panic” of the 1990s to today’s hipster witches, witches have a storied past as mysterious, powerful figures on the fringes of society. Despite all this, there’s no reputable recorded history of people actually using magic to cast spells or influence world events. So why do teen girls keep flocking to it?
(Lack of) Girl Power: Self-Esteem and the Teen Years
Photo credit: Awakening in a Box
To understand why girls, especially teen and preteen girls, feel so drawn to witchcraft, it’s important to understand what’s going on in their worlds socially and psychologically.
During puberty, girls are exposed to physical and social pressures they’ve never had to deal with before. Their bodies are changing without their permission or control – plus the resulting anxious comparisons with how the other girls around them are developing.
“If it seems like most people around you are already at certain places in their development,” notes Heather Corinna, founder of teen health and sexuality advice site Scarleteen and author of the book, Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up, “you might assume that those are the ‘right’ times, not just their times.”
That anxiety compounds with brand new social dynamics. The visible changes in girls’ bodies draw new teasing and attention from boys and fierce scrutiny from other girls. Throw the emotional roller coaster of hormones into the mix, and girls who enter middle school with comparable levels of self-esteem to boys fall far behind in self-confidence by age 14 – and may fall prey to anxiety, depression, and eating disorders as a result.
So it’s no wonder a teen or preteen girl might find appeal in a potion that promises to make her crush fall in love with her, or want to carry a crystal to ward off the attention of bullies. In a world in which their bodies, friends, and feelings are wildly unreliable, magic and spells offer something girls may not feel like they can get anywhere else: control.
But Why Does It Have to Be Witchcraft?
Photo credit: Magickal Earth
A Promise of Girl Power
The first thing to understand about modern witchcraft, at least from your daughter’s eyes, is that it leans into girl power. Traditionally, witchcraft has been seen as a feminine space. As teen girls begin to feel less confident about asserting themselves in front of their male classmates, the female-centric, girl-power coven zone of witchcraft can feel like a welcome relief – and also like a power that’s all their own and that boys can’t touch.
That’s why some witchy businesses lean into female empowerment – like Goddess Provisions, a monthly subscription box that arrives with a cheerful “You’re a goddess!” printed in cursive on the side. The box delivers not only crystals, candles, and oracle cards, but also superfood snacks, aromatherapy, sleep masks, and more – making it a total-body, feel-good restorative and perfect gift for girls who may not feel physically or emotionally empowered.
Photo credit: Goddess Provisions
A Personal, Independent Connection with Spirituality
One of the hardest thing about seeing your daughter undergo these stressful new changes is that she may also withdraw from you and other adults in her life. At the time when she most needs guidance, she’s also the most likely to disappear into her phone, lock herself in her room, and insist that “You just don’t get it!”
This doesn’t mean she doesn’t need guidance or leadership. But as she differentiates from you and starts questioning the world she grew up in, she may start asking deeply personal questions about her values and beliefs. Some girls turn to Wiccan beliefs as a way to practice spirituality independently as they self-explore. They aren’t looking for dark forces – they’re looking for personal enlightenment and spiritual awakening.
This is exemplified by businesses like Awakening In a Box and Magickal Earth. These monthly crystal boxes make great gift ideas for teen girls because they emphasize the personal and individual, delivering “crystals picked intuitively for you” and “a tarot card drawn just for you.” This personal touch is combined with essential oils and gemstones charged with energies for healing, clarity, and strength, and astrological guides for the month ahead – tools that allow your daughter to feel a deep connection with a higher power as she lays the foundation for spirituality and mindfulness that can evolve, change, and sustain her as she grows up. So what if it comes with some pretty rocks and candles?
Photo credit: Tamed Wild Box
A Return to Nature
In the digital age, we’re all feeling oversaturated by screens – especially our kids, who consume, on average, 7 hours and 38 minutes of media every day. It may be the new normal, but it’s not healthy: the American Academy of Pediatrics links excessive screen time for children with an increased risk of obesity, sleep issues, negative academic performance, and cyberbullying. Combine that with the fact that girls are at an especially high risk for cyberbullying, and it makes sense that some girls may be drawn to drop the phone and explore the ancient (read: screen-free) elements of nature and moon phases in witchcraft.
These girls may find comfort in the return-to-the-earth magic promised by gift boxes like Just Add Moon and Tamed Wild Apothecary. Offering a natural connection to the full moon, these boxes deliver natural bath and beauty products, intention-setting rituals, guided meditations, teas, and more to detox from the digital world and tap into something more pure. And honestly, who doesn’t want that?
So, Should I Say Yes to The Witchy Gifts?
Ultimately, you should do what’s right for your heart (and your wallet) – and most of all, do what’s right for your kid. You probably know by now, laying down the law and forbidding witchcraft is only going to make it seem more appealing – and worse, might make your daughter feel like you really don’t understand her, which can make her push you away further.
So approach the topic gently – no matter what your beliefs are, this is an opportunity for you to build trust with your daughter at a precarious time in her life. If she’s open to it, ask her what excites her about witchcraft and listen without judgment; if she’s not, give her space. Understand that she’s working through difficult, normal pressures and anxieties, and that she’ll come out fine on the other side – maybe with a collection of crystal balls, tarot decks, and jewelry, and maybe not.