Faith

The Scary Spread of Witchcraft Today

In an anything-goes culture, practitioners try to pass off a belief in sorcery and magic as 'another way to be spiritual'

Has our modern-day society made “witchcraft” mainstream? A recent BuzzFeed News article titled “How Witchcraft Became a Brand” certainly seems to suggest so.

A simple internet search for the meaning of witchcraft summons a Merriam-Webster definition. Witchcraft is “the use of sorcery or magic” — or “communication with the devil or with a familiar.”

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The hoopla at Halloween time — with witches’ hats, broomsticks and more — may appear innocent enough, but as children grow up surrounded by witchcraft-branded items, Christians (and all people of faith) should be wary about accepting the status quo on this.

“Belief in magic and witchcraft is old, far older than Christianity or any of the Abrahamic religions; it wasn’t summoned into being by trend forecasters, and it won’t die out when the hype is over,” argued Corin Faife in the BuzzFeed piece. “So what does it mean in this cultural moment for witchcraft to be both a spiritual practice and a brand aesthetic?”

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Faife went on to detail the popularity of witchcraft:

The range of products now marketed as having some connection to witchcraft and the occult is truly vast, and while physical stores selling occult items have had a modest presence in small towns and big cities across North America for decades, online retail has really allowed the trade in all things witchy to take off.

However, the insidious nature of the occult today goes beyond mere dress-up.

“It’s now possible to sign up for monthly subscription boxes [to get] spiritual items [delivered] to your door: The owner of one such business, Goddess Provisions, said her customer base has grown from 300 subscribers to almost 6,000 in the last year and a half,” Faife wrote.

For $39, a box “fit for a goddess” contains four to fix “beautiful tools for nourishing your divine feminine and growing your spiritual practice,” according to the company.

What do self-professing witches have to say? Here’s one comment: “I realized that a lot of people who are deeper into witchcraft than [I am] first got into it through pop culture references — that’s more accepted in the community than I first thought,” said Elisabeth Krohn, founder and editor-in-chief of Sabat magazine, a magazine for modern witches, to BuzzFeed.

Krohn claimed witchcraft is a “really great way to engage with spirituality.” The use of such casual language about witchcraft is itself one of the dangers.

“We live in this world where we’re moving away from traditional religion,” Krohn also told VICE News last year. “I think there’s a hole where maybe you want to fill your life with some kind of ritual or spirituality that doesn’t really exist in young people’s lives anymore. Witchcraft is … something that you very much define yourself [by], it’s very individual.”

Related: Pop Singer and American Witches Want to Hex the President

Yet while trying to market themselves as “new age,” those who practice witchcraft know it is actually an ancient custom. And many who see witchcraft as a way to “engage in spirituality” don’t acknowledge they are welcoming evil into their hearts.

The lack of a clear belief today in good versus evil is part of the problem.

Related: Millennials’ Scary Faith in Harry Potter

“When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?” says Isaiah 8:19, warning against such practices.

And as the Apostle Paul advises in the New Testament, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them,” he writes in Ephesians 5:11.

(photo credit, homepage image: Claudia Brooke, Flickr)

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