“Atheist” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a witch.
Some modern witches want you to reconsider that assumption. Apparently, they don’t all worship a Goddess and Great Horned God.
Adoption of the scientific method and a rising distaste for organized religions have led to a sharp increase (and more popular acceptance) of atheists and agnostics. Witches, however, continue to be unfairly feared and marginalized, historically provoking mass hysteria.
Secular witches see gods and goddesses as archetypes, not supernatural deities. Instead, they focus on nature and the power we, as a part of the whole, can derive from it. As with any practice, there’s individual and group variation, but the shared focus is on psychology and naturalism versus the supernatural.
Witchcraft works, but modern witches are embracing a different “why.” Many old superstitions now have explanations just as valid, empowering, and awe inspiring as magic of old.
Traditional witches invoke a protective circle; secular witches often do the same. There’s an enormous amount of overlap between the two, with the latter showing great respect to the former. It’s a natural evolution of an ancient art.
Mandi Em, author of The Secular Witch blog, writes: “Magick and Witchcraft are terms that are frequently used to refer to the practice of trying to influence one’s experience by the use of intention, ritual, and focusing your will towards a specific outcome or goal. It’s all about harnessing your energy and directing it towards things that serve you, while cultivating a recognition and respect for your place in the larger natural world.”
The practice of secular witchcraft sounds like applied psychology with a mystic twist. Practitioners incorporate mediation, self reflection, and shadow work into “classic” witchy practices – but with a secular slant:
Tarot: Archetypes, psychology, intuition
Spellcraft: Setting conscious intentions after considering an issue and desired outcomes
Crystals: Serving as a focus of thought and intention. Crystals affect us in ways we do and don’t yet understand, but as part of nature, there is an assumed connection. We are made of minerals, after all!
Herbalism: Ancient witches knew that certain herbs and potions worked; modern witches leverage the chemistry behind them.
There are as many practices of witchcraft as there are witches and warlocks. The shared common thread between past and present is our innate urge to connect with something bigger than ourselves, to understand our psyche and those of our fellow humans, and to sway destiny as best we can.
Do you practice witchcraft, magick, or paganism?
We’d love to hear from you – and we may even feature you in an upcoming article, podcast, or live show: [email protected]
Written by: maia