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Witches of Instagram


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#1 Khundekling

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 04:44 PM

I fairly recently signed up to Instagram and of course one of the first hashtags I started following was Witchcraft.

 

I wish I hadn't!

 

Now, I know everyone practices differently, we're all individuals and we all have our own opinions... but I am amazed what passes as "Witchcraft" these days. 

 

OK most of the pictures under that hashtag would have come from Wiccans, so some of what I saw I would expect but the #TraditionalWitchcraft wasn't much better. It seems like all it takes these days is to own a fuck tonne of crystals and a tarot deck and you can call yourself a witch. Maybe it's the over-sharing that I have an issue with and I'm just being an old fart (well I know I'm not that old, you know what I mean).

 

Secrecy has always been a big part of my beliefs, so seeing all this "LOOK AT ME, I'M A WITCH" really winds me up. I get that in this day and age we shouldn't have to hide anymore but for me, I just find it a bit disrespectful at times. When so many witches have lost their lives, it all seems wrong. Perhaps some feel we should celebrate and be completely open about who we are. Maybe that is a better way to honor those before us... but does it really need to be posted in such an egotistical way?

 

 

 

Would love to hear what the rest of you think.

 

 

(There was another post sharing a humorous link expressing a similar (parody) view of what I just wrote... http://www.tradition...on-the-internet )

 


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#2 Phaedra

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 05:34 PM

The anonymity of the internet is something that the witches and other such practicioners of the past would never have dreamed of. Personally, I don't see any problem with enjoying what advantages and freedoms the modern age makes available to folks, and while it's true that fluff happens, it's also true that whatever you see posted on Instagram is only one facet of any posting individual's life in the craft--the portion that they choose to share publicly. Community can be very helpful and powerful for some, and having the freedom to spill and share online can in some ways make up for how very stifled and closeted many must be in their offline reality. What is one to expect to get out of social media groups for witches and occultists if they are all to hold tight on to secrecy?

Edited by Phaedra, 19 September 2018 - 05:37 PM.

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#3 JessicaB

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 05:34 PM

I agree with you that the over sharing on social media is off putting. My guess is that a fair number of “insta-witches” are doing it to look edgy and trendy at the same time. Surely some of them are just immature, but I suspect that when the witch trend dies down many of the look-at-me-I’m-a-witch-I’m-so-cool people will move on to the next popular thing. At least one can hope!
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#4 JessicaB

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 05:39 PM

The anonymity of the internet is something that the witches and other such practicioners of the past would never have dreamed of. Personally, I don't see any problem with enjoying what advantages and freedoms the modern age makes available to folks, and while it's true that fluff happens, it's also true that whatever you see posted on Instagram is only one facet of any posting individual's life in e craft--the portion that they choose to share publicly. Community can be very helpful and powerful for some, and having the freedom to spill and share online can in some ways make up for how very stifled and closeted many must be in their offline reality. What is one to expect to get out of social media groups for witches and occultists if they are all to hold tight on to secrecy?


This is also an excellent point. I appreciate this perspective. Maybe I should be a little less harsh in my assessment of others’ motives.

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#5 Khundekling

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 08:27 PM

The anonymity of the internet is something that the witches and other such practicioners of the past would never have dreamed of. Personally, I don't see any problem with enjoying what advantages and freedoms the modern age makes available to folks, and while it's true that fluff happens, it's also true that whatever you see posted on Instagram is only one facet of any posting individual's life in the craft--the portion that they choose to share publicly. Community can be very helpful and powerful for some, and having the freedom to spill and share online can in some ways make up for how very stifled and closeted many must be in their offline reality. What is one to expect to get out of social media groups for witches and occultists if they are all to hold tight on to secrecy?

Online communities, such as we have here on TW and groups on Facebook, are great! We are able to share and discuss things that we may not be able to do with our family and friends. It is a "safer" environment. Platforms like Instagram are built for show and tell rather than discussion, plus being in the public domain opens it up to trolling etc. I think what annoys me is the falseness of some of the photos. Staging a scene to take a nice photo is one thing but it's the extreme staging that I feel cheapens our way of life. Like what Jess said, being a witch appears to be a trend. We aren't playing at being witches, we are witches.


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#6 ReleaseTheBats

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 12:01 AM

Yea there's a big difference between what people pass off as witchcraft online and what people actually do.
Instagram is full of aesthetic "witches" - people who don't actually practice, have no genuine interest in the occult and are focused on this aesthetic of like The Craft and American Horror Story: Coven.
It is something that bugs me, as I use instagram as a witch to post about magick - there are a few of us there you just have to dig a bit.
One thing I do love about instagram is that it's great for small businesses and creators. So many creators who make really great one of a kind stuff that you CAN use on your altar (like custom screenprinted altar cloths with designs made by the artist)  or ointments, oils etc. from witches of varying paths.
But yes 99% of the "witches" you run into either don't practice or practice some bastardized form of wicca they insist is traditional witchcraft.
I remember reading once of a girl who claimed to both be a beginner and to be an expert on wicca who worshipped Eastern deities.
I about thought my head would implode LOL 
Such foolishness.
But it's important that there are other people with voices on there who are talking about ACTUAL work, providing knowledge and guidance as needed.


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“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett


#7 ReleaseTheBats

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 12:08 AM

As an aside, there are a couple popular "witch" instagrammers that write books that get sold at Barnes & Nobles.
If you really want to pull your hair out look at the contents of the book "Inner Witch" by Gabriel Herstick.
Nothing wrong with mindfulness and self care, but it's not witchcraft...

"The ultimate guide to witchcraft for every woman craving a connection to something bigger, using the tools of tarot, astrology, and crystals to discover her best self.

In these uncertain times, witchcraft, astrology, tarot, crystals, and similar practices are seeing a massive resurgence, especially among young women, as part of their self-care and mindfulness routines. Gabriela helps readers take back their power while connecting to something larger than themselves. She covers:

  *  Witchcraft as a feminist call to action
  *  Fashion magick
  *  Spells for self-love
  *  Cleansing your space
  *  Holidays of the witch
  *  How to create a spellbook / grimoire 
  *  Witchcraft as self-care

Whether the reader is looking to connect with her green thumb, banish negative energies, balance her chakras, energetically fight the patriarchy, or revitalize her sense of self, Inner Witch has something to offer. After all, empowered women run the world--and the ones who do are usually witches."
 


Edited by ReleaseTheBats, 20 September 2018 - 12:10 AM.

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“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett


#8 Khundekling

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 01:07 PM

And as if by magic  ;)  I have stumbled upon this short documentary...

 

 

:wallbash: 


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#9 GhostAndTheWolf

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 01:25 PM

lol that's funny, I started to tell my wife about this post and before I knew it she went off and huge rant about what she's been seeing on instagram as well lol!


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You're all a bunch of fuckin assholes, ya know why? you don't have the guts to be what you wanna be.

You need people like me, you need people like me so you can point your fuckin fingers.

and say " That's the bad guy"

So say goodnight to the bad guy!


#10 ReleaseTheBats

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 02:56 PM

lol that's funny, I started to tell my wife about this post and before I knew it she went off and huge rant about what she's been seeing on instagram as well lol!

 

It's rough out there lol!


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“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett


#11 ReleaseTheBats

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:06 PM

And as if by magic  ;)  I have stumbled upon this short documentary...

 

 

:wallbash:

"What does being a witch mean?"
"...sending good vibes into the world."

:yuck: :nono:


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“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett


#12 BlackbirdSong

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:16 PM

I think there is a big thing going on online at the moment against how online witches share their stuff. I think in some ways, many of these are younger Witches early on their path making mistakes and learning from them - including some of the very basic and unhelpful, but pretty, '10 things to do on Mabon' type ones. Some are just set-up which, in some cases, maybe shows the need people have to get care from somewhere because society is pretty rubbish and (in lots of the Western world) community has broken down. I think there are a huge amount of layers to this whole issue - one being people feel unheard and so portray themselves strongly (not as a 'strong person' but a definite set-up look), another that children are being taught to prefer likes over true interaction, and of course, some people do want a 'quick buck' and so publish books that have no useful information but covers that are created to appeal or videos in the same vein. It's the same with self-love, self-care and mindfulness and so on - weaved into Craft they are wonderful but many books don't actually weave them into the Craft. And Khundekling, I agree about the falseness.

However, I also think people can misjudge. Some people are naturally arty and it is simply the way they live and express themselves. Or they see it like I do and I often hashtag my own instagram posts #traditionalwitchcraft or #witchesofinstagram, even if the image is not particularly witchy. I may get told off for this, but to me I am a witch all the time so any photo of my life can be hashtagged that. To be honest, most have a write-up that are witchy or links to some witchy thing I've been doing. I don't set them up, they're not particularly beautiful - just snapshots of my life. Not to say I hashtag everything with those, but a fair few, and some people will dislike that. I am careful with what I share though, as I am on Youtube, I think it through a lot before sharing.
'Aesthetic' has become a dirty word, which I'm not too happy with. I agree totally that Witchcraft is not all about aesthetics, that we should not demean a deep practice, that we should not be encouraging bland - and sometimes entirely misunderstood - information. However, I love things to look beautiful and so I don't have a problem with 'aesthetic' if it is a sincere expression and comes with some meat on the bone. Although, you wouldn't be able to tell this from my contributions to Social Media - I film with a huge pile of laundry in the background whenever I grab a minute in between real life.  :lol:


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#13 ReleaseTheBats

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 03:27 PM

I went to art school so I understand your point about being artistic. Which is why instagram is so helpful for small businesses.
But a lot of people do just jump on the wagon, maybe i'm misjudging but i've been using Insta for this purpose since January and i've only encountered maybe 10-15 profiles that are actually witches. Most just talk about tarot or overly saturated photos of smoke and whisps (which I enjoyed the first ten times but I can't look at anymore lol) if they actually talk about any of it at all.
My issue is that it's very surface and superficial. Obviously not all, or even most, witches wear all black for example. But I have friends who are also witches on insta who don't get taken seriously because they dress in a style that's some combination of flowery vintage and 80s glam.
There's also the mass amount of Wicca-lite information that gets passed around, and it has slowly devolved into "a witch is whatever you want it to be!", which i've seen on some profiles of people who report that they've been practicing for 20 years lol. This is what happens whenever something becomes trendy, it becomes "whatever you want it to be."


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“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett


#14 JessicaB

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 11:55 PM

Blackbird and Release the Bats, you both seem very balanced. Social media needs for more contributors to be like that! Blackbird, if you do not mind my asking, what is your YouTube channel? I am always glad to find a YouTuber worth watching.
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#15 BlackbirdSong

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 07:14 AM

Thank you, JessicaB, that's a kind thing to say  :) My channel is Magpie the Moonstruck, it's still in early days and I'm playing around with content a bit, so don't expect too much.  ;)  

 

ReleasetheBats (love the name btw), definitely agree re small businesses. I've found some beautiful art etc. on these platforms. And you're right about that superficial feeling to much of it. I think some platforms encourage that - I struggle with Twitter because I'm a verbal blurber, which you may have noticed - but it's tricky for me to say anything useful in 120 (or whatever it is now) characters. 


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#16 ThreeCircleTarot

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 01:24 PM

I love this hashtag for reaching out to potential new customers.


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#17 Duchess

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Posted 21 September 2018 - 06:03 PM

Turns out I’ve been pretty isolated with traditional witches and serious Wiccans my whole life, because I didn’t realize just how much witchcraft had become an “aesthetic” outside witchcraft until moving up to Canada. I met a few friends who, when they found out I read tarot, decided they needed to a throw a witches’ night…except none of them are witches. One is an artist who says she’s studied too much psychology to believe in it, but she loves the aesthetic, one plays with a tarot deck, but has never learned to read it, and one is a medium who is an interesting combination of fascinated by witchcraft, and too scared to practice. It was the artist who first caught my attention by saying “I follow over 100 witches on Tumblr”.

 

I’m still trying to break down what I think of all this. On one hand, I find the aesthetic gorgeous as well, so I can kind of understand. On the other, it’s like Sephora’s now cancelled insta-witchkit, taking parts of a culture from someone else for fun and profit. And I think that’s where one of the trouble line is: it has shades of cultural appropriation, but not all styles of witchcraft are a culture.

 

The next trouble line is, I think, respect. Since we practice witchcraft seriously, at some level we want it to be taken seriously. This means something to us, and seeing it used so cavalierly can be insulting. Witches are still losing their lives over this in some parts of the world, and a lot of us probably have ancestors who were killed during the European witch panic (whether or not they were actually witches). We want respect for them as well.

 

So in the end…I don’t actually know what to think about it all. I’ll be celebrating Mabon on Sunday with the three women I met, because in the end I think they’re nice people who it would be fun to build a huge bonfire with and burn shit, but unless one of them shows some genuine interest, I’m going to be rolling my eyes a bit and not talking about my practice with any of them.

 


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#18 BlackbirdSong

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Posted 23 September 2018 - 05:20 AM

Very true re Witches who are being/have been put to death. They do not or did not have the luxury of being flippant, and do deserve respect. Hope your equinox goes well, sounds tricky; that would frustrate me as well.

I think an interesting thought is though not all witchcraft is cultural, most of us grew up exposed to one or two cultures strongly - so our witchcraft reflects that. Even if we moved around and experienced many cultures, it will still often reflect those. In some ways the Sephora kit did have shades of cultural appropriation. I heard it was a smoke cleansing stick rather than a mislabelled ‘smudge’, which was something at least. Lots of cultures use/d smoke cleansing, including the Witchcraft in Europe, though Juniper, Rosemary and Pine were favoured more I think, so the use of white sage is more problematic. Constant misinformation given around that plant on all platforms and in books. I find the three I mentioned much more use in ‘cleansing’, protecting and banishing anyway so use those, sage for me is more of a blessing smoke - or perhaps an incense involved in a ritual to my own goddess/spirits.

I think your comment of respect, true respect, eliminates a lot of cultural appropriation. I think re-education also eliminates it. If new witches are researching, they need access to good info (come on this site, new witches!) but also authors need to be way more practiced before writing a book, and much more cautious about where their sources are. As a writer myself (no published witchy stuff, other articles and currently had to break from published writing due to illness), there are too many people diving in to teaching in books much too early and not going back to the original source. Publishers have also cottoned on and contributed to the marketing nightmare and I feel many books are too full of fluff. For occult and witchy books, we need more publishers who know their stuff - like Scarlet Imprint and Troy books - whereas, in my eyes, even Llewellyn needs to be careful in what it prints.We also need readers/listeners on all mediums to question, question above all. Look at the bibliographies, find the sources, ask your own spirits, divine about it, question why the author or videomaker said this - what is the context, what point are they making and why did they write this particular book overall? It’s very easy to twist information into what you want, what will sell, but it doesn’t make it correct. You can look at a news article and write it 5 different ways for 5 different audiences, hence different papers, and books are the same.

If we do ask and query and dig, we also find why a culture is misrepresented or where and what branch of the Craft a method came from. So, I think, along with respect, questioning and research is so very key to ridding us of the mild, useless stuff.

Edited by BlackbirdSong, 24 September 2018 - 05:06 AM.

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#19 WaterChildOfGaea

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Posted 24 September 2018 - 06:54 AM

I love Instagram, but I'm a very private person when it comes to my craft and path and don't post anything to do with rituals on there. I don't mind those who do but it's not for me. To quote the great Shrek "I like my privacy" ha ha.


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#20 ReleaseTheBats

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 05:25 PM

Thank you, JessicaB, that's a kind thing to say  :) My channel is Magpie the Moonstruck, it's still in early days and I'm playing around with content a bit, so don't expect too much.  ;)  

 

ReleasetheBats (love the name btw), definitely agree re small businesses. I've found some beautiful art etc. on these platforms. And you're right about that superficial feeling to much of it. I think some platforms encourage that - I struggle with Twitter because I'm a verbal blurber, which you may have noticed - but it's tricky for me to say anything useful in 120 (or whatever it is now) characters. 

 

 

 

ty! 
I definitely understand that with Twitter lol.
I don't understand Twitter at all, and it's my boyfriend's favorite social media.
But he's not a big talker so maybe that's why LOL


Edited by ReleaseTheBats, 25 September 2018 - 05:25 PM.

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“A witch ought never to be frightened in the darkest forest, Granny Weatherwax had once told her, because she should be sure in her soul that the most terrifying thing in the forest was her.”

― Terry Pratchett