THE WITCHES OF TIK TOK

THE WITCHES OF TIK TOK

THE WITCHES OF TIK TOK

"Let us all be witches."

WEN HSIAO

Before you bring out the pitchforks and torches — ready to burn me at the stake, I just want to say: I am not a witch.

I am not a witch in the traditional sense (think: the Three Witches in Macbeth), I am not hovering over a cauldron, whisking my wand, mumbling and cackling “double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble”. Like I said: I am not a witch. But maybe, just maybe, I am a witch in the sense that I accidentally predicted the UEFA Euro 2020 winner (and the semi-finals, but who’s counting?)

But I digress; even though I may not identify as a witch, I am on WitchTok. Common misconceptions may deceive you to believe that it’s all about “devil worship and black magic,” but more often than not it’s all about drinking water soaked in the moonlight and (allegedly) hexing a bad ex. While there is a loud minority of people making contact with the devil, in truth, the quiet majority of WitchTok is harmless. 

WitchTok has become the go-to place for both the curious (“baby witches”) and the seasoned (“elder witches”) alike. The baby witches lead the charge in sharing the genre with more people with their tongue-in-cheek humor, making Paganism and Wicca accessible to a wider audience. The emerging genre covers everything from angel numbers, to crystals, to manifestations and tarot readings

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the other realms of WitchTok, you’re definitely familiar with crystals. The hashtag alone has garnered over 3 billion views, ranging from people doing crystal reviews, showing off their crystal collection, and sharing their cleansing rituals.

WitchTok has introduced me to many crystals and gemstones — notably carnelian and hematite; carnelian is used to restore vitality, promote positivity, and stimulate sexuality; hematite is used to restore balance, protect, and negate negativity. My friend Sara picked up a carnelian necklace, and within 24 hours, her teenage crush texted her (relentlessly might I add). I’ve been wearing my hematite ring since late 2020, and I have steered clear from sickness and troubles.

Even for the non-believers: is there any harm in whispering your crush’s name into your rose quartz? I didn’t think so.

Even though I was raised both Buddhist and Catholic — I lit incense every night, I went to church every Sunday — I am not currently religious. I have always taken a casual approach to religion and spirituality. But I feel like now — more than ever, in a time of trouble, might be a chance to tap into your inner spirituality. This is not without reason; as said by Sarah Harvey, a research associate at King’s College London, turbulent times often trigger spiritual movements, the golden age of spiritualism having occurred between the first and second world war.

In late 2020, I was looking for a sign. I started seeing the number sequence 1234 everywhere I went, and as soon I started, I couldn’t stop seeing it. A quick Google search told me that repeating number sequences are a form of angel numbers — angelic communications that are meant to send you a message to guide and further you in life.

For example, escalating number sequences like 1234 signify the path that leads to success — the path of hard work and patience, and good things will be within reach if you persist. It was a nod of approval to me; I felt secure knowing I was on the right track, and I was making the right decisions.

From there, I started small, visiting my local crystal shop, sniffed around the incense, and picked up crystals I felt particularly drawn to (corresponding with the seven chakras). Before I knew it, my studio apartment was blotted in incense and dotted in crystals. 

I could not leave the house without my carnelian and rose quartz bangles dangling down my wrist, and a singular amethyst rolling loose in my tote bag. It had become my own coping mechanism through all the chaos that was happening. Looking back, it might have seemed a little laughable, a little ridiculous, but I was a 21-year-old girl trapped in a city half a world away from friends and family, and trying to cope with the sudden deaths in my family, and all the other curve balls life decided to throw at me at once. I felt more lost than ever. I needed a push in the right direction.

I dug out my middle school tarot cards and bought the first book on tarot that came up on Google Shopping. I started doing simple spreads on myself every day; if anything, it helped me be more in touch with my emotions and build my intuition. I am unable to unpack clouded judgments and unveil hidden feelings on my own, and some things just don’t click until they’re laid out in a four-card spread in front of you.

In early April, I came across a series of TikToks chronicling a user’s experience after buying a moldavite earring. Keegan, who goes by @gokeegango (166k followers) online, broke up with her boyfriend, crashed her car, and lost her stepfather to cancer — all within the span of a month. The upside is that she became “financially stable, cool and hot, and bought [her] first house”.

Despite scaremongering amongst baby witches, moldavite is not meant to kill you. Moldavite is powerful, known to aid “spiritual awakening, transformation, and spiritual healing”, because of its catalytic nature, it’s also known to bring chaos into people’s lives.

After much back and forth, I bought myself a moldavite necklace. I felt like I needed to shake up my life. I felt stagnant and stuck in my old ways. It was making me miserable. But when I disclosed my latest purchase to my friends, I was met with some backlash.

A month later, I am writing this article with my moldavite necklace around my neck. Maybe it’s the moldavite typing, but I feel a sense of clarity and control over my life, in a way that I haven’t felt like in months.

When women — especially young women, take an interest in mysticism and romanticism, they’re quick to be slapped with the maliciously intended label of “witch.” Societal scrutiny has never learned to leave women alone.

Baby witches and elder witches on TikTok are reclaiming and redefining what it means to be a witch in the modern age. To me, being a witch means to heal and to protect, and if that’s considered witchcraft? Let us all be witches.