Young people fascinated with rituals, hexes, seances, witchcraft, and other occult practices during the ancient period are gaining a solid following and reviving the tradition on TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform, under a new niche section called WitchTok.
In the last few months, the hashtag #witchtok has earned over 19.8 billion views, and the main players of this niche have millions of followers. Adam Wethington, 33, Honey Rose, 23, and Kiley Mann, 19, are just some of the familiar names on the WitchTok community.
Many of them have been dabbling in witchcraft since they were in middle school. However, they began to do readings and demonstrated what they knew to a broader audience on the social app to supplement their income during the pandemic.
In an interview with USA Today, Mann said she had connected her Etsy business with her TikTok WitchTok account since she sells crystals, herbs, protection salts, and magical tolls. It's the same with Wethington and Rose, who offer their services like tarot readings to their followers in private.
Since the pandemic, Wethington believes their content clicks on TikTok have forced everyone to look inward and find "the great spiritual renaissance of enlightenment."
Appealing to Young People
Emma and Alisha, two Australians who run an online store for crystals, boxes, herbs, tarot cards, and wands, believe witchcraft is "aesthetically pleasing" to young people. Kids are also very attracted to the principles of this practice as it promotes "abundance and healing and positivity" amid a very turbulent time. Because the world seems out of control, performing witchcraft has given them a sense of power to connect to their innate abilities and intuition.
Professor Cristina Rocha of Western Sydney University said that young ones are also keener on searching for their spirituality or veering away from traditional religious practices, which could explain WitchTok's popularity with teens and young adults. She said that when institutions break down or lead to doubts because of politics, the kids look for alternatives to make sense of what is going on in the world.
But Sabina Magliocco, a professor of sociocultural anthropology in London, said that WitchTok is just "a whiff" of rituals and beliefs immersed in witchcraft. Those who study the world of the occult take decades to master their stuff.
"A lot of people don't know about the history or the philosophy beyond the popular ones on social media," Georgina Rose, who runs a Witchtok and a YouTube channel, said. "I went on to social media to make a fun, appealing, attention-grabbing way to introduce these deeper, heavier concepts."
What Parents Should Do
This trend is not new to the experts. Before the explosion on TikTok, young people have also tried their hand at Wicca or paganism, which has been saturated in pop culture. Author Steve Russo, who has written many books on teenagers' obsession with witchcraft, understands that some parents may worry and feel uncomfortable.
However, he encouraged parents to open the lines of communication with their teens and discuss the matter without condemnation. Parents also need to be informed on the subject or be aware of what their kids are doing online.
For some kids, forbidding them to participate might not work as determined young people will always find a way to engage in what they want to do. But if their parents allow them to explore and discover, they can make educated decisions later on.
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