Why Witchcraft, Wellness, and Feminism Will Reign in 2017

Jasmine Garnsworthy

It's Thursday night, and I've just arrived at my second event for the evening: the launch of a new health- and tech-focused mattress brand. After the publicist excitedly spells out the features of the mattress (Wi-Fi–enabled, impressive), she takes me to try a "sleep cocktail" and then to have my palm read. This is my second occult-ish experience of the night—I just left an activewear launch in Tribeca where a tarot card reader counseled me on stress and my “grounding chakras." Yesterday, I received an invitation to a lipstick launch complete with a witch-led workshop on casting love spells. Next Tuesday I have a Victoria's Secret event during which the invitation promises attendees will have the opportunity to "shop the latest Dream Angels collection" and "have [their] auras read."

I'm not telling you this because I like to overshare my agenda. As an editor, I've always found health and beauty media launches to be a breeding ground for the next big wellness trend. I remember coconut water and chia bowls being served at fitness studio openings long before both landed on hip and healthy cafe menus. Smoothie bowls were eaten at just about every launch throughout the final months of 2015 before they really blew up on Instagram. Now, it seems witchcraft—and in fact, everything occult—is infiltrating the mainstream wellness space.

Women, wellness, and witchcraft have been intertwined for ages—since before the Bible. There's a long and troubled history here: Witches were essentially herbalists, midwives, and healers (it's believed they even provided holistic methods of contraception and abortion) until the patriarchy and Christianity brutally spun witchcraft as evil. Violent witch hunts convulsed Europe throughout the 15th to 17th centuries, killing millions of women—some feminists even question whether witch hunts were really just women hunts—until the 1700s.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and a political climate in which threats to women's reproductive health rights are a major talking point, and we also see witchcraft gearing up for a resurgence. Self-proclaimed modern witch, and owner of home and healing store Hauswitch, Erica Feldmann says this timing is no coincidence: While a politically motivated feminist movement grows and also becomes increasingly inclusive, she says, "the witch is a good archetype of that strong, powerful, gives-zero-f*cks attitude that women are trying to channel right now."

More insiders I spoke with expand the concept of modern witchcraft to not just include traditional ideas of herbal healing and holistic medicine but also other less tangible ways to spiritually and physically recharge in times of political uncertainty: crystal healing, energy healing, tarot card chakra work, meditation, spell casting, smudging, lunar rituals, and astrology. Essentially, it's all about self-care—something even the most cynical person can get behind.

Ahead, we break down five ways to integrate a little witchcraft into your wellness routine.

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