“#WitchTok” is the latest home for the internet’s coven of young witches

By Meagan Kennedy

Elm Staff Writer 

Over its last few years, TikTok has become a home for many online communities. For the #WitchTok community, it has become a place to learn, share, and create content specifically around the witchcraft religion and lifestyle for new and experienced witches.

For the #WitchTok community, TikTok has become a safe place to share and create content surrounding their practices. It has stretched beyond sharing tarot cards, crystals, and spells — it unites the members of a community who otherwise might feel alone in their craft. 

#WitchTok creator Lola Miles, @mysticrebelarts on TikTok, explained to The Chicago Tribune reporter Milan Polk how she began making videos to introduce witchcraft and provide a research starting point for “baby witches” or new members to the community. 

However, she saw that with the limitations of the short videos, many users were getting further ahead of the practice than they were ready for.

“A person comes on TikTok, they see a few witch videos, and they’re like, I resonate with this. Now I’m a witch and I know everything,” Miles said. “And it’s like no, no. You’ve begun. 

You’re starting out.”

Since the rise of the #WitchTok community, there has been a movement towards a more serious understanding of what it means to practice witchcraft. Experienced and “baby witches” alike have explored the resources under this hashtag to enhance their practice. With the impending ban of TikTok in the United States, many fear the loss of these resources and the connections with leaders in the community.

Inside the group, however, there has also been turmoil as a few “elder witches” view younger generations of members learning and practicing through apps like TikTok. 

“A lot of older witches are stuck in a certain way where they do things that they think are respectful and right, and it clashes with the newer witches whoare brought up more “new age,”” Bunny, @c.est.bon.bon on TikTok, told Nylon Magazine.

“For example, some people don’t like technology in witchcraft, like how you can get your tarot read online. It’s a preference thing, but it causes problems,” they said. 

TikTok is not the first place where these ‘new age’ witches yearned to connect. 

Back in 2017, The Verge’s Kaitlyn Tiffany wrote about Tumblr’s online community after news of popstar Lana del Rey hexing President Trump. In July of that year, Lana del Rey was named “the pagan popstar” by Pitchfork and “the new Supreme” by her fans on Tumblr.

Many young fans of Lana del Rey took this as an opportunity to connect and explore the culture surrounding witchcraft. At the end of 2017, “witchblr,” a similar union of resources and conversations surrounding witchcraft, was named the 11thlargest community by Tumblr.

“As people are dealing with the political climate and watching the world feel like it’s falling apart, a lot of them are drawn to finding this deeper connection with the physical world, and this idea of magic being something that exists outside of them, but that they can have a little bit of control or influence over,” Amanda Brennan, Tumblr’s content insights manager, told The Verge in 2017.

As Brennan described, the difference in these communities of witches was that Tumblr witches were connecting with the craft as a hobby rather than a religion. Many of the younger users have leaned towards the witch community on Tumblr as a reaction to the political instability the United States has been facing. 

Many Tumblr users felt “like I can’t do anything. I’m calling my senators, and it doesn’t do anything. Let me take some time, focus on what part of the world I can control, and take a little piece of my narrative back through this idea of magic,” Brennan said. 

These “baby witches” as the newer members in the community are referred to, have been pushing for a laxer approach to the practice. 

They have alsostarted communicating over other platforms. The Discord server “Witch Camp!”describes themselves as a “witchcraft-based server with many channels for each individual path! Our aim is to help baby witches learn and create a space for witches no matter their experience.”

Turmoil in the community between the more experienced witches and “baby witches” has been widespread since the shift towards the popularity of social media for witchcraft.

“They really did not like that I was making comedy videos about paganism,” Caitlin said to Nylon about the temporary banning of her account after elder witches had repeatedly reported. 

Elder witches like Lola Miles often turn to TikTok to explain their frustrationssurrounding the frenzy younger witches are causing. 

“We were like, here we are trying to bring witchcraft and magic mainstream and actually make it legitimate and real, and we’ve got these young people making a mockery of it,” Miles said.

Even with experienced members feeling the strain between what is “respectable” in the practice, these communities of witches still strive to teach and explore the world of witchcraft and provide a safe space for all to share their lifestyles. 

For years, across several social media platforms, small communities of these young witches have grown, continuing the search for new resources, new conversations, and new friends.

As the possible end of TikTok access in the United States nears, there is no doubt that these witches will continue to connect with their craft and their fellow witches on other platforms.

Featured Photo caption: Since its inception, the social media app TikTok has been providing a wide range of online communities the opportunity to come together — including the #WitchTok community. Photo by Emma Russell.

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