Quartz witchcraft

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Women are invoking the witch to find their power in a patriarchal society

“We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn.” Author Tish Thawer wrote the phrase in her 2015 novel The Witches of BlackBrook; since then, it has been plastered on t-shirts, scrawled on feminist gadgets and pinterest art, found its way into spoken word, and used on signs during political protests. 

The witch’s omnipresence in literature, cinema, and pop culture reflects the depth of Western society’s obsession.

The cult of the witch has inundated American culture yet again. Witch-themed movies and series, from Sabrina and the Craft, to Suspiria and the upcoming sequel to Hocus Pocus, have everybody spellbound. Universities across the nation, including those in the Ivy league, offer courses on the history and symbolism of witches. Pop stars such as Azealia Banks, Bjork, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey are evoking witches, either by explicitly casting spells or by simply embracing the witchy aesthetic. Witch-themed self-help books and spell books are flooding bookstores.

The symbol of the witch has endured over centuries as a representation of female empowerment. As the outsider with uncanny power, the witch represents a challenge to patriarchal narratives. The witch’s omnipresence in literature, cinema, and pop culture reflects the depth of Western society’s obsession. Today, the symbol is taking on new resonance, both spiritually (paganism has risen dramatically in the US in recent years) and symbolically, as activists fighting for their gender, politics, sexuality, or environmental health invoke the witch as a statement of strength and empowerment. 

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The making of the witch

Scholars believe that the concept of the witch dates back to thousands of years ago, as long as humans have worshipped deities, and arose independently in several cultures across centuries. In Greek mythology, the first witch was Hecate, the Goddess of magic and astrology; in Yoruba tradition, the witch was a wise woman invested with the power of the trickster. And while some of these women were in fact practicing spiritual rituals, most of them were simply healers or wise elders. 

In the 1400s, however, society no longer viewed these women as healers bringing about good. The rise of male-centric Christianity in Europe in the middle ages, along with the growth of early capitalism, meant that powerful women became demonized, witch historian and socialist Silvia Federici writes in her 2004 book Caliban and the Witch. The word “witch” officially became a pejorative term around 1468 when German churchman Heinrich Kramer published Malleus Maleficarum (“The Hammer for Witches”), a medieval treatise on how to hunt “witches”—women who he deemed to be morally corrupt. The publication of this book, which coincided with a general sentiment of fear, spurred the heyday of the witch hunt: In Europe, between 1500 and 1660, local governments murdered up to 80,000 women thought to be witches. 

Whether or not they did so consciously, the people driving the witch hunt preserved the burgeoning patriarchy. They perpetuated myths of women being associated with the devil or doing black magic. They were intimidated by women with power (magic or socioeconomic); their fear turned to mania, which made them push women to the lower rungs of society, limiting women’s economic opportunities and contributions to civic discourse. Women were single, widowed,old, or not often in church; if they owned too much land, or were healers or midwives; if they were spending too much time socializing with one another could give men in power cause to accuse them of being witches. 

Underlying much of this suspicion was a fear of sexuality—these unattached women could lure in men with their power. “When a woman thinks alone she thinks evil,” reads the Malleus Maleficarum. The consequences for being dubbed a witch were dire—you could be adjudicated in a sham trial, then put to death via burning, stoning, or hanging.

Colonizers brought this European-born fear to Africa and the Americas in the 1600s and 1700s. “The charge of devil-worshipping played a key function also in the colonization of the American aboriginal population,” writes Federici. Colonizers used that same charge of devil-worshipping, Federici continues, to enforce strict gender norms on Peruvian natives, which allowed colonizers to humiliate and oppress them. That fear of non-conforming women is more or less the same sentiment that fed the Salem witch trials of the 1690s, which are still the most infamous in the US.

Fast forward to the 20th century. As they founded feminist movements and fought for their right to vote, women in Western societies began to see witches as a symbol of cunning power and endurance through thick and thin. 

For example, in her 1893 feminist manifesto Women, Church and State, American suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gate argues that witchcraft was one of the ways the church and state oppressed powerful women. Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton echoed her rhetoric in her 1899 book The Woman’s Bible (Great Minds), explaining that the witch hunts targeted the most brilliant in society. 

Since the 1950s, interest in witches as a symbol of power has waxed and waned in 20-year cycles, Elisabeth Krohn, editor of witchcraft magazine Sabat, tells Quartz. Surges, she adds, line up with periods in which women feel politically disenfranchised. That’s likely why we’re seeing a surge right now.

Embodying the archetype

It makes sense that contemporary society appreciates the symbol of the witch, says Deborah Hyde, cultural anthropologist and editor of The Skeptic Magazine, because there’s flexibility and empowerment in what the witch represents.

This, according to Hyde, is the same reason several people across the world are turning to paganism and Wicca, the religion of modern day witchcraft founded in the 1940s by the Englishman Gerald Gardner. But women who identify as witches today practice many faiths, and for some embodying the archetype is more of a lifestyle than a religion.

Some disenfranchised and oppressed women in the US are invoking the witch to find their power in a patriarchal society; this is true for millennial women seeking liberation, but also for older women seeking a spiritual connection to the practice and history of witchcraft. To them, the witch is powerful because she doesn’t get power from other people (the queen by virtue of being the king’s wife, for example) and instead taps into her own power, author and podcast host Pam Grossman tells the New York Times. It’s resonant for women in the #MeToo era as they have seized their own power, and for other marginalized groups like LGBT communities, who have found their rights eroded by the Trump administration. The witch pushes back against heteronormative, family-oriented societal norms such as marriage and child bearing, instead reinforcing a bond between women that can range from friendship atod sexual love. 

“Now that privileged white men use ‘feminism’ as a branding strategy, being a witch is being a feminist with a touch of extra empowerment.”

“I came to [find] witchcraft as a young single mom and new feminist. I was struggling financially, marginalized politically, and had no time for self-care,” says Ariel Gore, author of Hexing the Patriarchy: 26 Potions, Spells, and Magical Elixirs to Embolden the Resistance.“[President Bush’s 1992] ‘Family Values’ campaign was underway, demonizing poor women, and the campaign to prevent teen pregnancy had everyone from my neighbor to my grandmother convinced that I ought to be shamed.” For Gore, understanding the symbol of the witch meant “looking to powerful women of the past and really vanquishing all the shaming that was coming my way.” More recently, others have found their way to witchcraft via social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

As feminism becomes the realm of the corporate-speak, many of those in search of outside power are arriving at witches and witchery. “Now that privileged white men use ‘feminism’ as a branding strategy, being a witch is being a feminist with a touch of extra empowerment,” says Krohn. 

For some women of indigenous descent, the witch takes on a different resonance. During the Spanish colonization of Latin America in the 1500s, women gathered in public spaces to perform rituals of community and spirituality as a form of resistance. For some Latinx women today, brujeria is a holy way to be in touch with their ancestors and build strength against institutionalized racism. Some even embody witches in their skate-crews, like the feminist skaters Brujas in the Bronx.

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US-based activists are also invoking the witch as a symbol of political resistance. For example, interest in witches has soared since the 2016 presidential elections, says Krohn. After the election, the “resistance witches,” a group of 13,000 neo-pagans, began to unite every month to cast a spell to limit Trump’s power. Groups have also gotten together for ritualized hexings against other men they believe are perpetuating the patriarchy, such as Brett Kavanaugh and Brock Turner.  

It’s not the first time dissidents have embraced the witch. On Halloween 1968, a group of female protesters in black cloaks and pointy hats from a group called WITCH (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) took over Wall Street to protest capitalism.

While witchery is gaining traction as a tool for women’s empowerment, the president ironically uses the phrase “witch hunt” when he’s feeling particularly powerless against his political rivals. Some conservative advocacy groups and internet trolls accuse liberal female politicians like Hillary Clinton and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of being witches in an attempt to marginalize and shun them.

Environmental activists, too, are looking to witches to represent their longing to go back to natural and environmentally-conscious ways of life, one of increasing resonance to a planet in the midst of a climate crisis. Because a witch can be a woman who worships Mother Earth and the moon and who looks to botany for healing, invoking witches reminds us that humans are at one with the Earth and must work with it to survive in the long term.

“The system that sees the Earth as our mother is under siege,” says Gore, author of Hexing the Patriarchy. “Having an Earth-based spirituality makes sense right now.”

Witch away

Women today aren’t just accepting the symbol of the witch—they’re building on it to create a figure that  is more inclusive and intersectional. 

Powerful women are all colors, shapes, and sizes—but never monstrously green.

Feminist activists and progressive social media influencers are also actively working to dispel the dichotomy between the good witch and the bad witch, which is often reflected by different beauty standards, in which  ugly equals evil (think Wizard of Oz). Powerful women are all colors, shapes, and sizes—but never monstrously green. The same goes for the false binary between black magic and white magic, which is “fundamentally racist,” says Gore. 

Now, by creating a more complex picture of the witch, women are adding dimensions to what it means to be a woman. Gore gives the example of Marie Leveau, a healing practitioner, midwife, and herbalist active in the mid-1800s and New Orleans’ foremost Voodoo witch.

“I would consider her the grandmother of American magic,” says Gore, “And, like most witchy women, she was both a healer and a hexer.” 

Sours: https://qz.com/1739043/the-resurgence-of-the-witch-as-a-symbol-of-feminist-empowerment/

Healing with Rose Quartz Crystals: Benefits, Methods, and Lore

Crystals have been used in cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Their uses have included healing, meditation, protection, and creative inspiration.

One of the most popular crystals is the rose quartz.

The use of rose quartz is said to date back as far as 7000 BC. It’s also been claimed that Egyptian and Roman women used rose quartz face masks to clear their complexions and prevent wrinkles.

Today rose quartz is often used as jewelry, for meditation, or as decoration in homes or office spaces.

While there’s no scientific evidence that rose quartz crystals offer any health benefits, they’re still commonly used for healing purposes.

Properties of rose quartz

The rose quartz is a pale pink stone that’s part of the quartz crystal family.

Deeper pink varieties of the stone are sometimes called strawberry rose quartz. Lavender rose quartz varieties are pale purple.

Rose quartz is a mineral composed primarily of silicon dioxide molecules that typically form at about 752°F–1,292°F (400°C–700°C). The crystal can be found across the United States, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa, India, Sweden, and Germany.

Rose quartz is perhaps best known for being the stone of unconditional love. It’s believed by some to emit a strong vibration of:

“Rose quartz is a powerful healing crystal,” says crystal healer and reiki master Keith Birch, owner of KSC Crystals. “Its soft, gentle, almost pastel pale pink coloring is a good indication of its most commonly known property: that of pure love. It’s a stone of both giving and receiving love.”

Scientific evidence

However, it’s important to note that there’s a lack of research to support these claims. In fact, there’s very little evidence to support the benefits of crystals at all.

An older study (presented at two international conferences in 1999 and 2001 but never published in a peer-reviewed journal) suggests that any spiritual, emotional, or healing benefits experienced from crystals may be chalked up to placebo effect.

In the study, 80 volunteers were given booklets explaining the sensations they might experience while holding crystals. Half of the participants were given genuine gemstones, and the other half received fakes made of plastic.

The study found that the participants holding the fake crystals were just as likely to report sensations as those who had been given the real crystals. This implies that any benefits of rose quartz or other crystals could be a result of the power of suggestion.

Even so, many still use crystals as part of their healing practice.

Use in healing

The rose quartz is believed to embody powerful healing qualities that may be beneficial both for physical and emotional health.

It’s said that rose quartz can:

It’s also believed it can boost feelings of:

“Predominantly, rose quartz is a crystal of unconditional love that brings deep healing to the heart by opening the heart chakra,” Birch explains. “Once achieved, a deeper state of calmness, serenity, and peace is reached, which ultimately results in complete relaxation, encouraging the feelings of happiness and contentment.”

The rose quartz is also believed to have benefits for physical health, particularly when worn or carried on your body.

According to Birch, rose quartz:

“Rose quartz increases blood circulation in the body and is especially powerful when worn close to the heart,” Birch claims. “Rose quartz wards off negativity, and when carried on your person, helps to replace negative emotions with positive, returning the wearer to that place of pure love and balance.”

That said, you should never use a crystal to replace the advice and treatment of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Benefits

Any supposed benefits of rose quartz are purely anecdotal. There’s no scientific evidence to indicate that rose quartz crystals offer benefits beyond those supplied by placebo.

Still, crystals may be an important part of cultural, spiritual, and healing practices for many.

Self-love

It’s believed among crystal healers that rose quartz can promote feelings of self-love.

“Rose quartz may be used to balance emotional health, release emotional blockages, and balance other chakras,” explains Birch. “Once you recognize and feel pure love within you, this pure love energy is what those around you feel and see and most importantly what they react to.”

Meditation

Some recommend the use of rose quartz during meditation.

“In meditation, the high vibration of rose quartz is beneficial not only to yourself but also to the planet,” claims Birch. “Connecting to rose quartz with meditation enables you to reach into that feeling of bliss, self-love, and stillness.”

When meditating with rose quartz, Birch recommends giving thanks to the crystal as you close your practice.

For skin

It’s believed by some that rose quartz may be beneficial for the skin. Rose quartz rollers are sometimes recommended to improve skin clarity and remove wrinkles.

“For the skin, rose quartz can be used as an elixir made up by steeping the crystal in water overnight, in moonlight if at all possible, to charge the energies for maximum benefit,” Birch claims. “This can then be used as a face wash for sensitive skin or to reduce the signs of wrinkles and obtain a clearer, more youthful complexion. The elixir is also useful for cleansing small cuts and grazes.”

How to use

Necklace

Wearing rose quartz on a necklace keeps the stone close to your heart. Birch suggests this is particularly potent.

“As a necklace, rose quartz is especially powerful because it’s worn close to the heart and heart chakra. This enables the heart center to open and release any tensions or stresses held there,” Birch claims.

Under your pillow

Birch suggests that placing a rose quartz under your pillow will encourage gentle dreams.

“You’ll take on the soft, peaceful, soothing energies of the crystal as you sleep,” he explains. “This will result in your dream being calm, peaceful, and loving, once again emitting a positive vibration.”

In your home

You may like to place a rose quartz crystal in your home or office space.

“Placing a piece of rose quartz in the center of your house or apartment will enhance compassion and heart healing for the whole family,” Birch claims.

Takeaway

Rose quartz is known as a healing crystal and the stone of unconditional love. It’s believed by some to emit strong vibrations of love, which are thought to:

  • support emotional and relationship healing
  • inspire compassion
  • boost feelings of peace and calm

Some also claim that rose quartz may be beneficial to physical health by accelerating healing and increasing blood circulation, but there’s no scientific evidence to support this.

While there aren’t any known side effects to using quartz crystal for healing and meditation, it’s important to remember that any claims about their healing properties are anecdotal.

Still, if the symbolism and aesthetic of rose quartz crystal resonates with you, there’s likely no harm in giving it a try.


Victoria Stokes is a writer from the United Kingdom. When she’s not writing about her favorite topics, personal development, and well-being, she usually has her nose stuck in a good book. Victoria lists coffee, cocktails, and the color pink among some of her favorite things. Find her on Instagram.

Sours: https://www.healthline.com/health/healing-with-rose-quartz
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Witchcraft is the perfect religion for liberal millennials

What ties together crystals, feminism, polyamory, lapsed Catholicism, and tarot cards?

Besides being increasingly of the moment, they are all related to modern witchcraft, a movement that is being propelled out of the forest and into the mainstream. The hook-nosed, broom-riding, pointy-hat-wearing, cackling witches of yore have transfigured into hip, feminist, millennial women with slick websites and soothing advice on manifesting your dreams. Instead of a bubbling cauldron filled with eye of the newt, they’re slinging essential oils seeped with wild herbs.

Search Meetup and you’ll find dozens of spell-casting covens in your area. The hashtag #witchesofinstagram brings up more than 360,000 posts from practitioners like @TheHoodWitch, who posts pictures of her long, lacquered nails hovering over tarot cards; @witcheryway, a Canadian witch who sells spell kits and incense burners out of her shop, and @light_witch, a self-described feminist in New England who spends her time swanning through outdoor landscapes in capes.

The witching web world carries over into mortal life, too. Stores are popping up across the country, selling crystals, spell kits, and tarot cards. And K-Hole, the trend-forecasting firm responsible for inserting “normcore” into the pop culture lexicon, has anointed “mysticore” the zietgeistiest of current zeitgeists.

And its popularity isn’t just growing: It’s basically levitating. Alex Mar, author of the 2015 book Witches of America, estimates there are up to one million practitioners of witchcraft today around the US in big cities, tiny towns, and in the countryside. In other words: Witches are everywhere. “I started to feel that you could toss a pebble in this country and hit a witch,” she says.

Who are witches?

Anyone can be a witch—it’s an inclusive movement—but it tends to appeal to a certain type of demographic. Back in the 1600s, witches were persecuted for being financially independent, single, and essentially good with herbs—all things that are regarded admirably by today’s young, liberal women. The typical witch nowadays (and it’s mostly she, though more men are starting to join in) examines her dreams for clues about her unconscious and fills her life with rituals. She probably attends new-moon gatherings or has an altar in her home. She might casts spells using crystals or herbs for manifestation of wealth and love. And she likely believes in polyamory, too.

Most witches just dabble in the spell side of things, pulling a tarot card every morning and showing up for major pagan holidays (such as Samhain, which is around Halloween). “And then there are people who are very serious practitioners, who train for years before initiation, and start their own covens,” Mar says. “And that is a whole other level.”

The edges of this group also bleed into other more mainstream arenas such as yoga and meditation, mindfulness, new-age spirituality, and even sex positivity.

Some witches practice wicca, which is a narrow subset of witchcraft with more specific gods, goddesses, symbols, and holidays. But many more practice a broader, indefinable brand of witchcraft based on intuition. The edges of this group also bleed into other more mainstream arenas such as yoga and meditation, mindfulness, new-age spirituality, and even sex positivity.

“I don’t think it’s a mere passing trend,” says Carolyn Grace Elliot, whose magazine Witch (badwitch.es) has 10,000 regular readers. “We are in the midst of a beautiful, occult, witch renaissance.”

A brief history of modern witchcraft

In essence, witchcraft is the practice of paganism, which is a collection of eclectic indigenous beliefs with a hazy history dating back to medieval Europe. In many ways, paganism functions a lot like other major world religions, including Christianity. Both of these religions encompass many different traditions, practices, and beliefs. Both have long histories stretching back thousands of years. Both involve magical thinking (though Christians may take offense at that characterization) and the belief that there is something out there greater than humankind that can be invoked through ritual.

However, while some Christian denominations shame “deviant” sexuality, expect deference from female adherents, and gives men permission to subdue and rule over the earth, witches believe that all types of sexuality should be cultivated and celebrated, that women can also be spiritual leaders, and that nature is sacred. Witchcraft is especially interesting for lapsed Catholics who might miss the mysterious rituals of the church—the incense burning in a brass censer, the invocation of Christ’s body during communion—but can’t abide by its patriarchal structure, homophobia, and control and shaming of women’s bodies.

Back in the 1600s, witches were persecuted for being financially independent, single, and essentially good with herbs—all things that are regarded admirably by today’s young, liberal women.

“When thinking about what it means to me, a witch is a woman who worships herself as her own god. She is the creator of her own life, the healer of herself,” says Maura from Chicago, who brings meditation practice into schools. She had a tarot-card reading four years ago and fell hard for the powerful message of the occult. “We live in this time where social structures, institutions, and organized religion is failing us massively. That’s why I was drawn to it initially, because I didn’t feel like I was drawn to any of those mainstream ideologies.”

Witches today are essentially picking up where the Baby Boomers left off. The resurgence of witchcraft began in the late 1960s and 1970s, on the eve of second-wave feminism and sexual liberation. It has ebbed and flowed since then, but now that feminism has become mainstream again, sexual identities and relationship structures are becoming more fluid, and social media is providing an easy way to find covens and spells. “Finding healers was so much harder before!” says Juliana Sabinson, a self described artist and healer who comes from a line of witches. “Now people find me through my Instagram or Facebook. I don’t have to post an ad in the paper—you text me, and then we have a session.” The internet is certainly a driving force behind the re-popularization of the craft, which has helped it cast its spell over the millennial generation.

A hexed name

The moniker “witch” remains a loaded term that many women are trying to circumvent. “It’s so trendy to call yourself a witch,” Sabinson says. “I don’t identify with that word. It’s what people call me because I do something they don’t understand. It stings a little bit, because it makes me scary.”

Other woman are proud to adopt the label, however. Like the words slut and queer, some women are taking back the term witch from the patriarchy and reshaping it to be a compliment. “I choose to call myself a witch in part because it’s a confrontational term,” Elliot says. ”The word witch has been so demonized in our culture, and there literally was a vast genocide of witches.” She’s talking about the infamous “burning times” era of the 16th and 17th centuries, when thousands of women and men were accused of witchcraft and burned (in Europe) and hanged (in North America). “There was a mass extinction of the highly developed, sensitive people, especially women. That is the root of so much misogyny and suffering in our present culture,” she says.

In contemporary times, we have heard Hillary Clinton called a witch and accused of practicing the dark arts by the right wing media. “What’s ironic about extreme right wingers calling Hillary Clinton a witch in a derogatory way is that they don’t understand that it’s associated with being a powerful, independent, spiritual woman,” Mar says.

Everyone has a little witch in them (even if they don’t know it yet) so being able to tell who’s an everyday witch isn’t always as obvious. “There’s an idea that somehow you can see a witch from across the street,” Mar says. “Just like you can’t tell the religious beliefs of the average person you meet in the grocery store, it’s the same with a witch.”

She or he could be any ethnicity, any gender, have any sexual identity, and any career. (And they most likely won’t be wearing a cape and pointed hat.) Instead, keep a look out for that friend who collects crystals and talks about “manifesting” their goals. They might not even know it yet—but they’re probably a witch.

Sours: https://qz.com/821298/witchcraft-is-the-perfect-religion-for-liberal-millennials/
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