Debate is heating up again over the use of witchcraft as a fashion statement, (see the article https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/sep/06/from-tarot-cards-to-macabre-hoodies-why-witchcraft-is-all-the-rage by Sirin Kale.)
One side of the argument is that witchcraft should not be used as a fashion statement because it dishonors the heart of the craft and trivializes the traditions. Some consider it cultural appropriation. It can also be dangerous.
The other side of the argument is that witchcraft is an inherently beautiful and diverse tradition and should be celebrated in any way people see fit. Witchcraft has had hundreds of years of bad press. Celebrating our traditions through fashion is seen as preferable to witch trials and burnings.
I sit in between these two arguments. I have absolutely no problem with people treating witchcraft as a fashion inspiration. This is not a new situation, witchcraft has been a fashion inspiration for many pop culture programs, famous designers and artists (examples are listed in the article.)
I looked at the Instagrams mentioned in the article; The Hoodwitch and Fay Nowitz. They are very pretty but I fail to see any real ‘depth’ of work going on in their feeds. But that is my opinion and I certainly don’t begrudge them their choices. Indeed, I am quite tempted to buy some of their jewellery and their photos are beautiful.
Some people argue that turning witchcraft into a superficial commodity will dilute the traditions and put people off. I argue the opposite. These traditions have survived since the dawn of time. The thread won’t be broken by a few fashion trends. We have suffered much worse. Also, witch as fashion will make it more acceptable for people to experiment with witchcraft and see if it suits them. It may in fact bring more practicing witches into the fold. Some people will go on to discover and fall in love with the deeper and richer aspects of the tradition. Others will stay with simply enjoying the aesthetic. Both are entirely valid choices and directions.
In my mind witchcraft as fashion invites more people to explore the beauty of the craft and makes it more acceptable. I think with any movement, tradition, culture, community etc., people understand that there are those who work deeper with the energies and those who are simply attracted to the energies. Where problems emerge is when people who are not doing the study, deeper shadow and community work start trying to practice as witches and get themselves in trouble.
As an example, the symbols etc., incorporated by these fashion designers and Instagram witches all have real meanings and real world affects. They can invite energies in that are hard to control and unless the person/witch knows what it happening it can cause all manner of chaos from simple bad luck to mental health issues. It becomes even more problematic if they are taking on clients.
But there has always been charlatans and uneducated practitioners. Just as there has always been those witches who quietly toil in the background, serving and learning. I suggest that by limiting our judgement and keeping communication open there will be greater chance of learning, sharing and community between all the different types of witches. This means that if one of our own gets into trouble either through ignorance or just bad luck, they will have sisters there ready to help and teach.
Live and let live. Enjoy beauty of this tradition responsibility. There is room for us all.