Trends that were good, part one: Wicca

One thing that rules about being smack dab in your twenties is that all the trends that were big when you were in your formative years are making comebacks. Everyone listens to us, no matter how dumb our things were. But these things were not dumb.

What came first, The Craft or the covens?

I am referring to the covens middle-school girls all over North America (and probably the UK) started in the late 1990s. And I’m referring to a movie that every female under 30 knows inside and out, but in case you are a fifty-year-old man, here goes: Sarah (Robin Tunney) is new in town. She’s also a witch. Bonnie, Nancy, and Rochelle (Neve Campbell, Fairuza Balk, and Rachel True) are wannabe witches who realize Casey is an actual witch when they see her making a pencil stand up on its lead. They get her to join their coven, then they turn evil and try to destroy her.

My friends and I never acknowledged The Craft when we got all witchy. It’s kind of weird when people don’t acknowledge obvious influences, isn’t it? Tori Amos, for instance. Anyway, looking back, I can state unequivocally that The Craft begat our coven. But The Craft was part of a greater trend at the time.

The trend made sense. Starting a coven is pretty much the funnest thing you can do as a thirteen-year-old girl. It’s like a really special club (girls love starting clubs) but with magick. You can use magick for all sorts of things, but teenage girls are mostly going to use it to make boys fall in love with them. If you’re the kind of girl who tries to start a coven, it probably won’t work.

My friends and I read spell guides and books by Starhawk. We got together and talked a big talk about all the magick we were going to lay on the world. Our school was conveniently located up the street from a wicca shop called the Wicca Shoppe. We went there after class every day to flip through books, steal glances at the penis- and vagina-shaped candles, and only ever buy incense. This went on for several months, until the owner told us we weren’t ready to start a coven. That was humiliating.

The only spell I ever tried was to make my room a “sacred space.”  I don’t know what that means and I don’t think I did then, either. The spell involved staring at a bowl of water until I could envision light emanating from it. After a few minutes I got frustrated and threw the bowl across the room. My parents told me I couldn’t do spells anymore.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a Wiccan. But I still love the aesthetic.


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