You don’t have to see a glowing bird on the horizon (thanks to John Beckett) to realize that something extraordinary is happening on the spiritual plane. There is ca shift in the zeitgeist occurring right now, and a disturbance in the force happening all around us (thanks to Byron Ballard). I’ve read a lot about concepts such as Tower Time and the idea that the Otherworld is bleeding through into our world the last couple of years. After initially being a bit skeptical about such claims, I can’t remain that way. I’ve just seen too many changes around me, and many of those changes are related directly to magick and/or “supernatural” entities.
I’m not sure what the cause of all this change is, I just know that I’m aware of it, and see it around me everyday. Its presence could be the result of anger over our poor environmental stewardship (climate change is real folks), or maybe magick simply reasserts its self in times of crisis and stress. No matter the source, the magickal and the mundane are interacting more than ever before, and I think there’s real evidence backing up such claims.
Rise in Witchcraft and Other Magickal Practices
Witchcraft has been growing dramatically the past few years. I think we miss some of that growth as its situated very much outside of the Magickal/Pagan Community that goes to festivals and reads blogs like this one, but it’s most certainly happening. Witches in the public sphere are on the upswing (it’s hard to turn on a TV without encountering a Witch somewhere), and chain stores are actively courting Witches and wanna-be-Witches.
Witches are a also a part of the larger zeitgeist right now in ways that are unprecedented. When plans to bind President Trump went public, the reaction in both mundane and magickal spaces was hard to miss. (This type of magickal activity is not limited to liberal circles either, there are assholes using it to support Trump and cause chaos.) Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians are a little bit nervous of Witches right now too, and using their own tools to counter Witchcraft.
There are also more kinds of Witchcraft today than ever before. Today’s Witchcraft is more than Wicca, and I expect the Witchworld to become even more varied in the next few decades. And speaking of varied, today’s Witchcraft world is more diverse than ever before. The idea that Witchcraft is all about female/male polarity feels like a relic from another century.
Witchcraft is not the only magickal path to be enjoying something of a Renaissance. Interest in Conjure, Hoodoo, and Granny Magic is higher today than it’s ever been in my lifetime. People are proudly reclaiming the magick of their ancestors and families and applying that wisdom towards today’s problems. Interest (and practice) in the various religions that have emerged out of the African diaspora continues to increase too.
General interest in magick and other metaphysical practices is on the rise as well. Crystals and other magickal tools are in more than just Witch and gem shops, and interest in astrology has become much more prominent the last few years. If this stuff wasn’t working for people, it wouldn’t be popular.
Have you noticed how much more often we hear about Yuletide figures and elves such as the Tomte, the Krmapus, and the Yule Goat? Twenty years ago in the United States such figures only showed up in the pages of dusty old books dedicated to Winter histories. Today, such figures are everywhere, and not just in magickal spaces. All sorts of Christmas-related-figures are setting up shop at a department store and mall near you!
I don’t think this is a coincidence either, it’s directly related to a resurgence of magick in the world. Don’t believe in Santa Claus or La Befana the Christmas Witch? That’s a mistake on your part because I think such figures most certainly have power. I don’t know if they are demi-gods or fey (probably depends on what figure you are invoking), but the figures that make up Yuletide resonate because they have some agency in our world.
It’s no mistake these figures are related to Yuletide either. Though many think of Samhain as the most intensely spiritual time on the Pagan Wheel of the Year, I think it’s probably Yuletide. People both mundane and magickal expect the extraordinary at Yule, and its grip on society is stronger today than ever.
The Rise of Santa Muerte
The fasted growing religious movement in North America, if not the world, revolves around the Mexican folk-saint Santa Muerte. Before 2001, worship of the Boney Lady was kept hidden from prying eyes and not widely shared or publicized. That changed in 2001 when Enriqueta Romero made her shrine of Santa Muetre public by placing it outside of her house in Mexico City.
Since that fateful day worship and devotion to Santa Muerte has spread beyond Catholicism. Our Lady of Holy Death can be seen on Santerian, Wiccan, and Voodoo altars as well as those of devout Catholics. Where I live in California here candles can be purchased at our local chain grocery store. In 2013 Santa Muerte had 10 to 12 million devotees, I’m willing to guess that now, six years later, she has at least 15 million, perhaps maybe even 20 million.
Santa Muerte crosses religious boundaries with ease, because after all, we are all going to die, right? She’s the perfect universal goddess/figure for difficult times and for marginalized groups. If you wonder if the world is changing around you magickally and spiritually, look no further than Santa Muerte.
Goddesses on the Rise
When I entered the Pagan world in the 1990’s the deities I tended to read the most about were general figures-Maiden, Mother, Crone, The Horned God. Today it feels like much more specific deities are capturing hearts and imaginations. Aradia. Hekate. The Morrigan. These goddesses especially seem to be everywhere, that they are often invoked in pursuit of justice is not a surprise.
When deities re-enter the popular conversation, it’s not by accident. It’s generally because they have something to tell us. I think we’d be wise to listen.