From the buck-toothed, backcombed, soul-sucking Sanderson sisters of Hocus Pocus, to the spaghetti strap tank tops and diamante crucifixes of 90’s cult classic Charmed; the green-faced, crooked-nosed Wicked Witch of Oz, to the bouncy blonde curls of Netflix’s latest regurgitation: the Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina – witches have been depicted in pop culture for decades. But are these representations accurate? 26-year-old holistic practitioner Grace Gottaredello doesn’t think so. “All of these depictions try to homogenize the perception of witchcraft to something that is centred to white Euro-American women,” says Grace. “But witchcraft is as diverse as we, the witches, are.”
Over the last few centuries, witches have faced many enemies: the church, the patriarchy, the burning stake, and the warped cultural representations that aim to whitewash their culture. And now they face a new one: the beauty industry. From impending Tarot collections being teased on Instagram by beauty giants to pastel-hued Starter Witch Kits, the beauty industry’s commodification of sacred occult practices is really starting to piss witches off, not least because this appropriation is based on pop culture representations of witches instead of real witches themselves. But who are these real witches? And more importantly, what do their practices look like? We spoke to Grace and four other witches – London-based herbalist Caroline Rosalie, Nicolette Clara Iles, alchemist Kkingboo, and Herefordshire-based Malcolm Tearle – to find out more.
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