Tarot, crystals, and empowerment: Confessions of a secular witch

January 31 | Guest post by Minerva Siegel
Photos by Cayan Ashley Photography
Photos by Cayan Ashley Photography

Witchcraft has something that's been a huge part of my life for years. But there's so much stigma surrounding what it means to be a witch that I just didn't feel comfortable opening myself up to speculations and ridicule.

Until now…

I've realized that the best way to clear up misconceptions is to talk freely about them. With that in mind, here I am, declaring myself publicly to be a practitioner of secular witchcraft with specific interests in Tarot, astrology, palmistry and crystal work.

What does it mean to be a secular witch, exactly?

The word "secular" in this context refers to the fact that I don't incorporate dogma or deities into my craft; unlike, say, Wiccans, I don't worship any gods or goddesses. There's no religious component to my witchcraft whatsoever.​ Rather, I focus on empowering myself emotionally and maintaining harmony and synchronicity with the vibrations of the universe.

The most important thing to know about witchcraft is that there are no set rules

Witchcraft is deeply personal and not at all linear. It's ambiguous and often intuition-based. What calls to one person may not vibe with another, and that's okay.

For instance, I love working with crystals. I feel such a strong connection to so many different kinds, and I meditate with them daily. However, I've dabbled in working with herbs and plants, which is another very common aspect of witchcraft, and I've never felt any kind of spiritual vibration or calling from them.

Witch Shoot -39

As I mentioned, I also practice divination. I've tried working with runes, which are common divination tools, and I felt no connection to them whatsoever; conversely, when I gave Tarot a go, I immediately started getting very on-point, clear messages and repeated spreads. Tarot just vibes with me in a way that other divination methods haven't.

My experiences don't mean that working with plants/herbs or runes is "wrong"; they just don't happen to flow with me in particular. You don't have to be adept and fluent in every minute possible aspect of witchcraft to be a witch; you don't even have to worship any gods or goddesses in particular, or at all- you only have to be true to yourself.

All I use witchcraft for is to empower myself

It gives me the emotional tools that I need to handle what life dishes out. I don't do spells to try to influence the outcomes of events in my life, because I believe that the universe unfolds as it should. I also don't dabble in dark arts whatsoever. I'm not shaming those of us who do, but I personally just don't feel like putting any sort of negative energy out into the world. Witchcraft has been such a positive force in my life! It has made me feel powerful and given me a tremendous amount of inner strength and balance.

Witch Shoot -44

Real-world witches aren't the warty, ugly, mean-spirited things fairy tales usually depict; we're real people who are simply following our own paths intuitively. So, the next time someone reveals to you that they're a witch, please don't make any assumptions about them. Witchcraft is a personal journey that means so many things to many people and cultures. Instead, ask questions with an open mind.

The more we talk about things we don't fully understand, the more tolerant and edified the world becomes!

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  1. thank you for writing this so eloquently, puts into a words a lot of the feelings i have about my practice too x

    9 agree
    • Can I give a rousing "same!" – this is a lot of how I feel about this type of stuff. 😀 I grew up studying Wicca and as it is, I really don't feel close to the word and just started going with "witch" and "witchcraft" – secular witchcraft is a great way to describe it. Secular, with a dash of pop culture (in terms of what I really enjoy.)

  2. Thank you for sharing! I really enjoy turning to astrology to help me process life on earth and I don't know much about crystals but I'm super curious. I feel similarly to you, I think. I just wanna find good vibes, send them back out and support people to be themselves while I do that for myself.

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  3. I really love discussions of secular witchcraft. I have family members who are Wiccan, so I know a lot about the religious aspect of it, but I think a lot of my Abrahamic relatives don't quite understand my draw to the aspects of it that aren't faith-based. Thank you for putting that into words!

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    • When I was in high school and first dabbling in paganism, I practiced Wicca for about a year. I loved parts of it, but the deity-worshiping bits just never personally rang true for me (absolutely no offense meant to those who worship deities, obviously! Whatever path calls to you is fantastic). I eventually started practicing witchcraft without deities, and kind of had to figure it all out on my own because I couldn't find any resources on secular witchcraft at the time, and I couldn't find others who used witchcraft in the ways I did. Writing this article and seeing the responses on social media has made me feel much less alone. <3 Thank you for reading!

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      • This is totally me, too! Except I had a long gap between when I was dabbling in Wicca in high school and reclaiming my witchiness years later. I think, once I realized the idea of deity did resonate with me, I didn't know that witchcraft without it was a thing until my late 20s.

  4. I find the tarot deeply useful because it's like this fluid, floating life advice that you can sift through and pull out little nuggets of universal truth. The tarot was designed to follow the life journey and some aspects of human nature, so it just makes sense to me that it's going to apply in some way to my situation and give a little food for thought.

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    • I love tarot for this reason, too. I have always been a fan of psychoanalyzing myself, and having another tool to help me do it has been awesome. Hah. Also, I'm slowly becoming an obsessive collector because there are so many beautiful decks out there!

  5. "The more we talk about things we don't fully understand, the more tolerant and edified the world becomes!"

    Here, here! Love this! Love all your posts actually Minerva. You're kind of totally awesome (but I think you already knew that)

    1 agrees
  6. I'm not at all… witchy? Is that the right word? LOL.
    I don't feel any sort of pull towards witchcraft, tarot, divination, etc. But I'm glad you took a moment to explain your sensibilities.
    Our strength lies in diversity.

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    • I'm so glad that you've taken the time to explore a point of view/belief that you don't personally hold! I wish more people would do that- the world would be a better place.

  7. I just wanted to say that this is a great post! It's also one of the things I love about paganism/witchcraft. I'm actually on the opposite end of spectrum as you. I'm a "fairly" hard polytheist, but I would walk away from any community that told others what to believe. I sort of think that beauty of paganism that we don't police dogma, but accept anyone who shares certain core values (usually equality, respect for the Earth, and basic virtues like hospitality, kindness, etc.) Our rituals, workings, and high days hold us together as a community, but spiritually they mean vastly different things to different people and that's just fine with everyone. It's also one of the hardest things of people from a more rigid religious background to grasp at first. You can have a community and/or a practice without a dogma.

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    • I love the pagan community! As a whole, it's a very live-and-let-live group- I've yet to feel judged or looked down upon by anyone I've met who belongs to the community, even if they're very religious in their paganism or witchcraft. Most people just seem to understand that witchcraft is a very personal journey that has many branches and paths, and that's okay. 🙂

      1 agrees
  8. LOL! As a Christian married to a Witch, I can assure you that he is not warty, ugly, nor mean-spirited.

    For my own part, for awhile I stopped wearing crosses because TV evangelists were giving my religion a bad name and I didn't want to scare people, but then I thought, "Why should I let people like that represent my religion?" So now I am, like you, very up-front about who I am, what I believe, and what I do.

    Fear breeds in ignorance like mildew in dank, hidden places. But when we put a human face on who and what we are, stepping out into the sunlight, fear dries up and falls away.

    1 agrees

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