teen girl holding tarot cards


My Teen Is Into Witchcraft And Tarot Cards — Should I Be Worried?

Jan 15, 2021

Witches are having a moment. From the "baby witches" on TikTok, who captured headlines in Rolling Stone for hexing the moon, to the resurgence of love for all things wizardly or the surging interest in tarot card readings — witches have been trending.

Right around the start of the pandemic, my older daughter started making spell jars, collecting crystals and watching lunar phases with extreme fascination. I watched from afar for a bit. I thought it was simply the natural progression of us watching the Harry Potter movies one million times from start to finish to keep busy and somewhat connected as a family since the lockdown started in March.

"Was being a witch in some way offensive?"

She crafted elaborate wands, and gathered natural materials and sealed them into small bottles. She ordered fake vines and hung them throughout her bedroom, and started talking more about the moon each time we walked. She gave me crystals, often ordered online, and told me about their properties.

I started to realize there was a bit more to this than I originally thought. Some of my teen daughter’s closest female friends were also completely enthralled. And some of my youngest daughter’s friends started calling themselves witches. At first, I was a bit confused by the appeal and I chalked it up to a developmental phase or interest — but this one hasn’t passed yet. So, I bought my eldest a book about witchcraft and I read a bit of it myself.

Paula recently learned inappropriate pictures were being AirDropped to her teens' phones, so she checked in with them then spoke to an online safety educator. Read what she learned here.

Recently, I overheard my daughter telling a friend of hers on the phone that someone online had told her she was going to hell for practising witchcraft, and I was a bit alarmed. (Can we all just agree that DMing people on social media to tell them they are going to hell for their beliefs, practices, religion, gender or sexuality is DONE. Both of my teens tell me they receive these comments at least once a week.) But I trust my daughter at her age and stage to handle social media trolls with a report and block kind of strategy, and she did.

As her interest grew and spell jars multiplied, I started looking into witchcraft a bit closer, to unravel a bit of the mystery surrounding the topic, at least for my own knowledge and satisfaction.

"The belief in something that is a higher spiritual concept can be comforting. Don’t we all wish we could magically blast COVID-19 off the planet?"

Was being a witch in some way offensive? Was it inviting something negative into our home? Was it synonymous with devil worship? Should I be worried? What I found out is quite the opposite, actually. Here’s what I have gathered and why I'm not concerned if my kids use tarot cards or talk about spells.

In fact, modern witchcraft started to gain steam in England as a new spiritual and nature-focused religion in the 1950s. It was soon deemed "wicca," and its followers "wiccans." Someone who is wiccan follows nature-oriented worship and rituals, and sees it as a religion. And in wicca, they prioritize priestesses and celebrate the Goddess.

A nature-oriented religion that’s also female-centric? When I think about it like that, there's no wonder why young women gravitate towards this experience in 2021.

I don’t think I need a PhD in adolescent psychology to recognize that making spell jars and watching the lunar phases with fascination at this particular time in history is, at least in part, a reaction to the lack of control that teens are feeling. With a health threat at the door, political divisiveness and a president south of the border who nurtured hatred for four years inciting violence amongst his followers, plus the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements — there's a lot to worry about daily, and I think teens need something hopeful that also provides a sense of community.

When Paula's teen daughter saw an inappropriate mask, she spoke up — and both were glad that she did. Read what happened here.

Growing up during a pandemic is chaotic at best and isolating, anxiety-inducing and depressing often. School basically doesn’t exist in any format that makes sense. It’s no longer an option to see friends in person and remote learning can be flat.

So, who does it harm if the teens study witchcraft or call themselves witches?

"... I think teens need something hopeful that also provides a sense of community."

The other night while we were making dinner, my daughter blurted out: “Magic would be so useful right now!” We were chopping a particularly hard batch of sweet potatoes. After a day spent grumbling at all of us, snapping every few hours and a return to remote learning, that comment struck me as exactly why witches and potions and tarot cards are growing in popularity. The belief in something that is a higher spiritual concept can be comforting. Don’t we all wish we could magically blast COVID-19 off the planet?

A friend of mine who lives in B.C. chimed in last week when I asked if anyone else had a teen who was making spell jars and learning to read tarot cards. She had a unique take. “When we were young, it was Dungeons and Dragons. People could spend hours getting lost in that elaborate fantasy game. I don’t see it as much different than that really,” she told me.

Some have speculated that the rise of witchcraft has evolved from feminism. The word "witchcraft" conjures up a divine female power. A young witch on a news segment I watched referred to the word itself as an acronym: Woman in Total Control of Herself. What a powerful idea!

So, if being a witch is something that is in some way empowering to young women right now, then I say embrace being part of a coven.

Article Author Paula Schuck
Paula Schuck

Read more from Paula here.

My name is Paula Schuck and I have been writing professionally for over 20 years. I am a mother of two daughters, and I am a fierce advocate for several health issues. I am a yoga nut, skier and content coordinator for two London, Ontario, trade magazines. I have been published online and in traditional magazines and newspapers including: Today’s Parent, The Globe and Mail, Kitchener Record, London Free Press, trivago.ca, Ontario Parks blog and Food, Wine and Travel magazine.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.