From spellcasting to podcasting: Inside the life of a teenage witch

It’s late morning and the sun is high over the tawny Austin suburbs when Viv Bennett wakes up to a world that is both totally mundane and totally magical.

Two boys across the street are shooting hoops, and Bennett is downstairs with their 8-year-old brother watching TV.

A few weeks into a post-high-school life of juggling online college, a part-time cafe job and other projects, Bennett is feeling anxious. So the teenager turns, on this late summer day, like on all days, to a spiritual routine that brings contentment, peace and a feeling of deep connection to something much larger.

Bennett, who identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, starts by meditating and selecting a tarot card from a deck on a small wooden table. They call it their “working area.” Other items laid out on it include a labradorite crystal for mind-clearing and enhanced intuition, and a wand made of selenite for its protective quality. There is also a slightly singed bundle of juniper, which Bennett burns to cleanse and protect the work area as they focus on connecting to various energies, gods and goddesses, and more deeply to themself.

Bennett practices witchcraft, part of a panoply of multiple nature-based spiritual practices whose growing popularity can be measured in book sales, social media activity and research. Young Americans in particular are revamping mystical language and ancient rituals for their gender-fluid, write-my-own-rules, insta-worthy world. Like Bennett, many other teens discussing witchcraft these days on social media — the hashtag #witchtok on the youth-oriented site TikTok has 19.4 billion views — are looking for a personalized practice that taps into their own spiritual power and identity and feels authentic.

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Source: Washington Post