Witchy aesthetics

There’s a lot of talk about Halloween being “the season of the witch” and it is true that what sets us apart from many other paths and traditions is an enthusiastic embrace of both darkness and light. But that is not the full extent of witchy aesthetics.

There should also be winter witches and springtime witches and summer witches. We are a religion for all seasons!

In Italy, of course, they have La Befana, the Christmas witch.

La Befana

In Sweden, they have Easter witches.

Swedish Easter witch

One aesthetic that is very popular with witches on Instagram is cottagecore. There’s also witchcore, kitchen witchery, and more.

I wasn’t really sure what cottagecore is about so I googled it and found the Aesthetics Wiki page on cottagecore. It is actually a much broader trend than cottagecore witches; it’s an aesthetic trend generally.

Cottagecore, also known as farmcore and countrycore, is inspired by a romanticized interpretation of western agricultural life. It is centered on ideas of simple living and harmony with nature. Themes associated with cottagecore include self-sufficiency, baking, and caring for people.

There’s also the witchcore aesthetic:

Decor for witches [is] typically very natural and [has] some kind of use. Decor is usually either foraged, thrifted, or made but there are certain items that must be bought from small metaphysical shops. Some things like crystals, flowers, and incense can have a purpose for the craft while others can be for the aesthetic and for happiness.

An interesting article on the blog The Witchy Aesthetic explores what witches may have worn and used in the past, and how that relates to the present

My personal aesthetic is hard to pin down. I have two altar aesthetics: one is silvery antique metalwork, and the other is handmade, pottery, wood, and occasional bits of brass. Accordingly I have two altars, one for each aesthetic.

Recently a friend shared a video with me of two witches going to a thrift store (North American term for charity shop) and as they both had different aesthetics, they weren’t getting in each other’s way and competing over what to buy. One likes a lot of cut glass and the other likes brass and wood and pottery. (Thrifting witches video) In fact, if you search for “thrifting witches” on YouTube, there are several similar videos. I bought a lot of my stuff in charity shops (UK term for thrift stores), antique shops, and shops that are halfway between antique shops and charity shops, which my great-grandma referred to as “tagareen stores” (a word that should definitely be more widely used).

Thrifting is great because it’s kinder to the planet to buy “pre-loved” items rather than new; you get the patina of use, a connection with the past, and the pleasure of the aesthetics of an earlier age.

Making your own stuff is also great, especially for harder-to-find items like wands.

Another option is to buy from Pagan and witchy suppliers (there are lots of them on Etsy, but do also support your local Pagan and witchy bookshops and supply stores).

Then there’s Michael’s and Dollarama in North America, which usually have glass candle holders and craft supplies. The nearest thing to Michael’s in the UK is Hobby Craft . There’s also Poundland but it’s nowhere near as good as Dollarama.

I used to really dislike skulls (mostly because there are a lot of tasteless ones available) but over the last decade or so, I have come to appreciate them as an important aspect of the Craft. It started with a plastic light-up skull from Tesco’s which is rather cute and reminds me a bit of the skulls for Día de los Muertos. Then we were given a small bottle of crystal skull vodka. Then I got a clear resin skull from a tagareen store which is plain and unadorned, and a skull bottle with lights inside from Dollarama.

Cute skull from Tesco’s with witchy socks

One thing I would suggest is to identify what your preferred style is early on, and stick to it. Don’t rush out and buy your entire altar kit at once. Take your time and choose items that are to your personal taste. That way, your altar items have memories of different trips and different times and places attached to them.

2 thoughts on “Witchy aesthetics

  1. What a lovely article, and I fully agree that it would be nice to see more witches for all seasons! I’m working on developing my aesthetic and see it as an important signifier of identity and selfhood as well as a visual representation of my witchcraft; I haven’t figured it out fully yet, but natural foraged/found items are definitely a feature. I like the sound of both your altar aesthetics!

    Liked by 1 person

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