In the center of Salem, Massachusetts, you can pose with a fictional witch, or meet a real one.
We all know Salem as the "witch city" because of its history. But the area also has a community of self-described modern witches who are now redefining the word.
Erica Feldmann, a millennial entrepreneur who built a lifestyle brand called HausWitch and wrote a book called "HausMagick," a guidebook for how to transform your home with witchcraft, calls herself a witch.
So, what does the term witch mean to her?
“I like to use the acronym ‘Women In Total Control of Herself,’” Feldmann says. “But I would obviously expand that to be all gender identities.”
Feldmann believes witchcraft is really about empowering yourself, “using your own personal intuition and manifestation powers and then using that to make a change in the world around you for the better,” she says.
Feldmann’s wife, Melissa Nierman, also a millennial, considers herself a witch, too.
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“It’s really about like tapping into my own inner voice,” says Nierman, who runs NowAge Travel, which specializes in witch tours and retreats. “If you talk to five different people who call themselves witches, they may have five different answers for what that means for them. It’s really become about taking the term back, a term that’s been used across centuries to disempower, murder thousands upon thousands of people, and mostly women.”
For Ana Campos, the owner of Circles of Stitches, the term witch has religious significance.
“I consider myself a witch in the sense that I follow a nature-based spiritual path. I celebrate the cycles of the moon. I celebrate the changing seasons. And I worship a male and female divine,” she says.
Campos says a spell is the same as a prayer.
"You are thinking about something you want to bring into yourself and you’re putting concentrated intent into that."
Feldmann says, "By being able to share this magic made by all of these incredible people under my roof that is probably the witchiest thing I do.”