Why Salem’s modern-day feminist witchcraft scene is giving rise to ‘magic tourism’

“The world needs the witch right now,” Erica Feldman tells me. “We need a strong, powerful woman who doesn’t bow to societal norms. There’s been an imbalance of masculine energy for too long.”

Erica doesn’t look like your stereotypical witch. With her dark bobbed hair and thick-rimmed glasses, she’d look more at home in a hip Brooklyn bar than stirring a cauldron. But if you haven’t heard, witches are hip these days. There’s a slew of new books out on the subject, and Vogue recently ran an online “witchy week” filled with spells, moon rituals and outfits for solstice gatherings. Witches are political now, too. They’ve been making headlines thanks to the mass spells they’re casting on Donald Trump.

Now I don’t know much about magic, apart from what I saw in The Craft as a teenager. But if it can help defeat The Orange One, then I’m game. And where better to learn all about the revival than Salem, Massachusetts. The quaint New England town, site of the notorious 1692 witch trials, is now the witchcraft capital of the world. Year-round Halloween shops haunt the main strip, there’s a statue of Bewitched character Samantha Stevens in the downtown square, and even the taxis have broomstick-riding figures emblazoned on them. But amid the cheesiness, there’s also a new, younger generation of witches flocking into town – ones who share spells on Instagram, see witchcraft as a feminist practice, and definitely don’t wear pointy hats.

Thirty five-year-old Erica owns Hauswitch Home + Healing (hauswitchstore.com) and is the unofficial face of the town’s contemporary magic scene. Her light, airy boutique sells home spell kits alongside scandi-inspired interior goods and hosts a range of events, from flower potion workshops to magical songwriting sessions, which have become the epicentre of the millennial witchcraft community.

Erica Feldman founded Hauswitch Home and Healing (Hauswitch Home and Healing)

“There are a lot of us here because it’s the one place in the world that really embraces the figure of the witch,” says Erica, who moved to Salem from Chicago in 2010 while writing a thesis about the witch as a feminist archetype. She tells me that witchcraft isn’t about turning people into frogs, but being in touch with your “inner power”, which she describes as “being grounded, centred, setting boundaries and intentions.”

I also learn there are two types of witch shop in Salem – the…

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