Meet The Witches Of Instagram

When you think of witches, you probably imagine pointy hats, black cats and broomsticks. In movies or TV shows witches have been portrayed as evil old hags or women dressed in black. While these witches might gather under the cover of darkness, modern witches are meeting on Instagram. Using the hashtag #WitchesOfInstagram, women who identify as witches are finding each other and connecting online.

Rose Dumaine is a professional witch who performs spells and readings for her clients. She not only uses Instagram to find like minded witches but also to build her business Harvest Rose Witchery. Rose describes the Witches of Instagram community as a search tool, to help witches find similar people to help them to feel less alone, as often witches can feel like outcasts who don't belong to other groups.

Rose estimates that there were only around 2,000 posts under the hashtag when she first came across it two and a half years ago. There are now almost two million. She says: "People are tired of taking things that just get thrown at them and they want to do something about it. They want to reclaim some of their own personal power. I think that's a reason why witchcraft is so big right now."

Witches post pictures and videos of their craft on Instagram, often explaining what herbs, ingredients or candles they are working with to create certain spells. Witches who have just come out of what is known as "the broom-closet," having recently started identifying as a witch and are new to the community, can also find support and information from other witches on Instagram.

Twenty-two-year-old Irilan found identifying as a witch an initially isolating experience and has since used the Instagram community to not only share her own work but has also become a mentor to new, or "baby" witches. She has even formed an online coven made up of other solitary witches, that is witches who practise on their own.

"I never thought that I would be a teacher because I always think I'm an eternal student, but actually I've been helping a lot of witches. I never said I would share any spells in my life because that's a private thing but recently I've been thinking, you know, some people need guidance. I started out using someone else's spells too."

The community isn't confined to the U.S. with witches using Instagram to connect with each other all over the world. Theia, an eclectic solitary witch (someone who follows more than a single tradition) currently lives in South Korea and uses the #WitchesOfInstagram hashtag to feel involved in a community she is often physically far away from. She says: "As a solitary witch I'm not able to have that community here physically with me. So using that hashtag I'm able to find people who are like minded and get ideas from people."

Theia describes finding the #witchesofInstagram community as liberating. Coming from a Christian background when she was growing up, she struggled to fit in to any group.

"I never found my people, somehow I was always pushed to the edge and never seen. But here on Instagram and other platforms you can feel like you're being seen by someone."

As the #WitchesOfInstagram community continues to grow, Rose says the use of mainstream accessible platforms is helping more people find the community.

She says, "Even two years ago it was nothing like what it is now and it just continues to grow and grow and grow. So to see that forward movement and witchcraft coming out of the shadows is absolutely amazing. I think it is due to the fact that it is so accessible and Instagram is such a mainstream thing - and the witches are taking it over."