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Intention is the key to witchcraft


Modern-day witch simmers on cauldrons, potions and broomsticks

Hannah Thomas is a modern-day witch. Photo by Alexis Cruz.

“You can call me a witch,” says Hannah Thomas. The Drake University junior practices witchcraft and identifies as a Wicca.

“A lot of people don’t think witches are real,” she says. “When they picture us, it’s with big noses and warts and the hats. And when they picture Wiccan witches, and witches that really exist, they tend to picture crazy people who are completely out of touch with the world, who seclude themselves out in the middle of the forest, who hang out with only other women and who are naked all the time… I’ve heard all sorts of things.”

Clearing the air in regard to witch misconceptions is normal for Thomas. Here’s the straight dope about some of them, according to her.

Riding a broom across the midnight sky isn’t a real activity for Thomas or other witches, but cauldrons are legit. The pots aren’t used to boil small children, but they are for making potions.

Prep Iowa


“They aren’t for making something you ingest,” she says of cauldrons. “They are used for making something that you pour your intention into.”


Intention is the key to witchcraft. She says cauldrons are used to brew potions to help with intention. Each ingredient in the potion symbolizes something needed to accomplish a desired goal. Concocting the potion fixes the witch’s mind on the prescribed actions that are designated to bring about the desired results.

“It’s acknowledging that you have something that you want to happen,” says Thomas. “And that you have the energy. And that you are connected to this energy web around the world, and you can manipulate that energy to make what you want to happen — within certain realms of possibility.”

No brooms are used in witchcraft, at least not to Thomas’s knowledge. And she doesn’t do Satan worship.

“Satan worship is not a thing in witchcraft,” she says. “We do not believe in the Christian Satan; therefore, we don’t worship a deity we don’t believe in.”

As evidence against Wicca use of Satanic rituals, the brewing of children in kettles or animal sacrifices, Thomas cites a Wiccan rede — a rede is a prominent saying or mantra.

“An it harm none, do as ye will,” she says. “Anything that harms anyone else, you avoid.”

Another Wiccan rede, the Law of Three, states that whatever a person sends into the world will return threefold. It’s the idea that what goes around comes around, similar to Karma.

Thomas admits to having a black cat, but it isn’t for witchery. The cat is just another friendly soul to watch scary movies with.

Witchery isn’t a new thing. It has been around for thousands of years, and many believe it is mentioned in the Christian Bible as forbidden. Debate exists as to whether the modern form of witchery resembles the ancient kind.

“Witchcraft is generally pagan,” says Thomas. She defines pagan as a religion that celebrates nature as a god. “There are many different religions under the pagan umbrella.”

Witchcraft is not necessarily a religion. It’s an activity or lifestyle choice, whereas Wicca is regarded as a religion that is often influenced by witchcraft traditions. According to, “Wicca draws from the old traditions of witchcraft… Witchcraft and Wicca, while similar in many respects, are not the same. One can be a Witch, without being a Wiccan, just as a person can be a Christian, without being a Baptist.”

“For instance my best friend back home practices witchcraft, but she identifies as Christian,” Thomas says. “My friend believes in the Christian God, going to church every Sunday, reading the Bible and things like that, but she will also do potions or do spells to set intentions for herself.”

Spells, spell books and tarot cards are all real parts of witchcraft as well.

Thomas says witchcraft is a methodology for self-actualization. It can be used alone without faith in supernatural beings, or in conjunction with them, or simply as a means to accomplish an earthly end.

“Witch” is the politically correct term, Thomas assures. The idea is to embrace a word, which has historically been used to diminish people, and to take it back.

“I just read a book called ‘Witches, Sluts, Feminists,’ ”she says. “It’s basically about reclaiming these words and making it about being a word of power for yourself.” ♦

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