BY HALEY HODGES
“Practicing witchcraft is something that is very personal; everybody does something different that kind of fits their lifestyle and what they need,” said Hannah Thomas, a sophomore majoring in magazines and writing.
“I tend to focus on my personal energy. I do a lot of tarot readings, which give me insights to my life, giving me a window where I can view my life from an outside standpoint. I use herbs and essential oils to cleanse myself or, if I get stressed, to help me relax. I practice meditations and I do rituals on the Sabbaths, both greater and minor, as well as the full moons.”
Thomas began identifying as a witch after being inspired by meeting someone who practiced Wicca.
She made the shift about two years ago, but said she always had a connection to it. Thomas said that her mother had practiced Wicca before she was born. Her mother has since shifted back to Christianity after meeting Thomas’ father, but she kept crystals and gemstones around the house and maintained some of the original beliefs.
Her parents have since divorced, however, which became a point of contention within their family’s church.
“During those three years, I completely turned away from the Christian faith because of the way the church reacted to the circumstances that led to my parents’ separation,” Thomas said. “You’re taught growing up that church is supposed to be this family and they’re supposed to be there for you and your connection to God is supposed to tie you to these people and then something happens in your life and they completely cut you out because of something your parents did … that shakes your faith and you begin to question things.”
She’s since found a new kind of community through others who practice witchcraft.
“I do a lot of online communing, which sounds weird,” Thomas said, “But I’m a part of two online covens where we meet up and discuss where we are in our paths.”
As a student, Thomas said she still finds she’s able to practice witchcraft relatively easily.
“It doesn’t have as big of an impact as you might think. Probably the biggest problem is that you can’t have candles in a dorm and I love burning candles when I’m doing a ritual or burning candles when I study,” Thomas said. “The way I’ve found to get around that is LED candles are, like, a godsend.”
Another concern as a practicing witch in college is finding accepting roommates, something Thomas said she has been grateful for.
“I got really lucky because last year I had a roommate who was very understanding and this year my roommate actually practices as well,” Thomas said.
Thomas said she and her roommate are able to practice some rituals together, though their individual worship and focus tend to differ.
“I practice mostly solitary witchcraft, which means it’s very inward focused and about finding your own way and meeting up with others when you have a question or want to try something new,” Thomas said. “That’s one of things about witchcraft, it’s less formal communing, but in many respects it’s closer.”