If you’re drawn to the Victorian era and you practice witchcraft, did you known you can combine the two? In this article, we learn all about the magical side of the Victorians including seances and divination. AND we teach you how to cast Victorian witchcraft by enchanting your own corset.
Witchcraft has existed since the beginning of time, even if it was called something else. The Victorian era frowned on words like witchcraft and witch; however, they practiced magic and contact with the spirit world. They called it Spiritualism. Dive deep into the Spiritualist practices and notice some glaring similarities with witchcraft. Parlor “games” that include mirror scrying and other forms of divination were all the rage. And seances became a highly-sought activity. Did you know Mary Todd Lincoln performed seances in the White House after the Lincoln boy died?
The main focus of Spiritualism was to communicate with the dead. And therefore this Victorian trend gave a spotlight to psychic mediums and spirit-channels – people who had the ability to communicate with spirits OR allow the spirits to speak through them. All things witches have been doing since ancient times.
Possibly one of the few AUTHENTIC famous psychic mediums to come out of the Victorian Spiritualist movement were the Fox sisters. I say authentic, because there were more than a few “charlatans” that conned people out of their money and were discovered for their false antics later. Look up Victorian seance photos online and you’ll see a plethora of pictures with “ectoplasm” coming out of people’s orifices. From my research, these photos were falsified using photography tricks and cleverly-placed pantyhose.
But the Fox sisters were a different story. Leah, Margaret, and Kate Fox were three ordinary farmer’s girls living in New York in the 1800’s. But they weren’t exactly ordinary…they talked to the dead. A spirit named Rosna started the Fox sisters’ ascent into fame. When Margaret and Kate were fifteen and twelve, they started hearing tapping on their bedroom walls. Their parents heard the tapping too and eventually the whole town was talking about the Fox sisters’ unusual event.
Margaret and Kate began talking to the tapping noises, and were responded to with a series of taps. A spirit Rosna came forward and claimed he was a peddler who had been murdered by the previous owner and buried in the cellar. The Fox family tried dug up the cellar floor but only found a tin box that contained a bit of hair.
Hundreds came to watch the Fox sisters communicate with the tapping spirit. Pretty soon, the Fox sisters were the most famous mediums in the country and are credited with the start of the Spiritualist movement. If you were wondering where Leah Fox came into play, she was the eldest sister who capitalized on her younger sisters’ talent. She had no real supernatural powers of her own but was indeed obsessed with ghosts.
Another rather famous Victorian medium was Cora L.V. Scott, also known as Cora Hatch. Cora was revered for her
“trance lecturing”. Otherwise known as mediumship. Cora went into a trance and allowed the spirits to talk through her. The lectures can only be described as pantheistic in nature. Cora wasn’t one to do much of the table tipping or elaborate séances like the other Victorian mediums. She was famous with the men, as she was beautiful, eloquent, and intelligent.
In addition to communicating with ghosts through seances and mediums, the Victorians were obsessed with fortune telling. Young women wanted to know who would be their future husbands and would often practice things like mirror scrying to ascertain a face or name. Crystal ball gazing, palmistry and cartomancy became parlor games (meaning they were played in a person’s living room as a means of entertainment). All of these “games” are powerful forms of ancient divination…many being practiced by witches for hundreds of years.
A resurgence of interest in the occult blossomed in the Victorian age including the establishment of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, mysticism propelled by Madame HP Blavatsky and Dion Fortune, to name a few. WB Yeats and WY Evans-Wentz were occultists and writers who came out of the Victorian era recording folklore and fairy tales from Celtic countries like Ireland, Brittany and more. An interest in ley lines, spirit guides, Tulpas, and nature spirits emerged from the Victorians. People were beginning to explore the “sinful” or repressed parts of the human psyche and supernatural worlds once more.
Other folk charms and remedies were employed by women, midwives, and the poor. Particularly when the person didn’t have access to a “licensed physician” of the time. Midwives were often called upon to help deliver babies and ease a person’s passing, but were also asked for remedies for all types of ailments. There’s a story about my great great grandmother who tied bags of camphor around her children’s necks to ward off the flu. These types of remedies were common through Victorian times and predate the nineteenth century.
Let’s not forget the language of flowers, a practice where giving bouquets to friends, loves, and family had extra special meaning. Each flower was assigned a specific symbolism, therefore each bouquet gave the receiver a message. For instance, red roses meant romantic love. White hyacinth meant protection. Bluebells meant humility. And many more. Symbolism = how witches practice their craft!
If you’re in love with the Victorian era like me, try some of the old Victorian witchcraft practices as mentioned above. AND add your own witchy spin to the Victorian fashions. For instance, the diminutive yet sexy corset. Here’s how:
I’d like to put a lot of buzz words here but that would be too …September 15, 2023