Move over Hygge, Chaos Magic is here

Move over Hygge, Chaos Magic is here

Witchcraft is having a moment – or a year, really. I first noticed it in November 2015, as a general feeling of despair had settled over New York and the country with Trump’s election, and more and more women started organizing in response. And while the overall movement was (and is) political, with rallies like the Women’s March, suburban political organizing and new leaders like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez charging forth, a growing public turned to more esoteric means for overcoming feelings of powerlessness and rage.

As Michelle Goldberg said in a November 2017 NY Times article, “occultism often gains currency during times of social crisis.” The social crisis that’s spurned this movement didn’t start with Trump, as much as we’d like to scapegoat him. (Witch hunt, anyone?) Rather, it’s been gaining momentum over the past decade, with the 2008 stock market crash and events like the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2013 and the Boston Marathon Bombing of the same year – first sparks that snowballed into the racist violence and mass shootings that today seem routine.

Occultism often gains currency during times of social crisis.
— Michelle Goldberg, New York Times

In her 2015 book “Witches of America,” Alex Mar wrote that there were 1 million practicing witches in the United States, a number just slightly smaller than practicing Buddhists and significantly larger than Orthodox Jews (at least according to BuzzFeed). In the two years that Mar spent researching her book, she noticed a visible growth in interest – so much so that an idea that seemed outlandish at the outset was later accused of “riding a trend” by the time of its publication.

The changes that the country has faced in the past decade: an ever widening wealth disparity, political polarization and disenfranchisement, increasingly limited access to healthcare, impending climate disaster, rampant racism and gun violence; all point to a society bereft of stability and autonomy. People whose suffering goes unnoticed, who feel powerless to make any real change in their situation, and who see their environment as chaotic, unpredictable, and basically unsafe are more likely to turn toward unconventional means of regaining their sense of control. Enter the witch; Bruja; Spiritualist; Reiki Healer; Herbalist; Crystal Healer; CBD enthusiast; Tarot Reader; Astrologist.

Occult, spiritual, and generally “alternative” practices have become so normalized as a lifestyle that they’ve engrained themselves into our visual culture. Minimalism is dead. Cold, shining white and chrome just emphasize the bleakness – the comforts we can’t afford or thought we didn’t need. At first we tried the Hygge thing, wrapping ourselves in thick knit blankets and powering on the gas fireplace and crying into our scented candles, but ultimately that was just embracing our powerlessness. This dark, zany maximalism you’re seeing everywhere these days? The trend forecasting group K-Hole called it in 2015: it's Chaos Magic. (K-hole is also the group who in 2013 gave us Normcore, you should definitely check them out.)

 

Decorating your home in times of social crisis

Pierre Yovanovitch’s Paris apartment.  via pierre yovanovitch

Pierre Yovanovitch’s Paris apartment. via pierre yovanovitch

  1. Find a color palette that matches your wrathful and rage-fueled inner monologue.

Ken Fulk is, and has always been, a master at composing esoteric objects into darkly fascinating scenes.  via ken fulk

Ken Fulk is, and has always been, a master at composing esoteric objects into darkly fascinating scenes. via ken fulk

 

2. Accept your penchant for buying senseless, hilarious(?) and probably off-color knickknacks as a coping mechanism.

Biological specimens, bones, antlers, and taxidermy all have a witchy feel to them, especially if they can double as a weapon.  via the alchemy of things by melissa mccartney

Biological specimens, bones, antlers, and taxidermy all have a witchy feel to them, especially if they can double as a weapon. via the alchemy of things by melissa mccartney

 

3. plants make you feel better! (and clean the air…)

Plants: like children minus the dread of impending climate collapse. They even clean the air!  That’s  magic.  via cereal magazine

Plants: like children minus the dread of impending climate collapse. They even clean the air! That’s magic. via cereal magazine

 

4. Buy a crystal, because who the f*ck knows what anything does anymore.

Crystals: maybe they work, maybe they don’t.  via pinterest

Crystals: maybe they work, maybe they don’t. via pinterest

 

5. Engage the power of botanicals.

Katie Smyth and Terri Chandler’s book  Wreaths  is packed with design advice and inspiration on modern wreath design.  via wreathes by smyth and chandler

Katie Smyth and Terri Chandler’s book Wreaths is packed with design advice and inspiration on modern wreath design. via wreathes by smyth and chandler

 

6. Decorate with eyes, the one part of other people’s bodies you’ve been afraid to look at since unboxing your first iPhone in 2008.

Charlap Hyman and Herrero founders Adam and Alexander Charlap Hyman’s living room, with an eye rug by Katie Stout.  via the cut

Charlap Hyman and Herrero founders Adam and Alexander Charlap Hyman’s living room, with an eye rug by Katie Stout. via the cut

 

7. Seek out natural, aged textures for an old-world feel.

The Palazzo Chupi apartment of art dealer Vito Schnabel is packed with his incredible collection, like this Fornasetti Sculpture and Joe Bradley Painting. Nearly the entire apartment is clad in reclaimed wood.  via the cut

The Palazzo Chupi apartment of art dealer Vito Schnabel is packed with his incredible collection, like this Fornasetti Sculpture and Joe Bradley Painting. Nearly the entire apartment is clad in reclaimed wood. via the cut

 

8. Heavy, draped curtains are in. They might even keep out some of the “smog dome” or wildfire smoke outside your windows.

A sitting room at Casa Mollino, the lifelong home of architect, designer, photographer and occultist Carlo Mollino.  via new york times

A sitting room at Casa Mollino, the lifelong home of architect, designer, photographer and occultist Carlo Mollino. via new york times

 

9. Keep a pretty glass bowl filled with CBD bath salts or bombs in your bathroom. Because you really need to chill the f*ck out.

Bath salts or bombs make a pretty display beside your tub or sink. Add a little CBD oil for the witchiest spa ritual.  via better homes and gardens

Bath salts or bombs make a pretty display beside your tub or sink. Add a little CBD oil for the witchiest spa ritual. via better homes and gardens

 

10. bring in a wild animal or two to scare off bad juju

Don’t tread on me! Snake as rug is a snake I can get behind, especially in these two designed by Charlap Hyman & Herrero for Patterson Flynn & Martin. via 1stdibs.

Don’t tread on me! Snake as rug is a snake I can get behind, especially in these two designed by Charlap Hyman & Herrero for Patterson Flynn & Martin. via 1stdibs.


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