Forget broomsticks and cauldrons… today’s witches are more likely to be winning fans on social media. Natasha Poliszczuk is now a member of the modern coven 


 If you still associate witches with pointy hats and black cats, it’s time to step away from Harry Potter and think again. Except for the discreet wand she keeps around her body, modern witches are indistinguishable to you and me.

‘Witches are just normal people,’ explains Frankie Castanea, aka TikTok sensation Chaotic Witch Aunt (@chaoticwitchaunt). Frankie gained 1.4 million followers in just two years. These include teenagers, but also (mostly), women aged 40-54. ‘We don’t look different, we don’t dress differently, we have normal jobs and we go to the supermarket. You could do a cleansing ritual in order to remove negative energy. Wear the pentagram [a symbol of faith]. Cast spells, just like we cook. But other than that, witches are just like everyone else.’

Frankie with grey cat Gato.

Frankie and Gato, a grey cat.

TikTok or, more precisely, #WitchTok is where witches find the perfect place to gather. Unlike other forms of social media – Instagram, for instance, which often focuses on glossy images of polished perfection – TikTok thrives on humour and creativity. It’s no accident users call themselves ‘creators’. #WitchTok – the hashtag where witches gather and share content on the platform – is a space where this traditionally marginalised and historically persecuted group have found a community. Let’s face it: you might well feel like the only witch in the village, but on WitchTok, likeminded people abound. Frankie nods in agreement: ‘I went from more or less keeping my witchcraft practice to myself to finding this whole community of people asking questions and sharing ideas.’

American-born, 23-year old, lives in the US. He first became interested in witchcraft at age 16, when he asked the universe for guidance during an emotional crisis. Blue jays appeared. ‘This was the sign I needed. I researched the symbolism and meaning of the blue jay. [which can represent creativity and abundance] and animals in witchcraft, which in turn led to paganism and crystals – and here I am.’

My mistake was to place a curse upon my house. Now i know the rules. No hexing inside the house 

When normal life ground to a halt in March 2020, Frankie started posting witty videos about witchcraft – and watched the views and follower count rise daily. It’s been meteoric: ‘I was getting tens of thousands of views. The reach has only increased. It now has 800,000 followers

I realised, “This isn’t slowing down” – and then I hit a million.’ It was a case of the right craft, in the right place, at the right time. ‘Suddenly, there were a lot more people on TikTok. The two were scared and bored. They felt like they couldn’t control what was going on and that the world was terrible. They had been looking for something. You can take back control through witchcraft. It has the potential to change your lives and impact how you live. When I started, I was just trying to be funny, but the humour drew people in and gave me a platform to show them what a witch really looks like – maybe even change their minds about witchcraft.’

Frankie shares a reading with followers

Frankie offers a reading for followers

TikTok’s format – short, snappy videos, often set to music – is ideal for creators to share snippets of information. ‘The algorithm learns what you want to see and shows you more of it,’ explains Frankie. The video content that does particularly well for Frankie (and by ‘well’ we’re talking about anything from hundreds of thousands to more than a million views) tends to be light-hearted – like a recent series about what it’s like dating a witch. The success of this type of video, where witchcraft and humour collide, is key to understanding WitchTok’s sharp rise in popularity. It’s relatable, approachable and goes some way to normalising witchcraft, which has, even in the recent past, been considered if not taboo, then certainly fringe.

Frankie’s altar, as shared on Instagram

Frankie’s altar, as shared on Instagram

Frankie is considered a celebrity on WitchTok and often gets messages from inexperienced ‘baby witches’ requesting guidance and advice. Due to his online influence and a large presence on YouTube (115k subscribers and Instagram (74k following), Frankie received a call and was published Spells for change, the how to guide Frankie would like to have when she first started.

WitchTok, despite its strength and community, isn’t immune from conflict. Some older practitioners take issue with the younger generation’s tongue-in-cheek, comedic approach while there are occasional spats concerning how witchcraft is defined. Hexes (a negative spell intended to cause misfortune) are common, and there are some witches who – as in every other walk of life – just like ‘pushing buttons and creating a drama’.

Be aware of your witch-speak

 Angel numbers

This repeating sequence of three numbers is a way for the spiritual universe to communicate with you – for example, 111 means your dreams are being manifested, while 555 refers to big changes. They can be identified on phones numbers, clocks and plates for cars, among other things.

Shadow work

This takes a look at your shadow self (the side that you don’t like, whether it’s a part of your personality, a habit or pattern) and embraces it through rituals, tarot, meditation or therapy.


You can think of this as a goddess or god who visits you depending on your needs. You will find them different to a patron.


With 2.3 million hashtag views and the biggest group of witches (and youngest), baby witches is TikTok’s largest, yet most experienced, group.

Frankie, who has a close-knit group of ‘mutuals’ (friends), shrugs it off. ‘I keep to my corner and protect my energy. It is not a general term. Every practice of witchcraft is unique.

‘There is something that will speak to you, whether you’re a 50-year-old woman using spells as you cook at home, or a 17-year-old boy looking for meaning in life. There’s room for everyone.’

There are many ways to practice witchcraft, and there are several types of witches. Green and hedge witches focus on herbalism and nature; kitchen witches incorporate spells into their cooking (witches believe all herbs hold innate properties), and eclectic folk witches like Frankie take elements of different traditions of witchcraft alongside everyday materials to create their own particular brand of ‘magick’. (Witches use the term ‘magick’ to differentiate the practice from the pulling-rabbits-out-of-a-hat/sawing-a- woman-in-half type of performance magic.) Frankie’s own brand of witchcraft is devoted to ‘divination, particularly tarot reading, protection magick, and working and communing with deities [see page 27]’.

Frankie believes that to be a modern witch, you must experience a sign or call. ‘Not at all. Anyone can practise witchcraft – the only things you need are a willingness to learn and to make mistakes. Just gather some tools and start researching spells.’

The most basic tool is the witch’s wand ‘for casting spells and directing energy’. Frankie’s first wand was a stick which was rolled in herbs and consecrated by burning. Many wands include crystals that have different meanings for witchcraft. You’ll also need a simple altar to work from. It can be anywhere that feels sacred to you – in Frankie’s case, an ordinary desk.

Simple is also best when it comes to spells, says Frankie, with things like ‘protection of the home’ being a good place to start. Because, be warned: spells can – and do – go awry. Early on, a love spell to strengthen a relationship resulted in Frankie’s then boyfriend becoming obsessive. Frankie’s boyfriend was not content with the end of their relationship.

Frankie is also violating the rule that curses shouldn’t be cast inside your home. ‘I didn’t protect my space before casting a painful curse, so there was an active curse on my family home for the next four years. Every thing that could have gone wrong went. My father lost his job and my sister split up with her boyfriend. I was in a difficult time. We now have rules,’ Frankie adds with a grin. ‘No hexing in the house.’

WitchTok is always there for beginners. ‘It’s going to keep on growing,’ says Frankie emphatically. ‘I can already see a whole new wave of creators coming to the fore. It’s possible that we might even see witches as mainstream. Witches might even go mainstream.’ 


 Too much ‘negative energy’ in your home? Try Frankie’s cleansing spell

In order to get rid of unneeded energetic clutter in my house, I enjoy a smoke-cleanse, using sandalwood or rosemary.

You can choose any tool you want to cleanse your body during this ritual. You can use bells, pots for banging together, cedar and rosemary bundles, sandalwood or sandalwood to cleanse your body.

Start by opening either your doors or windows. You can either light your incense or herb bundle at the top of your house or start shaking your bells. Start in one place if your home is a single-floor flat. It is my preference to begin at one point and then work clockwise throughout the house. However, you may be able to follow your instincts.

State your intent, which can be as simple as ‘I cleanse this space of negativity’. Start by entering the first floor, and then slowly walk around its perimeter. Either you want to repeat your intent repeatedly or just say it when you move into another room.

You should do this in every room of each floor. Slowly go down and state your intent whenever you have to. End at either an open door or window. It is possible to thank your spirit, energy, or spirit for being here, but it won’t return.

TikTok’s Witches To Watch


Georgia (@leomoonie), 204,000 followers On top of individual tarot card and birth chart readings, Georgia also entertains her followers by answering random questions from cult divination text The Book of Answers.

Georgia (@leomoonie), 204,000 fans Georgia answers random questions from The Book of Answers, a cult divination book.


Natalia (@nataliaanio), 216,000 followers Lunar witch Natalia uses her TikTok and YouTube platforms to teach her subscribers everything there is to know about spell jars, crystals and how to harness the power of a full moon.

Natalia (@nataliaanio), has 216,000 subscribers Lunar witch Natalia uses TikTok to share all she knows about spells, crystals and harnessing full moon power with her YouTube and TikTok platforms.


Kiley (@oracle ofthemoon), 881,000 followers Equipped with a wand and an altar, Kiley shares all she knows about auras and divination. She also has her own page on Etsy, selling crystals and even a cauldron spell kit.

Kiley (@oracleofthemoon), has 881,000 followers. Armed with a wand & an altar, Kiley shares what she knows about auras & divination. Her Etsy page sells crystals, and even a cauldron magic kit.

Stephanie (@theceltics brew), 543,000 followers A witch and psychic who specialises in past life readings, Stephanie has amassed a huge following by answering questions about birthmarks, dreams, soulmates and reincarnation

Stephanie (@theceltics-brew), 543,000 fans Stephanie, who is a witch and psychic that specializes in past life readings. Stephanie answers questions about dreams, birthmarks, soulmates and reincarnation.

Frankie Castanea has published Spells For Change: A Guide to Modern Witches by Orion Spring, price £12.99. To order a copy for £11.04 until 28 November, go to or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20

 Additional reporting: Charlotte Vossen.