More than just a hobby

Lucian Ashcraft and Mia Bursminski find comfort in witchcraft and spiritual practices

A+Wiccan+altar.+PHOTO+COURTESY+OF+CREATIVE+COMMONS

A Wiccan altar. PHOTO COURTESY OF CREATIVE COMMONS

The realm of the extraordinary has become an ordinary part of the teenage experience—in the form of crystals, affirmations and spell jars. Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism and spirituality are everyday aspects in the lives of sophomore Lucian Ashcraft and senior Mia Burzminski.

Ashcraft (he/they) defines Wicca as “a spiritual connection to nature and the individual.” 

“The whole thing has been a journey of self love and self appreciation,” Ashcraft said. “Before I started getting into it, there was a lot of mental health stuff going on that I still deal with sometimes, and a lot of self consciousness. Getting into witchcraft has helped me gain confidence.”

Another piece of Ashcraft’s practice is deity work—forming relationships with deities (gods or goddesses of polytheistic religions) to have them aid in an individual’s life or spirituality. According to Ashcraft, they have been working with Apollo since they reached out to him through tarot cards and a pendulum a couple years ago.

“Usually I’ll have [Apollo’s] candle set aflame, and then I’m just sitting there, vibing with my earbuds in and listening to music with him,” Ashcraft said. “I can tell when he’s there because it’s a gut feeling that I get. It’s a warm feeling of joy.”

Ashcraft considers himself a Pagan and practices some aspects of Wicca, but he doesn’t like to identify with being Wiccan. Paganism refers to typically polytheistic religions other than main world religions, while Wicca is more nature-oriented and includes witchcraft. He is also a member of The Satanic Temple, a nontheistic religious and human rights group that, according to Ashcraft, doesn’t worship Satan. It actually consists mostly of atheists who like its ideologies, such as treating others with respect and a strong emphasis on science and reason.

Unlike Ashcraft, Burzminski doesn’t associate with the religious aspect and describes her practice as “spirituality” instead of Wicca.

“There’s a misconception that it’s demon worship and Satanism, so there’s a big stigma around it. It’s actually the opposite,” Burzminski said. “It’s more positive and self-based, and it’s about self-love and trying to spread love.”

The moon cycle guides Burzminski through her spirituality and practice; on full moons, she sets intentions by making spell jars with herbs and spices.

“For me, it’s about getting in touch with myself and nature. It’s a lot of looking into myself and my past and how that defines me now,” Burzminski said. “I also really like it because it’s so disconnected from technology, the modern world and all the responsibilities we have. It’s a way of connecting emotionally that we wouldn’t in regular banter.”

Burzminski also shares crystals, spells and tarot readings on Instagram that she thinks people could benefit from. According to Burzminski, her goal is to show people who she is, not to push her ideas onto people.

“My practice is not something that I’m ever going to stop doing because having another way of thinking about the world, like, ‘there’s little spirits here,’ or, ‘there’s energy in the trees there’ makes it so much more interesting,” Burzminski said.

Looking forward, Burzminski would like to open a metaphysical shop (her favorite in the South Bay is Psychic Eye in Torrance) that would be a place “where people can feel accepted and feel like the world is a safe place for them to be.” In addition, she is thinking of joining a coven, a group or gathering of witches who meet regularly.

“I’ve learned that everybody’s different, and we’re all here trying to get through life and find our way in the world,” Burzminski said. “It’s more beneficial to go through life with love, live your life how you want and do whatever makes you happy, because you only have so long on this Earth.”