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The Pitfalls of TikTok Witchcraft: Navigating Confirmation Bias and Embracing Humility

TikTok, the platform known for its short-form videos, has emerged as a hub for modern witchcraft since the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. It has been captivating practitioners and enthusiasts alike with its easily digestible content. With hashtags like #witchtok gaining momentum, TikTok has become a virtual coven or Witchcraft Academy, where witches from all walks of life converge to share spells, rituals, and mystical insights. However, within this vibrant community lies a trend that has raised eyebrows: the proliferation of "big bad wolf" style videos and aesthetically pleasing spell jars.

These videos often feature practitioners showcasing their magical prowess, presenting themselves as powerful and formidable figures within the witchcraft community. Accompanied by mesmerising visuals and daunting music, these videos offer a seductive glimpse into a world where witches commandeer the elements and bend reality to their will.

Spell jars, intricately crafted vessels filled with herbs, crystals, and other symbolic items, have also become a popular form of content on TikTok, symbolising the manifestation of desires and intentions. While these videos and the very pretty spell jars have garnered widespread attention and admiration, they have also sparked a debate within the witchcraft community about the nature of authenticity and the true essence of the craft.

The Problem

Even in saying all of that, beneath the surface of this enchanting realm lies a significant challenge: the prevalence of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms one's preexisting beliefs or hypotheses while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

In the context of TikTok witchcraft, this bias often manifests in practitioners seeking out content that aligns with their existing beliefs and desires, while disregarding or dismissing information that challenges these beliefs.

This confirmation bias can lead to a superficial understanding of the craft, as practitioners may be more inclined to accept information that reinforces their existing beliefs, rather than critically evaluating new ideas or perspectives. For example, a witch who is drawn to the idea of using spell jars to manifest their desires may be more likely to consume content that promotes this practice, without considering alternative methods or the deeper principles behind spellwork.

Furthermore, the fast-paced nature of TikTok, with its emphasis on short, attention-grabbing videos, can contribute to the spread of misinformation and misunderstandings within the witchcraft community. Complex concepts and practices that require careful study and reflection may be oversimplified or misrepresented in an effort to make them more visually appealing or accessible to a broad audience. This can create a distorted view of witchcraft, where certain practices or beliefs are glamorised or exaggerated, while others are overlooked or marginalised.

The potential for misinformation and misunderstandings to spread on TikTok is further exacerbated by the platform's algorithm, which is designed to prioritise content that is likely to engage users and keep them on the app. This can create a feedback loop where sensationalized or misleading content is promoted, while more nuanced or educational content is pushed to the sidelines. As a result, practitioners who rely solely on TikTok for their witchcraft education may be exposed to a limited and distorted view of the craft, leading to a shallow and potentially misguided practice.

In order to combat the negative effects of confirmation bias and misinformation in TikTok witchcraft content, it is essential for practitioners to approach their studies with an open mind and a critical eye. Seeking out a diverse range of educational resources, both on and off the platform, can help to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the craft. Additionally, engaging with the wider witchcraft community, whether through online forums, local groups, or mentorship programs, can help to foster a deeper appreciation for the complexities and nuances of witchcraft, beyond the confines of TikTok's algorithm.

By taking a thoughtful and discerning approach to their practice, witches can ensure that they are not only learning from TikTok but also challenging themselves to grow and evolve in their craft.

Let's Talk About Humility

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern witchcraft, cultivating humility is essential for practitioners to navigate the complexities of the craft with wisdom and respect. Embracing humility involves recognising that one's knowledge and understanding of witchcraft are always evolving and that there is always more to learn. This mindset is crucial for combating confirmation bias and fostering a more inclusive and open-minded approach to the craft.

One of the key ways to cultivate humility in witchcraft practice is to seek out diverse educational resources. This means exploring a wide range of books, articles, podcasts, and online communities that offer different perspectives and approaches to the craft. By exposing yourself to a variety of voices and experiences, practitioners can gain a more holistic understanding of witchcraft and avoid the trap of relying solely on a single source of information, like Tiktok.

A well-rounded education in witchcraft offers numerous benefits beyond just expanding one's knowledge base. It can also deepen one's understanding and respect for the craft, allowing practitioners to approach their practice with greater reverence and intentionality. By learning about the historical and cultural roots of witchcraft, as well as its contemporary manifestations, practitioners can gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity and richness of the craft.

A diverse education can help practitioners to question their own biases and assumptions, encouraging them to approach new ideas and practices with an open mind. This can be particularly valuable in a social media landscape dominated by flashy and sensationalised content, where it can be easy to get swept up in trends and fads without critically evaluating their validity or relevance to one's own practice.

Ultimately, the key to combating confirmation bias and misinformation in TikTok witchcraft content is for practitioners to take an active role in their own education. By seeking out diverse perspectives, approaching their practice with humility, and questioning their own biases, practitioners can cultivate a deeper and more meaningful connection to the craft, ensuring that their practice is grounded in authenticity and respect.

Who is the Big Bad Witch?

New witches often find themselves drawn to the flashy, entertaining content of "I'm the Big Bad Witch" style videos on TikTok and other social media platforms.

These videos offer a captivating glimpse into a world where witches are portrayed as powerful and formidable beings, capable of wielding magic to manifest their desires, overcome obstacles, take out their enemies and governments with a flap of their mouth. The appeal of this content lies in its ability to tap into a primal desire for empowerment and agency in a world that can often feel chaotic and overwhelming.

For many new witches, these videos serve as a form of escapism, offering a tantalising fantasy of a life imbued with magic, power and possibility. The dramatic visuals, enchanting music, and confident demeanor of the creators can create a sense of awe and admiration, inspiring viewers to imagine themselves as the protagonists of their own magical journey. In a society that often devalues intuition and spirituality, these videos offer a refreshing counter-narrative that celebrates the power of the unseen and the mysterious. 

The other thing is that these types of videos can provide new witches with a sense of community and belonging because they beleive that by engaging with content that resonates with their own desires and aspirations on being a witch, they can feel a sense of camaraderie with like-minded individuals who share their passion for the occult. This sense of connection can be especially valuable for new witches who may be exploring their spirituality in isolation or facing skepticism and criticism from others.

Social media algorithms play a significant role in amplifying the appeal of "I'm the Big Bad Witch" style videos. These algorithms are designed to prioritise content that is likely to engage users and keep them on the platform, often favouring videos that are visually striking, emotionally resonant, or controversial. As a result, videos that depict witches as powerful and glamorous figures are more likely to be promoted and shared, creating a feedback loop that reinforces their popularity.

It is important for new witches to approach these videos with a critical eye and a discerning mind. While they can be a source of inspiration and empowerment, they can also perpetuate unrealistic expectations and stereotypes about witchcraft. By seeking out a diverse range of educational resources and engaging with the wider witchcraft community, new witches can cultivate a more balanced and nuanced understanding of the craft, grounded in humility and respect.

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