Gatekeeping in the Witchcraft Community

Gatekeeping in the Witchcraft Community

Robyn from @atiredwitch and I, got together and wrote out a blog piece and Instagram informational post on the ever rising issue of gatekeeping in the witchcraft community. It is seen more and more these days, and there seems to be those that are using the term incorrectly, and those that are being attacked for no reason.

We hope that the infograph on Instagram, and this blog post, can help you understand what gatekeeping is, why it's so dangerous and how to work around it.


First off, is my excerpt on gatekeeping.


One of the things that seems to be plaguing our community in most, if not ALL, social platforms these days is gatekeeping. The example I first think of where I experienced gatekeeping, was on a post I made about burning bay leaves. My use of bay leaves was, whatever you wrote on the leaf & whatever intention you instilled on it, would be sent off into the ether when you burnt the leaf to ash. One person, who I actually had a very respectful conversation with about the use of bay leaves, had only ever used them for ‘wishes.’ While I enjoyed learning about her side of the practice, there were people that kept telling her to “leave me alone, she can practice how she wants.” I could not understand why they were so upset at our conversation, but it occurs to me now, they the other spectators may have thought this person was “gatekeeping” me.

Sharing information, and your differences in practice, is not gatekeeping. Witchcraft itself is a skill, it is spirituality, and it is personal to each and every witch regardless of experience, background or chosen path. Like physical communication, a lot of the offence over social media, comes about because of how the messages are displayed.

If you see someone using a black candle for a protection spell, when you have only used it for banishment spells, you have one of two choices. Learn from their experience, or share your own, and you can exercise both of these choices with one simple sentence: “Interesting! I didn’t know you could use black candles for protection; I’ve only used them for banishing! Awesome!” This single comment shares your experience, and gives the poster the opportunity to expand on THEIR experience, in a respectful discussion.

Gatekeeping on the other hand, would look something like this: “Uhm you can’t use black candles for protection spells. Black is only to ward of negativity so this spell is pretty much useless.”

Now this, is just being a jerk. I’m not sorry, but no one knows EVERYTHING about witchcraft. You can’t. You can be incredibly knowledgeable on the subjects that you’re passionate about, but you still may not know the same information as someone else who is just as passionate about the same subject. This also would mean that colours/herbs/crystals only have ONE use, which is nowhere close to accurate. Just because that is as far as your knowledge goes, does not mean it is 100% fact.

I have been practicing for over 15 years and I’m STILL learning new things every day. My passion is herbs and tarot, and has reached into astrology. I don’t know boo about crystals, and I don’t pretend to. Sharing your practice on social media opens you up to scrutiny, and no one likes to be called out on their misinformation or to be proven wrong. Unfortunately, I’ve only come across a handful of people that actually have the decency to private message me in order to correct me, and they are always polite about it.

So if someone does happen to call you out for something you might be doing, before you immediately take the easy way out, play the victim and pinpoint that person as a “gatekeeper”, really look at what you’ve shared. If you’re going to spread information, it should be precise and accurate, in order to keep yourself and anyone that may use that information, safe. If you’re promoting something that could be dangerous to someone’s, or your own, health because you chose not to do the research but someone else has in order to keep themselves safe, it would do you good to listen to them.

Not everyone is out to get you. Yes, the witchcraft community is a (mostly) open and free community, but we also look out for one another. So before you go telling someone their wrong, or falling into the victim hole, try being honest with yourself. Because you might be able to hide your intention from those on social media, but you can’t hide it form the Universe.



Now the excerpt and experience as shared by Robyn.

As someone who grew up enjoying typically “male-dominated” interests like Star Wars and video games, I know all too well the dangers of gatekeeping. It’s a plague to most communities, that tends to exclude others, or even make them feel like they should lose interest in their hobby/passions because other more “experienced” people in the demographic shut them down so regularly.

However, in the witchcraft community, that word is being used incorrectly all too often. Lately, it seems as though the word gatekeeping is being used interchangeably with the energy of “I don’t like being told I am wrong and so I will make you the villain for pointing that out.” The question I pose back to some of those throwing around the word “gatekeeping” is: are they gatekeeping or are they holding you accountable for your words?

I recently got in a discussion publicly revolving around mental health and how if you feel you are hearing voices from deities or spirits, you should always double-check with a professional that these voices are in fact not an underlying mental health issue. In our community, I see a lot of people taking a very wash the mental health away with magick approach, which is concerning. I personally have seen this most often with teen witches or “baby witches” and I’ve seen it being given out as sound advice, which concerns me. Anyway, I was told basically that because I said you should always check in with a doctor, especially if this is new for you, I was called a gatekeeper. How is this gatekeeping? The use of this word becomes toxic, misrepresented, and just a go-to catchphrase for anyone who doesn’t want to be told their ideas are wrong or potentially harmful.

Gatekeeping, in my opinion, is putting others down for them not knowing as much as yourself. It is withholding information, in a power move kind of way, or even quizzing others to assert some form of dominance over them within the community. Witchcraft is all about research and learning. I have been practicing for what feels like forever, and I am still learning every day. Someone of a position of more experience trying to direct you to a healthy relationship with your practice is not gatekeeping. Someone coming to you from their perspective is not gatekeeping. This term being thrown around, with such callous gusto, that as a community it not only stunts us but directly goes against the very nature of all magickal paths. We are always learning, if from nothing else than experience, and listening to other’s experiences. To be frank, some of this feels like it comes from white people who don’t like being told that closed practices are not for them, such as hoodoo or the appropriation of native American rituals. We get it your mad that Native’s have asked you to stop using sage, but instead of learning from that, you seem to be flinging hate around with no regard to your own personal ability to grow.

We can all always do better, but someone holding you accountable is not gatekeeping. Grow from it, otherwise, you are no better than the boomers that everyone complains about. And on a final note: Tik Tok is becoming the most toxic form of our community I have seen in all my years (dating all the way back to LiveJournal) please take that with whatever weight you want to. It's a fun app, but don't let it drag you into their garbage.



Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, comments, concerns, or are worried that you may be a victim of gatekeeping.

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1 comment

Thank you for the information, I am a baby new witch whatever label people may give me, even though I practiced the craft 20 years ago I am picking it back up, it has been calling me home for years now. This is a new term. Things are so different. I appreciate the explanation in depth because things have changed so much!


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