Here at Wellesley, we seemingly have a club or organization for every interest, hobby, or background, which is why Molly “Chrysanthemum” Smith, ’24, felt the need to found the Wellesley Witchcraft Society in the Spring of last year. According to Smith, the society’s primary function is to “create a community and safe space, for all those who want to practice magic in a tolerant and inclusive manner.” WWS has now grown to 13 members, who meet on a bi-weekly basis to perform sorcery such as: discussing manifestation techniques, rubbing crystals together, listening to Stevie Nicks, and breaking all the clocks on campus to reflect angel numbers like 4:44. “Some people (the deans) call it vandalism, I call it faith-based community service,” says Smith.
Despite the somewhat tumultuous relationship between the College administration and the club, WWS is still granted an annual $10,000 budget, 77% of which is allocated to the acquisition of crystals – ethically sourced from Etsy – and the other 23% is simply transferred on to an Urban Outfitters gift card for witches in need.
Emma “Midnight” O’Connor ’23, the organization’s treasurer, describes her experience, saying, “as an atheist who’s fundamentally against organized religion, finding and organizing a spirituality-based community that has no religious ties whatsoever, was so profoundly freeing.” When asked if she acknowledged the Wiccan origins or influence, she responded, “The musical?? I love Idina Menzel, but to be honest it didn’t really play that big of a role in my decision to become a witch.” O’Connor’s personal path to finding witchcraft started in the winter of 2019 when her parents gave her a few pretty rose quartz as a stocking stuffer to use with the jewelry-making kit she got for Christmas.
Eight of the WWS members share similar stories of finding their faith through accessories; three members cited a middle school Harry Potter obsession, and the other two said they were inspired after seeing tarot card readers on TikTok and clicking on #witchyaesthetic.
However, all the crystal balls and tarot cards in the world could still not predict what the future had in store for the Wellesley Witchcraft Society. It all started Friday, Oct. 14, when the two e-board members in charge of “outreach, social media and good vibes” decided to advertise their monthly Full Moon Mixer by posting to Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YikYak, and LinkedIn. As they were setting up before the party on Sunday, Smith led her coven in a call-and-response affirmation chant to manifest a good turnout. But as the clock struck midnight and the usual crowd started gathering, some unfamiliar faces appeared, followed by some unfamiliar legs, then torsos, and finally arms. The self-proclaimed witches were too stunned to speak! The shadowy figures, now fully assembled, walked straight up to the e-board “with brooms in hand,” recalls O’Connor.
As it turns out, the Witchcraft Society from Salem State University had gotten wind of the mixer and were excited to finally meet more collegiate-aged witches. With not a single cauldron in sight, the visiting witches quickly realized they had been swindled. They were especially enraged since they had wasted a whole batch of traveling potion to get here; even witches can’t make the commuter rail run on time. And unfortunately for Smith and company, the witches needed revenge, so they hexed the members of WWS, causing their worst nightmares to come to fruition.
From that night forward, any house plant, fern, succulent, or cacti bought or owned by a Wellesley “witch” was destined to dry out and die, even the plastic ones.