Rare is the analysis that places modern witchcraft in the context of individualistic aspiration, set against more than two decades of economic privatization and the increasing valorization of personal responsibility and agency.
In the course of my research, I found this issue of individual aspiration—often barely concealed economic ambition—to be fundamental to understanding the allure that witchcraft commands among some members of the middle classes. The centuries-old storehouse of Western Islamic occult science and folk practices of healing and magic now furnish techniques, modulated by pop-psychology seminars, self-help literature, and a heavy dose of New Age spirituality, for the attainment of consumerist desires and dreams of social mobility.
At a hole-in-the-wall café in Ariashahr, a young and populous district in western Tehran, my tutor, a 24-year-old woman named Mersedeh
Every prayer, every wish and desire, every feeling, has its own frequency. “Say you want a Mercedes Elegance. There is a wavelength to your desire that wells up from within you. This is what the cosmos hears.”
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