As a conversation topic, witchcraft can elicit all sorts of reactions
October 9, 2013 9:09 AM   Subscribe

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.
that seems like such a spot on approach to 'Wicca' and other US approaches to witchcraft that I sort have trouble believing it for Iran: are our cultures so similar?
posted by at 9:23 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

What a great article!

are our cultures so similar?

It'd be kind of weird if they weren't similar in this regard, right? I mean, marketing your secret knowledge is a good way to make a living if you're economically marginalized.
posted by mittens at 9:35 AM on October 9, 2013

I was hoping against hope that the witch's name
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
wasn't what I thought it was, but alas:
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.”
posted by jamjam at 9:37 AM on October 9, 2013

are our cultures so similar?

Recall that one of the judges on the original Iron Chef was a famous fortune teller. Not so odd when you remember there are a number of small offices offering Palmistry and Horoscope Readings and Reiki in my own little home town right now... never mind in the big and successful cities. I think this isn't an Islamic Culture thing as much as it is a Human Experience thing.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:44 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

training to control jinn and ordering hits on adversaries.

posted by Greg Nog at 9:57 AM on October 9, 2013 [8 favorites]

the effect of ingested prayers on dogs

Now I am curious. Who ingests the prayer? Can it be written on beggin' strips? Because these would fly off the shelves!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:45 AM on October 9, 2013

GenjiandProust: my dog ate my Sunday School homework.
posted by idiopath at 3:19 PM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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