Witchcraft. It has been around for centuries, yet it?s still one of the least understood fringe cultures.
Shrouded by myth and mystery, witchcraft has been subject of speculation since the lifestyle was first created.
The truth is modern day witchcraft is a lot more practical than one might think.
To dive deeper into the differences between witchcraft and works of fiction, Pierce College Adjunct Instructor of Anthropology Erin Moran sheds light on some common modern witchcraft practices.
Her class covers a wide array of practices considered witchcraft such as divinations, palm reading and astrology.
?We also talk about uses of magic, positive and negative,? Moran explained. ?We do it from a perspective that?s comparative around the world. We look? at African cultures, and we? look at Asian cultures, and we?ll compare those with western traditions.?
A key aspect of Moran?s objective for her students is to bring tolerance to people who otherwise have negative connotations about witchcraft.
?It?s not just something weird that people do. We tend to see it like that,? Moran said. ?Whether or not we dismiss it, you?d be surprised how many people perform superstitious acts without even knowing it.?
Crossing your fingers, knocking on wood, and using wishing wells are prime examples of superstitious activities that factor into most people?s lives.
Some of the more well-known forms of modern day witchcraft today are psychics (such as going to a Psychic Reading US), spiritual healers and wiccans.
Wicca is a witchcraft religion that was created in the first-half of the 20th century.
Founded in England, Wicca is a mixture of ancient pagan beliefs and 20th century hermetic motifs. This often misunderstood lifestyle meant Wiccans were often made outcasts in the general community.
A more popular form of Wicca in the Western world called eclectic wiccans offers a more open lifestyle that is not exclusive to tradition. These Wiccans are not initiated to any covenantal practices, which means they usually do there rituals by their selves.
Psychics, or fortunetellers, are people who believe that they have the ability to decode information normally hidden through normal senses through extrasensory perception.
Spiritual healers, or white witches, are practitioners of folk magic for benevolent uses. Similar to Wiccan practices, spiritual healers are spread across the globe, with places as far as Africa and Asia using ancient rituals passed down from tradition.
In Long Beach, Calif., the occultist shop ?Eye of the Cat,? is cluttered with mystical charms, candles and oils. The walls are lined with hundreds of herbs and bathing salts, all with a different use or effect.
An auspicious black cat greets patrons at the door while two other cats roam the store.
Occultist practitioner and Wiccan Kelly Hernandez owns the shop, which was established in 1974. She provides tarot card reading and spiritual advising. She sells pentagrams, frog legs, incents and oils.
Hernandez was raised in a strict Lutheran household, but in he rteens she she gradually adopted a lifestyle more suited to her spirituality.
Hernandez recalls attending Lutheran services as a Wiccan with family and witnessing a man speak in tongues for the first time.
?I thought the man was possessed!? Hernandez chuckled. ?From my point of view, it was weird.?
The idea that a Christian possessed by the spirit of God is considered righteous, yet a Wiccan doing the same thing is considered taboo was perplexing to her.
?It?s less about the title you put upon yourself but rather your intent,? Hernandez said.
While Hernandez follows a more benevolent path of Wicca, she agrees that some who follow that faith are out to do wrong.
?There are a lot of Wiccan?s who are crazy, but name a religion that doesn?t have its absurdities,? Hernandez said. ?Life as a Wiccan is very simple.?
Jacob Chandler, a cashier at Eye of the Cat, said, ?I try to make the customers feel welcome in this strange environment. If I do believe in anything, it?s that the universe gives and takes. I have a deep faith in karma.?
The path to tolerance in humankind seems to grow wilder every day, with people of different backgrounds constantly having to overcome obstacles placed on them due to prejudice or stereotypes.
?Every religion has laws,? Hernandez said. ?We have ours; harm no one and help others.?