(Des Moines, IA) College offers a chance for young students to discover new interests and learn more about themselves. For one sophomore at Drake University, a new city and a new community allowed her to delve into her spiritual side.
Hannah Thomas, a magazine and writing double major, began practicing witchcraft last year after encountering a student who already did so.
“I just started experimenting and doing minor rituals,” Thomas said, “and just kind of meditating, just spending time thinking. It just kind of felt very natural for me to fall into the practice.”
Thomas said she believes her actions can bring about a change by manipulating the energy she believes connects living things and natural elements.
“Witchcraft is the ability to intentionally manipulate these webs of energy in order to effect the world around us in some way,” Thomas said.
Thomas said she’ll perform full moon rituals to harness the energy of the moon to reach a certain goal. She also uses symbols to bring protection to her room.
However, she said these practices aren’t for evil ends.
“It’s not really for gain or for making somebody else lose something,” Thomas said. “But it’s just the idea that you can achieve balance with the world around you by manipulating energy.”
The resident witch on campus became well known after a profile ran about her in the student newspaper, The Times-Delphic.
“I think anyone who saw it or read it was just like wow, ‘That’s something really unique,'” said Haley Hodges, who wrote the article. “And Des Moines is kind of a crooky place so there are a lot of options.”
The Times-Delphic digital editor reports that the article has been read nearly 2,000 times. The feedback has been mostly positive.
“Especially on campus, people are very open,” Thomas said. “Generally people find out that I practice witchcraft and say, ‘Tell me more. I want to understand it.’”
Some who know Thomas said they admire her confidence with her beliefs and how she presents herself.
“It seems like she’s really comfortable what she’s doing with her life,” Hodges said. “I admire her self-confidence with dying her hair, cutting her hair, wearing all black, wearing intense lipstick. It’s great.”
Thomas said that witchcraft has helped her own her desire to look and dress a certain way.
“Practicing witchcraft has added a lot to (my self-confidence) and just kind of becoming in tune with who I am on the inside and showing that on the outside,” Thomas said.
Besides providing an outlet for her personality, Thomas said witchcraft has also helped her manage her stress and anxiety.
“It just relaxes me and takes me out of myself for a moment,” Thomas said. “But at the same time, I can take time to reflect on myself.”
Thomas said there are several groups in Des Moines that practice witchcraft and is looking to get more involved this summer.