With traditional religions on the downfall, and less attendance to places of worship due to COVID-19, interest in witchcraft and psychics have been on the rise. Catherine Schofield and Neith Pereira take a closer look at this new age of spirituality.
Magic has been a topic of conversation for centuries. It can be perceived differently depending on which lens it is viewed from. Witchcraft, as defined by Wikipedia, is the practice of magical skills, spells, and abilities. Practices often vary between different cultures so it can be hard to pin down exactly what it entails. It is common for witchcraft to be viewed as a type of dark magic. Historically, society has rejected the idea of magic and witchcraft. In the Salem Witch Trials, for example, those who were accused of witchcraft were prosecuted and some people had even been executed.
Stephanie Lynn Clausenknights, a worker at Reno Magick, identifies herself as a professional witch and priestess. In the shop located right outside of Midtown, there are candles, tarot card decks, crystals, oils, herbs, books and local witch creations.
Baptized within the Episcopal Church, Clausenknights expressed that religion can be very structured and disciplined. She went further to say that there have been limitations when it comes to spiritual expression in religion. Discovering witchcraft and magic allowed her to fill in that void. “I could redefine how I wanted my spirituality to exist for me and only me,” said Clausenknights.
After building itself up, there was room for another person to be supported at Reno Magick. Clausenknights asserted that working at the shop has impacted her spirituality heavily. “This isn’t just my job. This is my career. This is my life path. This is my spirituality,” she said.
With the help of social media, magic and witchcraft practices have received a lot more attention and have become more popular among younger age groups. With increasing attention comes new conversations and debates. One of the latest debates has been whether or not cultural practices are turning into whitewashing trends.
“Cultural Appropriate is a thing. As long as we’re being thoughtful and we’re doing our investigation and if we’re figuring where this came from, then we’re doing whatever we can do to make the world better,” said Clausenknights.
In her practice, Clausenknights has worked with the Greek, Egyptians and other cultures that share related ritual practices. “Most people are deviating out of the norm now because it’s not sustainable,” explained Clausenknights.
Struck by curiosity, people are trying to figure out their beliefs and what that means for them in terms of spirituality. “Most people are recognizing and kind of realizing the main three [religions] — Christianity, Catholicism, and Judaism or Islam, depending on where you are in the world — don’t fulfill all the needs we have as humans,” said Clausenknights.
The Reno Psychic Institute has been working with individuals in the community for over 20 years. A typical day for readers at the Institute consists of handling the business part of the space during the day and then conducting classes or coming in for psychic reading appointments. The type of classes offered at the institute include meditation (which they refer to as energy work), healing and clairvoyant work, such as aura readings. Clairvoyance is the act of perceiving things beyond normal sensory contact.
Spirituality is different for everyone. At the Institute, is it believed that everything starts from our spirit. “It’s physics really more than it is superstition or religion or something. It’s how things work,” said Laura Peppard, 68. She continued by saying that those details are not something widely known outside of the community. Peppard identifies as a metaphysical psychic. She practices clairvoyant readings and healing work.
“We work with people to help raise their vibrational frequencies so that people can see the things standing in their way that are creating disease or trauma in their life and help them to release that so they can move on to a more positive level,” said PJ Chatterton, 78. Chatterton is a minister and psychologist. She teaches methods of healing and mentors in clairvoyance.
After a readers program and other related courses, Carrie Cox began reading professionally at the Reno Psychic Institute in 2018. Cox finds it relieving to be able to help out and assist individuals on an emotional level. “People don’t have that ability to have spontaneous help when they need it if they are in a crisis,” said Cox. Healing is heavily practiced at the Institute.
While Reno Magick and the Reno Psychic Institute differ in terms of how they view and define their spirituality, they do share similarities in their practices. The biggest common ground between the two is how they are driven by spiritual energy.
“This type of work has been done for many, many, many centuries and now science is catching up with something that we’ve known all along that has been passed down to us from our ancestors,” said PJ Chatterton.
You can find Reno Magick on Instagram @renomagick and the Reno Psychic Institute on Facebook and on Instagram @renopsychicinstitute.
Reporting and photos by Neith Pereira. Video and photos by Catherine Schofield.