WitchTok: the rise of the occult on social media has eerie parallels with the 16th century

It’s 1.30am in the morning, and I’m about to watch a duel between magicians. One is a “demonolater”, a word I have never heard before, someone who claims they worship demons and can petition them in return for knowledge or power. The other describes themselves as a “Solomonic magician”, and claims to be able to command demons to do his bidding, as some Jewish and Islamic traditions have believed of King Solomon, who ruled Israel in the 10th century BC.

I first discovered this debate because, in the course of studying 16th century books of magic attributed to Solomon, I had found, to my astonishment, that “Solomonic magic” is still alive and well today, and growing in popularity. Twitter had suggested to me that I might be interested in an account called “Solomonic magic”, and a few clicks later I had found myself immersed in a vast online community of young occultists, tweeting and retweeting the latest theories and controversies, and using TikTok to share their craft.

To my further bemusement, it seemed that the tradition of Solomonic magic had recently faced accusations that its strict and authoritative approach to the command of demons amounted to a form of abuse, akin to domestic violence. As I had made a note in my diary of a public debate that I wanted to attend out of sheer curiosity, it seemed astonishing to be asking myself whether Solomonic magic, the same found in books of necromancy dating back hundreds of years, was on the brink of cancellation in 2021.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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