What has the moon ever done to anyone? She’s been quietly minding her business for four and half billion years, controlling the tides and stabilising Earth's axial tilt. But over the weekend, social media went wild with allegations that a bunch of “baby witches” on TikTok “hexed the moon” to try prove their power.
The rumours started on #WitchTok, the supernatural corner of TikTok with more than two billion views. Creators alerted each other about a group of young witches who had hexed the Fae (folkloric fairy-type creatures you apparently shouldn’t mess with) and the moon – and that the rogue coven had their eyes set on the sun next. This news quickly spread through social media platforms and turned into a meme overnight.
It’s unclear who the baby witches are or if the story is even true, let alone the wider practical implications of whether hexing the moon is even possible. When VICE dug into the story, we found no evidence to prove the act had actually happened. Multiple people have since claimed to have been behind the hexing, but the witches we spoke to say that they’ve struggled to find a single reliable source for the rumour. Some are now calling the story an outright hoax, describing it as “misinformation” to “mock [them] as a community”.
Stephen (AKA @awitchespath), a 31-year-old witch based in England, blames social media for making it difficult to pin down the finer details of the story, but says this type of internet spectacle isn’t new. “There always seems to be witchy drama on WitchTok, which is why I tend to avoid that platform,” he explains. Stephen prefers Instagram, where he co-admins Witches Society, a page with nearly a quarter million followers.
As someone who has practiced witchcraft for over two decades, Stephen’s initial reaction was to ignore the story, but he was shocked to see how much traction it gained online. “My reaction to the situation itself was more focused on why practitioners were perpetuating and sensationalising this and presenting it as though the moon, the Fae or the deities themselves were under some kind of threat.”
Stephen doesn’t think it’s worth entertaining the idea that anyone even could hex the moon. “I think it’s a bit of a grandiose assumption that this kind of work would have an effect on anyone’s practice, let alone worldwide.”
Nancy, an Edinburgh-based professional tarot reader and witch (AKA @homebrewwitch on Instagram), was confused when she saw the story, because the moon has been a massive source of importance for witches across centuries. “When I hex, there’s a very specific goal in mind,” she explains, “so I don’t understand what anyone could gain from hexing the moon.”
Nancy finds hexing helpful in some contexts, but can’t see why anyone would go after a celestial body. For her, hexing usually comes in the form of political protest which is then followed by action. “Letting people know you’ve done it [hexing] is really effective in unnerving people and I think it’s also a really good expression of how you feel about something, as well as showing your stance on things. An excellent example of that was the Trump hex when he got elected.”
Nancy thinks there’s a very slim chance that anything would actually happen to the moon if someone hexed it. “The only thing my mind jumped to was Trump potentially mining the moon, because it’s something humans can actually reach,” she laughs on the phone.
Teejay (AKA @thehalfasswitch), a 25-year-old witch from Southern California with a loyal following across Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, found the whole thing funny. “Someone said it’s like literally a kid punching the ocean waves. It’s irresponsible and that’s why a lot of us are laughing – because it’s kind of impossible.”
So if nothing is likely to happen, why would anyone try hexing the moon?
The growing consensus in the witch community is that whoever started the story was doing it for attention and there’s not much evidence for it being true. In fact, one Tiktok user who initially claimed responsibility and apologised has since deleted their videos and posted: “Y’all witches are dumb […] IDC if y’all try and hex because that shits [sic] fake”.
“I don’t necessarily feel anything towards the individuals who claimed this,” says Stephen. “I feel a chunk of the community has allowed themselves to become the butt of memes and jokes purely for their actions and words surrounding something that shouldn’t have been given a stage.”
Teejay agrees, saying it “sheds a light on how unregulated and problematic the witchcraft community can be, to a certain extent”. Mostly, she felt disappointment at people’s lack of research and the lack of respect for the craft, including themselves.
But most of the community isn’t even mad. It seems most practicing witches aren’t taking the story too seriously. “In all honesty, it is a little funny, and some of the memes I’ve seen are a comic relief to those who actually took this seriously,” Stephen adds.
Nancy thinks the most likely outcome from the viral moment will be a brief spike of people being interested in witchcraft. She’s also dreading the “draining” community infighting that will result from this, but she’s trying to look at the positive side of the situation.
“I'm a massive fan of WitchTok, witchy Tumblr and Witchstagram etc. because I think it’s a really great way for people that are trying to dip their toes into witchcraft,” she says. “I don’t have a problem with people finding stuff that witches do funny, because I find what I do funny. I think meme culture is such a great way witches to actually interact with each other with other people from all different kinds of traditions.”
This article originally appeared on VICE UK.